8th Graders Wade into Water Quality

A team of 8th graders works with Harris Center naturalist Susie Spikol Faber to sort and identify aquatic macroinvertebrates. (photo: Brett Amy Thelen)

Last month, 8th graders from South Meadow and Great Brook Schools waded into water quality studies of Bogle Brook (Peterborough) and No Name Brook (Antrim).

Under the guidance of Harris Center naturalists, the students learned to collect and identify aquatic macroinvertebrates − which serve as bio-indicators of water quality − living in the two brooks. They also used hand-held probes to measure and record temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen.

These studies are part of a year-long learning partnership with the Harris Center, with a focus on ecology and biodiversity. Next up: winter investigations into the connections between deer, humans, and the woods.

Protecting Osgood and Hurd Hills

The soon-to-be-protected property includes 580 acres of prominent highlands in Nelson, including Hurd Hill (right) and much of Osgood Hill (left), the second highest peak in Cheshire County. (photo: Brett Amy Thelen)

Some things just take time. For 30 years, the Harris Center has been interested in protecting a 580-acre parcel in Nelson that includes much of Osgood Hill and all of its neighbor, Hurd Hill. We’ve been working with the Nelson Conservation Commission on this project, and are delighted to announce that we’ve recently signed an agreement to purchase the property. We ultimately hope to sell the parcel to the Town of Nelson, while retaining a conservation easement on the land.

These highlands include the second-highest peak in Cheshire County, serve as headwaters for three regional watersheds, and will greatly enhance a connected, 1,700-acre corridor of conserved land extending north from Spoonwood Pond all the way to Route 9 in Stoddard.

To complete the purchase, the Harris Center seeks to raise an additional $50,000 by early December. For more information or to make a tax-deductible contribution to support this important land protection project, please contact Jeremy Wilson at wilson@harriscenter.org or (603) 525-3394.

Volunteers and Educators Lauded at Annual Meeting

Harris Center teacher/naturalist Polly Pattison (left) with the 2015 Educators of the Year (left to right): Teresa Morris, Elizabeth Marchi, and Alli Carr. For more from this year’s Annual Meeting, visit us on Flickr.

The Harris Center recognized many extraordinary partners at our 45th Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 18.

The 2015 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award — honoring former Harris Center Executive Director Laurie Bryan’s achievements in working with community partners — was awarded to Bryn Dumas, Matthew Roy, and Dr. Rick Van de Poll, for partnership in introducing both students and teachers to the beauty and wonder of the natural world. Since 2007, these three exceptional partners have collaborated with 9 different Harris Center staff members to reach over 1,000 middle and high school students and more than 30 classroom teachers.

Alli Carr, Elizabeth Marchi, and Teresa Morris, 3rd grade teachers at Symonds School in Keene, were named as the Harris Center’s 2015 Educators of the Year for their collaboration on a two-year owl study, part of a broader Harris Center program called “Birds in Our Neighborhood.” We are so pleased to honor these exemplary educators!

Jim Orr was also recognized for 27 years of service as the Harris Center’s volunteer “trail chief”; volunteer corporate counsel Stephen Froling was honored for his tireless work negotiating complex land protection agreements around Silver Lake; and Francie Von Mertens, Alison Rossiter, Jean Govatos, and Sara Dowse were celebrated for bringing the Harris Center’s new pollinator garden to life.

Supporters and staff provide the warp, but our volunteers allow the rich folds of tapestry that is the Harris Center to emerge from the loom. THANK YOU!