Thanks to Kate Wilcox for the 2016 Festival photos shown here.

Despite threat of thunderstorms, nearly 500 children and adults came out to explore, learn and play at the recent Woods, Water & Wildlife Festival in Milton Mills.  Presented by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm (BHF), this annual festival provides a day of fun outdoors for families, a crucial step in cultivating a new generation who will appreciate and strive to conserve our region’s natural resources.

Mary Current and her 7-year-old grandson Hugo spent the day making the most out of all the festival had to offer. With the help of a friendly NH Fish & Game volunteer, Hugo learned to bait a hook and cast his worm into the BHF pond; topping off that educational experience was the fish he caught after several minutes of focused attention on his line. Added Mary, “Hugo also really enjoyed Kari Lygren’s walk in the woods; she was wonderful with him and the other kids, teaching them about the forest plants and animals.”

Mary reported that the fun didn’t stop at the end of the festival. Once home, she helped Hugo fill out a questionnaire about insect sightings and put tattoos on his arm from the ‘Conservation Quest’ stickers. She summarized the day, “Everything was beautifully done. The volunteers are fantastic; they were really nice and did a great job. It’s just a terrific event!”

MMRG Founding member Cynthia Wyatt was no less enthusiastic. For the first time in the WWW Festival’s 14-year history, she was able enjoy the festival activities accompanied by her own little one. “It was a dream come true!” said Cynthia. “My grandson Finn, who is 2-1/2, loved it. He ran to see the draft horses (part of a low impact logging demonstration ) as soon as he spotted them and has been talking about the two horses ‘Mouse’ and ‘Charlie’ ever since.”

Finn and Cynthia also took the hayride to the Salmon Falls River where Matt Larkin of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – NH helped kids catch grasshoppers with a butterfly net. When the kids threw the insects into the water, the river seemed to boil as fish jumped to get the food, to Finn’s delight. The ‘Nature’s Playground’ activities of treehouse and stepping stumps were a big hit with Finn as well.

In addition to be MMRG’s biggest annual outreach event, the WWW Festival is also a major fundraiser, with proceeds supporting MMRG’s land conservation and outreach missions. MMRG is grateful to its festival underwriters, the Siemon Company and BHF/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust and to its major festival sponsors: Bruce and Jennifer Rich, Carl and Beth Siemon, Charlie Moreno Consulting Forester, the Gene Hays Family, Hank and Junko Siemon, and S&S Plumbing and Heating. Additional thanks to Beverly Siemon, Devonshire Realty, D.F. Richard Energy, Dottie Bean, EOS Research, Frank Massin Agency, Gene Hays, Great East Lake Improvement Association, MapleStone Farm, Milton Veterinary Clinic, Liberty Mutual, Mi-Te-Jo Campground, Moose Mountain Recreation, New England Furniture, Norman Vetter Foundations, Poor People’s Pub, Profile Bank, Proulx Oil & Propane, Security 7 Networks, and Wentworth Hunt. Click here to visit our Festival webpage, to see our many co-sponsors and supporters.

Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust is a private operating foundation (see www.branchhillfarm.org).