Earth Day reminds us to be grateful for Susan Harper, a dedicated volunteer and Secretary of our Board of Directors from 2003-2008, who recently passed away. She really made things happen in Hanover, especially at the Balch Hill Natural Area, where she started the wonderful tradition of Kite Day, when families enjoy the views and spring breezes on the open summit. Susan’s family has asked that gifts in her memory be made to the Conservancy; we are dedicating them to the Balch Hill Stewardship Fund in her name.
Earth Day 2020 – 50 years of conservation
We at the Hanover Conservancy are proud of the progress we’ve helped our community make in protecting natural lands and clean waters. By the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, we had protected the summit of Balch Hill and conveyed the Tanzi Tract to the Town of Hanover with conservation restrictions. Beyond Hanover, we’d also assisted NH Fish and Game in acquiring Lyme’s 43-acre Wilder Wildlife Management Area and the New England Wildflower Society in protecting a 35-acre riverfront preserve in Plainfield.
These maps tell the story of then and now.
Today, we own and protect 450+ acres of natural areas and hold permanent conservation easements on another 550+ acres. The Hanover Conservancy has also assisted other partners with saving nearly 1700 more acres in Hanover and elsewhere in the Upper Valley.
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 – and the beginning of the environmental movement that has inspired so much healthy, positive change in how we treat our home planet. Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, US Senator from Wisconsin, came up with the idea after witnessing a massive oil spill in California. It was the Vietnam Era; Sen. Nelson hoped to infuse the energy of anti-war protests with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution to force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.
Organizers chose April 22 (between Spring Break and final exams), for an event that drew 20 million Americans — 10% of the total US population — to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast protests, uniting groups fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, gaining support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. Congress soon passed the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts and created the US Environmental Protection Agency.
In 1970, the Hanover Conservancy (then the Hanover Conservation Council) was 9 years old. We had already protected Balch Hill and the Tanzi Tract and helped protect Lyme’s 43-acre Wilder Wildlife Area and Plainfield’s 35-acre New England Wildflower Society preserve. As for the rest of town…what a difference 50 years can make!
In 1999, Bob led the Council’s effort to protect the 112-acre Mink Brook Nature Preserve, then slated to become a 32-lot subdivision. In 2019, the 20th anniversary of that daunting and ultimately successful project, the Conservancy dedicated the Norman Overlook to Bob and his vision for our community.
We’re putting a lot of faith in the forecast today- this space will be updated if we’re forced to postpone until tomorrow. See you at 4:30!
Join us at the main trailhead parking at the top of Velvet Rocks Dr. on Thursday, October 4th for live music, refreshments and a brief history of this conservation success. (RAIN DATE: Friday, Oct. 5th)