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Two by Two, a Love of Conservation

Couples honored with awards
Photo of Roger and Ann Sweet by Katrina Farmer

Each year, at our Annual Celebration, the Monadnock Conservancy presents a Volunteer of the Year Award and typically one other award that highlights an individual, business, town, or organization’s contributions to local land conservation. This year, the awards honored two couples who have shown such dedication and a deep love of the land.

Volunteer of the Year Award: Ann and Roger Sweet
Ann and Roger Sweet have given 15-plus years of service as volunteer land stewards, monitoring conservation easements for the Conservancy -- always together. Their selfless service and their commitment go above and beyond the call of duty.

“For years the Sweets have been helping us establish strong and meaningful relationships with the landowners of the easements they steward, leading hikes and teaching others about the wonders of our region. They have been helping us expand our volunteer base and support for the Conservancy,” said Rebecca DiGirolomo, stewardship manager.

Naturalists at heart, the Sweets recently included Rebecca on a hike during which “they knew every turn before we got to it,” she recalled. “They are at home walking in the woods, navigating the wet areas, across streams and up and down steep slopes. They are, in every sense, stewards of those woods.”

Abe Wolfe Land Protection Award: Annie Faulkner and Bob King
Annie Faulkner and Bob King of Keene were honored with the Abe Wolfe Land Protection Award this year. The Abe Wolfe Land Protection Award is presented to an individual, group, or organization that has shown outstanding leadership in land protection in the Monadnock region. The award is not intended as an annual award. Rather, it is to be granted only when a deserving recipient is found.

“Bob and Annie are passionate about landscape-scale conservation, protecting significant blocks of forestland and then connecting and expanding existing areas of protected land on a large scale,” said Anne McBride, the Conservancy’s land protection director, as she presented the award at the annual event.

Photo of Annie Faulkner and Bob King by Katrina Farmer

Most recently, they purchased three parcels of land in the California Brook Natural Area, and then worked with the Monadnock Conservancy to protect all 688 acres. The California Brook Natural Area is part of the largest remaining unfragmented forest block in southern New Hampshire. Pisgah State Park anchors this area to the west. Horatio Colony Preserve marks the east end. The Conservancy had been working since the late 1990s to create a greenway of protected lands here. When the couple moved to New Hampshire in 1998, they didn’t waste any time immersing themselves in conservation efforts. They were deeply involved in helping The Nature Conservancy acquire the 1,300-acre Otter Brook Preserve in Sullivan. (The Otter Brook Preserve is adjacent to the 11,200-acre Andorra Forest in Stoddard, on which Annie’s family had previously donated a conservation easement to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.) As part of the effort to protect land around Otter Brook and Andorra, they also donated a conservation easement to The Nature Conservancy on 422 acres of land around their home in Stoddard. That same year, they purchased 645 acres of land abutting Andorra in Gilsum and Marlow. They then turned around and donated yet another conservation easement to the Forest Society.

And, just this past spring, Annie and Bob enabled the Conservancy to acquire another key parcel that will serve as the connecting piece to Pisgah State Park. “Bob and Annie, we are so grateful for all that you’ve done to advance conservation throughout the Monadnock region. You are true partners in your work on behalf of conservation in our state,” Anne McBride concluded.