Feast Raises Funds for the Forest
DURHAM – Dec. 12, 2016 – As diners left the Oyster River High School’s cafeteria Friday night and students cleaned tables and washed dishes, Lauren Quest, a senior and co-leader of the school’s Sustainability Club, smiled and shook her head in amazement.
“I am ecstatic with the outcome of this event,” she said. “We did better than we could possibly have imagined.”
The Sustainability Club’s Italian buffet and raffle filled every table in the room, and by the time the diners ate the last meatballs and celebrated the last winning raffle ticket holder, $4,295 had come in for the Powder Major’s Farm and Forest conservation project, a collaborative effort of the Society for the Protection of N.H. Forests (Forest Society) and the towns of Durham, Madbury and Lee to conserve nearly 300 acres of land located in all three towns.
“It is heartening to see such strong community support for conserving the Powder Major’s Farm and Forest, and we’re really excited to see the younger generation working to save what’s special about their own community,” said Susanne Kibler-Hacker, the Forest Society’s vice president of development.
“Now we hope the older generation will give these kids a lasting gift by helping us raise the remaining $346,000 in private funding we need to complete the project by the end of the year,” she said.
Several businesses donated more than $2,400 in goods and services for the club’s raffle. NEMO Equipment, Seven Rivers Paddling, Eureka! and Jetboil donated tents, sleeping bags, kayak rentals and other items for the raffle.
Guest speaker Dave Anderson, the Forest Society’s director of education, brought a glass of tap water to the podium and sipped it during his talk to highlight one of the major goals of the project, to preserve the water quality of the Oyster River, a drinking water source for Durham.
“This is good water,” he said with a grin. “I wonder where it’s from?”
Sustainability Club co-leader Nicholas Dundorf also spoke, looking ahead to the creation of a new community resource.
“This is the people’s land,” he said, “It’s for all of us to share.”
Jon Bromley, the ORHS science teacher who advises the Sustainability Club, said before the event that club members wanted to raise awareness about an opportunity to safeguard important natural resources in their community that might otherwise be lost to development.
“From so many levels – environmentally, educationally, culturally, historically – it is too important of a property to see it go to housing,” Bromley said.
The Forest Society has raised the bulk of the $2.25 million project costs through a combination of public and private grants and donations and is in the final stretch to raise the remaining funds. For more information or to donate to the project, visit www.forestsociety.org/powder_major.