Just down the road from me is the Greater Lovell Land Trust (GLLT), a non-profit conservation organization. Their aim is to buy large parcels of the raw land in the area from private owners to prevent further development; to conserve essential resources; protect plants, wildlife, and watershed; to open these areas of conservation for public enjoyment via hiking trails, guided or not; and to provide education in the form of lectures on a variety of topics including history of the area, geology and geography, and nature. Much of the work is done by volunteers, who do everything from trail building to acting as naturalist docents and guides.
I came across an article written by one such docent in an older newsletter published by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardener’s Association which I think you might enjoy. I have taken advantage of many of the GLLT’s programs which run throughout the year, most recently a presentation about Barred Owls. It’s fun to be able to identify what you are seeing and hearing in the woods whether it’s the call of the owls, or knowing just how fresh that bear scat is on the trail! When I convey the many factoids I’ve learned over the years to my grandchildren when they visit, they are fascinated, and as a result, they too have become lovers of nature to varying degrees, whether hiking or camping or kayaking or quietly observing wildlife. There is an abundance of free educational opportunities provided by local non-profit wilderness organizations, as well as the Forest Service. Ultimately, it transforms us from vicarious admirers of nature to stewards of the land.
Organizations that offer natural wilderness education, hikes, etc. in the White Mountains of Maine and New Hampshire:
- Greater Lovell Land Trust (GLLT), Lovell Maine: http://www.gllt.org/
- Tin Mountain Conservation Center (based in the White Mountains, New Hampshire): http://www.tinmountain.org/
- The Appalachian Mountain Club: http://www.outdoors.org/
- White Mountain National Forest Service: http://www.fs.usda.gov/whitemountain