Plymouth State University partners with Newfound Lake Association to help protect watershed quality

PLYMOUTH — A partnership between Newfound Lake Region Association (NLRA) and Plymouth State University's Center for the Environment (CFE) will provide new resources for protecting and improving the health of New Hampshire's fourth largest lake and its watershed, and more opportunities for PSU students to gain environmental management and protection experience.

Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen said the five-year memorandum of understanding signed on January 12 will benefit the University and the region.

"This new relationship charts a path to broadened environmental literacy, effective management policies and stewardship surrounding watershed ecosystems," said Steen. "Our undergraduate and graduate students will benefit greatly from the opportunity to engage with NLRA through hands-on education that has real-world outcomes."

Located ten miles southwest of Plymouth amidst a beautiful vista of mountains and small towns, Newfound Lake is one of New Hampshire's cleanest and clearest lakes, with a watershed ecosystem encompassing more than 63,000 acres. Because of its scenic appeal, development pressures and recreational use pose significant threats to the surrounding land and water quality. NLRA Executive Director Boyd Smith believes the MOU will facilitate research, monitoring, education and stewardship of the lake and its watershed.

"I see this as a natural extension of work we've already started," Smith said. "Furthermore, PSU students will get an enhanced educational experience while helping us protect the watershed, which serves the public good."

CFE Director Joseph Boyer noted that PSU and NLRA have collaborated previously on a watershed protection master plan project and that this agreement will benefit both groups.

"The student experience is key," Boyer said. "There are great opportunities for PSU students to participate in management, planning, policy and water-quality monitoring projects and interact with NLRA staff who may come to campus to teach a class or offer their expertise in the field."

"The intent is to create a framework for sharing resources and ideas, identifying what we've already accomplished and what still needs to be done," said June Hammond Rowan '12EdD, CFE's associate director and research assistant professor.

"Our goal is that projects our students and faculty participate in make a significant difference for the Newfound watershed," she added.

While pursuing his master's degree in environmental science and policy at PSU, Andrew Veilleux '13G completed an internship at the Squam Lakes Association in Holderness, NH. That opportunity provided him with applied education experience that helped prepare him for his career. Veilleux currently serves as NLRA's program manager.

"I see a lot of opportunities in this relationship," Veilleux said. "The theory learned in the classroom and the 'hands-on' experience are a great combination. What I learned at PSU through my master's program is parallel to what I'm doing now."

Boyer believes the partnership will open up avenues to new resources for both NLRA and PSU, including community and federal grants.

"The NLRA has access to funding to help meet environmental protection and monitoring goals, while PSU can provide expertise and resources that NLRA doesn't have, such as our faculty, to help meet their needs," Boyer said.

"We're a small organization with a huge mission," said Rob Moore, NLRA President. "We have a lot of challenges in protecting the lake and the watershed; we're very excited about this partnership."

PSU and NLRA officials expect to convene an annual meeting with area stakeholders, such as business people, students, faculty and environmental advocates to discuss current and future projects.

Volunteer opportunities at LRGHealthcare

LACONIA — Does the thought of frigid weather and being cooped up inside on the days and months ahead sound discouraging? Avoid cabin fever this winter and join the great team of volunteers at LRGHealthcare. We invite you to make a difference in the lives of local patients while enriching your own life.

The Volunteer Program at LRGHealthcare consists of over 200 community members who serve at Franklin Regional Hospital and Lakes Region General Hospital, as well as Healthlink, Hillside, the Winnipesaukee Wellness Center, and other locations.

Volunteering has many proven benefits. Did you know that people who volunteer on a regular basis live longer and healthier lives? As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to create new, lasting friendships and will also have something very rewarding to do every week.

By volunteering at LRGHealthcare you might be the first face an anxious patient sees as they walk into the hospital -- alleviating some of their stress with your smile and kind words as you escort them to a test or procedure. You may assist a family member with their purchase of an uplifting gift for a loved one. Some volunteers are out in the field installing Lifeline systems in the homes of seniors, providing an important safety measure that allows them to stay in their homes while bringing peace of mind to their loved ones. If you know how to knit or sew join a group of volunteers every Monday who make comfort dolls and stuffed animals for children or seniors who could use a smile.

These are just a few of the opportunities the LRGHealthcare Volunteer Program has to offer. Shifts run as short as 3 hours a week. We will work with you to find the right position and the best hours to fit your schedule. Are you a Mom whose kids are in school all day? If so we can work with your schedule too.

Call today to set up an appointment to talk with Darcy Peary (737-6720) or Sandy Marshall (527-2895) about the various volunteer positions and this very fulfilling and rewarding opportunity.

Auditions scheduled for annual School and Community Musical at Newfound

BRISTOL — Auditions will be held for the Annual School and Community Musical at Newfound.

This year's presentation of Once on This Island will be held on April 17 and 18. Auditions will be held on Thursday, February 5 at 3 pm for elementary students, 4:30 for middle school students, and 5:30 for high school and adult community members. All auditions are held on the stage at Newfound Regional High School.

For more information, contact Steph Wiencek at 744-6006, ext 125.

Curling, snowshoeing programs offered by Gilford Parks and Recreation

GILFORD — The Gilford Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring a seven-week pick-up curling program for adults on Thursday evenings. The program will be held at the Arthur A. Tilton Ice Rink from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. through February 26. Curling is the sport of "sliding stones" down the ice in an attempt to get your "stones" closer to the target than your opponent. Although this activity is held on the ice, participants do not wear ice skates. Participants should dress to be outside and should wear sneakers or boots. Cost for this program is $2 per evening and participants can register at the start of the program.

The department is also sponsoring a series of snowshoe hikes for any adults looking for fresh air, fun and exercise on Tuesday mornings this winter. Participants will meet in the Gilford Town Hall at 9:30 a.m. prior to each hike. The schedule of upcoming hikes includes, January 20 at Bolduc Park in Gilford, January 27 at Ahern State Park in Laconia and February 3 at Weeks Woods in Gilford.

If you are in need of snowshoes, we do have a limited supply available for each hike at a nominal fee. First time snowshoeing? let us know and you can rent them for free! They may be reserved one hike in advance on a first come basis by calling the Parks and Rec office. All interested participants must RSVP at least one day prior to each hike. The cost of the hikes is $1 per person, per hike and snowshoe rentals are $4 per hike.

For more information or to RSVP, contact the Gilford Parks and Recreation Department at 527-4722.