Brett Amy Thelen Receives Conservation Educator of the Year Award

a photo of Brett holding a spotted salamander on a Big Night

Brett Amy Thelen, out with the Salamander Brigades on a Big Night (photo: Anna Miller)

We’re delighted to report that our own Brett Amy Thelen has received the Cheshire County Conservation District (CCCD)’s Conservation Educator of the Year Award for 2017.

Brett has been weaving together conservation biology and environmental education in community-based citizen science programs − including the celebrated Salamander Crossing Brigades − for over a decade. Longtime Salamander Brigade volunteer Sarah Wilson says, “Brett is such a wonderful, positive influence on the citizen science world of the Monadnock Region. Her knowledge of the natural world is impressive and her passion for the topic is infectious. I feel lucky to know Brett and am appreciative of the positive influence she has had on my daughter − and on me!”

You can read more about Brett, and about the award, at

Educators Honored at 2017 Annual Meeting

a photo of Jaime Hutchinson (left) and Jay Hale (right)

Jay Hale of First Friends Preschools received the 2017 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award for her efforts to bring nature-based programming to all four First Friends Preschools in the ConVal district. Here, she is pictured (right) with Harris Center naturalist Jaime Hutchinson (left), who presented the award at the Harris Center’s 2017 Annual Meeting on October 22.

The Harris Center recognized several extraordinary partners at our 47th Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 22.

Lori Groleau, a sixth grade social studies teacher at South Meadow School, was named the Harris Center’s 2017 Educator of the Year. Lori is an exemplary and inspiring collaborating teacher, with a unique ability to envision new possibilities, a willingness to dive into unknown territory, tireless dedication above and beyond the classroom, and an infectious curiosity and enthusiasm. Lori has been working with the Harris Center for 16 years. Most recently, she worked with John Benjamin from the Harris Center and Matthew Roy from Otter Book Farm to renovate the South Meadow School greenhouse and gardens as part of a unit on sustainable food systems, plant growth, and scientific inquiry.

The 2017 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award — honoring former Harris Center Executive Director Laurie Bryan’s achievements in working with community partners — was awarded to Jay Hale of First Friends Preschool for her efforts to bring the Harris Center’s nature-based education programs to all the First Friends Preschools in the ConVal School District. Read more…

Help Us Protect a Scenic Gateway to Hancock

a map showing the boundaries of a 15-acre parcel on Route 123 in Hancock, NH

We’ve been given just three weeks to raise $25K in order to protect a special parcel of land on Forest Road (Route 123) in Hancock. With 1,550 feet of road frontage, this 15-acre property serves as a scenic gateway to Hancock Village. The land slopes steeply down from Route 123 to Old Hancock Road and the town’s Valley Farm conservation easement, and serves as a valuable wildlife corridor.

Protecting this property will preserve the forested approach to town on Route 123, as well as views from Old Hancock Road, which is a popular walking route. See photos here, and detailed maps here and here.

For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution in support of this land protection project, please contact Jeremy Wilson at or (603) 525-3394.