Forest Society Honors Martha Chandler as Conservationist of the Year

Each year, the Forest Society honors someone whose outstanding dedication to conservation in New Hampshire is deserving of the organization’s highest recognition. This year we recognized Martha Chandler, of Laconia, as that person at our annual meeting on September 24 in Durham. President/Forester Jane Difley announced the award with these remarks:

            The Conservationist of the Year Award honors people whose work to promote and achieve conservation is exemplary, people whose actions have made a difference not just in their own backyards but also have advanced the protection and stewardship of land statewide. Often those deserving of the award have chosen to give up something in order to accomplish a conservation outcome for the greater good. I think everyone in this room has made one kind of sacrifice or another in the name of conservation. In our Conservationist of the Year we look for those who stand out through the magnitude of the action they undertook.

Martha Chandler has done it all: maintained membership for more than 40 years, given gift memberships to others, served on the board, conserved land, supported numerous projects, and helped raise money for them. She serves on committees, volunteers and participates in field trips. As a board and committee member she thinks for herself, speaks her mind, and votes her conscience. She has boundless enthusiasm and energy for our work and always encourages others to engage. Another member once told us, "I would never say 'no' to her. If she is working on something, I know it must be important."

Martha was the inspiration for our new education outreach initiative, the Mount Major Outdoor Classroom Project. Martha worked hard to help us acquire the land we now own on Mt. Major. One day when she was at the trailhead passing out fliers, a school bus arrived disgorging students who seemed to Martha to be in need of more direction and guidance for appreciating the resource.

Why couldn’t we engage the schools already coming to Mt. Major, Martha asked us, and help them teach kids about good stewardship? We are now doing just that, partnering with a  growing number of schools to provide them with guidance and resources to enhance their Mt. Major experience.

Often it takes one person sharing one idea to make great things happen for many people. It is our great pleasure to honor Martha Chandler as that kind of person with the Conservationist of the Year Award.