The Community That Mills Together, Comes Together!

Lemonade From Lemons - Bird/Bat/Owl houses and Siding from Little Harbor Road Pines

Sarah Kern | June 5, 2023
Creek Farm
Volunteer Power

Volunteer Power!

Have you heard the term "making lemonade from lemons?" We put this into action at the Forest Society quite often, and this example at Creek Farm is just one.  As the trees show us, sometimes you have to bend so you don't break!

Last year Eversource had to remove 40 Eastern White Pine trees from Little Harbor Road in Portsmouth, NH.  These trees were old, some were already dead or dying from disease, some were too close to utilities causing a safety issue, a myriad of reasons led to them having to be taken down.  However, 40 is a large number and the community was stirred up with the potential of a beloved, shady walking area being destroyed and the loss of trees they have come to know and love as their own.  We worked with AJ Dupere of the Urban Forestry Center to help share important and accurate information to ehlp inform the community as to why these trees needed to be removed and also contacted Eversource to see if they might be willing to leave a tree or two so we could mill it into lumber to be used to make bat houses, bird houses and owl boxes.  Eversource did an impressive job having the trees removed, you would never know 40 trees are no longer there, and obliged and left a whole stack for us to use!  Now, from tree to board is a long and tough process, but we are progressing!

Volunteer power makes milling go so smoothly!
Our first milling led to a community make and take program where members could come and build an Eastern Bluebird Box and later a bat house.  Some of these were placed around Creek Farm to help improve habitat for our wildlife here, some made it back to our Concord office to be put out on the Merrimack River Floodplain, and some were taken home by participants to be hung on their properties.  A great time was had by all, and the beloved pine trees were transformed into their next role, continuing to benefit the environment that they had grown in for so long.

But what to do with the rest of the trees?  With teamwork from our Volunteer Coordinator, AJ Dupere from Urban Forestry Center and some dedicated staff and 6 volunteers, we were able to mill 5 more trees into slabs to make more bird houses and bat houses, to make some benches for folks to enjoy the view from, and, much to our delight, we had enough to mill siding for our new public bathrooms that will be completed this summer.  You can find more information about this project at 

White Pine Siding
White Pine Siding freshly milled from Little Harbor Road White Pines…;  In addition we had some left over slabs and live edge cuts that we couldn't use and we put them up for free - we have had some takers and one person even shared with us the coffee table they made!  

Forestry is a very misunderstood and complicated field, and we pride ourselves in the knowledge, skill and action that we take here at the Forest Society both in forestry practices as well as education and outreach.  Forest landowners can simultaneously improve wildlife habitat and timber quality through proper forest management. At the same time, their efforts are sometimes misdirected and work against their intended goals which is where the education and outreach help. Many forestry/wildlife myths and misconceptions have been passed down by misinformed individuals. These myths and misconceptions can cause forest landowners to hesitate about managing their forestland properly and serve to lower timber quality and supply.  We work hard to try to replace rumor and myth with fact. Your forest resources are too valuable to be managed by hearsay. As forest landowners, we must learn scientifically proven forest-management techniques and manage forests properly, and opportunities like this where we turn lemons into lemonade, or trees into habitat/siding help to highlight this amazing and complex process.

Be sure to come by Creek Farm in Portsmouth to see the progress on the public bathrooms, to walk our Story Stroll on our Little Harbor Loop Trail, to check out our many education programs happening this summer, and to enjoy the amazing gem that Creek Farm is.  And if you need some spare lumber - we still have a few pieces in our free pile!  

We would like to send a huge shout out and acknowledgment to AJ Dupere of Urban Forestry Center, without him, his skill and his mill, this would not have been possible.