COVID-19 UPDATE: The Harris Center building will be closed to visitors until further notice. Our trails and grounds remain open.

Partners Honored at 2018 Annual Meeting

October 30, 2018

The Harris Center recognized several extraordinary partners at our 48th Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 28.

Harris Center naturalist Jenna Spear (right) presented Claudia Dery (left) with the Harris Center's "Educator of the Year" Award for 2018.

Harris Center naturalist Jenna Spear (right) presented Claudia Dery (left) with the Harris Center's

Harris Center Land Program Coordinator Eric Masterson (center) presented Ray Cilley (left) and American Steel with the 2018 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award. Dave Webb (right) of American Steel was also thanked for his invaluable contributions to last year's rail trail bridge installation.

Harris Center Land Program Coordinator Eric Masterson (center) presented Ray Cilley (left) and American Steel with the 2018 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award. Dave Webb (right) of American Steel was also thanked for his invaluable contributions to last year's rail trail bridge installation.

Claudia Dery’s history with the Harris Center dates all the way back to 1988, when she interned with us as a graduate student at Antioch University New England. She then went on to become our summer camp director and one of our teacher-naturalists, where she worked with her own intern — now longtime Harris Center naturalist — Susie Spikol on the Rot and Roll Festival, celebrating soil and decomposition. For the last ten years, Claudia has taught at the Wells Memorial School in Harrisville, where she collaborates with Harris Center teacher-naturalist Jenna Spear on a bee curriculum that has led to the creation of a new pollinator garden on the school grounds. At the heart of all of Claudia’s teaching is creating surprising, playful, and memorable experiences for children in the outdoors. Claudia truly embodies the values that we hold so dear here at the Harris Center, and we are delighted to recognize her as the 2018 Educator of the Year.

A large crane lifts a steel truss into place on the Jaquith Rail Trail bridge. (photo © Jeremy Wilson)

A crane and crew from American Steel and Precast Erectors lift a steel truss into place on the Jaquith Rail Trail bridge. (photo © Jeremy Wilson)

The 2018 Laurie Bryan Partnership Award — honoring former Harris Center Executive Director Laurie Bryan’s achievements in working with community partners — was given to Ray Cilley and American Steel and Precast Erectors. For twenty years, Ray has generously taken Harris Center staff up in his small plane in order to get aerial photographs of properties we hope to conserve, providing compelling imagery for fundraising efforts. In addition, through Ray’s connections and with Dave Webb’s coordination, a large crane and the labor needed to install a steel truss bridge on the Jaquith Rail Trail were donated by American Steel and Precast Erectors this past year. To say that we’re grateful to Ray and American Steel for their contributions to the Harris Center’s land program is an understatement.

In addition to these awards, a brief business meeting, and a review of Harris Center highlights from the year, the Annual Meeting featured an enlightening and entertaining talk by NHPR environmental reporter and Outside/In podcast host, Sam Evans-Brown. Thanks to all for a wonderful afternoon!