Forest supporters look forward to Nutfield's 300th

JULIE HUSS/File photoKent Allen, left, is honored by the town of Londonderry for his efforts supporting the town forest. The forest was named in Allen's honor last spring. At right is Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith.

LONDONDERRY — As the town gets ready to celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2019, making the community look good includes work in the town's woods.

At the Londonderry Town Council meeting Monday night, forest supporters were scheduled to present information on ways to highlight the Town Forest at the Town Common in preparation for the 300th anniversary of the original Nutfield settlement that included Londonderry, Derry, Windham and parts of other surrounding communities.

Communities are now working on 300th anniversary schedules to highlight all things about how the 16 earliest Scots-Irish families came to this area to start a new life in 1719.

Kent and Meredith Allen of Londonderry offered a report to Council that explained the history of the forest at that time and what trees were growing there.

It's the hope that the forest and its trees will be made ready for the big anniversary, according to Meredith Allen.

She said when those first settlers came here, they found many trees that served to help build homes and keep fires burning. Those included American chestnut, black walnut, and butternut.

When a blight came through in the early 1800s and destroyed many of these trees, other tree species took over area forests like maple, oak and birch.

"As a tribute, to look forward to our town's celebration, a planting of the trees we lost to blight was done in May 2017 in an attempt to reclaim them here in Londonderry," Meredith Allen said in her report to Council. "A planting of these trees called 'The Nutfield Planting' was done last May by the edge of the forest and before the Mack's Apples orchard lands. It was established by our involvement with the American Chestnut Foundation and fifth-grade students from our three elementary schools — Matthew Thornton, North School and South School."

She said as the town prepares for the 300th, it's time to plant more trees and make the forest ready for the big anniversary year.

"We would like to see the woods come alive with natural colors and rejuvenated by new growth," she said, adding this could involve many groups and organizations coming together for a common forest goal.

"This would be a way of bringing the community together for the common good and the personal enjoyment for all and it would be something we would all be part of," she said.

Allen said her husband Kent has been a strong supporter of all things Town Forest for many years, involved in general cleanup, projects and organization of beautification events in the community along the trails and in the woods. The couple wants to help organize a program "Let's Beautify Our Forest" for Londonderry's 300th anniversary celebrations and that would involve asking for donors, supporters, contributors to be willing to take on specific projects in the forest leading up to the big anniversary.

More information will be coming as details on the forest project are put in place, Allen said.

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