It was the moose that got away.
Lindsay Woodward's quest to photograph the natural beauty of her New Hampshire co-op's verdant territory started when she came upon an enormous moose posing majestically in a member's driveway.
“I tell people my favorite picture is the one I didn't take. It was the shot I missed," she says, laughing. “I didn't have a camera with me! I said to myself, 'How can I be out here and not have a camera?'"
She keeps that camera handy now.
Her job as a metering services specialist for
New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) takes her nearly every day to the remote homes and businesses tucked in the craggy woods of the White Mountains. Within minutes of leaving Plymouth, where the co-op is headquartered, she's off the highway, crunching along a gravel road in the heart of this rural New England state.
It's this wild world that Woodward shares with her social media followers, regularly posting photos of forest creatures, trees and flowers, barnyard critters, birds, and oddities she sees when driving roads to or from co-op service calls.
“It's about enjoying the moment," Woodward says. “And when that moment comes, capturing it."
She's been with the co-op just over two years and in the field since October 2019. Before that, she was a member-solutions representative, handling consumer-members' questions, concerns, and complaints over the phone.
“Inside call service was great training for the field. It can be tough," Woodward says. “I am often seeing people when they are having a hard time, when they may not be at their best. I am by myself, but I probably have the information in my head and can usually answer members' questions on the spot."
When the meter job came open, Woodward applied, hoping with all her heart she would get it, she says. The daughter of a U.S. Forest Service employee, Woodward brought with her a love of the outdoors that she has nurtured in her off hours, hiking the state's trails etched into the Appalachian ranges.
Those trails surround the state's majestic Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 feet. Its erratic winds, including a former world-record gust of 231 mph, create weather conditions that can dominate the state and wreak havoc on the 5,600 miles of line that reach NHEC's 84,000 members and 115 communities and villages.
Woodward is enchanted with it all.
“I see beauty everywhere I look as I drive. I see deer and the flowers in the meadows, the snow on mountains in late spring, baby goats, or I will see a tree and notice the way the mushrooms have formed on it," she says.
Sometimes, what she sees makes her chuckle—like the local building whose roof is adorned with a bus, a monument to New Hampshire's “Live Free or Die" motto that has always attracted eccentrics to the state.
At this writing in late March, the coronavirus and a state stay-at-home order put a halt to many of the co-op's field services, and Woodward was assigned to another department.
“I am thankful that NHEC really cares about the health and well-being of us as employees," she says. “I'm sure when I do go back to working out in the field, things will be much different, but I'm looking forward to it."
For now, Woodward looks expectantly into the blooming hills stitched by NHEC's power lines, cheered that new moments await.
“I will be glad to capture some of it."
Who knows? Perhaps the moose will return.
Know someone RE Magazine
could profile for our “Front Lines" column? We're looking for co-op operations and member services staffers, from meter readers to lineworkers to engineers, who make things work at electric co-ops nationwide. Contact us at email@example.com, or you can reach writer George Stuteville directly at