Welcome to the Newfound Connection
Each edition of the Newfound Lake Region Association newsletter features events, news, trivia, and the people of the watershed—everything a Newfounder needs to know!
The Nature Gap and Newfound
Nature is a powerful force, with wide-ranging benefits for the people and communities that enjoy it. But nature is not available to everyone. Historic segregation on public lands, violent dispossession of land in the name of conservation, discrimination and intimidation of people of color in outdoor spaces, and exclusion from the U.S. conservation movement have created a gap between those with access to nature and those without.
Campers learning how to fish at an NLRA fishing clinic.
People of color, families with children, and low-income communities are those most likely to be deprived of the benefits that nature provides and lack access to safe places to enjoy it. In New Hampshire, 90% of people of color live in a nature-deprived area, compared to just 17% of white people. While communities at different income levels within the state share similar rates of proximity to nature, low-income communities face economic barriers. In our own school district, children without snow pants stand on the pavement during recess, feet away from piles of snow but without the gear they need to enjoy it. NH State Park users are predominantly middle-aged, well-educated and with annual incomes over $50,000.
Across the country unequal access to the outdoors is finally becoming a mainstream conversation, with organizations large and small recognizing the problem and taking steps to reduce the gap. We can all agree: nature should be available to everybody.
So what does the Nature Gap mean for Newfound?
NLRA works to protect the watershed, but this work cannot be done without the support of the community. By increasing access to Newfound and engaging every facet of our community, we foster a culture of stewardship and ensure the future support of conservation in Newfound. Newfound holds a wealth of opportunities for outdoor recreation—minimizing barriers to and facilitating connections with nature not only benefits our community members, but the future of conservation.
NLRA and Nature For All
Some of our initial steps to reduce the nature gap within the watershed include partnerships to serve a wider audience, lowering economic barriers to participation, and furthering access to natural spaces.
Through our partnerships with organizations such as the Tapply-Thompson Community Center, The Mayhew Program, and Circle Program, NLRA reaches youth from all backgrounds and from around the state, offering educational programs as well as opportunities to explore on hikes, boat rides, and more.
We also host free community programming and events—from beginner-friendly guided hikes and paddles to stargazing and storytimes. This year, with a grant from New Hampshire Environmental Educators, NLRA will be expanding Newfound Nature Station, a free youth program that introduces youth of all ages to activities that engage them with nature, with the goal of connecting more kids to their natural surroundings.
Finally, NLRA supports public access to our natural resources, partnering with other organizations to maintain trails throughout the watershed and restoring Grey Rocks Conservation Area as a place for everyone to enjoy nature.
Solving the nature gap is an ongoing conversation, with plenty of work to be done on every scale—locally, nationally, and beyond—and we welcome your thoughts, perspective, and participation.
UPCOMING NLRA EVENTS
Discussion Workshop: Community Engagement
February 10, 7pm
Join NLRA staff and trustees to learn about how NLRA engages with the community. We’ll talk about the work we do with watershed towns, businesses, and other partners. Bring your ideas and creativity to help NLRA share our community interactions and build relationships in the future.
Discussion Workshop: Lake and Watershed Environmental Health
February 17, 7pm
Join NLRA staff and trustees to learn about how NLRA monitors and protects environmental health both in the lake and in the watershed. Be prepared to talk about your concerns for the health of Newfound and issues that are important to you!
Discussion Workshop: Education
February 24, 7pm
Join NLRA staff and trustees to learn about how NLRA works to educate our community on issues important to the health of the lake and watershed. Come prepared to share your ideas about how NLRA can help foster a sense of stewardship for this special place.
Discussion Workshop: Grey Rocks Conservation Area
March 3, 7pm
Join NLRA staff and trustees to talk about NLRA’s Grey Rocks Conservation Area. We’ll discuss the past, present, and future of this Newfound treasure. Come prepared to share your experiences of Grey Rocks and your vision for the future for this special place.
Full Moon Hike
February 27, 7pm.
Goose Pond & Sugarloaf Conservation Area
Join Program Manager Andrew Veilleux on a full moon hike. Watch the moon rise over the expansive views of Newfound from the overlook of Little Sugarloaf. This event is free, however registration is required and attendance is limited to ensure the safety of participants.
Ice Fishing Etiquette (and the law!)
The ice is in and colorful bob houses dot the lake. If you plan to enjoy ice fishing this season, follow these guidelines to protect the lake:
• Take your trash, waste, and supplies when you leave. Litter left on the ice will eventually make its way into the lake in the spring, potentially polluting the lake.
• Petroleum products from heating, power augers, and ATVs that spill onto the ice are toxic for aquatic species and can trigger algae blooms that lower water .
• If you need to build a fire, do so in a fire-safe container. Ash from fires made on the ice contain high levels of phosphorus which leads to algae growth and reduced water quality of the lake.
• Just like fishing in the summer, state law prohibits the sale and use of lead sinkers weighing 1 ounce or less and lead jigs less than 1 inch long along their longest axis. Lead tackle can lead to the death of loons and waterbirds. Find more information here.
Our recommendations to keep you entertained and informed about the world of conservation.
Watch: Barriers to Bridges
This film explores the ways in which organizations in Alabama are working to increase diversity in the environmental movement, especially in the area of citizen science. Watch it here.
Read: The Nature Gap: Confronting Racial and Economic Disparities in the Destruction and Protection of Nature in America
This report from the Center for American Progress is a highly readable, well-researched, and formidable report outlining the data behind the nature gap and what we can do about it. Read it here.
Listen: Outside/In: Fortress Conservation
Outside/In delves into the history of conservation in the U.S., a story of forcible displacement, segregation, and restriction that has spread across the globe and continues to disenfranchise vulnerable populations today. Listen Here.
Do you have recommendations for conservation-themed entertainment? Send your favorite books, podcasts, movies, and more to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Events Around The Watershed
68 Berea Road, Hebron, NH
Danbury Winter Market
February 6, 9am-1pm
15 N Road, Danbury, NH
Cottage Comedy Night
February 6, 7-9pm
Kathleen’s Irish Pub
90 Lake St, Bristol, NH
Father Daughter Dance
February 12, 6-7pm and 7:30-8:30pm
Tapply-Thompson Community Center
30 N Main St, Bristol, NH
Backyard Winter Bird Survey
Parents Night Out
February 13, 5-10pm
Tapply-Thompson Community Center
30 N Main St, Bristol, NH
Slim Baker Foundation
301 New Chester Mountain Rd, Bristol, NH
AVFA Newfound Lake Ice Fishing Derby
February 27 & 28, 6am-3:30pm
Welling State Park Boat Launch
614 W Shore Rd, Bristol, NH
Newfound Lake Inn Winterfest
February 27 & 28, 10am-3pm
Newfound Lake Inn, on the beach
1030 Mayhew Turnpike, Bridgewater, NH
Upcoming Virtual Events
We’re still compiling awesome online events from around the world!
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The Newfound Lake Region Association is dedicated to protecting Newfound Lake and its watershed. Learn more…