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Letter: Prominent Southern Conservationist to Speak

To the Editor:

The Upper Valley Land Trust is celebrating 25 years of service and stewardship by its president and my neighbor, Jeanie McIntyre. Under her leadership, UVLT has achieved national prominence through local actions. It has facilitated the conservation of more than 400 properties and 43,000 acres in 45 Vermont and New Hampshire towns. The open space, working farms, forests, wildlife and scenic landscapes that McIntyre and team have helped community members to protect over the years are a big part of what makes the Upper Valley such a special place to live and breathe.

To celebrate the occasion, UVLT is throwing a party. Janisse Ray will be the speaker, and you should be excited about this. Ray must surely be the leading light in the Southern conservation movement. (No, that it not an oxymoron.) She grew up in Baxley, Ga., just up the road from where I was born and raised. Her first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, equal parts memoir and natural history, won the American Book Award and galvanized an emerging movement to restore the longleaf pine. It inspired me to plant 100 acres of longleaf this winter. Subsequent books have explored the best wild places of south Georgia — Pinhook Swamp and the Red Hills and the Altamaha River — as well as the seed-saving movement. She is an activist in the most appealing way: reasoned and pragmatic and wise. And she is a terrific writer to boot. Ray doesn’t come north of the Mason Dixon Line that often, so be sure to take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear her thoughts on current conservation issues.

The event is from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 15 at the Dowds’ Inn in Lyme. It is open to the public, and we welcome all comers. Admission is $10. And we encourage you to give more as you are able. All proceeds will be used to sustain the good works of the UVLT in the New Year.

Manning Rountree

Trustee, Upper Valley Land Trust