Harris Center Memories

A Meander Down Memory Lane

A photo of Meade Cadot with a crow sitting on his head, circa 1976.

Meade Cadot and an avian friend at the Harris Center, circa 1976.

What’s your favorite Harris Center memory? Maybe it’s a sunrise paddle at Spoonwood Pond or a game of “Bobcat” at summer camp. Perhaps it’s the first time you held a salamander in your hands or watched a kettle of hawks stream past the summit of Skatutakee. Whatever the memory, we want to hear it! During our 50th Anniversary Year, we’ll share as many of your stories as we can.

Please limit your recollections to 100 words or less, feel free to send along a photo or two, and remember to tell us your name. Keep in mind that we may share your photo and story, with credit to you, in Harris Center social media, print publications, or right here on our website – which we’ll update throughout the year. Thanks for the memories


Stories You’ve Shared

Watching One of Nature’s Secrets Firsthand

A bald-faced hornet rests on a clover flower. (photo © John Munt via the Flickr Creative Commons)

A bald-faced hornet rests on a clover flower.
(photo © John Munt via the Flickr Creative Commons)

It was very early spring in Stoddard. The snow had just melted and we were dissecting rotting logs in the woods to study decomposition. One of the kids called me over. I was expecting something quite typical like a giant earthworm or a group of ants. Instead, there was a very large bald-faced hornet lying just below the leaf litter. It looked dead, but upon closer inspection its abdomen was moving — in and out — quite slowly. It was breathing! These insects “hibernate” in the winter, and soon, when it was warm enough, this female would be emerging to lay eggs and start a colony. It was the first time I’d seen an overwintering hornet, and it was like watching one of nature’s secrets firsthand. We watched for as long as we could, the kids carefully covered her back up, and left her to “wake up” when she was ready.
Jenna Spear, Harris Center Teacher-Naturalist


Never Underestimate the Power of the Pileated Woodpecker

Two special memories come to mind:

A photo of a Pileated Woodpecker in a crabapple tree.

….in which Meade learns the true power of the Pileated Woodpecker. (photo: Meade Cadot)

A beautiful Willard-to-Robb Harris Center hike over ice and snow on a bitterly cold winter’s day.

and . . .

A call to the Harris Center to let us know that a Pileated Woodpecker had so heavily compromised a local tree that the caller worried it would fall on the power lines. Meade advised: “not for another hundred years…” The next day, all of Hancock was without power – the ‘holey’ tree had taken out the wires.
Diana Jacobs, Harris Center Donor Coordinator


Hawkwatching & Hearing Loss

For a couple of decades, the Harris Center’s annual hawk watch took place on Crotched Mountain’s Blueberry Ridge.

A photo of Meade Cadot peering through bincoluars. (photo © Ben Conant)

Meade Cadot recalls a particularly memorable hawkwatching experience on Crotched Mountain. (photo © Ben Conant)

In 1995, I convinced local radio and TV celebrity Fritz Wetherbee to bring his camera crew up to the ridge for an episode of New Hampshire Crossroads. Back in those days, TV cameras were more than a handful, and fingers were crossed as they were lugged up to the ridgetop. Low and behold, just as the cameras were ready to roll, 1000+ hawks — mostly Broad-wingeds— streamed right over us! That episode was aired many times over the next few years, and often viewers didn’t realize they were watching history rather than the current affairs….

About a decade later, during a lull in the hawkwatching, I decided to cut down some of the ever-growing saplings that were springing up and obscuring the view. So I removed my hearing aid, put it in my Harris Center hat, and plunged into the brush with a handsaw. When I returned to the watch, I donned my cap, forgetting about the hearing aid, and in the process flipped the hearing aid out into the grassy area where all the watchers were gathered.

Later, realizing what had happened, I called around to borrow a metal detector. My wife Sandy and I went back to the ridge to look, but soon realized that there is so little metal in a tiny hearing aid nowadays that the search was futile.

Months went by while I agonized about whether and when to invest in a new one. Then I got a call from Noel, my audiologist. The hearing aid had surfaced — in Manchester! It seems some elderly person up there for the hawk watch had found the hearing aid and put it in the pocket of her coat. Some time later, the coat was donated to the Veterans’ Administration in Manchester. Staff there had found the hearing aid; however, none of their clients were missing one. But the hearing aid had a serial number, and that allowed it to be tracked back to Noel. Boy, was I glad when she called, as it saved me several thousand dollars!

Meade Cadot, Harris Center Naturalist Emeritus