Did you know that 60% of the Strafford Rivers Conservancy's annual budget comes from private donations from people like you? Your financial support helps the Strafford Rivers Conservancy permanently conserve key properties in the region and maintain its vigilant stewardship of its protected lands. Invest in the preservation of the region's special landscapes today by making an annual or repeating contribution to the SRC using the "Network for Good Donate Now" button or by mail to: The SRC, PO Box 623, Dover, NH, 03821.
From left to right: interim executive director Linda McGivern, Alex Roberts, Bruce Kerr, Treasurer Kevin McEneaney, President Sam Reid, Nancy Carmer, Ann Welsh, Laurie Smith, secretary Steve Dibble
Isn’t fall leading into winter - the cool nights and warm, colorful days of September and October, November’s bluster and then the inevitable coming of wintry December - the very definition of bittersweet?
So it is an appropriate time, then, for a thank you and goodbye to the Board of Directors members who have made the Strafford Rivers Conservancy what it is today: an organization that exemplifies the spirit and practice of what “grassroots” means.
The term grassroots refers to a movement in which the creation of an organization and the people supporting it are “natural and spontaneous.” I love those two words, since they technically refer to a defined term that means “not orchestrated by traditional power structures” but that can be applied to the inherent character of each of our board members and of our founder, Ashton Hallett (Mr. Grassroots himself).
In all my time serving on boards, attending meetings, planning events, attending fundraisers, I have never had so much consistent fun (Celebration of Conservation, Land Aid, board meetings, outreach events, etc.) while working so hard (see previous parenthetical list) to reach a goal (conserved land, financial security).
It was a major decision for us all to agree to give up our teenaged “grassroots chemistry” in the interest of the ultimately more important cause of land conservation.The new grown-up version of SRC, in its incarnation as the regional Southeast Land Trust, will operate more effectively than our small band of tree huggers ever could. We know this. We embrace this. But still it is hard to say goodbye.
In my final act as “interim” executive director of the SRC, I would like to take up some premium space here on the front page of our website to individually thank all the members of our current Board, many of whom have been at the forefront, over the years, of keeping the land conservation faith in Strafford County. They are listed in order of appearance!
Steve Dibble, Rochester, 25 years: Steve - yes it is true - is a founder of the SRC still serving on the Board. An attorney from Rochester, he has worked tirelessly and continuously over 25 years to make sure the organization’s history is documented via a veritable bookshelf of minutes that he has meticulously (and with great wit and style) taken during 25 years of SRC Board meetings. Steve was this year’s Ashton Hallett Conservation Award winner for his stalwart dedication to conservation in Strafford County. Steve, in retiring from his board work, said, “Twenty-five years is enough.”
It is not enough for us. We will miss Steve - and his land conservation creds - tremendously.
Kevin McEneaney, Dover, 24 years: We fondly call Kevin - owner of McEneaney Survey in Dover - Mr. SRC. There has been no single person on the board who has more completely embodied the notion of “conservationist.” Kevin is SRC’s institutional knowledge: my jaw drops when a map of the county gets unfurled and he knows something about every conserved acre on the map and something about all the ones that are not yet conserved but should be. He is the guy you can call on to move furniture; buy beer for fundraising events; harass his friends and relations for money; lead outreach events; go on site walks; monitor easements; survey easements. He has been to SRC that perfect combination of practical/theoretical knowledge of conservation coupled with a work ethic that never quits. SRC would not be the organization it is today without Kevin. Kevin will be continuing his service on the new merged SELT Board of Directors.
Nancy Carmer, Rollinsford, 15 years: Whether leading the organization during her stint as president, writing grants, leading canoe/kayak adventures, volunteer monitoring easements, being a stalwart attendee of each and every SRC fundraising event over the years and conscripting friends and relations to do the same, Nancy is the person who always says yes when called to serve and she has been saying yes for a veeerry long time! Nancy - economic development program manager for the city of Portsmouth - is retiring from her board work but is committed to supporting the new regional land conservation efforts of Southeast Land Trust.
Sam Reid, Dover, 8 years: If there were a special SRC award for He-Who-Most-Exemplifies-Volunteerism, Sam would be the recipient. Shortly after stepping into the role of board president toward the end of 2013, he was saddled with being the de facto and unpaid co-executive director of SRC. Sam - a financial advisor at Charter Oak Capital Management in Portsmouth, NH - regularly logged more than 20 hours of volunteer time per week while working to efficiently and successfully help facilitate the merger with Southeast Land Trust. On top of that, he and his wife Paula have been generous financial supporters of the SRC during a time this support was sorely needed. Sam has drained both his wallet and his already depleted stores of recreational/personal time to give to SRC. This is known in the non-profit world as The Perfect Volunteer. Sam will be serving on the SELT Board and Executive Committee in his new role as secretary of the SELT Board of Directors.
Alex Roberts, Dover, 5 years: Alex was at the helm of SRC’s Development Committee as it came into the 21st century. Before Alex, SRC staff and a couple of over-worked conscripted volunteers would work to put together fundraising campaigns and our events. During the Alex years, SRC fundraising efforts became collective, joyful and well-oiled. Alex, a nurse practitioner in Rochester and her husband Bill Garrison, a city councilor in Dover, have been stalwart financial supporters of SRC and - with their openness and ability to make friends everywhere they go - the life of any SRC party. Alex is retiring from board duties but is aware she will be called upon to bring those rockin’ fundraising creds to event planning at SELT!
Bruce Kerr, Stratham, 4 years: Bruce is SRC’s lands guy extraordinaire. If it involved any of SRC’s conserved properties, Bruce was IN. Whether monitoring, meeting with landowners, tagging along as moral support/conversationalist with Sara on her monitoring adventures, faithfully attending Lands Committee meetings and offering thoughtful input on both land acquisition and land stewardship - Bruce was there. In addition to his lands work, Bruce was the guy who could always be counted on to say yes to special projects: office moves, outreach volunteerism, fundraising events, etc. Bruce, who is retired, will be continuing with his lands-related duties in his new role as a member of Southeast Land Trust’s new Stewardship Committee.
Laurie Smith, Dover, 2 years: Laurie came to the board following a stint on SRC’s Event Planning Committee in which she...let’s just state it here...kicked serious fundraising butt. There are many people who have volunteered over the years to work on SRC’s fundraisers, but there has only been one single person in all those years who comfortably and happily would commit to the “Ask”: Laurie Smith. All the rest of us approached the Ask (capitalized on account of its ability to strike terror in the heart of non-profit volunteers) with varying degrees of loathing and despair. Laurie, an office furniture designer and salesperson, taught us all what it means to believe in an organization and to expect that others might share that belief and, consequently, also share their money, goods, services, etc. to support it. She was SRC’s secret fundraising weapon and will bring this unusual and desirable skill to the Southeast Land Trust Board of Directors.
Ann Welsh, Durham, 2 years: On every board there is that person who listens carefully, speaks only when necessary and when it is necessary asks the probing questions that lead to more thoughtful and productive board discussions. On the SRC Board that person is Ann, a Durham resident and long-time member of the Conservation Commission there. Ann hit the ground running two years ago as a member of SRC’s Lands Committee and immediately made herself indispensable in many ways: as a knowledgeable conservationist; as a fundraiser and donor; and as a stalwart event attendee who was always representing SRC in a professional, interesting, friendly and open way. Ann will be joining the SELT Board and serving on its newly formed Stewardship Committee.
Thanks to all of you! I will miss our SRC mojo.
Help celebrate the SELT/SRC merger at SELT’s Fall Foliage Fundraiser
Please join SRC and SELT on Friday, Oct. 24 for the Fall Foliage Fundraiser in Portsmouth. The event, to be held beginning at 6 p.m. at the Portsmouth Harbor Events and Conference Center on Deer Street, is the major fundraiser of the year for Southeast Land Trust. It represents the first official occasion in which SRC members and SELT members will come together to work toward the common goal of funding the newly minted regional land trust that will come from the merger of SRC and SELT.
If you are unable to attend the event, please follow the link to SELT’s event website and register to bid on the many fun auction items that are currently available for bidding.
SRC's Kevin McEneaney and this year's Stonehouse Pond Celebration of Conservation excursion winner Alison Sollee.
|SRC's Kevin McEneaney led a hearty group of SELT and SRC supporters up to the top of Stonehouse Pond on Oct. 18.|
SELT/SRC’s Stonehouse Pond weekend
The temperatures were still respectable. The foliage was near peak. It was the perfect weekend for some Stonehouse Pond-ing and members of both the Southeast Land Trust and Strafford Rivers Conservancy took advantage of the conditions to visit one of SRC’s most beautiful properties.
Kevin McEneaney, longtime SRC board president and current resident Stonehouse Pond expert, made the weekend’s excursions possible with his knowledge of the geology, flora and fauna of this unique property. McEneaney brought a group of more than 20 people for a Saturday hike at Stonehouse for a combined SELT and SRC outreach event. Then he went back the next day with Alison Sollee, a longtime SRC supporter who was one of three high bidders on the Stonehouse Pond easement excursion offered by McEneaney at SRC’s June fundraising auction.
During the hike in from the parking area Saturday, longtime SRC board member Nancy Carmer spotted a barred owl. To the delight of the crowd, Carmer called the owl and it swooped over to a tree near to the group of SELT and SRC hikers.
“It was amazing,” said Carmer. “After I called the the owl, it cocked its head and flew into a tree right above us. I think it figured out pretty quickly we weren’t owls though.”
The group hiked for about 15 minutes to get to the top on what was a somewhat overcast but warm day, leading to limited but comfortable viewing.
On Sunday, Sollee, McEneaney and SRC interim Executive Director Linda McGivern had a cooler but cloudless day. Many other area residents took advantage of the clear skies to hike to the top of the rock outcropping at Stonehouse that provides vistas for miles around.
The Strafford Rivers Conservancy and the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire are merging!
The Strafford Rivers Conservancy and the Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire are pleased to announce their merger into a unified land trust covering southeastern New Hampshire and the coastal watershed of Great Bay.
To our devoted members,
Putting down on paper the details of our proposed merger with the Southeast Land Trust signals once and for all that this is real and the deal is (mostly) done. So the writing of this letter is bittersweet. In a few short months, there will be no more Strafford Rivers Conservancy as we all have known it: that proverbial “little-engine-that-could” grassroots non-profit that chugged steadfastly along for 25 years, powered primarily by volunteers putting in super-human chunks of time to keep the machine running. It was a sweet thing to watch, and be part of. And more than 4,000 acres of protected land in Strafford County came out of those years.
But the time has come for the little engine to pull into the station and couple itself to the new-era bullet train. Suffice it to say, with the departure at the end of 2013 of long-time Executive Director Anna Boudreau came a unique opportunity to evaluate our organization and make a decision about its future. That’s when Brian Hart, Executive Director of the Southeast Land Trust, approached us with this great idea. After discussions that lasted the better part of the winter, both organizations decided a merger would be in the best interest of land conservation in the southeastern New Hampshire.
See those italics? The italics are there to emphasize that it is not the two organizations that are benefiting from this merger or that there is a comparison to be made between big vs. small, flush vs. poor or well-staffed vs. skeleton crew. Because ultimately this is not about any of those things but is about, instead, the preservation of open space – and how best to go about this – in southeast NH.
For all the reasons explained to you later in this document(see "Full Announcement" below), we are ecstatic about this merger. My most important task with this letter, however, is not to bore you with details but to encourage you all to support the new, stronger organization that will come out of it. From the very beginning of this process, we SRC people have been endlessly and regularly awed by the professionalism, warmth and capability of the Southeast Land Trust Board of Directors and staff. As the months have passed, our confidence has grown exponentially that our people and our easements are going to a better place. And we are working hard to ensure that Strafford County’s conservation needs will continue to be met in a big way with the new organization that will be born this coming fall. Members of our Lands Committee have identified important properties in Strafford County that the new organization will pursue. More than half of SRC Board members will serve on the board of the new organization. The Ashton Hallett Conservation Award will continue to be given out each year to recognize outstanding efforts on behalf of conservation in Strafford County.
In short, what will come from this is a better, stronger Strafford County world of conservation. We hope you will join us in continuing this important work: renew your membership in the new Southeast Land Trust this Fall; volunteer on a committee; attend outreach and fundraising events. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Sam Reid, President
Full Announcement: SLTNH_Merger.pdf
SRC/ARCH "River Paddle" event gets record attendance
|Participants prepare for their tour of the Salmon Falls River — history and conservation stories included!
|NH Audubon’s Phil Brown describes the Joe Ford Wild Sanctuary.|
|Chuck Cox provides the final link of five people to surround one of the property’s signature trees.|
Joe Ford Wildlife Sanctuary Fieldtrip
The 2014 Celebration of Conservation was momentous, thanks to you!
- a live auction, with auctioneer Cheryll Andrews, who fostered high bidding on items ranging from special experiences and getaway packages to artwork and sporting goods
- the Marc LaForce Quartet
- presentation of the Ashton Hallett Conservation Award to long time SRC board member Steve Dibble
- catering by Dover, NH Italian cuisine master and longtime SRC supporter Mike Cartelli
- wine tasting by Dover Wine
- A few words by Brian Hart, Executive Director of Southeast Land Trust of NH about the upcoming merger of SRC and SELTNH
- A Lands "Fund-A-Need", lead by Paula Reid,which raised a considerable nest egg for stewardship of SRC's properties as the lands are transferred to Southeast Land Trust's care in the fall when the merger is due to be finalized.