Members Present: Alicia Flammia, John Peska, Lewis Shelley, , Steven Dumont, Laura Hayes, France Menk, Cheryl Mayberry (Selectboard Liason), Jean Kobeski (Secretary)
Members Absent: Jackie Kensen
Alternates Present: Myra Mansouri, Peter Palmiotto
Visitors Present: Kelianne Hamburg, Michael Nerrie, Steven Lamonde, Kara Dexter
Call to Order: Alicia called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.
Kellianne Hamburg: Linden Nature Connection Skills (LCNS): Kellianne described a new program she has developed for children ages 4-8 that will connect kids to nature. Scheduled to take place at Distant Hill Gardens, it is early childhood education in the woods that will connect resiliency and sustainability, observation and familiarity, reciprocity, stewardship, and reflection. It will involve play-driven learning during which children will learn risk-taking and develop character, resiliency, personality, empathy, and emotional intelligence.
The program is divided into 4-week sesions, 10/year, 1-2 classes /week. The cost is $245 for 4 classes; $495/ 8 classes, with scholarships available. Sessions will run from 9:15 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. and include circle time, a play block, free play, learning activity lessons, lunch, story time, reverie, rest, and closing circle. It will also introduce practical skills like using hammer and nails, fire, saws, and knives.
Kellianne outlined the advantages of outdoor play for physical and emotional development. She also said that this learner-led outdoor program will help children develp a greater sense of community connection. France echoed the advantages of a program like LCNS and thanked Kellianne for her efforts. Programs like this help to raise responsible adults.
Michael Nerrie and Steven Lamonde: A Living Field Guide to Walpole, NH: Michael introduced Steven Lamonde, who explained how he and Michael are studying the biodiversity of Walpole using the app, iNaturalist. They have done a trail bio inventory at Distant Hill Gardens, studying species and plant and animal phenomena. They have submitted their observations to iNaturalist.org to create a Living Field Guide to Walpole, NH. They have completed 1,022 observations and identified 578 species using the app, as well as mapped what places have been explored.
Steven is doing this project in Chesterfield and Hancock, as well.
Michael and Steven want to welcome the public to join in this fun and informational program by submitting photos to iNaturalist and mapping their observations. They also want people to be be aware that they can simply use iNaturalist to identify species they observe. The pair hope to publicize the program in the May or June Clarion; they also said they may do some type of public presentation. Laura said she would pitch it at the Hooper board meeting, and Steven Dumont suggested putting a piece about it on the WCC website.
WCC Website: Alicia asked the Commission what they would like to include in the new WCC website. She suggested conservation maps, WCC membership, and the 2006 Conservation Plan. Laura suggested they archive articles from the Clarion; France offered to send photos. It was also decided to include Trail Subcommittee reports, Leave No Trace information, and the iNaturalist program.
Review and Approval of Minutes: Laura moved, France seconded, and all voted to accept the March 1, 2021 minutes.
Treasury: ForestryAccount – $30,821.46
Conservation – $154,273.49
Walker Road – $3,364.01
Report from the Chair: Alicia announced that there is funding available for the Saving Special Places program, which will be a virtual event this year.
Correspondence: None this month
Conservation Map: Edits have been made and they are ready to work with the Antioch team. Laura will coordinate this with Steven Dumont, Steven Lamonde, and Peter. Steven Dumont asked if they want to approve an estimated cost for the work up to a certain amount. Peter stated the hourly rate is $40 and it will cost $45 to print a map. John moved that the Commission approve up to $300 toward the map project. France seconded, and all approved.
Invasive Species Walk: Alicia talked to Alex and Tom of Long View about the walk. They set a date of Wednesday, April 21, at 5:30 p.m. There will be no charge from Long View. It was decided to walk the Fanny Mason Forest because of the invasives, and there is ample parking for participants. Alicia will contact Lil DeCoste of the Walpolean and Ray Boas of the Clarion to announce the event and invite public participation. Those joining the walk must wear masks and socially distance. Lew reminded people about ticks.
Walker Road Bench: Lew sent pictures of the two choices of benches to the membership. They preferred the bench attached to the kiosk. Lew said it would cost about $300 for materials (white cedar), and there would be no charge for labor. John moved that the WCC approve up to $300 for the construction of the bench. France seconded, and all approved.
Walpole Trail Subcommittee Report: Lew showed samples of the updated map of the Mill Pond to the subcommittee. He would like to have a logo or town seal on the front of the map. Cheryle told him to check with Sarah Downing about the seal. The back of the map would have uses, elevation, etc. France asked if coordinates of the trail could be included; Lew said he could do that for the parking lots. It was recommended that signage accompany each map. Lew’s goal is to have all maps complete in May.
Trail Clean-up Day: France asked of they could have a trail clean-up day. Steven said the Trail subcommittee will schedule one through the Adopt-A-Trail group.
Reservoir Road: John said that once the F & O modeling report comes in, he will send it out for review so that at the next WCC meeting, options can be discussed. He said a public hearing will need to be held to discuss repair vs. shut down.
John also stated that a DES engineer will inspect Mill Pond Dam soon. John and Mark Houghton will participate in that inspection.
Lew reported that he cleared parts of the Hooper trail. He also said that signage for class 6 roads for off-road vehicles with a local phone number contact should be posted. Cheryl said it is tricky to find a phone number to post. Kara offered to help post signs, when they are ready.
Lew also reported that the Mason Forest cable is down.
John stated that there has been a lot of erosion of the lower part of the Ravine Trail. Peter agreed with John’s assessment of the situation and stated that it happens anytime there is drainage in the spillway. Houghton checks it regularly.
John reported that property owners between Shaw’s and Abenaki Farm have been complaining that the stream has been clogging and filling up with water. This is affecting their blueberry bushes and apple trees. Alicia stated they need to contact the wetland bureau or division that deals with small streams.
Fanny Mason Forest: Steven heard from Alex about the Fanny Mason Forest. Alex sent a proposal, which Alicia signed.
Steven would like to schedule another forest boundary marking event. He said he has enough volunteers to tackle more than one location. It should be done before there are leaves on the trees. This will be put on next month’s agenda.
Adjournment: John moved, France seconded, and all voted to adjourn the meeting
at 8:37 p.m.
The next in-person meeting will be on Monday, May 3, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.
Jean Kobeski, Recording Secretary *** These minutes are in draft form until approved by the Commission on May 3,