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Mountain Voices

Mountain Voices are monthly evening talks on White Mountain region related themes. Guest speakers include historians, collectors, scientists, educators, artists, and authors. Presentations are designed to be visually interesting and include question/answer time. 

Events are free and open to the public. Presented live via Zoom with time for Q&A. Pre-registration is required.

The 2021-22 Academic year series has concluded. Mountain Voices will return in Fall 2022! To help us plan for the next series, please fill out this short survey


Silent sentinels: Eastern red-backed salamanders and changing forests

Presented by Kerry L. Yurewicz
April 14, 2022, 7-8pm

The Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) is one of the most widespread and abundant vertebrates in northeastern forests. Even so, this species often escapes our notice due to its small size and nocturnal habits. In this presentation, we will explore some of the secrets that many decades of research have revealed about the lives of these animals. After discussing the ecology, behavior, and challenges to the conservation of red-backed salamanders, we will examine some ongoing research on a population right here in the White Mountain National Forest.

Kerry Yurewicz is an Associate Professor of Ecology at Plymouth State University. She uses natural surveys and experiments to investigate questions about animal behavior, interactions between species, and patterns of biodiversity across environmental gradients. She is passionate about inspiring an appreciation for biodiversity, and working with students to ask and answer questions about the natural world. Most of her research has focused on amphibians and invertebrates, often in freshwater systems, and she’s enjoyed collaborating with both undergraduate and graduate students on projects involving crayfish, insects, fish, and salamanders. Kerry is also a long-time member of the board of directors at Quincy Bog Natural Area, a local nonprofit environmental organization whose mission is to conserve land and connect people with nature.

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A More Civilized Wild: Power and Purpose in White Mountains Cartography 

Presented by Dr. Adam Keul
March 10, 2022, 7-8pm

Mapping establishes the “known” in otherwise unknown spaces, but this process is far from objective or inert. Cartographers produce mental spaces- imagined geographies- which act to classify the world and set the pretext for its subjugation. Early maps of the White Mountains paradoxically graphed the range as both untamable and ripe for exploitation. This presentation addresses a question which persists today: How could a place be both wild and civilized?

Dr. Adam Keul is a Tourism Geographer and Associate Professor at Plymouth State University. His work uses geographic social theory to understand the production of tourism spaces around the world including in his own White Mountain habitat.

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The Impact of Second Homes in the Northern Forests

Presented by Dr. Brian Eisenhauer
February 10, 2022, 7-8pm

Tourism and second homes are a major part of the economy with a long history in the Northern Forest region of New England and Canada. Second homes and their residents have influenced the environment and culture of the region in many ways, and are an integral part of people’s “sense of place” – the meanings and identities we associate with the landscape. This presentation will explore the history of the effects of second homes in the Northern Forest, and will examine connections with current events such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Brian Eisenhauer received his Ph.D. in environmental sociology from Utah State University, and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Humboldt State University and Colorado State University, respectively. In 2010 Brian became Director of the Office of Environmental Sustainability at Plymouth State University.

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Fighting the Fates of Nature Fragmentation

Presented by: Dr. Amy Villamagna
January 13, 2022, 7-8pm
 

Like most places, New Hampshire is not a stranger to the effects of development and land use change. Historically driven by intensive logging and today by rapidly expanding residential development, nature is fragmented and the effects of such are impacting biodiversity and how nature functions. Whether you consider the logging roads that crisscross the Northern Forest or the highways and byways of the lakes and coastal plain regions, habitat fragmentation threatens the persistence of iconic species alongside their lesser-known counterparts. In this presentation we will explore the direct and indirect effects of fragmentation in New Hampshire and how to avoid future loss of nature.

Amy M. Villamagna is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Policy, Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University. She uses a combination of field and GIS methods to explore how changes in land use and climate affect ecosystems. By incorporating principles of landscape, ecosystem, and community ecology, she identifies key patterns and processes in natural and semi-natural environments. Dr. Villamagna teaches in the undergraduate and graduate Environmental Science & Policy programs, Geography, and Sustainability (minor).

Where’s the beef?! A Selection of friendly edible mushrooms of the White Mountains and sustainable ethics of wild mushroom foraging

Presented by: Thomas Stoughton
November 16, 2021 7-8pm

Following a brief introduction to the Kingdom Fungi, some information on identifying edible mushrooms in the White Mountains will be provided, along with a brief description of the sustainable ethics of collecting wild mushrooms for the table. Data concerning long term sustainability of mushroom foraging will also be discussed, including information on how *you* can get involved in this research locally.

Thomas Stoughton joined the Biological Sciences Department at PSU in 2016. He is an evolutionary biologist with a Ph.D. in Botany focused on assessing biodiversity of sessile organisms (principally, plants and fungi) using a broad spectrum of biogeographic, cytological, ecological, genetic (including genomic), and morphological data. The main objective of Stoughton’s research efforts is to provide useful information to land managers and practitioners of biology so that they can, in turn, make informed decisions regarding conservation of biological diversity.

 
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New Hampshire’s Changing Lakes – What to expect in the next few decades

Presented by: Dr. Lisa Doner
November 18, 2021 7-8pm

Lisa Doner, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Plymouth State University, will present on NH’s changing lakes. New Hampshire’s clean, deep lakes have some of the best water clarity and overall water quality in the United States. They draw tourists and residents to their shores and affect home values and property tax rates in many areas. But recent trends in long-term monitoring data suggest that the lakes are changing, partly in response to climate and partly in response to intensified development in the lake watersheds. Limnologist Dr. Lisa Doner will share the results of her own work on Squam, Ossipee, Newfound, Pleasant and Spofford Lakes, and show how some changes in these lakes line up with global trends.

Dr. Doner is an Associate Professor in Environmental Science and Policy and the Center for the Environment. She studies lake sediments to decipher past watershed changes. Her primary focus is on how climate interacts with other mechanisms for change including natural catastrophe (fire, flood, landslide, tsunami), human disturbance (agriculture, logging, development) and long-term trends (glaciations, tectonics, sea-level change). These projects are globally distributed, with lake sites in Utah, Maine, Baffin Island (Canada), Iceland and Turkey.

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The Great Blowdown: the Science and History of the Great New England Hurricane and its Effects on the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Presented by: Dr. Lourdes Avilés
October 27, 2021, 7-8pm

The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 is the one to which all other New England Hurricanes are sooner or later compared. Dr. Avilés, professor of meteorology at Plymouth State, who spent more than a decade studying the storm and wrote a book about it, will talk about the storm in the context of its place in history and hurricane science. The effects of the storm were many and unimaginable to modern New Englanders; in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, on which the talk will focus, there were massive tree damage and devastating floods. Terrifying and fascinating, the 1938 Hurricane has a unique interdisciplinary legacy that will be highlighted.

Dr. Avilés has worked at Plymouth State since 2004 and is currently “chair” of meteorology, physics, and climate studies, and director of the CAMPS (Computational, Applied, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences) Academic Unit. She is Trustee of the national University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. Dr. Avilés published a book on the 75th anniversary of the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 and an update on the 80th anniversary, which won the 2013 History Choice award from the Atmospheric Science Librarians International. She is currently working on textbook about the science, history, and societal aspects of atmospheric optics (rainbows, blue skies, and many other optical effects in the sky).

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Tamar: A White Mountain Innkeeper During the Civil War

Presented by: Rebecca W.S. More, Ph.D
March 18, 2021, 7-8pm

Among the quieter White Mountain Voices are those of working women. During the US Civil War, Tamar M. C. Sinclair (1828 – 1872) kept a busy staging inn in Bethlehem NH. Her husband was frequently away, busy with business and political interests. She ran the inn, raised three children, hiked up Mt. Washington and kept a diary. Thanks to her diary, Tamar’s voice still speaks to us from over 150 years ago. 

Rebecca Weeks Sherrill More, Ph.D., holds an appointment as Visiting Scholar in the department of History at Brown University, Providence RI. Dr. More’s publications include “The Settlement Maps of Early Lancaster New Hampshire: from Colonial Plantation to Republican Township” in Beyond the Notches: Stories of Place in New Hampshire’s North Country (2011) and various articles on New Hampshire history. She continues active research on the social, economic and cultural history of Early Modern England. Her writing and lectures include colonial and 19th c. New Hampshire history, the White Mountain National Forest and the 1911 Weeks Act. 

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On Foot, by Horse or Rail: Early Tourism in the White Mountains

Presented by Marcia Schmidt Blaine
September 17, 7-8pm

Before the nineteenth century, the White Mountains were seen as a fearsome wild region to be traveled through as quickly as possible. Today, the mountains are a place to linger and find renewal and energy. Harkening back to the MWM inaugural exhibit, “Passing Through,” we will explore the changes in transportation and accommodations that made the mountains accessible and welcoming.

Marcia Schmidt Blaine is a professor of History and Executive Director of Government Relations. Long a devotee of White Mountains history, she served as executive director of the Museum of the White Mountains where her interest in the connections between past and present environments and culture deepened.

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In Their Words: Historical Hiking Journals

Presented by Becky Fullerton
October 15, 7-8pm

The Appalachian Mountain Club Library & Archives hold journals, diaries and logbooks recording the firsthand thoughts and feelings of outdoor enthusiasts across the decades. Join AMC Archivist Becky Fullerton to hear the voices of hikers from the 1910s and 1920s, in this exciting reading of excerpts from three Northeast mountain trips. Visit the White Mountains, Green Mountains and Adirondacks through spoken word and images from the AMC’s collections.

Becky Fullerton is the Archivist of the Appalachian Mountain Club, based out of the AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch. She is a self-professed history nerd, a trail runner and White Mountains landscape painter.

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The People’s Forest

Presented by David Govatski
November 19, 7-8pm

Of the 154 National Forests in the United States, none had more public support from a diverse group of citizens, organizations, and businesses than the White Mountain National Forest. The forest conservation movement started in New England and eventually led to a lasting national environmental movement today. This presentation will describe the birth of the forest conservation movement in New England, where we are today, and its future challenges.

David Govatski is co-author of Forests for the People – The Story of the Eastern National Forests and is a frequent speaker and writer covering conservation and natural history topics. He was the Secretary of the Weeks Act Centennial Committee in 2011 and co-curator of the Centennial of the White Mountain National Forest exhibition in 2018 at the Museum of the White Mountains. He has visited all 175 National Forests and National Grasslands and retired after a 34-year career with the US Forest Service.

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Digging Into Native History in New Hampshire

Presented by Robert Goodby
January 21, 2021, 7-8pm

A New Hampshire Humanities event hosted by the Museum of the White Mountains. 

Abenaki history has been reduced to near-invisibility as a result of conquest, a conquering culture that placed lit le value on the Indian experience, and a strategy of self-preservation that required many Abenaki to go “underground,” concealing their true identities for generations to avoid discrimination and persecution. Robert Goodby reveals archaeological evidence that shows their deep presence here, inches below the earth’s surface. 

Robert Goodby is a professor of Anthropology at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Brown University and has spent the last thirty years studying Native American archaeological sites in New England. He is a past president of the New Hampshire Archeological Society, a former Trustee of the Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, and served on the New Hampshire Commission on Native American Affairs. In 2010, he directed the excavations of four 12,000 year-old Paleoindian dwelling sites at the Tenant Swamp site in Keene. 

*At the request of the speaker, this event will not be recorded.

This program is made possible by a grant from New Hampshire Humanities. Learn more at www.nhhumanities.org   

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Dance in WMNF Film: Untrammeled by Man

Presented by Ellen Oliver
February 18, 2021, 7-8pm 

2020 WMNF Artist-in-Residence Ellen Oliver will discuss her film titled “Untrammeled by Man,” a short dance film exploring our physicality in the Forest and its trails. 1,000 feet of aluminum foil was sculpted by her moving body and the natural environment throughout the project. Ellen will also discuss the upcoming White Mountain National Forest Film Festival, bringing together interdisciplinary artists, scientists, trail crew, and recreational users of the Forest to ask ourselves “How do we shape the Forest.” 

Ellen Oliver is a dance artist based in Providence, Rhode Island.  Ellen works to combine her interests in movement, film, and painting through her choreography, performance, and teaching. Her work values cross-disciplinary collaboration and friendship. Ellen is co-founder of ProviDANCE Project with Angela Cole, choreographing and presenting work at Bearnstow Maine, WAXworks NYC, Dixon Place NYC, Southern Vermont Dance Festival, Urbanity neXt Residency Boston, and AS220 Providence. She is also co-founder of  3 Spice Dance, a collective of dance artists who create with methods that are inspired by Bearnstow, ME. www.ellenoliverdance.com 

“Snow Bound” Revisited: An Adventure in the Mountains and the Studio

Presented by Laurie Whitehill
April 15, 2021, 7-8pm

In September 1915, Laurie Whitehill’s grandparents, and four other hikers, were stranded for five days in the newly built Lake-of-the-Clouds hut on Mt. Washington. Trapped by a raging snowstorm, they endured bitter cold, scant food, and no means of communication with the outside world. Listen to their story, retold by the artist, accompanied by anecdotes and images from the making of Laurie’s limited edition artist book. 

During her career as Special Collections Librarian and Curator of Artists’ Books at Rhode Island School of Design, Laurie Whitehill made use of her BFA in Illustration from RISD and her MLS from the University of Rhode Island, to teach with and about book treasures from the collection, and to create her own works of art in book form. An avid hiker and lover of the White Mountains, now in retirement, she explores the equally beautiful mountains of California, and continues to make art.