Frequently Asked Questions

How Can We Help?

Can I bring my dog on Harris Center trails? Where do I find out about weather cancellations? What should I do with this baby bird? Get answers to the most common Harris Center questions here!

Outings & Events

  • Can I bring my dog along on a guided Harris Center hike?

    Leashed dogs are welcome when hiking our trails, but for the safety and comfort of all our program participants, dogs are not allowed on our organized outings. Service dogs are an exception. If you would like to bring a service dog on a Harris Center outing, please contact the trip leader in advance. For other questions related to Harris Center outings, see our Outing Information page.

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  • How will I know if you've canceled an event due to weather?

    All cancellations will be posted to the Harris Center’s online calendar. In general, for daytime events, cancellations due to snow will follow the ConVal School District’s snow day decisions. (That is, if ConVal schools are closed due to winter weather, any daytime Harris Center events scheduled for that day will be canceled or postponed. If ConVal schools are open, Harris Center events will proceed as planned.) For evening events, cancellations will be posted on the website by2 p.m. on the day of the event. For other questions related to Harris Center events, see our Outing Information page.

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Land & Trails

  • Can I bring my dog on Harris Center trails?

    Dogs are welcome on Harris Center trails, but they must be leashed at all times. We also ask that you pack out dog waste.

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  • Where can I find maps of Harris Center trails?

    Downloadable, printable maps of Harris Center trails can be found on our Trails webpage. Hard copies are available in the Harris Center’s front foyer, which is open even when the building is closed.

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  • Can I ride my mountain bike on Harris Center trails?

    Most of our trails were not designed with mountain bikes in mind. However, mountain biking is welcome on the Eastview and Jaquith Rail Trails. (There is one section of the Jaquith Trail that gets a little bumpy due to the presence of old railroad ties in the trailbed.)

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  • Can I ride my snowmobile or ATV on Harris Center trails?

    Harris Center trails are open to non-motorized recreation only.

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  • Is hunting allowed on Harris Center lands?

    Yes, no, and maybe. The Harris Center does allow hunting — with conditions — by permit on much of the land that we own or manage. Hunting permits for Harris Center land are free, and issued by the Harris Center. However, some properties are off-limits due to land use that is not compatible with hunting or the wishes of the person who originally donated the property to the Harris Center.

    Hunting on land for which the Harris Center is the easement holder is at the discretion of the individual landowner. Many of these landowners have decided to open their property to hunters, while others have posted their land. Please contact the individual landowners directly if you are interested in hunting these lands. A permit from the Harris Center does not cover these easements.

    For more information or to apply for a Harris Center hunting permit, please contact James Newsom at (603) 525-3394 or by email.

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  • How do I reserve a campsite on Spoonwood Pond?

    Overnight camping at Spoonwood Pond is available by reservation only to Harris Center donors at the $75 level and above. Learn more here.

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  • I'm interested in conserving my land. What should I do?

    There are many options for conserving land. To figure out which one might be the best fit for you, and whether your land would be a good fit for the Harris Center’s land protection program, please call Land Program Coordinator Eric Masterson at (603) 525-3394.

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Nature & Wildlife

  • I found a dead animal. Do you want it?

    Many of the taxidermied mounts in our teaching collection first came to us as roadkill (mammals and birds of prey) or victims of window strikes (songbirds and grouse). There’s a silver lining in turning such losses into teaching tools; however, we can only accept animals in good body condition. Due to limitations on storage space and funding for taxidermy, we can also only accept certain species. If you find a recently dead mammal or bird in good condition, please call us at (603) 525-3394 to see if there is a current need for that particular critter. If it’s an animal we can use, we’ll tell you how to prepare it for storage in our freezer until we can take it to a taxidermist. Read more guidelines for donating items to our natural history collection here.

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  • I found a baby bird. What do I do?

    The vast majority of “abandoned” birds are actually healthy fledglings whose parents are keeping close watch nearby. In these cases, the best thing we can do for the birds is to simply leave them alone! However, there are certain instances when a bird might need your help. Harris Center naturalist Susie Spikol offers some step-by-step advice in this Keene Sentinel article. You can also find more information on how to tell if a bird is truly orphaned, sick, or injured here.

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  • I think I've found an orphaned, sick, or injured animal. What do I do?

    Tufts Wildlife Clinic offers some great advice on how to tell if a wild animal is truly sick, injured, or orphaned here. If, after reading through that page carefully, you’ve determined that the animal you’ve found really does need help, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator from this NHFG list.

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  • There's a bat in my house. What do I do?

    NHFG’s Homeowners and Bats website is the best place to go for advice on what to do if you find a bat in your house or attic.

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  • I found a salamander in my basement. What do I do?

    Woodland salamanders, such as red-backed salamanders or spotted salamanders, occasionally find their way into unfinished basements. If you have found a salamander in your basement and it’s spring, summer, or early autumn, simply release the salamander into the nearest woodland (preferably away from any roads), and it’ll find its way back to where it needs to be. Amphibians can absorb toxins through their skin, so when carrying the salamander outside, make sure that your hands and container are clean and free of any chemicals such as hand sanitizer, perfume, insect repellent, lotion, or household cleansers.

    If it’s winter, you’ll want to wait until warmer weather to release the salamander outside. Red-backed salamanders can be released during the day, as soon as the ground has thawed and daytime temperatures are in the 50s. For spotted salamanders, it’s best to wait until a rainy spring night, when the ground is thawed and nighttime temperatures are in the mid-40s. In the meantime, keep the salamander safe from any household pets. If your basement isn’t already cool and damp, you might also consider keeping the salamander in a container with soil, leaf litter, and moss, taking care to keep the soil and leaves damp, but not wet. Be sure your container has air holes, and keep it in a cool, dark spot.

    For more information or other salamander-related questions, please contact Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 525-3394 or by email.

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Building & Grounds

  • Can I rent the Harris Center building?

    Yes! The Harris Center is available to rent for weddings, meetings, and some private events. For more information on rates and availability, please contact Miles Stahmann at (603) 525-3394 or by email.

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  • Where can I find a list of the plants in your pollinator garden?

    We hope that our pollinator garden has inspired you to create pollinator habitat in your own yard or garden! You can find a plant list here.

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Programs & Education

  • When does summer camp registration open for the year?

    Summer camp registration typically opens in mid- to late February each year. Please check our Camp page for the most up-to-date information.

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  • How can I become a member? How does membership work?

    Everyone who makes a donation to the Harris Center is considered part of the Harris Center family! Please go to our Donate page to learn about the benefits that are associated with various giving levels.

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  • How can I buy a Harris Center shirt or hat?

    The Harris Center offers a variety of items for sale — including shirts, hats, books, tote bags, and more! All proceeds support our environmental education, land protection, and conservation research programs.You can see what’s available here; merch may be purchased at the Harris Center office Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at select events, and by phone with a credit card. To have an item shipped to you, please call Miles Stahmann at (603) 525-3394.

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  • How can I include the Harris Center in my will?

    Including the Harris Center in your will can be as easy as adding a single line to your will; sample language — along with other ways to recognize the Harris Center as a future beneficiary — can be found on our Bobcats Forever Legacy Society page.

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  • Why is it called the Harris Center? Who's Harris?

    Harris Center found Eleanor Briggs named the organization after her cat, Harris, who she felt “represented a certain wildness, humor, savvy and strong instinct, all elements needed for a successful environmental education center.”

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Contact Us

For more information or general questions about the Harris Center, please call us at (603) 525-3394.