- Benee Hershon
September Community Member Spotlight: Jeff Littleton
Updated: Nov 16, 2022
From the coldest days of the year, to the heat of summer, Jeff Littleton is in the field strengthening conservation efforts and education in our region.
Since 2002, Moosewood Ecological has supported the Monadnock Region’s conservation goals through providing comprehensive ecological consulting services to our community.
Each year, the Cheshire County Conservation District (CCCD) honors an individual or organization with the “Educator of the Year” award. This is done to celebrate the efforts the recipient has undertaken to steward a conservation ethic and awareness through their personal and professional work, in any form of education that takes. This year we are happy to announce Jeff Littleton as our 2022 Educator of the Year.
Eastern smooth green snake, Image Credit: Jeff Littleton
Littleton grew up in Southwest Georgia and was the grandchild of farmers. Littleton notes that his childhood of spending time on the farm was instrumental in connecting him with nature. Littleton states, “It was an enlightening way of growing up”. He recalls spending summers on the farm and viewing nature in the fields and pond, admiring snakes, and catching fishes.
“It was a wonderful way of growing up as a kid, being able to connect with nature in a particular way that others don’t always experience”.
By high school, Littleton knew that he wanted to pursue a career dedicated to conservation. He became interested in the work of GreenPeace and understood the urgency of conservation due to the threat of development and a changing climate.
Wood Turtle, Image Credit: Jeff Littleton
During his high school years, Littleton volunteered at a local wild animal park, and even organized a benefit concert to support conservation through his brother’s band.
Littleton stayed in Georgia for college, earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a focus in Wildlife Ecology from Georgia Southern University. While in undergrad, he assisted in kestrel falcons research, and assisted in a raptor rehabilitation and release program.
Following graduation, Littleton made the move to Maine in 1995. He fully embraced New England, taking advantage of all the nature the region has to offer from the coast to the slopes.
Earning his master’s degree from Antioch University New England, Littleton eventually settled in the Monadnock Region with his son Eli and wife Amanda Littleton.
During his time at Antioch, Littleton took time to get to know the community inside and outside of the classroom. Prior to starting his own business he worked for an environmental consulting company in Vermont, then he began to privately consult for conservation projects in the region. Utilizing a network of connections from projects and volunteering, Moosewood Ecological was born.
Pollinator Field Project, Image Credit: Jeff Littleton
On the creation of Moosewood Ecological, Littleton states, “
It just sort of organically happened and it blossomed from there…Where I am now, I can’t believe the progress of Moosewood Ecological, and it is to everyone that has helped me along the way, my team, and with the support of Amanda (Jeff’s wife) and his son Eli through the years”.
In 2022, Moosewood Ecological celebrated 20 years in business.
Throughout the past 20 years, Littleton has immersed himself in conservation projects throughout the region. One project that he is especially proud of is one that he has been working on since 2008 with the Bear Hill Conservancy in Lyme, NH.
For 14 years, Littleton has consulted for 16,000 acres which is actively being put into conservation easement. This means that these 16,000 acres will forever be conservation land, and will remain undeveloped, an enormous feat for local conservation.
Deer Fawn, Image Credit: Jeff Littleton
In 2022, Littleton looks forward to taking his expertise overseas, serving as a consultant for a wildlife corridor project in Northern India and Kenya. In this exciting opportunity, Littleton will be working at the cross section of wildlife, local conservancies, and community.
With a near constant stream of projects it could be easy to lose motivation, but to Littleton it has had the opposite effect. He notes,
“Working with my team, I appreciate everything that they bring to the table because I learn so much from them as much as they learn from me. The various projects that we are involved with is just really inspiring. All of these different projects are wonderful, the clients I work with are amazing. I am very fortunate, in that, the folks that I get to work with and work for, really make a huge difference in my day”.
Black bear rubbing its back in skunk lure, Image Credit: Jeff Littleton
For Littleton, the relationships he is able to foster through his work, make all the difference. In conversation he notes the distinction of referring to the employees at Moosewood Ecological as his team, who make his work so meaningful and fulfilling. He reflects,
“There’s days like this, I just sit back and think wow, I am very lucky to be able to work with these folks, to do this good work, and I feel good about it”.
Outside of Moosewood Ecological, Littleton has taught courses in wildlife inventory techniques and forest ecology at Antioch University New England since 2007. These courses were taught each spring and fall and is a highlight for Littleton, as it immerses students in the field. He has also served on several boards for conservation organizations throughout the region. Littleton has also assisted in the consultation of several pollinator planting projects through CCCD.
Littleton notes that he is always looking for volunteers or team members who are interested in learning about conservation in our community. On learning with the community, he notes, “We [Moosewood Ecological] are really about spreading knowledge and receiving knowledge. The people that I work with, they provide me with a lot of information, and I provide them with a lot of information; and It's a two-way street. That’s what I love about my job, that we all have something to contribute”.
To learn more about Moosewood Ecological or to get involved, visit: https://moosewoodecological.com/
Join our community in celebrating Jeff Littleton, 2022 Educator of the Year at CCCD’s 77th Annual Celebration. Join us for an evening of food, music, and reconnecting with community: September 28th, 5:30-8:00PM at the Keene Country Club. Registration is required: https://celebrateCCCD.eventbrite.com