Long-time Christmas Tree Farmer, North Country Director Nigel Manley to Take on New Role with the Forest Society at The Rocks
After more than three decades of arranging his life around the agricultural rhythms of growing and selling Christmas trees at the Rocks in Bethlehem, Nigel Manley has decided it’s time to hand the shears to the next farmer. Manley will sharpen his focus to programs and community engagement later this year, and the Forest Society will be seeking a new Christmas Tree Farmer.
“It’s been many years and I’ve enjoyed growing not just the trees but the businesses associated with The Rocks,” Manley said. “As anyone who is a farmer knows, it is all-consuming. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with volunteers and visitors – and having a bit more time for my own pursuits.”
The Rocks was donated by the Glessner family to the Forest Society in 1978. Manley arrived in November 1986 and managed the original planting of the Christmas tree farm. He has been the face of The Rocks and the force behind the Forest Society’s activities at the 1,400-acre site ever since.
Manley will continue to work part-time for the Forest Society on a variety of programs, including working closely with Anne Truslow, the Vice President of Development, on the Forest Society North at The Rocks Campaign.
With Nigel’s help, popular programs such as the Wildflower Walks, Forevergreen Program in association with local schools, and bus tours will continue without interruption.
“We are thrilled that Nigel will continue to be an instrumental part of our next chapter at The Rocks. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude for everything he has done to make The Rocks one of our premier Forest Reservations,” said Jack Savage, president of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.
“He’s successfully worked with hundreds of dedicated volunteers and with local businesses to make The Rocks part of the tourism economy in the region. And he has shown extraordinary resilience in keeping the operation going in the aftermath of a devastating fire in 2019, followed by the pandemic.”
The Forest Society is moving forward on plans to renovate the 1884 Carriage Barn on the property to serve as a new net-zero education and program center with classroom and meeting space, and offices for more Forest Society staff. In 2019, a devastating fire leveled the historic Tool Building, which previously had housed a classroom, office and workshop. The site of the Tool Barn has been converted to an outdoor amphitheater that offers views to the Presidential Range of the White Mountains.