Cold is Cool
Under New Hampshire’s "Safer at Home" orders from the Governor, we can all continue to enjoy the outdoors. Our 190 Forest Reservations are open and you don't need to register in advance to use these protected spaces, except for Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves (closed for the season) and Mt. Monadnock.
Our "Cold is Cool" outreach program will keep you connected with the outdoors safely, whether you are isolating at home or trying out winter hiking for the first time. Plug in to watch and learn from expert speakers and then unplug outside! We'll also explore why it's important that our winters stay cold and snowy, as so many local animals, plants and other wildlife have specifically adapted to thrive under these conditions.
During winter months, cold is cool IF you're prepared! Remember to:
- #Hikesafe and #recreateresponsibly (here are essential items to pack from NH Fish & Game and see the bottom of this page for some universal guidelines);
- Check in advance to see whether parking lots are plowed and respect roadside winter parking bans (here is a list of 12 Forest Society reservations with plowed parking);
- Hike in small family groups and continue to maintain six feet of distance between unrelated groups;
- Be prepared for winter conditions and early sunset times!
- Use our Forest Reservation Guide to find a Forest Society property that is open to visitors (58 properties host marked trails). You can also use our Easement Lands Guide to find lesser-known properties with public access.
- Use our "Hike Local" guide, organized by region, to find additional trails on conservation land across the state owned by other nonprofits and local agencies. (Please check with the land owner about winter access!)
- Post your adventures with #coldiscool to social media and we'll inspire others to opt outside!
- We want you to stay connected with the natural world, no matter the temperature. Our Cold is Cool virtual speaker series starts January 6! Check our events page for the latest information. (Missed one of the speakers? Find video of the recorded Zoom presentations here.)
- Lunchtime LIVE: We'll be posting new videos occasionally on Facebook. Follow our Facebook page to join in the fun or you can re-watch recent content here, including virtual field trips and fireside readings. Past Woodshop Wednesdays woodworking projects with carpenter Andy Crowley are also archived.
- Learn from listening to our past Something Wild podcasts, mini-lessons on the natural world, and reading our Forest Journal and Forest Notes articles covering topics including:
Snow, Ice & Climate Change
Articles & resources:
ice effects on winter wildlife; Bare trees make like bears, hibernating through winter’s cold; Wonders to find in the winter woods; Bend but don't break- how trees survive Northern winters (and more on the topic here); Winter's frozen ice show.
Articles & resources:
Forest Society Senior Director of Education Dave Anderson was featured on NHPR's The Exchange and there's a video of a visit to his sugarhouse included in the post; plus, you can find curriculum on maple sugaring including evaporation and grading here; Something Wild on maple sugaring.
Photo: Ellen KennyWildlife & wildlife tracking
Articles & Resources:
You can check out this Something Wild episode on wildlife tracker Susan Morse, read an article with tracking tips and tricks, or join a subreddit of people across the country interested in animal tracking. Look for habitat hotspots once the snow melts. On birds and birding: Why spring peepers are so loud; northern harriers are the rarest bird of prey; the warbler fallout; and going woodcocking and making memories.
Lesson Plans, Curriculum & Hands-on Activities
- At home Ag-tivities from the national Agriculture in the Classroom program.
- Educational resources from NH Fish & Game.
- Learning resources from the Seacoast Science Center in Rye.
- Interactive research and reports from the Hubbard Brook Research Forest on ice storms, female ice researchers, bird migration, and much more.
- The Hidden Worlds of National Parks: Google arts & culture exhibit and interactive documentary on national parks.
- The Natural Inquirer has lesson plans for middle-schoolers.
- The American Museum of Natural History has extensive curriculum and Ology, a science website for kids.
- The iNaturalist app, a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, allows you to photograph wildlife and wild species you observe and quickly crowdsource identification. Plus, you're contributing to biodiversity science!
- Check in on wildlife cameras in the state and around the world; here's a look at a Peregrine falcon's nest in Manchester and TheCornellLab's bird cams.
- Check in with our many partners to find other sources of environmental education, including the Gundalow Company in Portsmouth, Project Learning Tree, and The Nature Conservancy's Nature Lab for curriculum. Leave No Trace offers indoor nature activities for kids too.
- NH Girl Scout Chloe Gross put together this EcoKids curriculum for camp and after-school programs that want to connect kids with nature;
- Check out our staff's recommendations for books to read, films to watch, and podcasts to listen to...
- Watch NHPBS' Windows to the Wild online.
- Check out our Forest Society storymaps, interactive articles that include photos, videos, and maps: why we cut trees for conservation and a virtual view of farms on our conservation land.
Guide to Recreating Responsibly