Antioch acquires undeveloped land

Antioch New England Graduate School has signed an agreement to acquire 46 acres of wooded, undeveloped land in eastern Keene to be used as a study site for ecological monitoring.

The area, bounded on three sides by the Branch River and Otter Brook, is home to a type of oak typically not found this far north and wildlife such as black bear, moose, and gray fox.

“This land will serve as an invaluable research tool for our students,” said Peter Termes, president of the graduate school. “We will be able to observe and quantify the process of ecological succession on a stretch of forest that will be forever free of development. It’s an incredible opportunity.”

As recently as last fall, Cheshire County officials had been eyeing the property at Route 101 and Branch Road as a possible location for a new jail to replace the current facility in Westmoreland. However with help from the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, a group of homeowners near the property formed a coalition to preserve its wild, wooded character and raised close to $55,000 to purchase it from its former owner.

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