The Monadnock Region is a great place to live, you can breathe fresh air and see Mother Nature all around.

Many contribute to the rural environment we enjoy here. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ flood-control projects and several of New Hampshire’s state parks and forests provide thousands of acres of land open for the public to explore. Every city and town has dedicated public spaces, a testament to the values we share. Add the lands of the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests and the Harris Center and we are truly gifted with great areas outdoors.

There is another successful nonprofit conservation organization that has been working for us here since 1989. The Monadnock Conservancy holds 225 conservation easements on properties throughout the Monadnock Region which they monitor with the help of many volunteers. Not only do they protect our open spaces, but they also provide great educational opportunities.

In 2015 they provided a big boost for outdoor education and recreation in Marlborough. On the hillside behind the Marlborough School was an undeveloped parcel of land. The land had been in the same family for generations, which included a sawyer from a local sawmill.

The standing oak trees were worth as much, if not more, than the land itself and they were cherished by all of the family members. The landowners were very gracious and had allowed outdoor classes from the school to study nature on this land. This family allowed the cutting of a cross-country running trail for the school athletes. They were great neighbors.

Family health issues required the need of some income. Their love of the trees would not let them cut the timber. I became aware of their plight and went to the Monadnock Conservancy with my description and made a pitch to see if they could lend a hand with the purchase of this outdoor laboratory.

Ryan Owens, the conservancy executive director, and Anne McBride, its land protection director, sprang into action. They came up with a couple of significant funding sources. They joined the Marlborough Conservation Commission, School Endowment Fund, Open Space Committee and many private citizens to purchase and preserve this unique classroom and running trails.

Not only is the land now available to all citizens to enjoy, but also future generations will benefit from this open space and environmental education gained here.