Origins of the NHACC

At the Second Congress of New England Conservation Commissions, New Hampshire in November 1970, NH conservation commissioners formed the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions (NHACC) and elected Pat Bruns, chairman of the Lee Conservation Commission, president of the new organization. A three-year grant from Spaulding-Potter Charitable Trusts enabled the Association to assume responsibility for the newsletter previously published by and to hire as executive secretary Malcolm "Tink" Taylor of Holderness. The NHACC was incorporated on March 26, 1971, and became an affiliate of the NH Municipal Association in October of that year.

In 1971, Tink Taylor submitted a proposal to the Ford Foundation for a program of small grants to assist municipal conservation commissions. The proposal was funded, and Tink served as a consultant to the Foundation during the project. The Ford Foundation's two-year Program of Assistance to Municipal Conservation Commissions began in January 1972 and ultimately provided $600,000 to commissions in seven states: Maine, NH, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey. In NH, 68 conservation commissions received a total of $94,379 in grants for projects that included natural resources inventories and various aspects of land use and open space planning and protection.

While the Ford Foundation provided financial assistance to some New Hampshire conservation commissions, NHACC was encouraging the establishment of commissions in other municipalities, providing advice and information to commission members, publishing a quarterly newsletter, and sponsoring an annual meeting. Funding for the NHACC came in part from dues paid by member municipalities, but from the outset the NHACC wished to provide more services than could be funded from dues income alone. As a result, the NHACC applied for and received non-profit status [501(c)(3)] from the Internal Revenue Service in 1974. Since that time the NHACC has sought and received financial support from a variety of sources to provide programs for and services to municipal conservation commissions beyond those funded by dues.

Over the years, the projects of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Commissions have included:

  • NH Municipal Conservation Fund Guidebook
  • Handbook for New Hampshire's Municipal Conservation Commissions 
  • Training courses for conservation commissioners 
  • Workshops and two publications on lakes 
  • Workshops in NH, Vermont and Maine and a publication on hazardous wastes 
  • Meetings and a guide on water quality
  • Volunteer acid precipitation monitoring project 
  • The publication of a Guide to the Designation of Prime Wetlands in New Hampshire 

The Association's executive director is a statutory member of the NH Current Use Board. The NHACC also has cosponsored, participated in, and advised on a number of endeavors with other groups, organizations, and state agencies, including: a "clean water special" train trip; a public advisory committee to the NH Water Supply and Pollution Control Commission; a series of workshops and meetings with the NH Wetlands Board on dredge and fill permit procedures; the NH Citizens Task Force on Acid Rain; the NH Forestry Communications Council; a variety of official and unofficial legislative advisory committees; and a pilot program to assist municipalities with water resources issues and protection.

For its first decade, Malcolm "Tink" Taylor of Holderness was the NHACC's part-time executive secretary. Cynthia M. Ivey of Waterville Valley served as NHACC wetlands advocate from 1977-1982. During her tenure, she wrote the wetlands supplement to the 1974 handbook, conducted numerous training sessions and workshops on wetlands, monitored the NH Wetlands Board and reported its actions to conservation commission chairmen, and served as acting director in 1980 and 1981. When Tink Taylor left the NHACC in 1980, the Board of Directors decided that the Association needed a full-time executive director in order to improve services to municipal commissions and engaged Kristina Peterson to fill that role. After less than a year, Ms. Peterson left the NHACC and the Board of Directors hired Marjory M. Swope of Concord as executive director in October 1981.

Marjory continued as executive director for 25 years. Marjory helped with the formation of many Conservation Commissions and assisted with numerous publications. Marjory retired in April of 2006. On June 8, 2006, the NHACC Board of Directors voted to establish the Marjory Swope Conservation Fund to honor Marjory Swope's remarkable contributions.

Following Marjory’s long tenure, Carol (Krygeris) Andrews, served as executive director from 2006 to 2013. She expanded the annual conference, developed the NHACC website and co-authored The NH Municipal Conservation Fund Guidebook (2010).  

     Nicholas Coates served as executive director from 2013 to 2015.  Barbara Richter was hired as the executive director in 2016. She brings with her more than 20 years of experience in communications, administration and  land conservation.


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