GOFFSTOWN ─ University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension is preparing for their 2019 Natural Resources Stewards Course which begins September 6, 2019 at Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, NH. The twelve-week course, which has been providing natural resources education for 28 years, has evolved and changed to address important climate change issues.
The fall course, open to all, introduces a new layer of information that teaches sustainability and self-sufficiency, helping reduce our “energy footprint” as part of the climate change discussion. While tree identification, pruning and forest management is included in the curriculum, other strategic teachings have evolved to address climate change. Permaculture involves the establishment of ecosystems that support themselves and survive climate fluctuations. Innovative stormwater management, water conservation, and water quality are vital to maintain aquifers in the case of hurricanes, drought, flooding and temperature fluctuations. Teaching of local food systems, planting for carbon sequestration, and ecological landscaping practices save energy and money, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“This hands-on course is well suited to address climate change issues, providing volunteers with science based information, strategies, and tools. The program itself is self-sustaining by offering an ongoing community support system to Steward volunteers. This system provides peer support, continuing education, and networking opportunities”, says program coordinator Mary Tebo Davis.
In 2018, Natural Resources Stewards volunteered 13,302 hours of their time across all ten counties in New Hampshire, and in Maine and Massachusetts. Some applied what they learned in class to serve on conservation commissions, energy committees and river associations. Others began teaching youth and adults about wildlife and pollinators. The reported activities span across 40 categories ranging from planting natives to restoring forest systems, creating habitat for the endangered New England Cottontail, growing food and community gardens. Stewards also worked on conservation projects, permanently protecting vital wetlands, forests and farmland.
“Stewards are people who care about the nature of New Hampshire, and through this hands-on learning experience that now includes climate change education, they choose which path best suits their goals and aspirations.” Tebo Davis encourages those interested to sign up quickly. “Space is limited, so the sooner people apply, the more likely they will get into the program.”
To learn more about the Natural Resources Stewards Course and to apply, visit nhstewards.org or call UNH Cooperative Extension at 603-641-6060.
Co-sponsors of the Natural Resources Steward Program are UNH Cooperative Extension, NH Division of Forests and Lands, NH Fish and Game Department and its Wonders of Wildlife Program, and U.S. Forest Service, in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and County Conservation Districts, as well as Canterbury Shaker Village.