Photos thanks to Kirsten Gehl, Debbie Leary, Jenn McKown and  Rodney Thompson.

MMRG invites you to a guided Moonlight Walk, re-scheduled for Thursday evening, October 5, on the property of Bob and Debbie Leary on Hornetown Road in Farmington.  Walk guide Sally Cornwell will impart from her wealth of knowledge of the natural world and share folk lore and stories. The outing will also showcase the important conservation values of 63 acres of hay fields and forestland on the Leary’s ‘Forty-to-One’ Farm, connecting to 77 acres of already-conserved wetlands and additional trails on the Leary land. MMRG is currently working with the Learys to place a conservation easement on this 63-acre parcel, expanding the conserved acreage of their farm to a total of 147 acres.

Self-taught naturalist Sally Cornwell has been a beloved trip leader for MMRG for many years and has led some of our most popular outings, including previous moonlight walks. On this occasion, Sally will offer information on edible plants, tree species and their ages, and share folk lore. MMRG Executive Director Patti Connaughton-Burns will discuss the many benefits to wildlife and to the public of conserving this land and will outline the steps required to protect these important natural resources through a conservation easement.

The Learys wish to conserve this parcel to honor three generations of Bob Leary’s family who have farmed, sugared and forested this land on the Farmington Ridge. Their decision is applauded by neighbor Rod Thompson, who has already conserved his 190 acres abutting the Leary’s, and by Thompson’s neighbor, Victor Piekarski of WidowMaker Farm, who is in the process of completing an easement with MMRG.  The three properties contribute to an evolving greenway of nearly 1,000 undeveloped acres extending from the Farmington and New Durham ridges, south to Strafford and Barnstead.

The walk will start at 5:30 pm, taking participants along well-groomed trails through mature woods and beside lovely hay fields. The destination is about a mile gradual uphill climb to a high scenic field with mountain views, where walkers are encouraged to sit and eat their suppers and watch the full moon rise while Cornwell entertains with educational stories. The final walk back will take place in the moonlight by 8:30 pm; participants are asked to bring a flashlight in case it’s needed. A snack or picnic dinner and something to sit on are also appropriate and please wear sturdy shoes; no flip-flops.

The Moonlight Walk is free and families are welcome but pre-registration is required. Please call MMRG Education Coordinator Kari Lygren at (603) 978-7125 or email info@mmrg.info. Please do not bring pets to this event.

With our grant application approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, other grants applications submitted and a generous financial pledge from the Farmington Conservation Commission, MMRG’s fundraising for this project is already well underway. We are now seeking donations from individuals to help match the grants to purchase and conserve Leary Field & Forest. For more information, contact Patti Connaughton-Burns at (603) 473-2020.