On Assignment with Jerry Monkman
Large scale forest conservation in
Maine and a look at other projects
from across the Northeast.
MAINE WOODS AT RISK
Two commercial projects
threaten important landscapes
in the Northern Forest.
OYSTERS IN THE NEWS
A story of restoration and
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It’s a little surreal to realize we all now have more than a year of working and
living during a pandemic behind us with an undefined amount of time still
ahead. My family has managed to survive unscathed so far and I hope the same
is true for you, but it has been hard to see friends suffer the effects of Covid-19.
My job is basically one where I’m almost always working remotely, so a lot of
the time, my day to day shooting life seemed pretty normal.
Morning shoot in Parker River NWR.
A shout out to my friend and colleague,
Ryan Smith, of Rooted in Light
Media, for taking some rare and flattering
portraits of me this winter.
On the Cover: This view of Attean
Pond near Jackman, Maine could soon
include a new high-voltage electricity
Left: Fly-fishing in Maine’s Crooked
Still, I’ve had to learn the Zoom routine more than I ever expected. I finished
my second documentary, The Merrimack: River at Risk just as the pandemic
started and while it has screened on PBS, the theater screenings we had
planned became Zoom screenings. It’s definitely less satisfying than watching
a crowd in person react to the film, but we’ve all adjusted and had some
amazing conversations about the river.
My clients had me photograph less outdoor recreation than usual for safety
reasons, but I still managed to spend some quality time with folks who were
willing to play and work outside in a socially distant way. The following pages
spend a lot of time in the northern forest of New England with some visits to
southern New England farms and a great aquaculture and conservation story
on the New Hampshire Seacoast.
Be well, stay safe, and enjoy the outdoors!
Table of Contents
Conservation Photo Projects.......................................................................................................... 4-17
Land conservation is alive and well during Covid-19.
Maine Woods at Risk........................................................................................................................ 18-21
Two commercial projects threaten important landscapes in the Northern Forest.
Oysters in the News.........................................................................................................................22-26
A positive pandemic story of collaboration and restoration.
P.O. Box 59, Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03802
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Land Protection Across
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Above: Land recently conserved by the
Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire
protect the waters of Merrymeeting Lake.
Left: White-tailed deer in the fog on land
conserved by the Northwest Connecticut
Land conservation efforts are alive and
well during the pandemic.
Despite the pandemic, conservation
organizations have been hard at work
conserving farms and forests across
New England. During the past year,
I have shot projects from western
Connecticut to far northern Maine
for local land trusts, statewide land
trusts, and national organizations.
These projects conserved farms,
recreation access, wildlife habitat
and working forests.
Close to my home in New Hampshire, I
continued working with the Southeast
Land Trust of New Hampshire (SELT),
who completed two big projects
adjacent to Merrymeeting Lake.
Despite being ringed by summer
homes, Merrymeeting Lake has the
cleanest water of any lake in the state,
and by protecting several thousand
acres of forest above the lake, SELT is
helping to insure that water quality.
As a bonus there are some great
hiking and mountain biking trails in
their new preserves.
By far, the biggest tracts of land that
I worked on were in northern Maine,
where projects I photographed for
The Conservation Fund, The Nature
Conservancy, and the Forest Society
of Maine totalled close to 50,000
acres in size.
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A forest road winds its way through a
stand of white pines in the Chadbourne
Tree farm near Bethel, Maine.
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The Chadbourne Tree Farm project has resulted in new mountain bike trails in Bethel, Maine managed by Inland Woods + Trails.
One of the views my dog Jax and I found during our shoot for The Conservation Fund.
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The Androscoggin River in West Bethel, Maine.
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Connectivity in the Northern Forest
In June 2020, The Conservation Fund purchased The
Chadbourne Tree Farm in Maine’s western mountains
(more info at: https://www.conservationfund.org/projects/
chadbourne-tree-farm). It consists of more than a dozen
parcels of working forests that sustain forest-related jobs
and provide recreation access for hunting, fishing, hiking,
mountain biking, rock climbing, and cross-country skiing.
The land is part of two watersheds, including the Sebago
Lake watershed, which supplies drinking water to the city
of Portland. This project also includes land that creates a
continuity of conserved lands between the White Mountain
National Forest and the Mahoosuc Mountains to the north.
My next project, the Grafton Forest, which I shot for the
Forest Society of Maine, included more than 20,000 acres
of working forest that connects the Mahoosuc Range to
Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. The Grafton Forest
is adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, and is also a popular
recreation area for hiking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling,
and dog-sledding. It is amazing to see a conserved corridor
now connecting two of my favorite places in New England,
Umbagog Lake and the White Mountains (more info at:
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Above left: Canoes on the Androscoggin
River in West Bethel, Maine.
Above right: A woman rock climbing on
Tumbledown Dick Mountain in Gilead,
Middle right: Clouds reflect in York
Pond in Grafton, Maine.
Below right: A forest harvest area on the
eastern slopes of the Mahoosuc Range
in Grafton, Maine.
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View of the Presidential Range in the White Mountains from
Tumbledown Dick Mountain in Gilead, Maine. Part of the
Chadbourne Tree Farm.
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Top right: David Viola of Short Creek
Farm in Northwood, NH checks on the
chili peppers in his smoker.
Middle right: A barn cat sits on hay
bales at Short Creek Farm.
Below right: The farm stand at Maple
Bank Farm in Roxbury, Connecticut.
Left: As a photographer, I often
rely on colleagues to help out on a
project. Here, fellow conservation
photographer Joe Klementovich
helps me out by fly-fishing on the
Crooked River in Norway, Maine, as
part of my shoot for The Conservation
Fund. Check out Joe’s work at: www.
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On Maine’s northwestern border with Quebec, there is a
signifcant range of 3000+ foot mountains known as the
Boundary Mountains that have been used as working
forests for more than 150 years but remain undeveloped
and home to most of Maine’s northern woodland wildlife
species including native brook trout, endangered lynx
and Bicknell’s thrush. Last year, The Nature Conservancy
acquired 10,000+ acres on the border which include two
peaks over 3000 feet and a dozen other peaks over 2700
feet. Their new Boundary Mountains Preserve is near other
preserves in Maine and is continuous with 22,000 acres of
public land in Quebec (more info at: https://www.nature.
The new preserve also abuts land impacted by a
proposed powerline corridor that is being fought by
some environmental groups in the state. You can read
about that project in the article following this one.
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Above: A recovering clearcut in
Maine’s Boundary Mountains.
Left: The border swath marking the
border between the US and Canada.
The Boundary Mountains Preserve
is on the left.
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A Maine Environmental
Group Fights Development
in the Northern Forest.
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A proposed transmission
line and a proposed metal
mine threaten the Maine
Six years ago I released my first documentary film,
The Power of Place, which followed the fight in New
Hampshire to stop a proposed electricity transmission
line that would bring hydropower from Quebec to
Massachusetts, but would also negatively impact wildlife
and the state’s tourism industry. That proposal was
defeated in 2019, but has been reborn in neighboring
Maine where it is known as the CMP Corridor.
In 2018, I shot drone footage for a video explaining the
negative impacts of the CMP project (https://vimeo.
com/297103996), and last year I spent three days
making stills of some of the beautiful places that will
be impacted by the corridor for the Natural Resources
Council of Maine (NRCM.) Much of the corridor will
pass through the Boundary Mountains, a remote
region of the state that harbors some of the best native
brook trout habitat in the state and provides amazing
recreation opportunities - including camping, hiking,
hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and ATV’ing. (More info
Further east, beyond Baxter State Park, and Katahdin
Woods and Waters National Monument, NRCM is also
working to prevent the opening of a mine that plans to
extract zinc, copper, and lead near Mount Chase and
Pickett Mountain. I had never visited these mountains
before, but found the area wild and undeveloped like
much of northern Maine. Local ponds and streams that
flow into the Mattawamkeag River would be at particular
risk for toxic metal pollution from the mine (more info at:
Left: The views at Rock Pond near
Jackman, Maine would be impacted
by the proposed CMP Corridor.
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Another view near Jackman, Maine, that
would be impacted by the CMP Corridor.
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Pickett Mountain Pond is the closest body of water to the proposed metal mine.
Pleasant Lake (with Katahdin in the distance) is also near the proposed mine.
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Oyster Farming and
Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration (SOAR)
In October, I was asked to document an inspiring project
close to home on the New Hampshire Seacoast for
The Nature Conservancy. The shoot highlighted their
successful aquaculture program called Supporting Oyster
Aquaculture and Restoration (SOAR.) My colleague Ryan
Smith and I spent four days on New Hampshire’s Little Bay
and Great Bay in late October shooting stills and video of
local oyster farmers and Nature Conservancy scientists
as they harvested, sorted, and redeployed oysters to a
restoration site in the bay.
Two years ago, the New Hampshire chapter of TNC
experimented with buying “uglies”, oysters too big for the
restaurant market, from local oyster farmers and using
them to seed a restoration site near Nanny Island in Great
Bay (one of the largest inland estuaries in New England.)
Results from the project were very positive.
Cut to 2020 and oysters farmers are struggling because
their biggest market – restaurants – are experiencing
greatly reduced sales and/or closing because of the
Covid-19 pandemic. The success of the New Hampshire
chapter’s experiment led to the creation of SOAR which
aims to extend $2 million to approximately 100 oyster
farming companies over the next two years in New
England, the Mid-Atlantic, and Washington state.
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Top right: Dr. Alix Laferriere, The
Nature Conservancy NH’s coastal and
marine program director, speaks with
the staff of the Swell Oyster Company
about oyster redeployment.
Bottom right: The Nature Conservancy
NH’s Coastal Conservation Coordinator,
Above left: Brian Gennaco, owner of
the Virgin Oyster Company, harvests
oysters from an oyster bag on his oyster
farm in Little Bay in Durham, New
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The Nature Conservancy’s Brianna Group and Steve Weglarz of Cedar
Point Oyster Company redeploy oysters to a restoration reef near
Nanny Island in New Hampshire’s Great Bay.
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Harvest time for the Virgin Oyster Company on their oyster farm in Little Bay in Durham, NH.
The program is a boon to oyster farmers who are losing significant
income during Covid-19, and it will greatly aid oyster reef
restoration, helping to keep waters clean in multiple estuaries
(each oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day.) This is a great
conservation program with really no downside. It’s getting
some good press too. The Today show sent Harry Smith to New
Hampshire to produce a feature about the program in October –
you can see it here: https://www.today.com/food/tnc-supportingoyster-farmers-affected-covid-19-today-t195668.
More information about the SOAR program, including the video
we shot, can be found at: https://www.nature.org/en-us/whatwe-do/our-priorities/provide-food-and-water-sustainably/foodand-water-stories/oyster-covid-relief-restoration/.
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Dr. Alix Laferriere, The Nature Conservancy NH’s
coastal and marine program director.
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P.O. Box 59
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03802