Conservation Commission hangs 'Help Wanted' sign

Nov 8, 2017

Longtime Rochester Conservation Commission member Dr. John Teal is resigning from the commission within the next few months, he announced during a November 7 meeting.

The announcement came at the end of the meeting, just before adjournment. "I have to announce that I'll be retiring within the next few meetings," Teal said, to the general surprise of the board.

"Well you've certainly put in your time," said fellow commission member Rosemary Smith. "We're going to miss you."

Even Teal wasn't entirely sure how long he'd been on the Conservation Commission. A longtime biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, he has worked with the Smithsonian Institution, the World Conservation Union and the Conservation Law Foundation.

Teal, alongside wife Mildred, published a popular book, "Life and Death of a Salt Marsh." The book, according to its Amazon review, describes how salt marshes are developed, what kinds of life call them home, how much they have contributed to mankind, and how they are being destroyed.

Teal was awarded a National Wetlands Award from the Environmental Law Institute in 1999. The award is given to those who "have excelled in protection, restoration and education," according to the Wetlands Award website.

Smith wondered if Teal was telling the commission that he was retiring early, so that they could get to work on finding a new member.

"Well, I'm not trying to push anything, but I do need to retire," Teal acknowledged. He offered no explanation for his sudden announcement.

The Conservation Commission will now be in search of a new member; members are appointed by Rochester's Board of Selectmen, and serve three-year terms.