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.
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.
SRC, NH Audubon and Town of Lee Work to Preserve Ford Property
Lee resident Joe Ford loved wildlife, natural areas and the town of Lee: not necessarily in that order.
The Oyster River flows through the
eastern portion of the property.
Thanks to Mr. Ford, who passed away at age 82 in August of 2011, there will be 71 acres of land in Lee preserved in perpetuity that will benefit all three of his great loves. Upon his death he left his property to the town of Lee. From there, the town of Lee, the Strafford Rivers Conservancy (SRC) and New Hampshire Audubon worked in concert to ensure that Ford’s wishes that his property be “forever wild” became reality. Although the property has been conserved since 2008, the final easement was completed in November of this past year.
SRC Board President Sam Reid said, “Joe was a local character-beloved and respected in his hometown of Lee-whose great passion was land conservation. This beautiful property is his legacy.
The property contains significant wildlife and water resource features. It includes 7.5 acres of hay fields, 52.5 acres of forestland and 10 acres of floodplains. NH Fish and Game identifies 34 percent of the property as “Tier 1”, indicating that this portion contains the “highest-ranking habitats by ecological condition in the state.”
“Joe loved animals and birds, his quiet life on Garrity Road, and public dialog,” says Cathy Short, Mr. Ford’s neighbor for more than 20 years. “For many years, Joe and others met on Sunday afternoons at my house for pie and preservation talk. He led the way for land conservation in the town of Lee until it became the norm at town meeting to vote in rather large chunks of money to be spent on land preservation and conservation easements, often with only a few minutes of discussion.”
The Oyster River flows south through the eastern portion of the property, with about 1,750 feet of frontage along both sides of the river. There is also 2,200 feet of frontage along Laynes Brook. The entire property is located within the Oyster River Core Focus Area identified by the Land Conservation Plan for New Hampshire’s Coastal Watersheds.
Ford’s expressed wish that the conserved land be “forever wild” means that native plants, trees and shrubs will not be cut or removed from the property. Any logging activities will be confined to the removal of invasive species and public access will be limited to activities that require no modifications to accommodate recreational activities.
This “hands-off” approach to conservation easement management is consistent with Ford’s longstanding passion for and commitment to preservation of natural areas.
Bill Pearce, a longtime friend of Ford’s who worked closely with Audubon and SRC to finalize the conservation easement on the property, noted that this non-interference with habitat for wildlife was of utmost importance to his friend.
“He was delighted by his deer herd, birds - all plants and animals,” said Pearce. “Thus, the easement restricts use of the property to non-impacting activities such as walking, bird-watching, snowshoeing...all without making paths, parking lots, etc.”
Strafford Rivers Conservancy and NH Audubon, primary and secondary easement holders respectively, hope to showcase portions of the property open for public access at a celebratory event in June. Stay tuned.
“This guy really represented what land conservation is all about. We are honored that SRC is tasked with watching over this beautiful stretch of land that was so important to him,” Reid said.
SRC Board Names One of Its Own to Interim Executive Director Position
The Strafford Rivers Conservancy Board of Directors has named long-time board Executive Committee member Linda McGivern to lead the organization forward as it evaluates its strategic alternatives during the next several months.
McGivern comes to the position with extensive experience working with the SRC in its financial and development realms. She has served as treasurer of the board for more than three years and, most recently, was co-chair of the committee that put together this past’s year’s Celebration of Conservation -- SRC’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
“SRC is in a great place,” McGivern said. “We are coming off our best fundraising year ever and so now we have a unique opportunity to take our time, take a close look at our organization here in its 25th year, and then make the important personnel and structural decisions that will be necessary.”
In addition to her conservationist leanings, McGivern is a master gardener and has an MFA in writing from the University of New Hampshire. She lives in Rollinsford, NH with her family, pets and plants.