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Under the ice, local fish & amphibians wait for spring

MEREDITH — During a typical New Hampshire winter, lakes and ponds are sealed off from the rest of the world with a thick layer of ice. The aquatic organisms that were not able to go south in search of warmer waters face the challenge of adjusting to water temperatures low enough to freeze their homes and declining levels of oxygen. To deal with these adversities, frogs, turtles and fish have adapted many unique strategies which allow them to survive.

As the air temperature drops throughout the fall, the body temperature of frogs and other amphibians and reptiles drops as well, alerting them to head for their overwintering site. Some frogs overwinter by burrowing down in the thick layer of decomposed leaves along the shoreline where their bodies may partially freeze. They don't freeze completely, however, thanks to a high amount of glycerol or glucose that their bodies produce which acts like antifreeze. Other amphibians and reptiles that cannot tolerate freezing spend their winter at the bottom of the lake in the mud where the ice can't reach.

Most turtles burrow into the mud and become inactive during the coldest winter months. However, some turtles have an unusual ability to survive very long periods of time without oxygen—in fact, their metabolism can continue uninterrupted without needing oxygen. These turtles enjoy their normal activities throughout the winter.

Like other cold-blooded animals, fish adjust their body temperature to decreasing water temperatures and can modify their metabolism to tolerate the cold. Some fish are able to reduce the amount of fat in their bodies and, like frogs, produce an antifreeze-like substance inside their bodies—trout, salmon, and yellow perch are particularly good at this. This allows them to remain active during the winter, but their movements are slow. These fish often migrate to the deepest part of the waterbody where the water is the warmest. Other fish, such as bass and sunfish, which are unable to tolerate the cold water, spend the winter in a resting state by burying themselves in the mud and leaves at the edge of the waterbody. Amazingly, bullheads, and other members of the catfish family, can completely freeze during the winter and thaw in the spring without being harmed.

Although, the activity level of these cold-blooded aquatic animals drops during the winter, it typically does not stop entirely. Instead of going into a constant state of inactivity commonly referred to as 'hibernation' like some warm blooded animals, certain fish, and many turtles and frogs go in to a period of reduced activity called 'brumation.' During a warm spell, like a January thaw, they may get heated up enough to venture out of their winter home.

The biggest threat to the aquatic organisms that stay behind in New Hampshire each winter is not the cold weather—it's the loss of winter habitat. Man-made alterations along the shoreline can prevent frogs and other amphibians and reptiles from reaching their vital overwintering habitat on land. Water level draw downs conducted too quickly during the fall can strand organisms out of the water before they are able to relocate to their overwintering site, causing them to perish.

The Meredith Conservation Commission will meet on the first Thursday of every month at the Meredith Community Center at 7 p.m. Additional information about the work of the committee is available at meredithnh.org. or can be obtained by calling 226.0299.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 10:47

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Wolfeboro Libray screening documentary on January 30

WOLFEBORO — There will be a presentation of the award winning documentary “Fat Sick & Nearly Dead: a Joe Cross Film” on Thursday, January 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wolfeboro Public Library.

Joe Cross was one hundred pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids, suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, and he had reached the end of his rope. In the mirror he saw a 310 pound man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and he knew the path before him wouldn’t end well. With one foot in the grave Joe made it his personal mission to regain his health. “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” is the story of that journey.

With doctors and conventional medicine unable to help, Joe turns to the only option left, the body’s ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with a juicer and generator in tow with one goal in mind: to get off his pills and get healthy. While talking to more than 500 Americans about food, health and longevity, Joe travels 3,000 miles. Part road trip, part self-help manifesto, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” defies the traditional documentary format to present an unconventional and uplifting story of a man who realizes that the only person who can save him is himself.

The film won the Audience Choice Award and the Turning Point Award at the 2010 Sonoma International Film Festival and the Best Documentary Feature at the 2010 Iowa Independent Film Festival.

There will be a discussion following the film and an opportunity to sample the juice that Joe used to restore his health. For further information about this event, call 569-2428 or visit www.wolfeborolibrary.org.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 10:39

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Inter-Lakes Fundraiser Remembers Cameron Coulstring

MEREDITH — The Inter-Lakes girls' basketball team will be hosting Moultonborough Academy on January 15.

The game will be played in memory of Cameron Coulstring, a beautiful elementary school student who the Inter-Lakes community lost last year due to bone cancer. At request of the family, the I-L vs MA girls basketball game will raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation.

With donations from local business in the community there will be a raffle with great prizes during the game. Students that have been diagnosed with or are survivors of cancer from across the Lakes Region will also be visiting to see the love, support, and pride that the community shares with them.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 10:29

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DOT Commercial Vehicle Owner and Manager Refresher Training

LACONIA — Roy T. Roberts, Director of Occupational Health for LRGHealthcare, and Beth Johnson, Transportation Manager for Pike Industries, will be trainers at an upcoming DOT Commercial Vehicle Owner and Manager Refresher Training to be held on Wednesday, January 29 from 8 a.m. to noon (8AM-8:30 a.m. registration and 8:30 a.m.-noon program).

The training will be held at Pike Industries, Inc. located at 3 Eastgate Road in Belmont with a continental breakfast provided by Stafford Oil Company, Inc.

This free training is open to all interested in learning more about important topics such as compliance, safety and accountability of the DOT's new rating system, roadside inspections and preparedness, policies for compliance, maintenance programs, DOT medical exams (Is your doctor certified?), surviving an audit, and much more.

To register, contact Sarah Lapointe, Communications Associate for LRGHealthcare, at 524-3211, ext. 3804 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , by Friday, January 24.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 10:04

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