Squam Lakes Conservation Society | March 2021
Think Spring at Squam
Photo: A great blue heron captured by one of the game cameras managed by Ben Wymer, Land Protection Associate at SLCS.
Hello all,

Spring is nearly here, Squam ice out is on our minds, and great blue herons are soon to return. Did you know the Squam ice out is declared when a boat is able to drive from the Covered Bridge in Ashland to Sandwich Landing? Last year ice out was declared on April 8th, 2020. Any guesses for 2021? For past ice out dates, check out this graph courtesy of the Squam Boat Livery.

The SLCS NextGen Committee has been hard at work contemplating different possible events and ways to get younger people involved with SLCS and the Squam Lake community! If you have any ideas or would like to suggest an event, please email us at nextgen@foreversquam.org. We would love to hear from you!


The SLCS NextGen Committee
SLCS Partnership with Americorps
For the past four years, SLCS has partnered with the Lakes Region Conservation Corps (LRCC) to bring two Americorps members on to the SLCS team from May - November.

Americorps members work on a variety of projects at SLCS, including managing SLCS preserves, monitoring conservation easements, removing invasive species, refreshing boundary marking, and combining GIS and field work to create baseline documentation for newly conserved lands. Members also help develop and utilize social media networks to advance SLCS’s mission. 

Ben Wymer, SLCS's Land Protection Associate and NextGen member originally joined the team in May of 2020 as an Americorps member and subsequently joined the SLCS team full-time in November. He will be leading SLCS's Americorps program this year, and our two members for the 2021 season have officially accepted!
Stories of Squam: Burleigh Farm Maple Syrup
Photo: The Burleigh Farm sap house courtesy of Melissa Leszek
As Spring wakes the trees around Squam, maple syruping does, too, and reminds us why we love this land. For over a century, Burleigh Farm has been producing some of the finest maple syrup in the Lakes Region, so we thought it only made sense to bring you an interview with Matt Emmons, the Operations/Production Manager at the farm.
SLCS: How and when were you introduced to Squam?   
I have been coming up to Squam since I was 3 months old. My great great grandmother co-founded Rockywold-Deephaven Camps.

SLCS: What keeps you coming back?  
Squam has always been my favorite place. I moved here permanently after college and a brief stint in northern California.
SLCS: How long have you personally been working on the production there? Any stats you can share on the production?
I have been sugaring for 5 years. The gallons per year is totally dependent on Mother Nature, but if you look at the past five years, we have averaged 1,250 gallons annually. The biggest year was 1,660 gallons, and our leanest year was 1,060 gallons since I have been the production manager. We currently have about 3,600 taps in our orchard, though I am constantly taking trees off-line and adding new ones depending on the health of the tree. We sell the bulk of our syrup wholesale in 44 gallon drums to Bascom Maple in Alstead, NH. We jug 1,600 quarts for local retail sales: E. M. Heaths in Center Harbor, Squam Lakes Marketplace in Holderness, Rockywold-Deephaven Camps, and Golden Pond Country Store in Holderness. We have also developed a niche market out in Montecito, California. 
SLCS: Why is an ag business like yours so important to the local community? Why is it important for the land to be conserved for future use?  
The most obvious reason for conservation, in my mind, is to protect this amazing tract of land from development as more and more people are seeking the peace that the Squam Lakes area provides. From a farming perspective on the local level, the production of maple syrup is a timeless endeavor that has been done in these woods for hundreds of years. Though we have modern technology today, the process of tapping and boiling sap to make maple syrup is a spring rite of passage. It's very humbling to think that I am doing the exact same thing today that Native Americans and later the first settlers of Holderness did every year. 
Photos courtesy of Burleigh Farm
SLCS: How has maple syruping changed over the years? Any effects from climate change?  
The days of hanging buckets on trees and collecting by hand is over in the Burleigh Maple orchard. Sugaring is an extremely labor intensive process. We use modern technology (running a Reverse Osmosis and vacuum system) that has transformed our ability to make more syrup with a lot less time expended. We also have modern infrastructure of mainlines and tubing that brings the sap directly from the woods right into our sugar house for quick processing. Sap never sits for more than 12 hours without running through our RO and getting into our evaporators. 

Climate change is definitely changing the duration of our sugaring season. Warming temperatures, changes in precipitation (such as last year's drought), and changes in freeze and thaw cycles are all having an impact on the health of the trees, and in turn syrup production. Also, the severity of storms, high winds, and extreme temperature swings add a level of uncertainty to the day to day operations. 
SLCS: What is your hope for the next generation on the lake?  
I mainly hope that the next generation will realize the importance of safeguarding the beauty of Squam and its surrounding mountains, streams, and forests. Everyone who is lucky enough to live here should never take what we have for granted. 
Now the lightning round! What's your favorite:
  • Island? Otter Island
  • Hike? Rattlesnake Ramsey Trail
  • Beverage for the dock? A nice IPA at sunset
  • Other organization around the lake you admire? Squam Lakes Science Center
  • Favorite Spring activity? Baseball with my sons
  • Family memory/memories? Salmon fishing with my grandfather on Squam

For more info on where to get Burleigh Farm's maple syrup and what to make with it, check out the Burleigh Farm Syrup website.
Special thanks to Matt Emmons, Tim and Audrey Fisher, and the Burleigh Land Limited Partnership for giving us a sneak peek into the maple syrup production at Burleigh Farm.
Squam Photo of the Month
Photo: Amy Nordblom
It doesn't look much like summer on the lake in early March, but we know the higher sun means summer is on its way!

Can you guess where this view is and what mountains are pictured?

Stumped? Check the bottom of this email for the answer key!
What's Happening Around the Lake:
Virtual Science Pub Series
Our Nocturnal Neighbors: New Hampshire's Bats

Tuesday, April 13

Bats in New Hampshire have seen significant population declines in recent years. Join us to learn more about what is causing the decline and how you can help conserve bats. Presentations will be held via Zoom.

White Oak Pond Watershed Natural Resource Inventory Review

Wednesday, April 14

White Oak Pond represents one of the most significant sub-watersheds of Squam Lake. Dr. Rick Van de Poll will present the findings of the Natural Resource Inventory including water, plants, animals, fungi, and all ecosystems in the White Oak Pond watershed.

Squam Photo of the Month Answer Key:
The mountains in Amy's photo from left to right are: Morgan, Percival, Squam, and Doublehead. The photo was taken across from Eagle Cliff Parking on Bean Road in Sandwich.