Calling All Birders for the Christmas Bird Count!

photo: National Audubon Society

This is the 117th year of the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, which was originally conceived as a conservation-minded alternative to a 19th-century holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt.” Now it’s the longest-running citizen science project in the world, with more than 50,000 observers in 17 different countries. This year, the Christmas Bird Count will be held in Hancock, Peterborough, and surrounding towns on Saturday, December 17 and in Keene and environs on Sunday, December 18. The Harriers Young Birder’s Club is also organizing a count circle for kids and families as part of the Hancock count on December 17.
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Conservation Research Poster Sessions on December 15

Learn about ongoing conservation research in the SuperSanctuary at a poster session on December 15. (photo: Brett Amy Thelen)

This year, seniors in the Environmental Studies Department at Keene State College focused their two-semester capstone research projects on Harris Center lands. The students assessed road-stream crossings for fish passage and flooding potential, investigated road salt impacts on aquatic communities, conducted bee surveys at our new pollinator garden, surveyed trail use and conditions on four popular Harris Center hiking trails, and studied the abundance and distribution of fisher (Martes pennanti) in the SuperSanctuary. They’ll present their findings in two poster sessions on Thursday, December 15 – one from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Keene State College Student Center, and a second from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Harris Center.

For more information, contact Brett Amy Thelen ( or 603-358-2065) or Renate Gebauer ( or 603-358-2577).

Educators and Researchers Honored at 2016 Annual Meeting

Sharyn D’Eon (left), Principal of Chesterfield School and Harris Center naturalist Jenna Spear O’Mara (right). Sharyn received the Harris Center’s 2016 Educator of the Year Award for her tremendous dedication to getting kids and teachers outside.

The Harris Center recognized several extraordinary partners at our 46th Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 16.

The 2016 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award — honoring former Harris Center Executive Director Laurie Bryan’s achievements in working with community partners — was awarded to the Keene State College Department of Environmental Studies for their vital contributions to the Harris Center’s conservation research work. Through coursework, independent research, internships, and citizen science projects, KSC’s dedicated faculty and students have collected valuable ecological data that helps us to better steward the lands in our care. Their work also ties in with our education mission, as it provides exceptional, hands-on learning opportunities for young adults who have great enthusiasm for the natural world, but often little professional experience in the environmental field.

Sharyn D’Eon, principal of Chesterfield School, was named as the Harris Center’s 2016 Educator of the Year for her lifelong dedication to helping kids explore their local landscapes and helping teachers gain confidence and competence with outdoor natural science investigations. No child is left inside at Chesterfield School thanks to Sharyn!