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Plymouth State President Sara Jayne Steen and Appalachian Mountain Club President John D. Judge were at Crawford Notch Monday for the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the sharing of resources and expertise between the two organizations. (Courtesy)

School, outdoor group strengthen partnership, plan future projects


PLYMOUTH - Appalachian Mountain Club members cheered when Plymouth State University opened its Museum of the White Mountains in February.

They also helped publicize it, using the AMC's network of social media to help get the word out.

University and mountain club officials have been working together on small projects for several years. On Monday they formalized their relationship with the signing of a "memorandum of understanding" designed to foster ongoing sharing of resources and expertise.

"The two organizations have similar and shared interests and goals, so it made sense that we formalize our arrangement of working together in the future," said Rob Burbank, the AMC's director of media and public affairs.

The memorandum lays out the two organizations' similar goals and objectives going forward - education, scientific and environmental research, community partnerships, experiential learning, cultural and historic studies, and public service.

It was signed by AMC President John D. Judge and PSU President Sara Jayne Steen at AMC's Highland Center at Crawford Notch.

"We are happy to extend our wonderful partnership with the AMC and advance our common mission for this region," Steen said.

Founded in 1876, the nonprofit AMC is the nation's oldest conservation and recreation organization and operates roadside lodges, visitor centers, camps, shelters and backcountry huts in New Hampshire's White Mountains and lake regions.

AMC huts serve as centers for education and are venues for scientific research on alpine ecology and air quality. Its staff and volunteers maintain more than 1,500 miles of trails throughout the Northeast.

Burbank said the AMC and PSU plan to collaborate on scientific research on animal habitats and alpine life with educators and students working on projects and sharing research data.

Also, for example, PSU students may also play a role in AMC outdoor education activities, helping with guided hikes and naturalist walks, he said.

The AMC and PSU also agreed to initiate region-wide institutional collaborations with other organizations sharing similar goals. They agreed to meet annually to identify collaborative projects to be pursued in the ensuing year and to report on results of recent shared efforts.

Burbank said PSU may be playing a role in the celebration this summer of the AMC hut system's 125th anniversary.

dseufert@newstote.com

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