Sam Evans-Brown

Environment and Education Reporter


Sam Evans-Brown has been working for  New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. His work has won several local broadcast journalism awards, and he was a 2013 Steinbrenner Institute Environmental Media Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

Follow Sam's tweets about the environment, education news, and everything else he's tracking.


Ways to Connect

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

A year ago, Thanksgiving dinners throughout New Hampshire were thrown into chaos by a surprise snowstorm that knocked out power to more than a third of the state.

A controversial natural gas pipeline proposed to cut across Southern New Hampshire has submitted its application to Federal Regulators. 

Chris Jensen / NHPR

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, one of the state's oldest conservation groups, has asked the Coos County Superior Court to block the Northern Pass project, a power line which would connect New England to Canadian hydropower.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Department of Environmental Services says Eversource Energy’s application to build the Northern Pass high voltage transmission power line is missing some pieces.

In a letter to the state’s energy siting committee, the DES writes the Northern Pass doesn’t have the signatures of landowners along the route’s right of way, which it contends are required for three kinds of environmental permits.

The Obama Administration's top environmental regulator, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, was in New Hampshire today promoting the use of wood as a fuel. McCarthy took a tour of sawmill in Middleton that burns leftover wood scraps to generate electricity and to heat its facility.  

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium

New Hampshire’s scores on the latest federally mandated standardized test – the Smarter Balanced – were released Thursday.

The headline: Fewer than half of the state’s students were judged to be meeting grade level benchmarks in math, though they are doing somewhat better in English.

biologycorner / Flickr Creative Commons

The results of a new standardized test are out and the headlines are fairly bleak.  The results of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, released Thursday, show that across the board, 58 percent of New Hampshire students scored “proficient” or better in reading, and in math the picture is even worse: only 46 percent made the cut.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

  In Londonderry, bush-whacking through some seriously thick brush, Fish and Game field biologists Brett Ferry and Tyler Mahard are hunting for rabbits, but instead of firearms they’re using traps and radio telemetry.

They will take blood samples and put radio collars on rabbits they capture to ensure that we will continue to have a good idea of the state of the threatened rabbit population, and a few will be sent to a captive breeding program at a zoo in Rhode Island.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

States all over the country have picked sides in the coming court challenge over the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, and New Hampshire will join 18 other states in defending the new carbon dioxide regulations from a legal challenge. 

All of the New England states are in this coalition as well as California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington. A few major cities round out the group.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Sanders arrived at the William B. Cashin Senior Center in Manchester around noon Friday, having just flown in from Washington and a 3 a.m. Senate vote on the latest budget deal.

Flickr CC /

New Hampshire has joined 48 other states and cities to sign a non-binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.  The pledge is called the Under 2 MOU (MOU is short for memorandum of understanding, and “Under 2” refers to the goal of keeping temperatures from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius).

Ron Sher; PREP King Tide Photo Contest

Thirty-five mayors and other local elected officials from coastal communities all over the country gathered in New Hampshire this weekend to talk about Sea Level Rise. They came from both parties, and they didn’t wind up in the state that hosts the nation’s first primary by accident. 

Basically anywhere with a coast was represented.

Mayors and other local elected officials from coastal communities all over the United States gathered in Hampton Saturday, hoping to capture the attention of candidates visiting the first in the nation primary state.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

Officials in Laconia say they’re pleased with their first efforts at holding the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival.

Eversource New Hampshire /

If printed on 8 x 11 paper, and laid end to end, a single copy of the Northern Pass’ application to the state’s Site Evaluation Committee, would stretch nearly 4 miles. With 51 appendices spread across 35 volumes, each application takes up more than 20,000 pages.

When they were laying out the boxes of applications that needed to be delivered “it looked like we were moving,” says Lauren Collins, Northern Pass spokeswoman. 

Dave Dugdale via Flickr /

Solar energy is big business in New Hampshire right now. Enough projects have submitted at least preliminary applications to add up to more than a 400 percent increase from 2014.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The Northern Pass has submitted its application to state officials.

The proposed 192-mile power line that would connect New England to Canadian hydro-power has been mired in controversy since it was announced in 2010. But with the filing of Monday's application, New Hampshire's Site Evaluation Committee now has until December of 2016 to approve or reject the project.

  Despite attracting heated opposition, a plan to allow the trapping of 50 bobcats every year will go forward following a Fish and Game Commission vote Wednesday. The proposal will still it still will have several public hearings before Fish and Game and a legislative committee.

Seven of eleven commissioners voted in favor of the proposal.

Carroll County’s commissioner Dave Patch said that if all fifty permit holders managed to trap a bobcat that would be only a fraction of the overall population estimated in a UNH study last year.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Recently, the Sanders campaign held an organizing party in Nashua.

There have been thousands of parties like these throughout the country, but in the beginning they were organized by local volunteers. 

Via USDA website

A compromise is in the works to raise the limit on the number of solar panels being installed on New Hampshire's electricity grid. The deal would likely result in less revenue for solar owners, but would allow the current boom in solar installations to continue.

At an annual energy summit in Concord Monday, Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said a bipartisan group is working to lift the cap on a solar incentive called net-metering.

Kinder Morgan

  Late Friday evening the Public Utilities Commission approved Liberty Utilities' proposal to buy space on a controversial natural gas pipeline proposed for Southern border of the state.

If you want to install solar panels at your home, it’s about to get a little more expensive. A reduction in the state’s renewable energy rebate goes into effect Thursday. The previous rebate was $.75 per watt, maxing out at $3,750, whereas the new one will be $.50 a watt, with a maximum of $2,500.

Saratoga Associates

A proposal to construct 9 large wind turbines in Southwestern New Hampshire will be allowed to go before state regulators again. The Site Evaluation Committee has decided the previously rejected Antrim wind farm has changed its proposal enough to get a second chance.

Eolian Renewable Energy’s original proposal for the Antrim wind farm was for ten-turbines, and to produce 30 megawatts on the windiest days. State Regulators rejected the project in 2013 because of the aesthetic impact it would have had on the region.

For most New Hampshire residents, electricity should be less expensive this winter than last. At least, that's the indication based on recent rate requests from some of the state's largest electric utilities.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Staff at the Public Utilities Commission say a grand bargain struck earlier this year to sell Eversource’s New Hampshire fleet of power plants may not be in the best interest of rate-payers.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Apple growers say good growing weather means they are expecting a bumper crop this year, but when the pick-your-own customers get to the orchards they may notice some changes.

Ella NIlsen / NHPR

A coalition of New Hampshire businesses has released a report urging other local companies to take action on climate change. The group is looking to re-frame the issue as a financial risk.

The report flows from a closed door meeting where representatives of around 100 New Hampshire businesses were invited to come and talk climate change.

“Basically to complain about a bunch of things we saw in the state in terms of dealing with increasing weather events that affect our business,” says developer and hotel owner Steve Duprey, co-chair of the group.

MattBritt00 via Flickr Creative Commons

Dartmouth College has released the results of a major survey which finds that more than 1 in 4 female undergraduates at the school have been victims of some sort of unwanted sexual encounter.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Bernie Sanders took his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President to the University of New Hampshire Sunday evening for the first time this primary season. The result: a big, enthusiastic crowd.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

When hurricanes or other large storms roll in, we often focus on the human toll-- buildings destroyed, properties damaged.

But those same storms can also wreak havoc on ecosystems and the plants that are their foundation. And if a native system is wiped out, will it bounce back? One conservation group is trying to create a repository of native New England seeds, which can be used for just that purpose.