Educators and Researchers Honored at 2016 Annual Meeting

Sharyn D’Eon (left), Principal of Chesterfield School and Harris Center naturalist Jenna Spear O’Mara (right). Sharyn received the Harris Center’s 2016 Educator of the Year Award for her tremendous dedication to getting kids and teachers outside.

The Harris Center recognized several extraordinary partners at our 46th Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 16.

The 2016 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award — honoring former Harris Center Executive Director Laurie Bryan’s achievements in working with community partners — was awarded to the Keene State College Department of Environmental Studies for their vital contributions to the Harris Center’s conservation research work. Through coursework, independent research, internships, and citizen science projects, KSC’s dedicated faculty and students have collected valuable ecological data that helps us to better steward the lands in our care. Their work also ties in with our education mission, as it provides exceptional, hands-on learning opportunities for young adults who have great enthusiasm for the natural world, but often little professional experience in the environmental field.

Sharyn D’Eon, principal of Chesterfield School, was named as the Harris Center’s 2016 Educator of the Year for her lifelong dedication to helping kids explore their local landscapes and helping teachers gain confidence and competence with outdoor natural science investigations. No child is left inside at Chesterfield School thanks to Sharyn!

Celebrating Stream Restoration

Replacing an undersized culvert with a much larger, open-bottom arch enables both fish and floodwater to pass more easily under Hale Hill Road. (photos: Brett Amy Thelen & Gabe Bolin)

Replacing an undersized culvert with a much larger, open-bottom arch enables both fish and floodwater to pass more easily under Hale Hill Road.
(photos: Brett Amy Thelen & Gabe Bolin)

Ten years ago, our citizen scientists surveyed nearly 1,000 culverts and bridges throughout the Ashuelot River watershed to see where fish and aquatic wildlife movement were most impacted by roads. In the years since, we’ve worked with many partners to prioritize sites for stream restoration, based in large part on the data collected by our citizen scientists.

Now, restoration work is nearly complete on one of our highest-priority sites: an undersized culvert at Hale Hill Road in Swanzey has just been replaced with a new, flood-resilient and wildlife-friendly open-bottom arch crossing, re-connecting more than 20 miles of stream habitat in Falls Brook and the Ashuelot River for wild brook trout, dace, and other wildlife.

As with most things, partnership is the key to success, and we’re thrilled to be working with Trout Unlimited, the Cheshire County Conservation District, NHFG, NRCS, Keene State College, and the Town of Swanzey to restore fish passage to Falls Brook. We’re also grateful for support from the State Conservation Committee, NHDES, NHFG, the Town of Swanzey, and the NH Association of Conservation Districts.

To learn more about this exciting project, join us for a Volunteer Stream Restoration Workday on October 3, or for Why Did the Brook Trout Cross the Road? An Introduction to Fish- and Flood-Friendly Stream Crossings on November 17. For more information on either of these upcoming events, visit our online calendar or contact Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 358-2065 or

Hawkwatching with the Harris Center

A kettle of Broad-winged Hawks. (photo: Bill Lynch)

In September, Broad-winged Hawks and other raptors begin their southbound migration, wheeling high along ridgelines in large groups known as “kettles.” When the timing and weather are just right, thousands of hawks may pass through the Monadnock Region in a single day. Experience this spectacular natural phenomenon alongside skilled naturalists at any of these fall hawk migration events:

Hawkwatching from Pack Monadnock on September 18
Pack Monadnock Raptor Release on September 24
“Big Sit” Migration Watch on October 9

For more information on these and other upcoming Harris Center offerings, please visit our calendar of events.