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Dea Brickner-Wood Honored with Sarah Thorne Award

Last weekend, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests honored Durham resident Dea Brickner-Wood with the prestigious Sarah Thorne Award. Created in 2005 to recognize individuals who have made a major contribution to the protection of the New Hampshire landscape, the Sarah Thorne Conservation Award honors those who, in the course of their own conservation efforts, have also enhanced the capacity of others.

In her community, Brickner-Wood helped secure funding for numerous land conservation projects. She was instrumental in the negotiation of a conservation easement on one of the oldest family farms in the country, Emery Farm near Dover Point.

Professionally, she has been the coordinator of the Great Bay Resource Protection Partnership, a group of organizations committed to protecting the important habitats of the Great Bay region, since its beginning in 1995. In this capacity, she helps identify projects; educates landowners, communities, and government leaders; builds consensus within the Partnership; and manages project data, records, and grant deadlines with grace and efficiency.

“Those who love Great Bay know it is a better place because of Dea Brickner-Wood,” said Forest Society President/Forester Jane Difley when presenting the award. “She’s a problem solver, a superb communicator, and a passionate advocate for conservation.”

Since the Great Bay Partnership began, Brickner-Wood has successfully managed a group that includes the Forest Society, The Nature Conservancy, New Hampshire Audubon, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, NH Fish and Game Department, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Ducks Unlimited. Among her notable achievements are several successful major grants through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act that have contributed to the protection of more than 5,500 acres in the Great Bay area.

In addition to her work with the Partnership, she is a project consultant for the Forest Legacy Program’s Division of Forests and Lands and for the NH Department of Fish and Game. She is an administrator of the NH “Moose Plate” grant program and on the board for the New England Grassroots Environmental Foundation. She has also served on the grant review committee for the NH Charitable Foundation and provided assistance to the Lamprey River Wild and Scenic River project.

“I’m so honored by this award – it’s very surprising,” said Brickner-Wood. “As I was standing on stage looking out at everybody, I thought, I work with the greatest people. How fortunate am I to be part of this conservation community, working with professionals and volunteers who are so engaged and so passionate. I feel honored to be in their company.”

The Sarah Thorne award is sponsored by the Forest Society to recognize Sarah Thorne for the nearly twenty years that she dedicated to land conservation in New Hampshire as a staff member at the Forest Society.

Previous recipients of the award include Jeanie McIntyre, executive director of the Upper Valley Land Trust; Betsey Harris, one of the founders of the Monadnock Conservancy; Phil Auger, UNH Cooperative Extension land and water conservation educator; Meade Cadot, executive director of the Harris Center for Conservation Education; Margaret Watkins, Executive Director of the Piscataquog Watershed Association (now Piscataquog Land Conservancy); Marjory Swope, executive director of the NH Association of Conservation Commissions; and Debbie Stanley, executive director of the Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust.

Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state's oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Society's mission is to perpetuate the forests of New Hampshire by establishing permanent conservation areas and promoting the wise stewardship of private lands. For more information, visit


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