Protecting New England’s Forests: See what our Northeast staff are up to

Common loon in New Hampshire's Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Mary Konchar, courtesy USFWS.

When Leanne Klyza Linck looks out the windows of her home office in the foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont, she knows why she works in conservation.

“I get motivation from my day-to-day existence, just by living in Vermont,” says Klyza Linck, the director of the Northeast program at The Wilderness Society. “I go for a morning walk and the stream is rushing, great blue herons land in the beaver pond, and if I’m lucky, I’ll see a mink, fox, or signs of a moose.

Klyza Linck works with four others in a dispersed and dynamic group on the Northeast Forest program. Living in biologically rich areas of Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts helps the team with their ultimate goal to establish an ecologically healthy Northern Forest that people can continue to value.

Klyza Linck, Jeremy Sheaffer, Ann Ingerson, Mary Krueger and Sheila Dennis are the fantastic five that work on Northeast conservation issues every day to ultimately build a community where humans share the land with other species in harmony.

The regional staff is working on a wide range of conservation projects, but the ultimate 15-year mission of the program in New England is to preserve one million acres of the most ecologically important lands in the Northern Forest region. Already on their way, the group worked to expand by 47,000 acres the boundary of Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge which borders Maine and New Hampshire.

The Northeast team is building political and public support to help land trusts acquire private land to expand the size of the refuge. They need more federal financial support and are working with others at The Wilderness Society to make this happen.

“It’s invigorating to look at all the conservation possibilities in the northern forest and zoom in on the most ecologically strategic land to protect,” Klyza Linck says.

Sheaffer is a northeast associate who works in Maine and New Hampshire. He focuses on the Umbagog Refuge along with the Mahoosuc Mountains, specifically with federal and state landscapes. He lobbies for federal and state funds to acquire key private lands.

“It’s not only preserving species and land that inspires me to do my work,” Sheaffer says. “Knowing how much people will benefit from preserving this land motivates me as well.”

Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. Photo by Sandra VanHoek, Flickr.The jobs of the people in the Northeast program don’t come down strictly to land preservation though. Linck’s work is also centered on how the changing climate will affect plants, animals and people in the near future.

“On a day-to-day basis, I’m taking what I learn about climate in the region and applying it to TWS national climate strategy," Klyza Linck said. “I enjoy learning about how natural systems respond to change, both positively and negatively.”

The passionate people and the breathtaking landscapes in New England give the northeastern team at The Wilderness Society some considerable inspiration. When working on preserving everything from free-flowing waterways to sugar maples and song birds, the staff in the Northeast have plenty of work to do and the drive to do it.

Click here to learn more about The Wilderness Society’s Northeast team.

photos:
Common loon in New Hampshire's Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Mary Konchar, courtesy USFWS.
Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. Photo by Sandra VanHoek, Flickr.

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