Addition to Spring Calendar: Spring Cleaning the Harris Center Grounds on April 21

Join Hunt and Sara Dowse for a morning of outdoor work on the Harris Center’s beautiful grounds on Tuesday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to noon. (Rain date: Wednesday, April 22). Bring gloves and tools for weeding, brush cutting, pruning, and raking (or use the Harris Center’s tools). All ages and abilities are welcome. Light refreshments will be served during the work session.

For more information, please contact Hunt and Sara at (603) 525-4069 or

Save the Date for Salamanders!

A spotted salamander makes its way across North Lincoln Street in Keene, NH, with a little help from the Crossing Brigades.  (photo: Russ Cobb)As the earth thaws and spring rains drench New Hampshire, thousands of salamander and frogs make their way to vernal pools to breed. Many are killed when their journeys take them across busy roads. Each spring, we train volunteers to serve on Salamander Crossing Brigades at amphibian road crossings throughout the Monadnock Region. These heroic volunteers count migrating amphibians and safely usher the animals across roads during one or more “Big Nights.” Since 2007, our Crossing Brigades have moved more than 20,000 amphibians out of harm’s way!

This year, Crossing Brigade trainings will take place on Thursday, March 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Keene State College’s Putnam Science Center (Room 129) and Saturday, March 28 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Harris Center. (No need to attend both; just one will do.)

For more information, please contact Brett Amy Thelen at or (603) 358-2065.

Snow Science at Otter Brook Farm

Otter Brook Farm manager Bryn Dumas shows off a graduated cylinder of melted snow, part of the process for calculating the water volume of the snowpack. Each month from September through May, 8th graders from the ConVal school district work together with Harris Center naturalist Laurel Swope-Brush, ecologist Dr. Rick Van de Poll, and Otter Brook Farm manager Bryn Dumas to conduct field studies at the Otter Brook Farm property in Peterborough and Greenfield.

For their February visit, the students conducted a “snow math” investigation of four different woodland habitats, measuring snow depth and water content at each site. To calculate the water content of the snow, the students took core samples of the snowpack, which were melted down and poured into graduated cylinders for precise measurement. In class, the students related these snow pack measurements to winter wildlife habitat preferences, and discussed how measuring snow depth and water content can help us quantify the potential volume of spring snow melt into our ground and surface waters.

They couldn’t have picked a better month: while the students compile their data, we will continue to shovel, rake, and plow!