A nature lover from the get-go, he wants more to get out
James Bride grew up in Dedham near a small unnamed pond, where he'd do fun kid stuff like checking out the tadpoles in the spring. Bride's family also vacationed in the New Hampshire mountains, where his respect for the outdoors took even firmer hold, he said.
So it's not surprising that Bride, now 52, has spent a chunk of his working life in land conservation: Since May 2017, he has been executive director of the Sippican Lands Trust in Marion, and prior to that was development and outreach coordinator at the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust. From 2012 to 2014, Bride was the first-ever development director at the Monadnock Conservancy in New Hampshire.
"This combines everything I've done in my career — consulting, teaching and fund-raising for private high schools and environmental organizations," said Bride, who in addition to holding a bachelor's degree in environmental conservation from the University of New Hampshire has a master's degree in education from Wilmington University in Delaware.
One of his main goals has been letting the public know about the 1,350 acres spread over 50-plus properties that the Sippican Lands Trust protects — about 15 percent of the land in Marion. The trust is launching a plan to identify priorities, including partnering with entities such as the Marion Art Center to have artists paint scenes from the trust's holdings to exhibit at the art center.
"We're also working with the public library to do walks and talks this spring," Bride said, adding that in the fall, the trust will team up with the Marion Natural History Museum to have an ecologist lead a forested walk for the public to identify tree species.
The biggest thing on the trust's plate is raising more than $400,000 to build an 1,800-foot boardwalk at one of its holdings, Osprey Marsh, to make the trail fully accessible, Bride said. About half the money has been raised so far.
Mainly, he said, "I want us to be more proactive, getting more people out and walking, engaged and connected with nature. We have some beautiful properties, and want people to enjoy them."