Tom Howe Named 2021 Conservationist of the Year

Forest Society honors late staff member for a lifetime of conservation achievement

October 6, 2021
Sarah Thorne, wife of the late Tom Howe, accepted the award from President Jack Savage on stage at the annual meeting.

Forest Society President Jack Savage (right), presented the Conservationist of the Year Award to the family of the late Tom Howe, including his wife, Sarah Thorne (left), at the annual meeting on September 25 at Creek Farm.

The Forest Society named the late Tom Howe, who was directly involved in conserving nearly 35,000 acres over the course of his 25-year tenure, as the 2021 Conservationist of the Year.

Considered the Forest Society’s highest honor, the Conservationist of the Year Award recognizes people whose work to promote and achieve conservation is exemplary; people whose actions have made a difference not just in their own backyards, but also have advanced the protection and stewardship of land statewide. Past awardees include John Hay, U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, and longtime Forest Society President/Forester Paul Bofinger. Howe is only the second Forest Society staff member to be honored with the Conservationist of the Year Award.

“As many of you know, we lost Tom in January of this year after a terrible accident,” stated Jack Savage, president of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “We miss Tom dearly, but today we celebrate him for the astounding breadth of Tom’s lifetime of achievements for our people and places throughout New Hampshire.”

Tom Howe poses in the forest outside of the Conservation Center.
Tom Howe was the Senior Director of Land Conservation for the Forest Society before his death in January 2021.
As senior director of land conservation, Howe completed 158 projects that helped to conserve nearly 35,000 acres in New Hampshire, including multiple projects around Mount Major and the Belknap Mountains as well as lands around Green Mountain in Effingham. He and his family also conserved their own 26 acres of farm and forest land in Gilmanton. He was a founding director and board member of Gilmanton Land Trust.

On behalf of the Land Trust Alliance, Jameson French, and Sylvia Bates, wrote eloquently:

“Tom put his keen mind and determined spirit to his work and his legacy is written in the New Hampshire landscape. Respected by his peers nationally, the Land Trust Alliance frequently benefited from Tom’s deep knowledge and expertise. His numerous contributions to Rally Workshops, webinars and discussion forums have helped to educate and inspire young land conservationists from coast to coast.

We take solace in what he leaves behind: a legacy of protected land and a new generation of conservationists to follow in his footsteps.”

The Forest Society will be placing a stone bench at the overlook on Pine Mountain, part of the Morse Preserve in Alton, offering an expansive view of Mount Major and the Belknap Range where Howe helped protected hundreds of acres.

In addition, a new trail at the Ammonoosuc River Forest in Bethlehem, a project Howe completed late last year, will be dedicated to Howe when it is complete.

Tom Howe looks over the Ammonoosuc River during a site visit.
Tom Howe is pictured on a visit to the Ammonoosuc River Forest in winter 2020.