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.
Four Keene State College students — Stefan Birardi, Stephen Day, Alex Kirk, and Kyle Tefft — have just completed a seven-week summer internship collecting ecological data on Harris Center lands, as part of a new partnership with the KSC Environmental Studies Department.
Under the guidance of KSC professors and Harris Center staff, the students documented 21 vernal pools, identified 4 invasive plant infestations, conducted weekly monitoring of the Harris Center’s campsites on Spoonwood Pond, surveyed 17 forest community inventory plots, and assisted with special events like the Solar Sprint and Otter Brook Farm Stewardship Day.
Conservation interns Stefan Birardi and Kyle Tefft document a roadkilled amphibian on Route 123. (photo © Bill Fleeger)
Intern Alex Kirk wades into a vernal pool in search of amphibian eggs.
The internship team also initiated the first-ever wildlife road mortality study of Route 123, which bisects Harris Center lands in Hancock, Antrim, Stoddard, and Nelson. For this survey, the students walked four transects (totaling just over 3 miles) along Route 123 fourteen different times and recorded over 730 roadkilled animals, representing more than 20 different species.
The roadkill study will continue in the fall, when the students return — with twenty of their classmates — to conduct natural resource inventory work on Harris Center lands for their capstone research projects.