Winter hike at Leary's Farmington farm set for March 4

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Millie, a moose that frequented the Leary's surgarbush a few years back, (Photo by Bob and Debbie Leary)

FARMINGTON - Moose Mountains Regional Greenways and the Farmington Conservation Commission will offer a free guided winter hike on Bob and Debbie Leary's land on Hornetown Road on the Farmington Ridge on March 4.

MMRG is currently working with the Learys to place a conservation easement on 63 acres of their farm, expanding the conserved acreage to a total of 140 acres, all of which MMRG is positioned to ultimately own. The public is invited to come see the wildlife habitats, working farm and forest land, walking trails and scenic views that will be protected through conserving this land.

Forester Wendy Scribner will impart from her wealth of knowledge about the wildlife sustained by these field and forest habitats and the Learys will talk about their '40-to-1' sugaring operation. MMRG Executive Director Patti Connaughton-Burns will outline the steps required to conserve the land and forever protect its valuable agricultural and wildlife assets, watershed quality and public access for recreation.

A licensed forester, Scribner has worked for UNH Cooperative Extension for more than 20 years, currently as the Natural Resources Field Specialist in Forestry and Wildlife in Carroll County. Scribner serves on MMRG's Board of Directors and is a well-known face at MMRG's annual Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival, teaching kids and parents about our natural world.

The hike will take participants along farm trails and through the sugar bush, beside an ice-rimmed brook spanned by an historic stone bridge, and to the top of Leary's high scenic hayfield with mountain views. Anticipating the upcoming outing, Scribner says, "With our travels through the forest, along a stream and around the edges of fields we will be in a variety of habitats that harbor different wildlife species, including snowshoe hare, fox, turkey, squirrel, deer, and possibly fisher. We'll look for tracks and other evidence of these animals and discuss their habits and how they survive in winter."

The outing will take place from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Families are welcome, but pre-registration is required. For directions and to register, call MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at (603) 978-7125 or email Pets are now allowed at the event.

(Virginia Long, who supplied this article, is the public relations coordinator for MMRG)

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