Read highlights from conservation projects completed by New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) from May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020—NEFF’s fiscal year.
Warner and Myrin
Great Barrington, MA | 16 Acres | Conservation Easement | Acquired August 15, 2019
NEFF is working in Great Barrington to protect land within the highly significant Monument Valley. This conservation effort will link to protected forests within the Beartown State Forest and other nearby conserved areas. Virginia Warner donated a 16-acre tract to NEFF in summer 2019 and NEFF subsequently donated the land to the Myrin Institute, and then purchased an easement for the parcel and an adjacent 200 acres owned by Myrin with funds from the Nion Robert Thieriot Foundation, the Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation, the Lennox Foundation, and private donors. Note: NEFF’s purchase of this easement took place in fiscal year 2021, which means only the acres originally donated by Virginia Warner in fiscal year 2020 are recorded in the above chart.
Weeks-Hatch Commemorative Woods
Meredith, NH | 72 Acres | Community Forest | Acquired August 19, 2019
In August 2019, the Hatch family donated 72 acres in Meredith to NEFF in memory of Fred and Virginia Hatch as well as Howard and Myrna Weeks, who were Mrs. Hatch’s parents. Virginia Hatch grew up in Meredith, and her parents purchased just over 60 acres there in 1946. In 1973, they deeded the property to Virginia and Fred, who lovingly stewarded the forest for more than 45 years. The Hatches partnered with NEFF foresters in 1985 to manage the woodland and its white pine and hemlock-hardwood stands as a certified Tree Farm, a forestry partnership that continues to this day through New England Forestry Consultants. The Hatches purchased 13 additional acres in 1993 and permanently protected both parcels through a NEFF conservation easement in 1999, and drafted their wills with a bequest entrusting NEFF to be the future owner and steward of the forest. After Fred’s death in January 2018 and Virginia’s in July 2019, the property came into NEFF’s hands—and we are honored the Hatches entrusted NEFF with their beloved woodland. Under NEFF’s ownership, the forest is now open for public enjoyment and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests will oversee its conservation easement.
Niantic River Headwaters Community Forest addition
East Lyme, CT | 34 Acres | Community Forest | Acquired August 27, 2019
The Niantic River Headwaters Community Forest project was undertaken in two phases: NEFF first conserved 166 acres of the forest in 2017, and then protected an adjacent 34-acre parcel in 2019. The forest is home to diverse wildlife, plant communities, wetland resources, and topography—as well as a system of hiking trails. NEFF’s conservation of the Niantic property is consistent with the State of Connecticut Green Plan, the plans of Conservation and Development of Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, and the town of East Lyme.
Clendenin Memorial Forest
Granville, MA | 70 Acres | Community Forest | Acquired August 29, 2019
In summer 2019, Greg Clendenin donated his approximately 70-acre Granville lot, which sits across from NEFF’s Phelon Forest and is almost entirely wooded. It has been harvested throughout the years and was last treated in 2012, primarily for thinning and general management. The property, which has been in Mr. Clendenin’s family since about 1930, contains trails and is a great area for recreational opportunities and continuous forest management.
Merrill Mountain Community Forest
Hiram, ME | 350 Acres | Community Forest | Acquired December 11, 2019
James Donovan, co-owner of First Light Boatworks in Chatham, Massachusetts, contacted NEFF in August 2018 looking to purchase and conserve recently harvested Maine timberland. NEFF staff steered him toward a variety of tracts, including one in Hiram. James went on to purchase 353 acres in Hiram, and in December 2019 donated the land to NEFF. The property is now known as the Merrill Mountain Community Forest, and encompasses the southwestern slope of Merrill Mountain, the third highest mountain in southern Maine at 1,611 feet. An existing network of woods roads and trails provides recreational access, with fantastic scenic views near the summit. This project advances protection of a significant block of unfragmented forestland, including a state wildlife management area to the east. The land has excellent conditions for white oak, red oak, and white pine.
Antrim Limited Partnership
Antrim, NH | 105 Acres | Conservation Easement | Acquired December 27, 2019
The Bean family, under the name Antrim Limited Partnership, donated a conservation easement to NEFF in December 2019 that protects 105 acres along the summit and ridgeline of Tuttle Hill. The forest is a mix of northern hardwood and conifer stands, and part of a commercial wind energy farm is situated on the ridge. When the wind operation’s lease expires in a maximum of 50 years, the turbines and related infrastructure will be permanently removed and the land will revert to forest. This unique arrangement facilitated the conservation of more than 900 acres in Antrim, including the Beans’ conservation easement donation as well as neighbors who have granted conservation easements to the Harris Center for Conservation Education.
Stafford, CT | 365 Acres | Conservation Easement | Acquired December 30, 2019
John Serafin, Jr. donated a conservation easement to NEFF in December 2019, permanently protecting his vast oak-dominated forest and uncommon spruce and cedar swamp. The land is located on and near Charter Hill next to the Stafford-Ellington town line, and borders Northern Connecticut Land Trust’s Boothroyd and Bellante Preserves. At 365 acres, the Serafin property is now NEFF’s largest easement in Connecticut. Mr. Serafin is part of the third generation of his family to steward this forest; his grandfather Attilio—an Italian immigrant woodcutter—acquired it in the 1930s, and his father John tended it through the 1980s. Mr. Serafin and NEFF received a MassConn Regional Conservation Fund grant, which helped to enable this successful forest conservation project.
Top photo: Niantic River Headwaters Community Forest, photo by Tinsley Hunsdorfer.