Exploring Connections Series

Exploring Connections: a year-long webinar series

NH Audubon is organizing and facilitating a year-long speaker series titled, “Exploring Connections to and Stewardship of the Natural World.” This series is supported by a grant through the NH Humanities Council and aims to provide a public and personal space for the examination of environmental ethics, fostering a deeper understanding of, appreciation for, and care of, our natural world. Programs are free to the public, and streamed via Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook Live. 

Presentations encourage participants to explore their personal connections to wildlife, land use ethics, sustainability, history, and our human interaction with the environment. At the same time, we will be philosophically reflecting upon the way human experiences impact natural places and, likewise, how natural places impact human experiences.

Speakers will highlight the importance of the relationships between human beings and the environment, emphasizing the role of ethics and stewardship in this relationship while highlighting the impact that environmentally-based decisions have on individuals and our communities. Presentations are currently being coordinated by Diane De Luca, a senior biologist with NH Audubon and Dr. Maria Sanders, a philosophy professor at Plymouth State University.

Speakers include poets, musicians, scientists, authors, philosophers, and thought leaders representing a wide range of organizations and perspectives.

Speakers and Programs (bios at the bottom of the page):

The Place We Call Home

March 30, 7pm
Dr. Maria Sanders
Philosophy, Plymouth State University

A deep awareness of the connectivity between all living things and their natural environments continues to frame core ethical factors essential for understanding the growing tension between innovative progress and nature’s carrying capacity in a contemporary technological culture. The 21st century has witnessed global pandemics, massive climate changes, genetic engineering, and much more. Ethics is derived from the word “ethos” and defines a way of living. By drawing connections between historical normative theories and relevant contemporary issues, Dr. Maria Sanders offers a pragmatic approach for addressing current global challenges through the generative power of nature.

Exploring Connections between Humanities and the Natural Sciences

April 8, 7pm
Dr. Maria Sanders
Philosophy, Plymouth State University

A comprehensive understanding of and appreciation for the universe includes knowledge of all aspects of reality, necessarily canvassing across both Natural Sciences and Humanities. Dr. Maria Sanders, a Philosophy professor at Plymouth State University, will facilitate this workshop for Scientists, Statisticians, Economists, and Educators interested in aligning their research, lessons, and expertise with real-world Humanities-based issues, concepts, and movements. Participants will discuss scientific considerations of human society from various perspectives and model ways in which scientific research and education can be understood and taught through a humanistic lens thereby promoting expanded ways to connect to our stories beyond the data.

Community Science: Nexus of People and Place

April 13, 7pm
Marc Nutter, Diane De Luca, and Rebecca Suomala
NH Audubon

Join NH Audubon staff in an exploration of the historical and current methods of engaging people and place to more fully understand our planet. We will review where ‘Citizen Science’ got its start and the shift to using the term ‘Community Science’, some pros and cons of this decentralized method of data collection, and how communities in NH and beyond collaborate with researchers to gather data. We’ll discuss current projects that you can assist with at NH Audubon and other organizations who are gathering data on the timing of seasons, precipitation quantities, presence of animal species, and more to build a deeper understanding of regional and global events for both the community participants and the researcher.

The Power of Place-based Writing

April 27, 7pm
Dr. MaryAnn McGarry
Endowed Abbott Professor of Environmental Studies, Plymouth State University

Participants will explore the power of place-based writing to galvanize citizens to protect special places in our NH communities and regions. We will experience how place-based writing clarifies our thinking, connects us to the places we live, and how powerful writing can help shape environmental policy and spur citizens to proactive stewardship of natural resources.  Our cultural, ecological, historical (think about land acknowledgements) and social identities contribute to our sense of place. Participants will write, responding to place-based prompts and then read/share our work with others in attendance.

Garden for Wildlife: Attracting Birds, Butterflies and other Backyard Wildlife

May 3, 7pm
David Mizejewski
National Wildlife Federation

Naturalist David Mizejewski shares how to create a beautiful garden or landscape that fits into the local ecosystem and supports birds, butterflies, bees and a whole host of other wonderful wildlife neighbors. David will discuss native plants, the four components of habitat and sustainable gardening. He’ll also share how you can achieve the National Wildlife Federation’s “Certified Wildlife Habitat” recognition for your garden space.

Flowering Trees and Shrubs for Pollinators

May 18, 7pm
Emma Erler
University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension

When gardeners think of designing a landscape for pollinators, they may imagine a colorful bed of herbaceous flowers. However, flowering trees and shrubs are essential parts of the habitat required to support a wide variety of pollinators and other wildlife species. Not only do they provide food, but they also offer year-round shelter and nesting places. In this presentation you’ll learn about blooming trees and shrubs that provide both beauty and important habitat in the garden.

Pollinators 101

May 25, 7pm
Vicki J. Brown
NH Natural Resources Steward and Co-founder, Pollinator Pathways NH

Who are “the pollinators”? Learn about the most common types of wild pollinators, their vital ecological role, and how we can profoundly impact the diversity of pollinators in our own yards and communities.

Native Bees of New England - their Diversity and Natural History

June 1, 7pm
Michael Veit
High School Biology Teacher and Native Bee Enthusiast

How many kinds of bees can you name: honey bees, bumble bees, sweat bees perhaps? Most people are familiar with our non-native honey bees and their role in pollinating commercial crops, but few are aware of the great diversity of native bees that we have in our region and the roles that they play in pollinating our indigenous plants.  This program will start with a presentation about the wild bees of our region, their diversity, beauty, importance, and fascinating life histories.

Native Predatory Wasps: Their Role as Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

June 8, 7pm
Heather Holm
Pollinator Conservationist

Native bees and predatory wasps share the same lineage and also share many behaviors and habitat requirements. Predatory wasps feed their offspring invertebrates (insects and spiders) and bees diverged from this carnivorous diet to feed their offspring plant-based food (pollen and nectar). Flower-rich landscapes provide critical habitat for both adult bees and wasps because they each consume flower nectar; in addition, wasps need diverse, flower-rich landscapes to hunt for their prey. Heather will highlight many amazing natural history and biology facts about native wasps illustrating their nesting habitat, prey specificity, and the ecosystems services they provide—pest insect population control and pollination.

Becoming a MOTH-er

June 15, 7pm
Jerry Skinner
Educator and Naturalist

Once only thought of as annoyances, moths are now being appreciated for their beauty, diversity, ecological role, pollination duties, and economic value.  With more than 10x the number of species as their butterfly cousins, these [mostly] nocturnal fliers show at least as much variation in color, life history strategies, and importance.  This talk will explore myths, how to observe moths, and how to participate in a number of moth-related citizen science projects…just in time for National Moth Week.

Where Have all the Monarchs Gone?

June 22, 7pm
Donna Miller
Petals in the Pines

The Monarch Butterfly has been a common site during late summer in New Hampshire. But some years you see them, and some years you don’t.  We’ll discuss what’s behind their fluctuating population and how we can help improve their numbers. Donna has been assisting Monarch Watch, tagging and releasing monarchs each fall. She’ll share slides of her Monarch Way Station and Monarch Maternity Ward, two gardens designed specifically to attract monarchs. We’ll discuss the research work being done, and answer the elusive question, “How do you tag a monarch anyway?”

Beecology: a Citizen Scientist Helping Pollinators

July 20, 7pm
Dr. Robert Gegear
Professor of Biology, UMASS Dartmouth

Dr. Gegear will update participants on the decline of wild pollinators and the importance of collecting critical ecological information that is needed to develop effective conservation and restoration strategies for threatened pollinator species. The Beecology project was developed to recruit citizen scientists from across the region to digitally collect and submit ecological data on native pollinators. You will learn and practice data collection using the smartphone and web apps developed through this project. Participants will have the chance to use online visualization tools to collect data important for improving the quality of native pollinator habitats.

Cancelled: Appreciating our Nocturnal Pollinators

July 27, 7pm

**this event has been cancelled**

Sarah Shearer
MS Candidate, Antioch University New England

Learn more about the mysterious and diverse world of moths! They’re our (mostly) nocturnal neighbors that remain largely unseen but play a very important role in our gardens, while supporting populations of native bird and bat species across the Northeast. Moth diversity has long been considered an indicator of habitat quality and emphasizes the importance of using various native plant, shrub and tree species in our cultivated landscapes and embracing habitat heterogeneity when making land use decisions.

Poetry, Place, and Peace of Mind

August 24, 7pm
Dr. Maria Sanders
Philosophy, Plymouth State University

Poetry offers a medium for expressing mindful connections with nature, while experiencing the mental health benefits nature provides. Dr. Maria Sanders, a philosopher, poet, and researcher of eudaimonia, the Greek concept for living full and flourishing lives; will facilitate a discussion on the effect nature has on emotions, mood, and sense of well-being. Utilizing poetry from Sanders’ Sunrise Sunset collection, participants will explore various ways poetry can serve as a conduit between nature and positive mental health.

Nature Connection in NH Schools

September 7, 7pm
Jamie Hannon
Professor of Adventure Education, Plymouth State University

Children aged 6-17 spend most of their weekday waking hours in school. For most students in NH this time is spent primarily indoors or in constructed outdoor environments. As children everywhere experience a decreasing sense of connection to nature, schools that keep their students indoors are missing an opportunity to improve their kids’ wellness, social-emotional development and academic achievement.

This program takes a close look at one NH public school that has taken a different approach: the Mountain Village Charter School of Plymouth. Serving grades 1-8 with an educational program dedicated to immersive, daily nature experiences, the school has experienced numerous successes, and some challenges too, as it seeks to bring all its students into a deeper connection with the landscape of NH.

Beauty & Reciprocity

September 13, 7pm
Alice B. Fogel
New Hampshire poet laureate (2014-2019)

Like many of us who experience biophilia, when it comes to our most existential lifeline—the natural world—I exist in a personal and anthropogenic dissonance of celebration and mourning, vision and blindness. I want to explore these tensions, and the questions they raise about reciprocity, through the topic of beauty. Why do we find other life and geological forms so compelling and yet not sufficiently connect their survival with our own? What does nature’s beauty have to do with us, and us with it? This presentation is from the viewpoint of a poet—not a scientist—who is attempting to go more deeply into her intertwined senses of wonder at what we are given and grief at what we are losing, and find some beauty there.

Native Pollinator Biodiversity: The Contributions of Native Pollinator Meadows

September 28, 7pm
Alina Harris
Farm Coach

Native pollinators play a vital role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem and food system. Attendees will gain an understanding of the intricate biodiversity of native pollinators, which have co-evolved with native plants. This webinar will discuss the steps of installing pollinator meadows, composed of herbaceous perennial flowering plants and native grasses. This diverse habitat not only supports pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and beetles, but also other wildlife, such as birds! Pollinators significantly contribute to feeding birds in two main ways: First, through the act of pollinating flowers, seeds are formed and are eaten by birds. Second, the pollinators themselves can be a protein source for birds! About 9 in 10 bird species eat insects at some point in their life. So, whether it be through the conservation lens of birds, pollinators, or both – join us to learn about how native perennial meadows can contribute to wildlife diversity and abundance in your community.

The State of New Hampshire’s Birds

October 5, 7pm
Dr. Pam Hunt
Senior Biologist, Ornithology, NH Audubon

In the last 50 years, scientists estimate that North America has lost roughly 3 billion birds, meaning that there are only three quarters as many birds around as there used to be. New Hampshire Audubon has been tracking bird populations for almost as long, and in our “State of the Birds” report we present a summary of how birds are doing here in the Granite State. Almost 300 species occur regularly here, and this report outlines general population trends, major threats facing birds and their habitats, and some of the conservation strategies that might help them recover. The bad news is that birds are declining here as well. The good news is that there are things we can do about it.

A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds

October 12, 7pm
Scott Weidensaul
Author and Ornithologist

Even as scientists make astounding discoveries about the navigational and physiological feats that enable migratory birds to cross immense oceans or fly above the highest mountains, go weeks without sleep or remain in unbroken flight for months at a stretch, humans have brought many migrants to the brink. Based on his newest book “A World on the Wing,” author and researcher Scott Weidensaul takes you around the globe — with researchers in the lab probing the limits of what migrating birds can do, to the shores of the Yellow Sea in China, the remote mountains of northeastern India where tribal villages saved the greatest gathering of falcons on the planet, and the Mediterranean, where activists and police are battle bird poachers — to learn how people are fighting to understand and save the world’s great bird migrations.

Forest to Forest: Bicknell’s Thrush

October 26, 7pm
Dr. MaryAnn McGarry
Endowed Abbott Professor of Environmental Studies, Plymouth State University

A rare migratory songbird, with a very restricted range, is a catalyst for exploring issues of sustainable development on the island of Hispaniola, where Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR) are co-located, where the bird spends the winter and the high peaks of the Northeastern US where the bird breeds on high peaks in Maine, NH, VT, and NY in the summer.  This presentation is about raising awareness of the plight of this bird through an interdisciplinary, multicultural, international, collaborative project involving art, poetry, citizen science and fieldtrips up Cannon Mountain, NH to see the bird.

MOTUS: A Revolution in Migration Research

November 3, 7pm
Dr. Carol Foss
Senior Advisor for Science and Policy, NH Audubon

Join Carol Foss, NH Audubon’s Senior Advisor for Science and Policy, for an introduction to the Motus Wildlife Tracking System — a new research network that is revolutionizing the study of winged migration by tracking the movements of small birds, bats, and even dragonflies and monarch butterflies who have been fitted with tiny radio transmitters (nanotags).  Carol will discuss how Motus works, what we’re learning from it, and efforts that are underway to expand the network in the Northeast.

Where Migratory Birds Need Us Most

November 17, 7pm
Scott Hecker
Director of Bird Conservation, International Conservation Fund of Canada

This presentation will focus on an array of familiar breeding species that undertake the perils of migration, where they go, the threats they face, and what must be done to conserve them. Scott will talk about the efforts he is currently involved with protecting some of our most threatened shorebirds: Piping Plover, Red Knot, Hudsonian Godwit, and Buff-breasted Sandpiper, as well as some of our songbirds that show serious declines, and the current and potential projects to address this. You will hear how science in recent years has pin-pointed the whereabouts of these species during migration, how long they linger from site to site, and where they seem to do well or do poorly. Take heart in knowing that there are hundreds of bird conservationists working at hundreds of IBAs, and success stories abound.

Old-Growth Forests: Biodiversity and Carbon Storage Powerhouses Worth Saving

December 8, 7pm
David Govatski
US Forest Service, retired

Old-Growth Forests are rare in New Hampshire, the second most heavily forested state in the nation. Less than one percent of New Hampshire forests are considered old-growth, while their value for ecosystem services including carbon storage and biodiversity is great. This presentation will describe how you can recognize the unique characteristics of such a forest, important ecological attributes, and the wildlife that favor such forests. 

We will take a visual tour of some of New Hampshire’s finest old-growth forests from around the state. We will discuss the importance of these forests as carbon reserves to help cool the planet and as places where nature is a source of inspiration. We will meet some of the residents of such forests like the Blackburnian warbler, flying squirrel, and American marten who prefer this type of forest habitat. We need both sustainably managed forests and ancient forests where trees can reach their maximum biological age. I will make the case that both kinds of forests are working forests.

Conserving Land: NH's History and Today

December 15, 7pm
Paul Doscher
VP Land Conservation, SPNHF, retired

Private land conservation is an essential part of ensuring the future of wildlife habitat, agriculture, forestry and outdoor recreation in New Hampshire. The program will include a brief history of land conservation in America and New Hampshire. Learn about the various options for land protection available to landowners in New Hampshire and which might be most appropriate for your land or family land. Paul will explain the steps involved in a land conservation project, how long it might take and what it might cost, as well as the possible financial benefits.

 

Earth-Care/People-Care: the Power of Natural Spaces for Personal and Public Health

February 8, 2022, 7pm
Dr. Barbara J. McCahan
Professor, Plymouth State University

It is becoming abundantly clear that the human/nature relationship is critical for the well-being of all living things on earth. Access to, and care of parks, conservation lands, gardens and greenways and wilderness areas is critical for living things to thrive. Humans experience multiple connections with nature which are needed for both personal and population health and well-being. These and other ideas will be presented and discussed in the context of personal and collective choices for meeting the climate crisis.

Speaker Bios:

Maria Sanders, a Philosophy professor at Plymouth State University and licensed attorney, has dedicated three decades to researching scientific variables for living full and flourishing lives, including the development of resilience and the exploration of how spaces become meaningful places. During the Fall of 2019, Dr. Sanders traveled for five months to all fifty states in the United States filming interviews that documented people’s experiences with place. As a public philosopher, she has written blogs, curated art exhibitions, hosted radio and television shows, and taught philosophy at the college level for over 30 years. Dr. Sanders’ philosophy holds that intentionally selecting, creating, and protecting the physical environments within which we feel a natural affinity is essential for living a full and flourishing life. The places where we live, work, and spend our leisure must be a good fit for our health and well-being if we are to thrive in our existence. Just as the farmer cares about the soil, water, and air around their crops in order to maximize excellent growth of those crops; caring about our natural environments provides an essential place for our physical, mental, and spiritual growth and well-being.

Mary Ann McGarry is the former Natural Resource Educator for the Maine Department of Conservation, Director of Maine Lakes Conservancy Institute, and Director of Education for the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, NH. She has been a professor of environmental science and policy at Plymouth State University (PSU) since 2004, having helped create the master’s and undergraduate programs. She is currently the Endowed Abbott Professor of Environmental Studies.  MaryAnn is also one of the founding members of the Sustainability Council which offers a minor.  McGarry has led a two major interdisciplinary projects on campus:  1) Forest to Forest:  Bicknell’s Thrush– Raising awareness about the Bicknell’s Thrush as a catalyst for focusing on international sustainable development on the island of Hispaniola and in the northeastern U.S. where the birds come to breed on the peaks over 2800 feet; and 2) Valuing Our Campus Trees and Community Forests which led PSU in becoming NH’s first and only higher education institution with Tree Campus USA and Bee Campus USA status.  This latter project has involved having her students calculate the ecosystem service of trees on campus using the USFS i-tree software and conducting tree tours of the 106 species on the campus for the community and prospective students.  McGarry has conducted environmental place-based writing workshops and courses for local, national and International audiences.  She has completed 23 graduate credit hours towards a masters in creative writing, focused on environmental writing. McGarry enjoys uses rhyming poetry to educate citizens about environmental topics.

David Mizejewski has been fascinated by our natural world for as long as he can remember. A lifelong naturalist, he spent his youth exploring the woods, fields and wetlands, observing and learning about the surprising diversity of wildlife that inhabits them.  David is a naturalist and television host with the National Wildlife Federation. He holds a degree in Human and Natural Ecology from Emory University and is an expert on wildlife and our environment. He’s dedicated to using his knowledge and his enthusiasm to help others understand and protect wildlife. David regularly appears in the media to promote wildlife conservation. He hosted and co-produced Backyard Habitat, a television series on Animal Planet that showed people how to transform their yards and gardens into thriving habitats for birds and other local wildlife. He appeared in the Animal Planet mini-series Springwatch U.S.A. that looked at the effect seasonal change has on wildlife, from salamanders and flying squirrels to great horned owls and black bears. He’s appeared on NatGeo WILD on series such as Are You Smarter Than, How Human Are You, and Unlikely Animal Friends and co-hosted the network’s prime time television series Pet Talk. David is a regular guest on NBC’s Today Show, ConanThe Wendy Williams ShowHallmark Home and FamilyAccess Hollywood, Inside EditionBuild Series NYC and Good Day.

Emma Erler is a field specialist with UNH Cooperative Extension. She provides research-based programming and technical assistance to green-industry businesses throughout the state, including nursery, garden center, and landscape operations, while also serving the broader agricultural community of Hillsborough County. Emma also shares her expertise regularly on WMUR’s Grow it Green gardening feature and through her weekly gardening column, as well as through workshops, courses, and new programs.

Vicki J. Brown traded life as a marketing executive in Boston for NH’s woods, waters and wildlife in 2016. Today, she consults with mission-oriented organizations in healthcare and the environment. A Founding Organizer for Pollinator Pathways NH, a NH Natural Resources Steward, and a Coverts Volunteer, Vicki is slowly turning her lawn into pollinator and wildlife habitat. She enjoys observing nature while walking, hiking, paddling and cycling.

Heather Holm is a biologist, pollinator conservationist, and award-winning author. In addition to assisting with native bee research projects, she informs and educates audiences nationwide, through her writing and many presentations, about the fascinating world of native pollinators and beneficial insects, and the native plant communities that support them. Her first book, Pollinators of Native Plants, was published in 2014, and her second book, Bees, published in 2017, has won six book awards including the 2018 American Horticultural Society Book Award. Her forthcoming book, Wasps, will be available in January 2021. Heather’s expertise includes the interactions between native pollinators and native plants, and the natural history and biology of native bees and predatory wasps occurring in the Upper Midwest and Northeast.

Jerry Skinner recently retired as Professor Emeritus from Keystone College after 38 years of teaching all sorts of biology and after 30 years as Resident Naturalist at The Nature Conservancy’s Woodbourne Preserve in NE PA. He describes himself as an ever-curious naturalist, always finding something to learn about Mother Nature.  This journey has taken him to study fish, birds, marine life, salamanders and insects. Most recently he has become a real moth-er. He identified more than 660 species of moths in his PA backyard. Recently having moved to Ithaca, he can’t wait to participate in New York’s 3rd Breeding Bird Atlas project.

Donna Miller is from Petals in the Pines, a diverse small farm in Canterbury. It includes a pick-your-own flower operation, walking trails and labyrinths, and an Arbor Day certified Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom where she conducts programs for children. She maintains several gardens that include plants selected to attract and sustain monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Donna has been a citizen scientist for Monarch Watch since 2008 and helps with the tracking of monarchs during their fall migration.

Sarah Shearer is a graduate student at Antioch University New England (Keene, NH). Sarah is a MS candidate in the Environmental Studies program with a concentration in Conservation Biology. Endlessly curious with a special affinity for some of the smaller or less-recognized creatures on this planet, Sarah has primarily focused on studying moths during her time at AUNE. Her other interests besides invertebrates include landscape-scale conservation, ecological inventories and successive biology. Sarah’s thesis topic is Moth Diversity in Managed Inland Pine Barrens and Heathlands of Massachusetts. She conducted her pilot study during Fall 2019 and her formal research from May to October 2020 with support from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP). Throughout the span of this project, Sarah has become well-acquainted with various field collection and species identification techniques, museum specimen preparation and iNaturalist™. Some of Sarah’s previous experience includes the identification of shellfish and gastropods for a study informing the restoration of salt marshes managed by Cape Cod National Seashore. Sarah has also worked on the identification of ant species for Harvard Forest’s “Warm Ants” project and as a Migratory Fish Count Technician, monitoring the seasonal migration of fish in the Connecticut River for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Robert J. Gegear is a Professor in the Department of Biology at UMASS Dartmouth and Director of the New England Beecology Project, a citizen science-based effort to rapidly collect large amounts of ecological data on native pollination networks in New England.  He has been studying the neuroecology and conservation of pollinator-plant systems for over 20 and has over 40 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, books, and the popular press.  In recognition of his ongoing efforts to protect and restore native biodiversity in Massachusetts, Dr. Gegear was awarded the 2018 Regional Impact Award by the New England Wildflower Society. 

Jamie Hannon has taught outdoor and environmental education for 35 years and is currently a professor of adventure education at Plymouth State University. He dwells with his family in the Asquamchumaukee River valley in the southwestern foothills of the White Mountains. He is a founding member and board chair of the Mountain Village Charter School, the only nature-based, Montessori, public school in the world.

Alice B. Fogel is the previous New Hampshire poet laureate (2014-2019). She is the author of 5 poetry collections, including Interval: Poems Based on Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” which won the N. Schaffner Award for Music in Literature and the NH Literary Award. Another poetry book is due out around the end of 2021, and she is also the author of Strange Terrain, on how to appreciate poetry without necessarily “getting” it. Among other awards, Alice has been given a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry. She teaches reading and writing workshops in a wide range of areas, works one-on-one with students with learning differences at Landmark College, and hikes mountains whenever possible.

Alina Harris works in collaboration with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Cooperative Extension. She is a liaison between growers/landowners and these organizations by providing technical assistance in Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management (IPPM). Alina is a NH native with a Bachelor’s in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production Systems (Diversified Farm Management) and a Master’s in Agricultural Sciences (Insectary plants that promote biological control of insects) from UNH. She brings over a decade of agricultural experience, including co-managing a diversified farm in NH, teaching as a Farm Coach, and serving as the Sustainable Agriculture Specialist at the University of Hawaii.

Pam Hunt has been interested in birds since the tender age of 12, when an uncle took her to Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge in NJ. She went on to earn a B.S. in biology from Cornell University, M.A. in zoology from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in 1995. Pam came to NH Audubon in 2000 after five years as adjunct faculty at Colby-Sawyer College in New London. In her current position as Avian Conservation Biologist, she works closely with NH Fish and Game to coordinate and prioritize bird research and monitoring in the state, and also authored NH’s “State of the Birds” report. Specific areas of interest include habitat use by early successional birds (particularly whip-poor-wills), conservation of aerial insectivores (e.g., swifts and swallows), and the effects of events outside the breeding season on long-distance migrants. Pam also coordinated the “NH Dragonfly Survey,” a five-year project that mapped distributions of these insects throughout the state, and remains active in the dragonfly field.

Pam Hunt-author-State-of-the-Birds-2020

Scott Weidensaul is the author of more than two dozen books on natural history, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist “Living on the Wind,” “Return to Wild America” and “The First Frontier.” His newest book, “A World on the Wing” about global migration, was released in March by W.W. Norton. Weidensaul is a contributing editor for Audubon, a columnist for Bird Watcher’s Digest and writes for a variety of other publications, including Living Bird. He is also an active field researcher, studying saw-whet owl migration for more than two decades, as well as winter hummingbirds, bird migration in Alaska, and the winter movements of snowy owls through Project SNOWstorm, which he co-founded. A native of Pennsylvania, he now lives in New Hampshire.

Scott Weidensaul holding a Snowy Owl (©Chris DeSorbo)

Scott Hecker has worked to conserve threatened birdlife for over forty years.  His graduate studies at Antioch University took him to Belize in the 1980s where he successfully helped establish the largest private tropical forest reserve in Central America.  For the next 30 years he led efforts for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, National Audubon Society, and the Goldenrod Foundation to conserve the nesting habitat of Piping Plovers, terns, and other beach-nesting species. His tenure in Massachusetts helped Piping Plovers increase from 126 pairs in 1987 to 611 pairs in 2011.  He summarized this work in “The Piping Plover as an Umbrella Species for the Barrier Beach Ecosystem” in Saving Biological Diversity, edited by Askins, R.A. et al.  In 2008 he founded the non-profit Conservian, Inc to develop comprehensive fieldwork to protect plovers and terns on their non-breeding grounds as well as resident beach-nesting species on the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas. In 2016 he began his current position as the Director of Bird Conservation for the International Conservation Fund of Canada, where he has broadened his activities to fund and oversee conservation efforts for North America’s most threatened migratory birds as well as globally endangered species occurring within the Tropics of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Scott lives in Temple, New Hampshire where he serves as the Chair of the Conservation Commission and the boards for local non-profit organizations focused on conservation and the arts.

David Govatski is a retired forester and silviculturist and was employed by the US Forest Service for 33 years. He has visited and studied old-growth forests in all parts of North America. He has a particular affinity for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. David was co-author of Forests for the People: The Story of the Eastern National Forests and numerous articles on forest history. David works as a Naturalist and lives with his wife in Jefferson, NH.

David Govatski standing next to a Bradford Pine.

Paul Doscher was the vice president for land conservation at the Society for the Protection of NH Forests until his retirement in 2014. During his 28 years with the Forest Society he was involved in hundreds of land conservation projects ranging in size from a dozen acres to more than 175,000 acres. He has served as the Board chair of the Piscataquog Land Conservancy, and the Standards Advisory Team for the Land Trust Alliance. He lives on his family’s farm and Tree Farm, protected by a conservation easement, in Weare. He currently is a member of the Board of Trustees of NH Audubon.

Dr. Barbara J. McCahan is a Professor at Plymouth State University and serves as the program coordinator for the Public Health degree program. She received a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the UC San Diego and Santa Barbara followed by Post-doctoral training Immunopathology at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, Colorado, and a research/teaching position at the University of Hawaii. She made a life pivot in 1983 and joined the health fitness industry as a certified Health Fitness Instructor. She also received advanced training as a Physical Activity in Public Health practitioner. She has taught a wide variety of courses across 30+ years at PSU in nutrition, physical activity and health, exercise science and public health, and serves on several local agency boards and a member of the Pemi Climate Crisis Coalition. She is a Permaculture practitioner, avid walker, open-water swimmer and forest bather!

Photos, from the top: Chris Martin studying American Pipits, by Vanessa Johnson; American Goldfinch at the Massabesic Center gardens, by Walter Keane.

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Founded in 1914, NH Audubon’s mission is to protect New Hampshire’s natural environment for wildlife and for people. It is an independent statewide membership organization with four nature centers throughout the state. Expert educators give programs to children, families, and adults at centers and in schools. Staff biologists and volunteers conduct bird conservation efforts such as the Peregrine Falcon restoration. NH Audubon protects thousands of acres of wildlife habitat and is a voice for sound public policy on environmental issues. For information on NH Audubon, including membership, volunteering, programs, sanctuaries, and publications, call 224-9909, or visit www.nhaudubon.org.