UNH CoastWise Program visits Forest Society's Merrimack River Floodplain

Hike to riverbank shares watershed land conservation and statewide policy

Dave Anderson | March 8, 2022
UNH grad students in parkas survey from bank of Merrimack River

UNH CoastWise graduate students check map of land conservation sites along the Merrimack River. (Photo: Tim Briggs)

Merrimack land protection projects map
Map of Merrimack River frontage land conservation projects. (Courtesy of Brian Hotz)
Students from the UNH CoastWise graduate school program recently visited the Merrimack River Outdoor Education and Conservation Area in Concord also known as "The Floodplain" to learn more about forestland conservation in the greater Merrimack River watershed and about environmental policy and advocacy efforts by the Forest Society.

UNH Students in pine plantation
Forest classroom in Concord. (Photo: Tim Briggs)

Students and UNH staff hiked the main trail to the river through the white pine plantation to the riverbank to learn about land conservation and the Merrimack River Conservation Partnership

Students at kiosk on Floodplain
Dave Anderson speaks at the Floodplain kiosk. (Photo: Tim Briggs)
The Merrimack Conservation Partnership is a regional conservation alliance formed to protect the southern portion of the greater Merrimack River watershed in New Hampshire and Massachusetts through accelerated land and water protection, advocacy, restoration, outreach, and education. The Partnership works by supporting and fostering collaboration, coordination, and innovation among partner organizations to strengthen our individual and collective efforts toward achieving the shared goal of a clean, healthy Merrimack River.

Senior Education Director Dave Anderson shared information on the Forest Society's Merrimack Floodplain property features and wildlife habitats including riparian forest of Silver Maple.

Forest Society staff speak to students along Merrimack Riverbank
Forest Society Policy Director Matt Leahy spoke about the organization
Earlier this winter, CoastWise program students watched the Forest Society's documentary film, The Merrimack: River at Risk, to learn why the Merrimack River was ranked as among the "most endangered rivers in the country" by American Rivers in 2014. 

The Forest Society Public Policy Director, Matt Leahy, shared an introduction to how NH conservation groups have traditionally worked with state lawmakers in the NH State Legislature including State Conservation programs such as the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and the efforts of the NH conservation community at the federal level via work with NH's Congressional Delegation.  

UNH Students on Merrimack riverbank
The Merrimack River Outdoor Education & Conservation Area is 103 acres and home to the Forest Society
Lindsey Williams, Senior Fellow for Coastal Policy and Engagement/Affiliate Assistant Research Professor/Lecturer at the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at NH Sea Grant coordinates the UNH CoastWise workshop shared that the land conservation and policy themes were helpful to set the stage for continued discussion and dialoge within the group. 

Our unique group field trip setting — outdoors and in winter temperatures along the bank of the Merrimack River — was the outdoor option to provide Forest Society outreach program in indoor setting while the indoor conference room classroom space at the Concord Conservation Center remained closed.

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