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UNH celebrates first College Woods Day

News Editor

Published: Friday, October 11, 2013

Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 01:10

Hart

Courtesy photos by Victoria Courtland of COLSA

Brian Hart, a 1995 UNH graduate and executive director of the Southeast Land Trust, speaking at College Woods Day. UNH held its first College Woods Day on Wednesday with a rededication ceremony, refreshments and a walk through the woods with retired forestry professor James Barrett.

The College Woods Coalition (CWC) held its first College Woods Day in James Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 9 from 12 to 2 p.m.

The CWC, according to its website, is a group affiliated with UNH to protect the College Woods preserved area on campus.

“The whole idea is to keep [College Woods] in its natural state,” CWC member and retired professor of natural resources Linda Isaacson. “Once the woods are gone, they’re gone forever.”

Isaacson, who taught at UNH for 35 years before joining the coalition two years ago, was one of the members who helped put together the event. She was joined by College of Life Science and Agriculture staff as well as other members of the coalition, such as retired professors of forestry James Barrett and Richard Weyrick, to make the day possible.

“Last year we had our 50 year rededication ... and [the CWC] decided why not do it every year?” Weyrick said. “It’s a way of keeping in mind [the UNH campus] has such a precious resource... That’s not a luxury many campuses have.”

The ceremony included refreshments, a walk to College Woods, guest speaker Brian Hart and an optional walk through the area with Barrett.

Hart is a 1995 UNH graduate who came to College Woods Day with his wife, Sara Callaghan, and his son, Kian.

Hart is also the executive director of the Southeast Land Trust. According to its website, the Southeast Land Trust works to “conserve the significant land and natural resources of southeastern New Hampshire, including water, working farms and forests, wildlife habitat and natural areas, and community landscapes.”

“[College Woods] is a special place because of its recreational opportunities, educational opportunities and its water quality for locals,” he said. “That’s what it was for me as a student.”

Those three reasons are part of the coalition’s goal to keep College Woods preserved. Barrett agreed that the area serves the students of the university, who have access to a live learning lab in the woods.

“I took hundreds of students into College Woods,” Barrett said. “It even surprised me how much is out there.”

“Many instructors throughout campus go out there frequently,” Weyrick said. “A great variety of academic areas benefit from it.”

Weyrick gave examples of academic benefits for the land, including English professors who take writing classes out for inspiration and a range of biology classes who can study there.

The water quality for local communities is another selling point for protecting the area that Hart brought up.

“College Woods lies on the Banks of the Oyster River, adjacent to the reservoir that serves as one of the critical drinking water supplies for the community,” Hart said in his statement during the event.

Barrett agreed that it is important to protect College Woods, which protects the water supply, in order to “have very little pollution.”

The CWC plans to have College Woods Day on the second Wednesday in October every year to celebrate the protected land.

“In these days of technology, like iPhones and iPads, it’s good to have a day like this set aside for nature,” Isaacson said.

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