Land Trust Collaborates with Landowners to Publish Book

Hanover, NH—The Upper Valley Land Trust presents Out My Back Door, a book of photographs taken by landowner Shiela Swett on her conserved lands in Norwich and Sharon, Vermont. Shiela Swett is a retired teacher who has taken up amateur photography—being a nature lover it was only natural for her to choose the outdoors as her creative inspiration. Her book is speckled with brief insights into Vermont’s ever-changing seasons.

For fun, Swett spends time hunting for unique, dramatic, and beautiful elements in the natural world—that she finds by simply stepping outside her door. The book shows readers the simple joy that can be found in a flower, a butterfly, a bird, a mushroom, or a tree. As Mary Holland, a local naturalist, author and photographer says, “The book is really a gem. The colors, subject matter, composition and perspective are wonderful.” Swett uses grand, scenic views alongside close-ups to demonstrate the multiplicity of perspectives that can be found in the Upper Valley landscape. Her photographs invite other nature enthusiasts to do the same—pick up their cameras and go for walks along the trails and paths scattered around the region, some on lands conserved with the Upper Valley Land Trust.

The evident enthusiasm and vibrant color to be found in Swett’s photographs demonstrate the way in which protected land can inspire creativity. This explains why the Land Trust chose to collaborate with Bragg Hill Press and Desktop Studio in the book’s production. UVLT president, Jeanie McIntyre says this of the partnership: “We are proud to offer this opportunity to see nature in the Upper Valley through the eyes of Shiela Swett. Her photographs in Out My Back Door reflect her fascination with the outdoors in all its wonder and our commitment to keep it so—forever.”

Over 50 people gathered to hear a sampling of words inspired by the natural world of the Upper Valley read by Dartmouth professor, Terry Osborne. The Upper Valley Land Trust and the Norwich Bookstore hosted an event at the Norwich Public Library on October 27th from 5-7pm. The event was entitled: “Reflections on Nature: A Celebration of the Upper Valley Landscape” and it included readings of writings by local landowners. In addition, Out My Back Door was available for purchase, along with other related works, and Shiela Swett was on-hand to sign books. The readings were drawn from UVLT’s collection; they are personal, poignant essays reflecting the impact of local land on the lives of landowners, along with their families, friends and neighbors.

Along with the Bookstore, the Land Trust is partnering with Long River Studios in Lyme, NH to sell the book. Together, UVLT and Long River hosted a wine and cheese reception from 4:30-6:30pm on October 25th at Long River on Main Street in Lyme. The book was for sale and Swett was available to sign copies. About 25 people were in attendance to enjoy the refreshments and to have Shiela sign copies of the book.

For further information about Out My Back Door, please contact the Upper Valley Land Trust at 603-643-6626 at Out My Back Door is available for purchase at the Norwich Bookstore, Long River Studios in Lyme, NH, the Upper Valley Co-op in White River Junction, VT or at UVLT’s office on Buck Road in Hanover. Additionally, the book is available for purchase via UVLT’s Pay Pal widget on this page.

Thanks to all who made the two events so successful!