Whether NEFF’s staff is writing grants or meeting with landowners to discuss conservation options, our work is directly connected to conserving the resources and landscapes that inspire us. In addition to our work, there are a few perks that come along with office life at NEFF’s headquarters on Prouty Woods—a few of which might surprise you.
THE LAND- NEFF’s Headquarters are located on the 118-acre Prouty Woods, with 5 miles of pristine woodland trails. From the office, a ten-minute hike can bring you to the top of Wilderness Hill to take in a 40-mile view to Mount Monadnock, or down to the waterfront on Long Lake. As many staff will testify to (and studies continue to show), a quick walk in the woods does wonders for wellness and work productivity. It is fairly common to see NEFF’s staff walking or running the trails for a mid-day brain break, and on special occasions, you might even spot a couple of us canoeing during our lunch break.
THE GAMES- NEFF purchased the forest and home-turned-office in 2003 from the Proutys, a family known for their generosity and love for games. While living on the property, the Prouty family invited the public to enjoy their trails and woods, and they hosted community bowling nights in their two-lane candle-pin bowling alley. Today, the forest remains open to the public from dawn to dusk (as are the trails on all of NEFF’s Community Forests), and the bowling alley is still used by a few staff who are in the habit of staying after hours to get a few frames in and unwind from the work day.
THE OFFICE DOGS- Visitors to NEFF’s Community Forests know that we have a soft spot for our four-legged friends, with all our forests open to dogs that are in control and cleaned up after. That affection extends into our office. On any given day you can find at least one “office dog” roaming the office, spreading smiles and looking for the perfect scratch, belly rub, or treat.
First there’s Obi, a 6-month-old Terrier/Cattle-Dog mix whose life goal is to finally catch the laser pointer beam in the conference room. A winter puppy, Obi is known for making great escapes in search of the warmest heat source. Chris Pryor (Director of Forest Stewardship and Obi’s Human) will often find the escapee snuggled on top of floor vents, huddled next to crackling fireplaces, or spread across the lap of a happy co-worker.
Then there’s Jack, a goofy, gangly, black-and-white ham of a Lab/Great Dane/ Pit Bull mix. While NEFF’s day-to-day dress policy is business casual, Jack is always dressed to the nines, sporting a classic tuxedo look combined with edgy, ankle-length, white socks. Known for heavy sleep breathing and rambunctious snoring, Jack has two primary speeds: dead-to-the-world and nothing-can-stop-me. Jack spends his lunch breaks chasing sticks in Fay Park, and the rest of the day sprawled in his plush dog bed.
And how can we forget Roxy? This energy-packed, bite-size Pomeranian brings a much-needed level of skepticism to the office dog clan. Bob Perschel (Executive Director and Roxy’s Human) serves as the perfect perch and protector. Not one to trust quickly, Roxy finds comfort in Bob’s lap, where she sits and watches diligently as Bob writes emails, makes calls, and holds meetings.
Finally we have Otto, a mischievous, always-plotting, self-proclaimed rascal of a wire-haired griffon mix. Otto makes his rounds when he first arrives at the office, tail tightly curled against his back, and paws click-click-clicking against the hardwood floors. From down the hall, Whit Beals (Director of Land Protection and Otto’s Human) stands outside his office and calls to him, “Mr. Otto, be a gentleman and say good morning to your good friend Charlie!”
When you look into Otto’s olive-green, oddly human eyes, you know that he is cooking up his next big heist. Otto is the kind of dog that gains your trust with a tail wag and a goofy, tongue-out grin, and then steals a chocolate bar out of your bag as soon as you get back to work.
Often in attendance at Land Protection meetings, Otto keeps an eye on the proceedings by standing up and putting his front paws on Whit’s lap. From there, he is just tall enough to observe the proceedings (as well as any food that might be on the table).
The dogs, the games, the land—these are just a few of the Prouty Perks that contribute to NEFF’s office life. To get a taste for what it is like, head out to Prouty Woods—you might even see a few of us on the trail!
NEFF would like to extend a special thanks to Lisa Enright, Betsy Cook, Emily Kingston, Kasey Currier, Charlie Reinertsen, and Karin Grondolsky for all of their hard work while on staff at NEFF. They will be greatly missed, and we wish them all the best in their new careers!
Writing and Photography by Charlie Reinertsen