Rivers, lakes and trails can increase economic vibrancy in communities and understanding the connection between natural assets and economy is a large part of UNH Cooperative Extension’s Nature Economy work. The natural beauty and amenities found in New Hampshire are some of the main reasons that many students attend the University of New Hampshire and study disciplines related to nature and economy. Two of those students shared results from their applied research at the annual Undergraduate Research Conference on April 26th and 27th.
Bryan Dwyer, a senior community and environmental planning major, has been working with State Specialist & Extension Professor, Shannon Rogers, throughout the Spring Semester. Bryan is interested in rail trails and greenways (long distance, multiuse trails) and has been investigating the economic impacts of these trails throughout the Northeast. He is working on an information brief with Rogers, which will be published shortly and used to help communities better understand how greenways may impact their economy. This is an important contribution as there is limited data in New Hampshire to help communities and regions consider this recreational and transportation option.
Water is everywhere and provides our economy and communities with countless benefits. These benefits are often not easily recognized. In order to help communities make better decisions about water resource management, Paige Mckibben (senior environmental and resource economics major) has been working with Dr. Alison Watts (Research Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering) & Dr. Rogers to compile existing economic data and resources on water in the State and Region into an easily accessible data base. Paige’s work contributed to a larger study for the group, New Hampshire Lives on Water, which looks at the values and costs of New Hampshire’s water resources, including freshwater recreation, tourism, and stormwater.
We, at Cooperative Extension, are proud to offer undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to conduct applied research that can directly benefit and improve New Hampshire communities. Paige and Bryan are some of the most recent examples of this collaboration.