HOLDERNESS — "The Harriers," a Young Birders Club for the state of New Hampshire, was founded in the spring of 2013 and later adopted as an outreach project of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Since then, membership has grown to twenty students and more than a dozen Club outings have been held around the region.
The mission of the group is to go birding together, learn from the adult naturalists who are invited to lead them, and enjoy the company of others who are passionate about the outdoors. Weekend outings have included spotting Peregrine Falcons along the Connecticut River, surveying shorebirds along the New Hampshire coast, listening for the Bicknell's Thrush atop Cannon Mountain, an introduction to bird-banding, and participating in a competitive 24-hour bird census.
The Harriers are open to all kids under 18. Parents are welcome and encouraged to join the excursions. Membership costs $25 per year. New members receive their own copy of the brand-new Stokes Field Guide to Birds, a birding notebook, checklist, membership sticker, and more. Best of all, members and their families may attend any or all Harriers events for free.
The Harriers will have a part in helping to expand the Science Center's educational outreach efforts to interested students statewide. Executive Director Iain MacLeod was himself, as a young man in Scotland, a member of a Young Ornithologists Club run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
"The YOC program was so important in my early birding career. Having an opportunity to spend time in the field with experienced birders, learning field craft and where the bird hot spots were, was so important. I later became a YOC leader and passed on my knowledge to younger kids," said MacLeod. He added, "I am delighted to help support the YBC in New Hampshire and help shape the next generation of birders and conservation professionals of the future."