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 our Fall 2017 listings!


Rock Stars of Hancock
a photo of a person exploring a large rock that is balanced on a small perch

Balancing Rock. (photo: Brett Amy Thelen)

Hancock, often referred to as Hanrock by locals, is home to some of the Monadnock Region’s biggest boulders. Join Harris Center naturalist Susie Spikol Faber and a regional geologist for two mornings of rockin’ out on Hancock’s geological history. In our first session, we’ll meet at the Harris Center to learn why this little town has such big rocks. Our second meeting will be a driving and walking tour – complete with stories from local legend – of such famous rocks as Elephant Rock, Balancing Rock, and Merrill’s Cliffs.

This course will meet on Thursdays, September 28 and October 5, from 10 a.m. to noon. at the Harris Center and local field sites.

Cost: $20 for Harris Center members / $40 for non-members

Instructor: Susie Spikol Faber is a longtime Harris Center naturalist. When she’s not out rambling around the woods, she spends her days writing, running, and tending her family’s organic orchard.

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


Scale Your Inner Everest
a picture of a woman standing in front of the Grand Tetons

This course for women relies on the power of time outdoors to help you focus on what your body can do rather than how it looks. (photo: notnyt)

Scale Your Inner Everest is a new step-by-step program for women who want to quiet their inner critic, boost their body image, and kick life in the shorts! Presented over four weeks, this program will rely on the power of time outdoors to help women appreciate their bodies, make peace with their “flaws,” and focus on what their bodies can do rather than how they look. Participants will receive an e-workbook with activities designed to boost their body image, a downloadable action plan to help them follow through with their commitments, and supportive interactions with like-minded women.

This course meets on Thursdays, September 28, and October 5, 12, and 19, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Harris Center.

Cost: $40 for Harris Center members / $60 for non-members

Instructor: Sonya LeClair is an ecologist, writer, and certified health coach with a focus on using time outdoors as a springboard to improve physical and mental health. She has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology, an M.S. in Biology, and over 20 years of experience with ecology, conservation, and engaging people with the outdoors.

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


Fungus Among Us: Mushrooms and Fungi in our Forests and Backyards
a photo of a mushroom on a woodland trail

Learn how to identify a variety of wild mushrooms. (photo: Brett Amy Thelen)

Join naturalist John Benjamin for an investigation into the fascinating world of fungi! We’ll explore the incredible diversity, strange adaptations, and unique life cycles of mushrooms and fungi, as well as the essential role they play in our ecosystems. We’ll also learn how to find and identify a variety of wild mushroom species, including edible varieties. Classes will include informative slideshows, hands-on examination of specimens, spore-printing, and hikes on the Harris Center’s trails in search of mushrooms.

This course meets on Fridays, October 6, 13, 20, and 27, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Harris Center.

Cost: $40 for Harris Center members / $60 for non-members

Instructor: John Benjamin’s deep interest in fungi was sparked  by years of encountering strange and beautiful mushrooms during forest hikes. He is passionate about identifying wild specimens, foraging edibles, and helping others develop a deeper appreciation for these amazing life forms that grow quietly all around us.

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


Forest Bathing: Reconnect to Nature
a photo of an inviting forest path strewn with autumn leaves

Wake up your senses and reconnect to the natural world through Forest Bathing. (photo: Lee Cullivan)

You won’t need a towel for this bath! Forest Bathing is gaining popularity in the US after being practiced in Japan for decades. Through yoga poses, deep breathing, and quiet sensory observations, our revitalizing Forest Bathing mornings will help you manage your stress during this busy time of the year. Gentle rambles around the trails and hidden courtyards of the Harris Center will wake up your senses and give you a chance to reconnect to the natural world and to yourself.

This course meets on Thursday, November 2, and Wednesdays, November 8 and 15, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Harris Center.

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

Instructors: Marilyn Wyzga and Susie Spikol Faber have been Forest Bathing since before they could walk.

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