Antioch University New England

Antioch University New England

A Stellar Partner

The Harris Center’s relationship with Antioch University New England (AUNE)’s Department of Environmental Studies & Sustainability is long and storied, spanning most of our first 50 years.

AUNE and the Harris Center first joined forces back in 1974 when AUNE was seeking a home for its “experiential learning” summer day camp known as Wol’s Nest — named for Owl, who misspelled the sign on his home (“Owl’s Nest”) in the Hundred Acre Wood in the classic A.A. Milne book, Winnie the Pooh.

Three key players worked together to bring Wol’s Nest to the Harris Center: Cecil Lyon (the Harris Center’s volunteer director), Ty Minton (founder and co-chair of AUNE’s Environmental Studies Department), and Meade Cadot (then a naturalist with NH Audubon and an instructor for AUNE).

Time & Talent                     

Bird banders with nuthatches. (photo © Ben Conant)

Antioch alum and retired Harris Center teacher-naturalist Polly Pattison (left) and former Antioch professor Jon Atwood (right) lead a bird banding demonstration at the Harris Center. (photo © Ben Conant)

Meade became the Harris Center’s first paid director in 1975 while continuing to teach at Antioch, deepening the relationship between the two organizations. The Harris Center soon came to serve as Antioch’s de facto field station, with the SuperSanctuary forming the backdrop for Meade’s field courses, including Wildlife and Forest Management, Field Mammalogy, and Field Ornithology. Meade has since retired from teaching, but many other Antioch professors, past and present, have also donated their time and talent to the Harris Center, including Jon Atwood, Ty and Gel Minton, David Sobel (who currently serves on the Harris Center Board), Tom Tyning, Rick and Wendy Van De Poll, and Tom Wessels.

In addition to these connections with Antioch faculty, Antioch students have become some of the Harris Center’s greatest treasures, joining the Harris Center as staff. Current staff with degrees from AUNE include Janet Altobello, John Benjamin, Jaime Hutchinson, James Newsom, Susie Spikol, and Brett Thelen. Former Harris Center staff who were educated at Antioch include David Blair, Paul Bocko, Verna DeLauer, Claudia Wagner Dery, Richard Doherty, Lori Kinsey, Jay Garrett-Larson, Carol Lunan, Polly Pattison, Christine Payack, Sandie Phipps, Diana Reno, Julianne Sanders, Diane Zenger, and Mike Zettek.


Campers sit in a circle on the Harris Center lawn.

Although the Harris Center’s summer programs for kids have undergone many changes since the 1970s, when they were first launched as an “experiential learning” summer camp in partnership with Antioch University New England, some traditions — like opening circle — remain.

Perhaps the greatest synergy between AUNE and the Harris Center is Antioch’s internship (formerly “practicum”) program. Since the 1970s, the Harris Center has been providing real-life work experience for Environmental Studies students through structured internship opportunities. Over the years, scores of Antioch interns have come through the Harris Center’s doors, assisting with nearly all facets of our work, from conservation easement monitoring to curriculum development, as well as citizen science data management and analysis, and creating and updating our ever-changing SuperSanctuary map.

As for Antioch’s “experiential learning” day camp, staffing and administration of the camp program gradually shifted solely to the Harris Center in the 1980s. Forty-six years after Wol’s Nest was launched, summer programs for kids are still going strong at the Harris Center!

All of us at the Harris Center are grateful to Antioch for collaborating with us in so many ways over the years and look forward to many more years of creative cross-pollination.

Contact Us

For more information on the Harris Center’s 50th anniversary celebrations, please contact Lisa Murray at (603) 525-3394 or by email.