Connecting kids with conservation in Coos County, N.H.

By Eliza Perrault

What do agriculture, fisheries, forestry, soil conservation, wildlife and foraging have in common?

Conservation, that’s what.

Every spring, professionals from all areas of conservation gather for Coos County Conservation Day in Columbia, N

.H., to share their passions with local fifth-grade school groups.

Students spend half an hour at each station experiencing that conservation job.

Trout Unlimited’s Upper Connecticut Home River Initiative partners with New Hampshire Fish and Game to study macroinvertebrates from a pond environment and a river environment to identify healthy productive habitat for trout.

Students study each environment and compare the habitats. Then, in small groups, they work together to identify each species collected using a key.

Excitement builds as the students learn hands-on the value each bug plays in the ecosystem. The “icks” and “yucks” quickly turn into “that’s so cool!” and at the end of our time they pick their favorite bug.

The overall winning bug this year? The predacious diving beetle.

Eliza Perrault is a conservation technician with Trout Unlimited’s Upper Connecticut Home Rivers Initiative.

By Mark Taylor. A native of rural southern Oregon, Mark Taylor has lived in Virginia since serving a stint as a ship-based naval officer in Norfolk. He joined the TU staff in 2014 after a 20-year run as a newspaper journalist, the final 16 as the outdoors editor of the Roanoke Times. A graduate of Northwestern University, he lives in Roanoke with his wife and, when they're home from college, his twin daughters.