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Forum, Jan. 11: Thanks to the Upper Valley for inspiring a love of reading

Published: 1/10/2020 10:00:51 PM
Modified: 1/10/2020 10:00:10 PM
Thanks to the Upper Valley for inspiring a love of reading

The Children’s Literacy Foundation — known as CLiF — would like to thank the Upper Valley individuals, groups and businesses that donated new books this holiday season. All new books go directly to low-income, at-risk and rural children in New Hampshire and Vermont.

CLiF’s mission is to inspire a love of reading and writing among these children. CLiF holds nearly 1,000 storytelling and book events each year, giving away more than $750,000 in new books annually, so every book helps. CLiF programs visit schools, libraries, child care centers and after-school programs, summer camps and meal sites, homeless shelters, affordable housing communities and many other places in our region.

This holiday season, a number of bookstores and groups in the Upper Valley ran book drives to gather new books for the kids CLiF serves. Norwich Bookstore’s Book Angel program donated 220 new books to CLiF (along with several other local organizations), Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock donated 203 new books, and we also received new books from the Lebanon High School Young Progressive Activists, Dartmouth Club of the Upper Valley and a book club in the Upper Valley. These donations will go directly to children in the area.

This year, CLiF’s flagship “Year of the Book” grant program, a $25,000 literacy grant for elementary schools in New Hampshire and Vermont, was awarded to Disnard Elementary School in Claremont and Hartland Elementary School, along with eight other schools. The program provides new books for the school and local public library, author visits and fun family literacy events, plus 10 new books for each student.

CLiF is also piloting a new program to provide literacy training to child care centers in the Upper Valley. (Applications for both programs are available at

None of this would be possible without support from generous communities like the Upper Valley.

Thanks to all who helped give these kids memorable literacy experiences and brand-new books of their own.


Waterbury Center, Vt.

The writer is communications manager for the Children’s Literacy Foundation.

Pete Buttigieg offers the honest leadership we deserve

If you’re old enough to remember Walt Kelly’s comic strip Pogo, you might recall his observation, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” And if you’re old enough to have taken civics, you might remember the warning that, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.”

I am both old enough to remember and unwilling to wait any longer for the government I deserve. I will vote for former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg because I believe I deserve his calm, clear, honest leadership and because I deserve a president in whom I can believe and of whom I am proud.

And I will vote for him because I trust that he would be first to say, “Vote as you please, but please vote.”



No-till seeder is a boon to all

Snow is on the ground and most farmers across the region have set aside field work until the spring. In the Connecticut River watershed, winter is a chance for farmers to look back on our conservation work from the past year. The Connecticut River Watershed Farmers Alliance was established in 2016 with the goal of enhancing agriculture through the improvement of local waterways, soils and air. Agriculture, in all its forms, plays a key role in combating climate change.

In spring 2018, the alliance debuted a new no-till seeder, which farmers in the region have access to. The seeder allows farmers to increase cover crop acres through a no-till technique. Why is this important? Cover cropping and no-till are important regenerative practices that keep a growing plant in the ground year round. These practices help conserve soil, preserve nutrients and improve water quality. They also trap excess carbon in the soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Over two years, both member and non-member farmers used the seeder to enhance nearly 1,300 acres in the watershed. It’s allowed farmers a more economical and efficient way to diversify the plants in their soils, from milkweed to winter rye and more.

Across the Twin States, these important farming practices are on the rise. In Vermont, since 2015, there’s been a 61% increase in cover crops planted annually. Farmers and producers in New Hampshire planted a combined 4,420 acres of cover crops in 2018.

With cooperation from Mother Nature, long and dry cropping seasons will only increase these numbers. Take a close look at the farm fields near you to see if you can spot the cover crops growing there and protecting the land. Whether farmers are growing vegetables or raising dairy cows — we all look to leave our land better than we found it.

We work to be good neighbors. We encourage those with questions to reach out. Farmers interested in renting the seeder can find information at



The writer is the chair of the Connecticut River Watershed Farmers Alliance.

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