Adult Programs

Environmental Studies Institute

The Harris Center’s Environmental Studies Institute (ESI) courses provide opportunities for adults to learn about the Monadnock Region’s natural history, connect to the outdoors, and engage in meaningful discussion about the environment. Read on for more information on our Fall 2016 offerings!


Inspecting a bear-clawed beech.
(photo: Brett Amy Thelen)

Field Signs: Porcupines, Beavers, and Bears

Join Harris Center Naturalist Emeritus Meade Cadot and his sidekick Susie Spikol Faber to look for signs of porcupines, beavers, and bears. We’ll discover the natural history of this select group of mammals and find out how to interpret their feeding, denning, and territorial markings. Along the way, we’ll also see who else might be in the neighborhood. Be prepared to enjoy some moderate to strenuous hiking!

This course will meet on Thursdays, September 29, October 6 and October 13, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Harris Center and local field sites.

Cost: $30 for Harris Center members/$50 non-members

Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Sara LeFebvre at (603) 525-3394 or lefebvre@harriscenter.org.


Women on the Wapack: Section Hiking in Four Seasons

Women Wanderers through the ages! (photo: Historical Society of Cheshire County)

This series of trips is for women who dream of hiking the entire 21-mile Wapack Trail. Opened in 1923, this trail follows the Wapack Ridge from the base of Mount Watatic (Ashburnham, MA) to the north slope of North Pack Monadnock (Greenfield, NH). We’ll break it up over several days – one section in each season. Participants must be able to hike 9 hilly miles in a day. This is a motivating project that demands we stay physically fit throughout the year. Be strong, be adventurous, be a Wapack Wanderer Woman!

The group will get together on Tuesday, September 27 at the Harris Center from 4 to 6 p.m. (planning, prep, soup and salad potluck meeting); Thursday, September 29 at 9 a.m. at the North Pack Monadnock trailhead (hiking North Pack to Miller State Park, Peterborough); Tuesday, November 1 at the Harris Center from 4 to 6 p.m. (planning, prep, soup and salad potluck meeting); and Thursday, November 3 at 9 a.m. at the Temple Mountain parking lot (hiking Temple Mountain to Windblown Cross-Country Ski Area, New Ipswich). Winter and spring dates will be announced in January.

Cost: $50 for Harris Center members/$70 non-members

Facilitator: Janet Altobello, Harris Center School Program Coordinator and lifelong hiker

Space is limited, and registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Sara LeFebvre at (603) 525-3394 or lefebvre@harriscenter.org.


A Community of Women Dreaming of Getting (Back) into Hiking

Renew your connection with nature on local trails in the brilliance of October light. (photo: Lee Sullivan)

Renew your connection with nature on local trails in the brilliance of October light! Participants will: become familiar with easy to moderately challenging trails in the Monadnock Region; meet a group of women who may wish to hike together outside of this course; gain confidence as hike planners; discover nature’s surprises by slowing down and observing autumn up close with all our senses; and get a strong dose of Vitamin N (Nature!) Each week, we’ll hike, picnic, and enjoy the mystery of nature in “sit spots” along the path. New hikers or women who want a boost to get back into their hiking lives are encouraged to join.

The group will get together on Wednesdays, October 5, 12, and 19 (rain date: October 26) from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., meeting at the Harris Center to carpool to local hiking destinations.

Cost: $30 for Harris Center members/$50 non-members

Facilitator: Janet Altobello, Harris Center School Program Coordinator and lifelong hiker

Space is limited, and registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Sara LeFebvre at (603) 525-3394 or lefebvre@harriscenter.org.


Snakes of New Hampshire

A curious (and harmless!) garter snake.
(photo: Brett Amy Thelen)

Join Harris Center naturalist John Benjamin to explore the amazing world of snakes! We’ll investigate the behavior, evolution, and diversity of these fascinating and oft-misunderstood creatures, and learn how to identify all of New Hampshire’s native snake species. This course will include short hikes in search of wild reptiles.

This course meets on Fridays, October 7, 14 and 21, from 10 to noon at the Harris Center and local field sites.

Cost: $30 for Harris Center members/$50 non-members

Instructor: John Benjamin has been catching and caring for snakes since elementary school (thanks to his very supportive parents). He’s passionate about dismantling myths and fears surrounding these amazing animals.

Registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact Sara LeFebvre at (603) 525-3394 or lefebvre@harriscenter.org.