Starting on July 1, UNH Cooperative Extension will have a new Area of Expertise focused on Nature Economies, leveraging communities’ natural resource base to foster vibrant economies and high quality of life. Shannon Rogers, UNH Extension state specialist, is forming and will chair the Nature Economies Area of Expertise, which will assist communities in identifying and utilizing their natural capital, such as connecting their downtowns with trails and leveraging green infrastructure to reduce or maintain costs of community services.
Members of this Area of Expertise will include Penny Whitman (Field Specialist, Sullivan County), Brendan Prusik, (Field Specialist, Coos County), and Sharon Cowen (Field Specialist, Hillsborough County).
The Nature Economy AoE will pilot a new Downtowns and Trails program in Bristol this summer and fall. The goal is to help local civic and municipal leaders establish strong linkages between trails and waterways and the downtown in order to support the local economy.
Charlie French, Program Leader for Community and Economic Development, says, “This new area of expertise creates a strong bridge between Extension’s community development work—which focuses on cultivating local leadership—to the work of the Natural Resources Team. We are very excited that there is strong demand for this work from communities!”
Molly Donovan will continue to lead the Community Economic Development Area of Expertise, whose work will intersect strongly with that of Nature Economies.