Aldo Leopold Day, April 2, 2011
Coe-Brown Northwood Academy
On April 2, 2011, the Northwood Area Land Management Collaborative (NALMC), Bear-Paw Regional Greenways, Northwood Conservation Commission and the Friends of Northwood Meadows State Park hosted the first “Aldo Leopold Day” in New England.
The event was held at Coe-Brown Academy, and attracted over 100 residents of Northwood and surrounding communities. The day was introduced by Carl Wallman of NALMC, and kicked off by Dr. Tom Lee, UNH Associate Professor of Forest Ecology who gave a fascinating presentation about Aldo Leopold’s work within the context of the American conservation movement. Local volunteers including Steve Bailey, Harmony Anderson, Richard Moore, Becky Rule, and Steve and Brenna Roy shared readings from Leopold’s seminal work A Sand County Almanac.
We then enjoyed a bountiful and delicious potluck supper contributed by many event attendees, more readings from A Sand County Almanac, and a special Leopold cake donated by Hannaford Supermarket. After dinner, the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s new movie Green Fire – Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic For Our Time about his life and work was debuted in its New England premiere. Following the movie, Ellen Snyder introduced Karen Bennett of UNH Cooperative Extension who led an animated group discussion on how Leopold’s views on land ethics and conservation can help to sustain communities here in New Hampshire.
“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.” – Aldo Leopold
Green Fire Film Event, June 15-19, 2011
Red River Theatres, Concord
NALMC co-sponsored the showing of Green Fire at Red River Theatres in Concord, NH. This is the first full-length, high-definition documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, Green Fire highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Leopold remains relevant today, inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land.
After the film there was a panel discussion with Peter Forbes, Co-Founder of the Center for Whole Communities, Dick Ober, President, NH Charitable Foundation and Sharon Olds, poet.
This event was presented by Northwood Area Land Management Coalition, The Leopold Foundation, The Community Forest Collaborative & The Trust for Public Lands, NH Project Learning Tree, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, The Nature Conservancy, New Hampshire Audubon, The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Bear-Paw Regional Greenways, Northern Forest Center, Peter Lamb, and Marcy Lyman.
Tickets were $9 on opening night and $5 through the last night on June 19th.
Leopold Bench Building Workshop, October 1, 2011
NALMC Kiosk at Harmony Hill Farm, Northwood
On Saturday, October 1st, 18 hardy souls gathered in the drizzling rain at the NALMC (Northwood Area Land Management Collaborative) kiosk at Harmony Hill Farm to build benches. Though the weather was dreary, the coffee was hot, the homemade pastries were delicious and there was a vibrant, barn-raising atmosphere. At the end of the day, all that was left of the three hemlock trees that were donated from the NALMC neighborhood was a small pile of sawdust, a few scraps of wood, a few remaining slabs and 22 beautiful Leopold benches.
This workshop was inspired by the simple, yet elegant four-board bench design that came to Aldo Leopold, a pioneer of ecosystem land management, in the. 1930s at his farm in Baraboo, Wisconsin. As demonstrated in the film ‘Green Fire’ (a documentary about Leopold’s Land Ethic), Leopold’s distinctive slant-back bench design is extremely efficient and results in very little wasted materials
In order to transform trees into building materials, Jesse and Tony Matras brought their portable band saw to saw the logs into 2×8’s and 2×10’s. What was not sawed into boards was left as bark-covered slabs for the backs of the benches so that all parts of the logs could be utilized with little waste. Local woodworker, Steve Winchester, then used the template he created to teach the group how to assemble the benches.
As the group worked to assemble benches, no one talked about Leopold directly, but the event was a living example of the ideals of his Land Ethic. “There are two things that interest me,” Leopold said, “the relation of people to each other and the relation of people to land.” On that Saturday morning, friends and neighbors worked together to build benches from trees in the NALMC neighborhood, in order to give them to others to share and enjoy.
It is the hope of the NALMC neighbors that these benches, placed in inviting locations, will give people a chance to sit in rustic comfort to observe and reflect on the land, the people, and their delicate connection that was central to Leopold’s legacy. In his opinion, everything comes down to people in the end – cooperating to achieve shared goals, educating each other about different possibilities, and working together to bring ecological dreams into reality. In the same spirit as NALMC’s refrain, “Working Together Across Our Stone Walls,” this hands-on workshop illustrated how deeply connected the goals and values of NALMC are with those of Leopold’s Land Ethic. Among the workshop attendees were members of The Friends of NMSP, the Northwood Crankpullers, the Fairpoint Pioneers, State of NH DRED, Northwood Conservation Commission, and many private landowners from the NALMC neighborhood.
The benches will be placed at the Northwood Town Hall, the Chelsey Memorial Library, Northwood Meadows State Park, and along the 5-mile NALMC hiking trail that starts at Harmony Hill Farm. It is the hope of the NALMC neighbors that the good will and fellowship that created these benches – plus Leopold’s original inspiration for their shape and strength – will inspire all those who take rest.