A Caring Pediatrician
Dr. Jean Rosenthal moved to the Monadnock Region in the 1980s to join the pediatric practice of Drs. Grassi and Boxer, eventually re-named Monadnock Regional Pediatrics. Jean enjoyed working in a rural community, attending to children from all walks of life and many surrounding towns. Before long, she got involved with the Harris Center.
“I was always very interested in nature and started going on Harris Center nature walks and to Harris Center events when I moved here. And I was always very aware of children’s programs — Wol’s Nest and the school programs.”
Back in those days, Jean was working every third night, but she took advantage of her time off to be active outdoors. She enjoyed hiking and kayaking, often on excursions led by a Harris Center naturalist.
Retired since 1999, Jean volunteers her time with the Harris Center in a number of ways. She even helped raise money for the 2001 green building renovation capital campaign.
“It was interesting! I got a big sense of satisfaction from that.”
Jean was also involved in the conception and development of the Harris Center’s Environmental Studies Institute (ESI). Inspired by the ideas of former Harris Center Board member Bill Berkeley, who had been the president of Elderhostel (now known as Road Scholar), ESI courses help adult learners dig deeper into the natural and cultural history of the Monadnock Region. Now an integral part of the Harris Center’s community education programming, ESI first took root with the help of an advisory group which included Jean, Roger Sweet, Barbara Gannon, Sara Dowse, Heidi Chester, Roberta Beeson, John Goodhue, and staff members Laurie Bryan and Susie Spikol.
“Adults were looking for more rigorous nature programs. Some wanted more things outdoors; some wanted to learn from books. Jenna Spear taught one of the first classes and was terrific! There were a lot of people who were really interested in learning. We’d piggyback the longer courses (5-6 weeks) with shorter things, like how to identify a tree in the dead of winter.”
An Inquisitive Mind
With a PhD in neuroscience and a medical degree from Yale, it’s obvious that Jean has a very active mind. Her interests have no bounds!
“I have new passions all the time. I get interested in everything! It’s geology, history, and modern physics now. I pick up books on anything that interests me.”
A resident of Peterborough, Jean gets out and hikes on most mornings. And you might find this Renaissance woman in the woods carrying a bag anytime from the end of May through October, as another interest of Jean’s is hunting — for mushrooms!
“I’m a serious mushroomer. That’s one of the things I got started on at the Harris Center with Rick Van de Poll. It’s interesting to learn how to classify them. Every spring, summer, and fall I roam our woodlands, my mushroom ‘farm’, harvesting bags of delicious edible mushrooms, if lucky, and cooking them, drying them, preserving them and sharing the bulk with many friends.”
Protecting the Land
Jean is also passionate about land protection. About a decade ago, she donated a conservation easement to the Harris Center and strengthened another one that had already existed on land she owned in Harrisville. These 120 acres are now part of the SuperSanctuary and will protect wildlife habitat for generations to come. Jean’s love of wildlife and nature inspired her generosity.
“My property hadn’t been cut in 60 or 70 years. It’s nice to see great big old trees.”
Conservation, outdoor exploration, education . . . Jean has been part of so much at the Harris Center. Who knows where her active mind will lead her as we head into our next 50 years?
For more information on the Harris Center’s 50th anniversary celebrations, please contact Lisa Murray at (603) 525-3394 or by email.