Hanover Conservancy Celebrates 50 Years of Collaboration with Dartmouth

Some of Hanover, New Hampshire’s most beautiful public natural areas—including Balch Hill and Mink Brook—might not exist in their current state without the nonprofit organization, the Hanover Conservancy. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the organization thanked Dartmouth for its ongoing support during the Conservancy’s annual meeting this month.

Dartmouth Professor of Earth Sciences and Hanover Conservancy Board Member Carl Renshaw (far right) leads a geology excursion last October at the Greensboro Ridge Natural Area. The area, which is adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, is protected by the Hanover Conservancy. (photo: Hanover Conservancy)

“Dartmouth College has been a significant conservation partner, whether we look at acres or number of parcels preserved, neighbors benefited, or miles of trail protected,” said Hanover Conservancy President Nancy Collier.

Clear Waters

In July 2011 biologists from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department evaluated habitat for native brook trout in the Mink Brook watershed, which flows into the Connecticut River.

“The biologists looking at Trout Brook said the stream was as pristine as any they have seen in the North Country,” says Adair Mulligan, executive director of the Hanover Conservancy.

Collier thanked Dartmouth for being the major donor in 1999 that created the Mink Brook Nature Preserve, a 112-acre parcel that surrounds Mink Brook and is located about a half mile from the Dartmouth Green.

“Dartmouth made its protection possible,” she said. With its meandering paths, towering white pines, and two brooks—Mink Brook and Trout Brook—the preserve is popular with walkers, joggers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Dartmouth’s Director of Real Estate Paul Olsen, who “helped make conservation happen,” said Collier, was honored at the event, as was Director of Campus Planning Joanna Whitcomb.

Dartmouth supported the creation of the 112-acre Mink Brook Nature Preserve, which is located about 500 yards from campus and open to the public. (photo: Hanover Conservancy)

The organization’s past and present is intertwined with Dartmouth, with Robert Norman, professor of mathematics and computer science emeritus, and James Hornig, the Dartmouth Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Studies emeritus, serving as past presidents. (They both remain involved.) The Quinn Trail at Mink Book is named after key Conservancy supporter J. Brian Quinn, a retired Tuck School of Business Professor.

Today, the Conservancy’s 13-member board includes Richard Birnie, professor of geology emeritus; Carl Renshaw, professor of earth sciences; Andrew Samwick, professor of economics and director of the Rockefeller Center; Stephen Shadford, Facilities Operations and Management energy engineer; and Hugh Mellert, director of the Zimmerman Fitness Center.

Coming off of a name change this past summer (the organization was formerly the Hanover Conservation Council) the Conservancy’s current projects include managing invasive species on its properties; evaluating new land protection opportunities; scouting new trails, and advising the College and Town of Hanover on management of the Trescott Water Company lands.

The most recent land acquisition was in August 2010, when the Conservancy acquired a conservation easement on Hanover’s Rinker-Steele Natural Area, which abuts Oak Hill.