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Presidential Award of Excellence


Frank Mitchell

Extension Professor/Specialist - Land and Water Conservation
Cooperative Extension

Frank Mitchell at a wetland near Woodman Farm where for years he taught students how to evaluate wetland functions and values.

Frank Mitchell, who joined UNH Cooperative Extension in 1979, is considered one of the state’s leading experts on community land conservation issues. He has worked tirelessly educating community volunteers about natural resources inventories and land conservation options.

“I realize how much of a difference those of us in Extension have made in some of those towns and cities, helping people reach goals they’ve established themselves and achieving things they didn’t usually feel they could have done without the assistance,” Mitchell says.

Nancy Spencer-Smith, a former Wakefield community member who worked extensively with Mitchell, says that Mitchell’s expertise has given her “complete confidence” in Cooperative Extension. “Frank and his colleagues consistently provide expert advice, assistance, and comfort,” says Spencer-Smith. “As an activist for land and water conservation, I applaud Frank Mitchell’s expertise, dedication, and skilled diplomacy.”

Mitchell moves easily from the community to the classroom, mentoring, motivating, and teaching UNH natural resources students. In 2006, along with professors Robert Eckert and Mimi Becker, he designed a land conservation course for UNH students called Land Conservation Principles and Practices. An overwhelming success, it is now the “capstone course” for environmental conservation majors.

A longtime community volunteer, Mitchell also is a founding member of Bear Paw Regional Greenways, a land trust formed in 1996 that serves as a model for similar efforts in New Hampshire.

Mitchell’s work will have a lasting impact on the University and New Hampshire communities. He says he feels lucky to have worked in a way that’s consistent with his own values, and to have worked with other people “to create visions for their communities, to see those visions realized, and to know that they have left their part of the state in a better condition than it would be otherwise.”