Many hands make light work!
For nearly 60 years, Hanover Conservancy members and volunteers have helped the organization achieve its mission. Our volunteers employ their talents and interests to a broad array of activities. Opportunities range from improving trails, pulling invasive plants, taking photos of our trips and properties, and helping put together mailings and indoor events.
Some bring skills from their careers and apply it in the new arena of conservation; others join us to explore a new interest and find that they develop a passion. No experience with trail work, bridge building or land management is needed. Join us on the trails or in the office to make new friends and learn new skills!
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.”
How to hear about upcoming volunteer workdays:
- Check our calendar for volunteer work parties, scheduled most frequently from late May through mid-October.
- Sign up for our occasional “Volunteer Opportunities” e-newsletter.
- You can also check the Upper Valley Trails Alliance calendar or Nature Groupie (formerly The Stewardship Network: New England) site for more activities in our area.
- Become a Trail Adopter for the Town of Hanover.
We need YOU! Here are some of the volunteer roles responsible for our organization’s 58 years of success…
- Walk designated Conservancy trails to assess conditions. Volunteer’s assessment determines need for trail maintenance.
- Time commitment: 2 hours/month (warm seasons)
- Clear brush, manage downed trees, hang signs, and blaze trails in response to trail monitor’s observation. Some regularly scheduled maintenance in late spring and mid-autumn.
- Time Commitment: Variable, estimated 2 hours/month (warm seasons)
- Share your particular expertise by leading a trip. This could include birding trips, land history tours, wildflower walks, animal tracking, kite day, hikes, snow shoeing, and cross-country skiing.
- Time Commitment: 2-4 hours/trip or event
- Investigate flora, fauna, geologic, or geographic features of conserved lands. Studies could range from recording animal signs to comparing soil type along a tract of land. Topics can be directed by the interest of the volunteer.
- Time Commitment: Depends on Project.
- Research significant historical elements of properties, such as cellar holes or past uses of the land by Native Americans or settlers. Topics can be directed by the interest of the volunteer.
- Time Commitment: Depends on Project.
- Identify encroachment by invasive species on Conservancy properties. Cut and monitor for re-growth. (Treatment requiring chemicals will be administered by professionals).
- Time Commitment: 2 hours/month (warm seasons)
- Serve on a stewardship committee for a Conservancy property. Advise on management; can also volunteer for field activities above.
- Time Commitment: 2-4 hours/month; these groups often meet every other month or only as needed.
- Add to the photo record of the Conservancy’s volunteer efforts and community events.
- Photograph the Conservancy’s lands to enhance our photo record, and to share online and in publications.
- Time Commitment: Depends on event. We always welcome photos!
- Experience AND fresh ideas are critical to our campaigns and grant applications. We’d love your perspective on member benefits, capital campaigns and important partners, to name just a few!
- Time Commitment: 2-4 hours/month, depending on season.
- Create and update signs and kiosk displays at our Natural Areas.
- Have a fun photoshoot at one of our properties that we can showcase online or in a mailing.
- Help publicize a special event.
- Design a special project…your creativity is the limit! Please share any ideas you have with us.
For as long as I can remember, I was drawn to nature and loved being outdoors–watching wildlife, getting muddy, climbing trees, catching snakes and frogs, and just “being wild.” Science was always my favorite subject and I went on to earn college and graduate degrees in natural resource management (Rutgers University) and wildlife biology (University of Kentucky). Employment led me to the nonprofit sector and amazing experiences in avian surveys and research, environmental education, volunteer coordination, fund-raising, grant-writing, and publishing two bird books.
After moving to Hanover in 1992 and taking a career break to raise a family, finding opportunities to support and be involved with a conservation nonprofit was a natural fit. Since 2004, I have been a Hanover Conservancy member and volunteer helping lead many outdoor trips, maintain trails, survey properties, serve on committees, and as a board member for 9 years. Helping people connect with the natural world around them is impactful and rewarding.
When I was growing up I spent my entire childhood outdoors sailing, swimming, and playing tennis. The ocean was my world and I lived my life outdoors. When I went to college in New Hampshire I was introduced to an entirely new environment of mountains, rivers, and farms. I began hiking, skiing and taking environmental courses that led me to appreciate whole new ecosystems. After college, I got my Masters Degree in Marine Biology, still putting the ocean first. This was to remain my passion until later in life when our family moved to rural Hanover in the mid 1980s.
Our love for the outdoors and concern for our natural environment made Hanover a perfect fit for us. We immediately fell in love with the area! We took to the trails and outdoor life with a passion! As a triathlon runner I loved training on all the trails on Moose Mountain. As a family we rode horses, skied and hiked and spent as much time outdoors as possible.
Our introduction to the Hanover Conservancy came when we participated in one of their local hikes. We were so impressed with their enthusiasm and passion for preserving our natural environment that we began to sign up for more and more of their events. As time went on I was asked by the Hanover Conservancy to help in their various events and eventually was invited to be on their Education and Outreach Committee. Here I found a group of people incredibly dedicated to the preservation of our natural environment here in the Upper Valley and realized that as a group we truly made a difference in preserving those special places we all want to enjoy and conserve for generations to come.
I hope my positive experience with the Hanover Conservancy will encourage anyone who has an interest in conservation to join in the wonderful activities and volunteer opportunities that they have to offer. It will definitively broaden your horizons and open your eyes to amazing experiences that are available to everyone right in your own back yard!
Jill Kearney Niles
I was introduced to the Hanover Conservancy a number of years ago when I first moved to Hanover. Asked to join the Greensboro Ridge Trail Committee, I met an incredibly interesting group of people. I became aware of all the Hanover Conservancy’s wonderful properties and trails, as well as offerings and treks led by knowledgeable, passionate naturalists.
My favorite childhood memories are of playing in the woods and running along trails pretending to be riding a horse, or being an actual horse, or some other wild animal. I would run and play for hours in the forest, with my imagination flying. As an adult Hanover resident it has been so exciting to discover how many trail networks there are close by. Getting out and exploring gives me a feeling of peace, but is also combined with that old childhood thrill of what might be around the next curve or over the hill ahead.
For the last dozen years of my life I have been a runner. The runs I most look forward to are on our local trails. Running or hiking and exploring new territory is always rejuvenating to me. Since joining the Conservancy and becoming more educated, I definitely notice and appreciate more of what is out there in our area forests.
I feel very fortunate to have been invited to be part of the Hanover Conservancy which has led me to discover many treasures I was previously unaware of. I would encourage all who appreciate the outdoors and wildlife to take advantage of its fabulous offerings. I have learned so much on every HC outing I have been a part of.
The Hanover Conservancy is an organization that embodies my values of conservation in an engaging and fun way. The work accomplished by staff and volunteers is comprehensive and critical for all of our well-being (plants and animals included!), while providing opportunities for the entire community to enjoy the fruits of their labors. And did I mention fun and educational?
I have recently retired from teaching and researching in fields of forest geography and climate change at Dartmouth College. In addition to HC, I volunteer with the Pine Park Association, my condominium board, and the Hopkins Center. Nature reading and writing, outdoor rambles, and music fill my days.
Forest geographer Laura Conkey and biologist Tom Jack take measurements while leading a hike in the Trescott Lands.
Thank you, Laura!
I grew up just outside of New York City, and did not see much of the natural world during my formative years. It wasn’t until I moved to New Hampshire that I was introduced to the beauty of the country around me. I grew to love hiking the existing trails and in doing so, was able to realize what so many folks are missing out on.
I began thinking about how those who came up these mountains a century ago had to rough it up to their summits. Many of those original paths are gone now, and replaced with new ones. I started looking at old maps and trying to figure out where those first hikers might have traversed through the woods. Then I began to think about salvaging these older paths, as well as making sure that the new ones would remain intact for future hikers.
When I retired, the Mayor-Niles Forest had just been created, and I thought that this may be a good place to begin my stewardship of these paths. Getting involved with the Hanover Conservancy allowed me to see that I could create and preserve these paths for the future.
In the years since my retirement, I have created, re-opened, and maintained many trails around Moose Mountain. It always gives me pleasure seeing someone walk a trail that I have worked on, and knowing that I have made their passage a bit easier.
Volunteering seems like such a small thing to do, but the cumulative effect of these little things can make a big difference.
As a relative newcomer to the Hanover Conservancy Board, I am often surprised and amazed to see what a positive influence the organization has had on the Town of Hanover. Starting nearly 60 years ago as an ad hoc group, it has worked to protect and preserve numerous parcels of land throughout the community. It also works to educate residents about the availability and use of our natural resources, and advocates for responsible land use policies.
Since moving to the Upper Valley 20 years ago, I have been attracted by various hiking and trail maintenance activities. Climbing the New Hampshire 4,000 footers made me aware of the work that goes into maintaining those trails – and I am now an adopter of a section of the AT in Hanover. Working with other members of the Hanover Conservancy I have been able to help build the bridge over Trout Brook, mark boundaries of the Greensboro Ridge Natural Area, explore the newly acquired Mayor-Niles Forest, and get my boots muddy in a variety of ways.
The Conservancy also has a large educational program. Asked to co-lead a winter hike on Town Highway #38, I had the opportunity to learn much about how the old trails and roads were established in Hanover. Many similar trips are conducted each year on lands that are now protected, often through the efforts of the Conservancy.
I’ve also been able to wrestle with the issues of growth and conservation. Hanover will grow, but it should not grow in a haphazard fashion. Land needs to be protected, but not all land. Careful planning needs to go into deciding what land is crucial to maintaining Hanover’s many natural resources.
Hanover offers a rich and diverse quality of life, balancing its rural heritage with our vibrant commercial, academic and medical communities. Maintaining and projecting that quality of life into the future is what the Hanover Conservancy is all about. It has been a pleasure, and a lot of fun, being a part of that effort.