About The Project 

The Harriers are New Hampshire’s first Young Birders Club, a project a long while in the making. It was founded in the spring of 2013 for kids under 18 who have a profound interest in the natural world. The club serves to connect these students both to one another and also to the people and the wild places around the state that will inspire them to a life of enjoyment, appreciation, and conservation of New Hampshire’s lands and waters, as well as the flora and fauna that depend on them.

One of the great strengths of The Harriers is the backing it receives from New Hampshire’s wider conservation community. All around the state, the club’s outings are led by experienced, talented naturalists and educators who give of their time, their knowledge, and their passion for birds and the environment. These volunteers do so because they love it, but also because they understand the crucial importance to us all of introducing kids to the natural world in ways that will make lasting, positive impressions. Our state not only relies on its natural resources but is identified with them; the Young Birders Club hopes to instill a meaningful sense of environmental stewardship in all of those students it reaches.

By bringing students to some of the region’s most beautiful and ecologically diverse areas; by allowing them to follow their interests at their own pace, and giving them the resources they need to do so; by jumpstarting projects related to environmental education in New Hampshire schools; by giving kids themselves the reins of their own organization—by all these means, the Young Birders Club will continue to succeed—this year, and next, and for many years to come.  

Safety, Liability, & Our Partnership With You

While the Harriers are largely a student-led club, you will be happy to know that all the group's activities are overseen closely by two adult coordinators. Our every thought is for your child's safety. We ensure it by inviting you on all club outings, along with your children. We don't think you'll get in the way of their fun, and we think you might enjoy the excursions just as much!

You are not obligated to accompany your child, but we do ask that you spend a little time with us on the day of the first YBC event your child attends. We ask you to fill out a comprehensive emergency medical form, a permission slip detailing your expectations of us while your child is in our care, and a waiver releasing the Young Birders Club from liability, should an accident occur. We are a fledgling entity which owes its existence to the kids who participate in it: while the Club's leaders are insured from liability by the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, we cannot be liable for accidents that may occur during a YBC event. However, as extracurricular activities go, birding is not too far behind stamp-collecting as one of the very safest. The Coordinators of the YBC are absolutely committed to keeping Young Birders safe at all times, and are eager to work with you to that end. 

 

Questions or Concerns?

The Young Birders Club only works if a strong partnership is forged between parents of YBC members and the club's adult coordinators. Please contact us if your child is interested, and we'll be happy to tell you more. Contact Henry Walters and Cynthia Nichols at nhyoungbirders@gmail.com.   

Some Frequently Asked Questions

How does the YBC work? 

The heart of the Young Birders Club is a series of volunteer-led outings to wonderful birding locations around New England. As most Young Birders do not drive themselves to the sites of these outings, we often rely on parents to provide transportation. As a result, parents are more than welcome to come along on the outings themselves--in fact, we encourage it. We will be exploring each habitat with fresh eyes, searching for birds in particular as well as other wildlife, but also learning from each other about all aspects of natural history. Outings generally begin around 8:00 in the morning, and last until noon. 

How much does the YBC cost? 

A student membership costs $25/year. There is generally no additional cost, either for students or parents, to attend any of the YBC outings. A membership also includes a number of items whose value well exceeds $25. Find out more about membership here.

Are YBC members obligated to attend a certain number of outings? 

Absolutely not! We understand how busy the lives of students and their parents can be. Come when you can! 

What if I am unable to drive my child to a YBC outing? 

YBC Coordinators work hard to arrange carpooling to and from the outing sites, some of which are, naturally, a long way from your home.  Please contact a Coordinator to arrange rides to and/or from a location near you.

How can I reach my child during an outing? 

For parents who choose not to go on a YBC outing with their children, the YBC Coordinators are committed to keeping them well informed of our whereabouts during a trip. Parents will have the cell phone number of the trip leader, and the trip leader, in turn, will have all contact information for parents, as well as any relevant medical forms. 

What are some safety concerns about going to look for birds?  

While birding is a very safe activity, thought should be given to any outing to the wild places of our state. Close encounters with bees, wasps, poison ivy, and sunburn are a few of the small hazards that can and should be avoided. Participating in the Harriers is one great way in which kids learn about how to be and feel safe when exploring the natural world. One important and relatively recent development in New Hampshire is the arrival of the black-legged tick and the Lyme disease that it can carry. This should be a concern for all of us who enjoy the outdoors. More information about ticks and Lyme disease can be found at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension website.

Does my child need a pair of binoculars? 

While a pair of decent binoculars are not essential to birding, they sure do help! If you have a pair, please allow your child to bring them along. While the YBC has a few pairs of binoculars to loan, we cannot supply them for all members on every trip. YBC Coordinators are currently applying for grants and donations to purchase extra optics; if you are interested in donating a pair to the club for general use, we would be extremely grateful.

What else do we need for a YBC outing? 

Bringing a small water-bottle is always a good idea when going for a morning walk. Since walks often extend until noon or later, packing a sandwich or small bag lunch may also be wise. Please dress appropriately for the weather, and always wear good walking shoes. 

Permission Slips, Waivers, and Emergency Medical Forms for 2014 

Each of the following four forms must be completed by a parent or guardian on or before the date of the first Harriers event your child attends. You are welcome to print the forms and send them to us at the address below, or to scan the completed forms and email them to nhyoungbirders@gmail.com. Forms will be available at each Harriers event as well. 

          Complete Release Forms for 2014
             5 pages, includes: 
          -Field Trip Permission Slip 
          -Carpooling Permission Slip
          -Emergency Medical Form
          -Consent to Use Photographs

          Send completed forms to:  
          NH Young Birders Club
          c/o Henry Walters
          Dublin School
          Dublin, NH 03444