The Harris Center

HANCOCK — As it celebrates its 50th year, the Harris Center for Conservation Education is launching four projects supported by a new fund.

The Hancock-based nonprofit organization, which offers educational programs and supports research on its thousands of protected acres, announced the projects Monday.

One is the installation of a receiving station in Stoddard to help track migrating creatures. The station will receive radio signals from transmitters attached to birds, bats, butterflies and dragonflies that fly past, adding to an international dataset about migration, according to a news release from the Harris Center.

The station will be one of 50 in New England and will be part of the Harris Center’s educational programs, the release said.

Another project supported by the 50th Anniversary Fund is a turtle habitat project at the MacDowell Dam in Peterborough. ConVal Regional High School students will help monitor habitat restoration on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land and launch a “headstarting program,” raising turtle hatchlings in the classroom before their release into the wild, the release said.

The Harris Center also intends to publish a 365-page spiral-bound desk calendar with photos and information about the natural world from local naturalist Francie Von Mertens.

Finally, the center is launching a project to track broad-winged hawks in collaboration with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, according to the release. That will involve attaching satellite transmitters to one or more hawks on Harris Center land next summer and studying their movement to help inform conservation priorities, the release said.

The Harris Center says the four initiatives are just the “first of many projects” the new fund will make possible. The fund will also help it manage its 24,000-acre “SuperSanctuary,” a block of conserved land in eight Monadnock Region towns.

Eleanor Briggs of Hancock founded the center — named after her cat Harris — in 1970 on family land, preventing its sale to a developer. The center kicked off a year-long 50th anniversary celebration with an event last October that featured an interview with Briggs.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS