COVID-19 UPDATE: The Harris Center is canceling or postponing all in-person programs and events through May 4. The Harris Center building will also be closed to visitors until May 4. Our trails and grounds remain open.
Nocturnal Flight Call Monitoring
Every spring and fall, the night sky comes alive with the sound of migration as songbirds join geese, ducks, herons, gulls, shorebirds, and more in an epic exodus that is one of the great natural wonders of the world. For the last several years, Harris Center Land Program Manager and bird migration enthusiast Eric Masterson has been operating a nocturnal flight call station in Hancock, recording and analyzing the calls of migrating birds as they pass unseen overhead.
Learn more about this fascinating and little-known window into bird migration in this short film, co-produced by the Harris Center and the SALT Project, and by following along with Eric’s field reports.
Norway Pond Studies
Since 2017, the Harris Center has been collaborating with the Norway Pond Commission on a series of research intiatives focused on the ecology of Norway Pond in Hancock. In 2018, Harris Center interns collected and analyzed tree cores for a study of tree establishment and growth in the conserved lands adjacent to the pond. In 2019, Harris Center staff and community volunteers piloted a volunteer cyanobacteria monitoring project. Each spring, the Harris Center hosts a one-day symposium where findings from these and other projects — including water quality and paleolimnology studies — are shared with the community.
From 2014 through 2017, under the direction of Dr. Denise Burchsted — a river ecologist and fluvial geomorphologist in the Department of Environmental Studies at Keene State College — a team of KSC researchers studied stream processes on Harris Center lands. Student researchers walked three streams, quantifying the shape of the river channels and collecting water quality data, with the ultimate goal of assessing the impacts of beaver dams on river processes. This research also included the installation of ten sets of stream sensors, which recorded water level, temperature, and conductivity multiple times every hour. This study was part of a statewide project funded by the National Science Foundation.
In 2016, a team of graduate students in the Department of Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England assessed relative abundance and distribution of bird species across several habitat types on the Harris Center’s Hiroshi Land. Over the course of three months in late winter and early spring, the students detected 37 species via systematic bird point count sampling.
For more information on conservation research with the Harris Center, please contact Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 358-2065 or by email.