Project Nighthawk Confirms Successful Nesting of Endangered Bird

A nighthawk mother and its chick on a rooftop in downtown Keene. This is the first confirmed nighthawk nest in Keene since 2012, and one of only three confirmed nighthawk nests in the entire state so far in 2016. (photo: Brett Amy Thelen)

Common Nighthawks (Chordeiles minor) were once, well, common in cities throughout New Hampshire, where they nested on gravel roofs and fed on insects attracted to city lights. In recent years, however, these aerial acrobats have experienced a dramatic decline. Each summer, the Harris Center works with New Hampshire Audubon to coordinate volunteer nighthawk monitoring in Keene, one of the few cities in the Granite State where these endangered birds still breed.

We are excited to report that observations from our Project Nighthawk citizen scientists recently aided in the discovery of a nighthawk nest in downtown Keene − complete with a healthy fledgling. Read more…

In the Field with the 2016 KSC Conservation Interns

In late June, we wrapped up our fourth year of the Harris Center-Keene State College conservation internship program, a seven-week summer internship experience for undergraduate students in the Environmental Studies Department at Keene State College (KSC).

Under the guidance of Harris Center staff and KSC faculty, four outstanding undergraduate interns − Dorothy Arroyo, Victoria Drake, Rob Lanfranchi, and Shauna Sousa − assisted with many facets of the Harris Center’s diverse conservation and education work. Read more…

8 Years of Solar-Powered Fun

Ben Kriebel and Quinn Kelley from South Meadow School show off their trophy, awards, and creative solar-powered model car, which won first place for speed at the 8th Annual Monadnock Region Solar Sprint.

In early June, more than 100 students from six area schools gathered at Adams Park in Peterborough for the 8th Annual Monadnock Region Solar Sprint, a solar-powered model car competition coordinated by the Harris Center. Students spent weeks designing and constructing their cars in preparation for the race…and a few extra minutes at the starting line, waiting for the sun to come out from behind the clouds to power their cars.

Ribbons were awarded for Best Craftsmanship (to the car with the most careful construction); Most Innovative (to the car with the most creative design); Best Use of Technology (to the car with the most effective transmission and use of the solar panel); People’s Choice (to the car with the most student votes); and Speed.

Many thanks are due: to Borrego Solar for supporting this event; to the Peterborough Recreation Center for allowing us to transform the Adams Playground tennis courts into a solar-powered racetrack; to our cadre of skilled volunteers for keeping things running smoothly as racetrack builders, design judges, scorekeepers, and pit stop helpers; and to the competitors for an awesome day of solar-powered fun and learning!