Gib Merrill showing off snapping turtle.



  • Squam Lakes Natural Science Center celebrated its 50th anniversary with a number of special events and celebrations to mark the milestone, including “Celebrating 50 Years: The Golden Anniversary Gala,” held on July 23.
  • The Science Center received accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for a third consecutive five-year term.
  • Daniel A. Stepanauskas of Northern Forest Resources created a Forest Management Plan, approved by the Board of Trustees. The first phase was completed early in 2016, with a selective cut expected to produce a healthier forest with new growth, and also provided cord wood to heat our campus for two years.
  • The Science Center published two books:
    • Nearer to Nature: Selected Writings and Photographs from Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is a compilation of writings by Naturalist Margaret Gillespie. The book transports readers to the woods and waters of New Hampshire’s natural world. It inspires and brings readers up close to insects, birds, mammals, and plant life through words and photographs.
    • 50 Nature Activities for Kids by Senior Naturalist Dave Erler showcases Dave’s many years of experience as a naturalist and his lifelong curiosity for nature. Parents and children may enjoy 50 nature activities using step-by-step instructions to get outside and explore the natural world together.
  • The Water Matters Pavilion opened to the public on May 1. It features 18 interactive water-related exhibits including live fish, frogs, turtles, and mink. To allow time for visitors to explore all the new exhibits, closing time was extended from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Kirkwood Gardens celebrated its 20th anniversary.
  • Attendance reached a record high with nearly 61,000 visitors to the live animal exhibit trail from May 1 through November 1.
  • TripAdvisor awarded Squam Lakes Natural Science Center a 2016 Certificate of Excellence for the third consecutive year. The honor celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.
  • Parenting NH named Squam Lakes Natural Science Center as the annual Family Favorite Environmental and Educational Center, voted by readers of the magazine.
  • The weekly Mountain Lion Training and Feeding, part of the Up Close to Animal presentations were improved when new cameras and video screens were donated to provide a better viewing experience for visitors.
  • Members enjoyed reciprocal admissions programs at both The Fells in Newbury in July and at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in September.
  • The Board of Trustees adopted a new Strategic Plan laying out a vision and goals for 2016 through 2020.
  • Property across Route 113 on the Squam Channel was purchased. It will serve as a new Lake Education center and departure point for cruises and lake programs.
  • After ten years of donating her pen and ink illustrations used in Tracks & Trails, artist Cheryl Johnson put away her pen to take up a water color brush at her business, Cheryl Johnson Art.
  • The Blue Heron School scholarship fund got a financial start with ticket proceeds from the educational film, Most Likely to Succeed, thanks to Trustee Tony Wagner , a film advisor.
  • Executive Director Iain MacLeod was elected to the board of Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) and nominated to be president-elect.
  • Facilities Director Tim Curry was selected by the Board of Trustees to receive the Horizon Award for his outstanding efforts and commitment.


  • Squam Lakes Natural Science Center saw another season of more than 53,000 visitors during the May through October trail season.
  • The long winter of 2014-2015 made spring cleanup a challenge for the Science Center and the annual Cleanup Day was cancelled in lieu of more project based cleanup tasks for groups.
  • The Science Center launched unique lesson plans for schools to follow with Project OspreyTrack, the osprey tracking program led by Iain MacLeod. The launch coincided with World Osprey Week and helps teachers and students join schools from all across the United States, Europe, and Africa that are following and learning about ospreys.
  • The Science Center partnered with the nonprofit organization Art for Water to stimulate thought about water issues and to create a three-dimensional Stream of Conscience public participation art installation in the Trailhead Gallery. The installation will be on display through November 1, 2016.
  • On July 1, the much anticipated Gordon Interactive Playscape opened to the public. The nature playground teaches children about the concept of prey and predator, by having them simulate the obstacles faced by a red squirrel.
  • Squam Lakes Natural Science Center was named a Certificate of Excellence winner on TripAdvisor. This is the third consecutive year the Science Center has received the Certificate of Excellence, which celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.
  • The Science Center was featured on Giving Matters on New Hampshire Public Radio in August and featured a Blue Heron School family.
  • The Science Center was named a 2015 Family Favorite by Parenting New Hampshire Magazine for Favorite Environmental and Educational Center.
  • The Horizon Award was given to Laurie Beeson for his outstanding service and commitment to Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.
  • The upgraded Raptor Mews and Winter Bird Quarters were completed in time to move birds in before winter.


  • The Science Center had a second consecutive year of record breaking attendance with over 50,000 trail visitors.
  • Squam Lakes Natural Science Center was selected by the readers of Parenting New Hampshire magazine as a “Family Favorite” award recipient for Favorite Environmental and Educational Center.
  • The partnership between the Hobo Railroad and the Science Center for the “Nature by Rail” series was recognized by NH Magazine for the 2014 Best of NH awards as an Editor’s Pick for “Best Business Partnership in a Recreational Category.”
  • The Science Center received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award for 2014 which honors hospitality excellence that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.
  • The National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) funded New Hampshire EPSCoR’s Ecosystems and Society Project. Through this initiative, the Science Center joined the newly formed New Hampshire Informal Science Educators Network of ten informal science education organizations. The Network’s goal is to connect ecosystems0based research with the education efforts of informal science centers.
  • A new Wood Energy Exhibit  opened featuring two GARN boilers that provide heat for the Welcome Center, Trailhead Gallery (and Blue Heron School), Webster Building, and Tamworth Pavilion. The boilers will also heat the Water Matters Pavilion – scheduled to open in 2016. 
  • A new Coyote Exhibit opened featuring a five-year-old adult male coyote. Donations from the Hilltop Foundation and Noah Foundation funded this construction.
  • A new grant from the Jane B. Cook 1983 Charitable Trust provided continuing support for the Osprey Tracking project. Project leader Iain MacLeod presented a paper on the summer foraging behavior of three New Hampshire Ospreys at an Osprey Symposium at the joint meeting of the Wilson Ornithologist Society and the Association of Field ornithologists, in Newport, Rhode Island. Two additional Ospreys were tagged in 2014: Tilton, a male juvenile from a nest in Tilton and Bridget, a female juvenile from a nest in Bridgewater.
  • The Science Center kicked off the community phase of the Nature Matters capital campaign which enables the Science Center to undertake significant expansion of the current trail exhibits and enhances the long-term financial stability of the Center.
  • The Horizon Award was given to former trustee Tashia Morgridge for her outstanding service and commitment to the Science Center.


  • An interactive SMART Board 885ix was installed in the Tamworth Pavilion. This gift from an anonymous donor is an exceptional educational resource.
  • Construction began on a new Coyote Exhibit which will open to the public in 2014.
  • Construction began on a new wood-burning fuel plant. The new plant will reduce fossil fuel usage and replace furnaces in the Welcome Center, Webster Building, Tamworth Pavilion, and Trailhead Gallery.
  • There was record breaking trail attendance for 2013 with over 50,000 visitors.
  • The first Squam Summit was held at the Science Center with representatives from Squam Lakes Association, Loon Preservation Committee, Plymouth State University, Squam Lakes Conservation Society, Lakes Region Conservation, Rockywold-Deephaven Camps, National Register of Historic Places, and Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. The summit allowed staff and board members to network and to discuss programs, upcoming initiatives, and challenges. It  will be an annual event.
  • The Science Center hosted Dreamnight for children who are chronically ill or disabled and their families. More than 200 institutions in 35 countries participate in Dreamnight. Families across New Hampshire were invited to the free event that included face painting, live animal presentations, snacks, crafts, music, and puppets. The event was generously sponsored by Lincoln Financial Group and Bank of New Hampshire.
  • Squam Lakes Natural Science Center was featured on “NH Chronicle” on WMUR-TV. A television crew recorded video at the Science Center for a full story. WMUR program hosts also featured the Science Center throughout the week. The Science Center received the 2013 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. The award celebrates hospitality excellent and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor with only the top 10% receiving the award.
  • The Science Center received the 2013 Parenting New Hampshire Family Favorite Award for Favorite Environmental Education Center. The award recognizes family-friendly businesses, services, and places chosen by the readers of Parenting New Hampshire magazine.
  • Blue Heron School began to offer a full day option for the 2013-2014 school year.
  • The Horizon Award was given to Development and Communications Director Janet Robertson.
  • In February, Project OspreyTrack truly went international. Executive Director Iain MacLeod was a guest speaker at a seminar in Israel. Surviving GPS-tracked Osprey, Art, returned to a media fanfare and huge public interest in April. Five more Ospreys were tagged and followed, including Art’s sons Bergen and Artoo.
  • The Science Center began sponsoring New Hampshire's Young Birders Club, the Harriers, as its fiscal agent but allowing the Young Birders Club to operate largely independently. The Harriers help to expand Squam Lakes Natural Science Center's educational efforts to interested young people throughout the state.


  • Teachers across New Hampshire received a new four-color, 16-page school catalog in February, also available on our website.
  • “Saturday Night Wild” in July brought more than 300 people together for laughter and music.
  • Major renovations were made to the Deer Exhibit.
  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums Executive Director Kris Vehrs was the guest speaker at the Annual Meeting in August. The Horizon Award was presented to volunteer and former trustee George Carr.
  • The Osprey tracking project followed three satellite-tagged Ospreys from nests in the Lakes Region, including one male from Bridgewater who travelled 5,000 miles to his winter home in east-central Brazil.
  • A new special event, Festival of Flight, was held in September, which focused on the wonders of flight and migration.
  • Mission: Wolf – Ambassador Wolf program returned in October with two sold out shows featuring live wolves at the Holderness School in the Hagerman Lecture Hall.
  • Improvements to the website were made, including addition of a search function and social media buttons on every page, a site map, updated community links, and general content cleanup.
  • The NH Department of Education unanimously adopted a state Environmental Literacy Plan.
  • Staff, with the help of volunteers and citizen scientists, started a Blue Jay Research Project to determine if social hierarchy in blue jays affects their use of novel foods.
  • TAM Retail software was purchased for admissions and retail to better manage and track inventory and visits.


  • The “New Hampshire Geology” Exhibit opened in May.
  • Mead Discovery Place featured a traveling exhibition called Seasons of Change: Global Warming in Your Backyard, an exploration of specific regional impacts from global climate change.
  • Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) and the Jane B. Cook 1983 Charitable Trust funded a new research and education project to track the international migrations of Ospreys nesting in New Hampshire using solar-powered satellite transmitters.
  • A new Science Center YouTube channel shared videos of events, exhibits, programs, and testimonials.
  • Blue Heron School completed its first year in June and reopened in September for its second year with 11 students.
  • To mark the 250th anniversary of Holderness, the Science Center gave free trail admission to Holderness residents and a free Steve Schuch concert in Kirkwood Gardens as part of the celebration.
  • In September, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) independent Accreditation Commission awarded accreditation to the Science Center for a five-year period.
  • Major facility work included new roofs at the Mountain Lion and Life Underground Exhibits, new carpet in Classroom 3, security alarm upgrades, security video surveillance installation, Ecotone Mammal and Bobcat Exhibit animal shift improvements, and Deer and Raptor Exhibits renovations.
  • ‘Up Close to Animals’ presentations continued on weekends in September through Columbus Day.
  • In November, Marcia and Mark Wilson of “Eyes on Owls” presented a live owl program with close-up views of owls of the world, and gave a hooting lesson.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to Natalie Parsons for her service to the Science Center.


  • Blue Heron School, a nature-based Montessori early learning center, opened in September.
  • Facilities upgrades included a new porch handrail and safety barriers on the windows and doors of the Holderness Inn. Kirkwood Cottage acquired a new metal roof. Renovations made to the Gordon Children’s Center included a new ‘spider web,’ a new door and siding, and sheltered benches.
  • Ground was broken for a “New Hampshire Geology” Exhibit. A marble bench honoring the Edward S. Webster Foundation’s long-standing support of the Science Center’s mission greets visitors there.
  • Lincoln Financial Foundation awarded a grant which, along with a discount from Keene Medical Supplies in Concord, allowed the purchase of two new mobility scooters.
  • “Birds of a (Carved) Feather” displayed a portion of the donated handmade Briner bird collection in the Mead Discovery Place.
  • The collaborative partnership, Sea to Lake, Sky to Summit Initiative, with Seacoast Science Center, Mount Washington Observatory, and McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center prototyped a distance learning science curriculum with seventh graders at Timberlane Middle School.
  • In partnership with Holderness Library and Holderness Recreation Department, two StoryWalks, combining a children’s story with walking, were enjoyed by the community in July and August.
  • The Science Center entered the world of social media, creating a Facebook page to post events, ideas, and news – ending the year with over 2,000 friends. A “Breakfast with the Bears” Facebook promotion was tested.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to Brenda Erler for her service to the Science Center.


  • The west wing of the Red Barn was replaced and features a space for meetings, classes, and workshops, as well as two new bathrooms for visitors.
  • Fifteen teens participated in the new First Guides program based on our successful docent program. Adult mentors helped to train the teens.
  • Funding was from the Bea and Woolsey Conover Fund of the Lakes Region/New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The Annual Meeting and Summer Gala Dinner were held on August 8, with Steve Curwood, Executive Producer and Host of National Public Radio’s Living on Earth, as the Keynote Speaker.Holderness Day, an open house for Holderness residents to enjoy free trail admission was held on the same day.
  • The staff’s ‘Green Team’ reported success in creating a method to compost bedding and animal waste, resulting in significantly fewer trips to the dump. Energy efficient lighting and motion detectors were installed on the Gephart Exhibit Trail.
  • The ‘Sea to Lake, Summit to Sky’ distance learning collaborative project with the Seacoast Science Center, Mount Washington Observatory, and the McAuliffe-Shepard Discover Center received a $25,000 planning grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, to fund planning for distance learning implementation grant in the future.
  • The wetlands boardwalk was rebuilt in July with funding from donors who sponsored personal inscriptions.
  • The security system at the Bear Exhibit was updated to a direct paging system.
  • We joined forces this summer the Loon Preservation Committee to offer special weekly cruises focusing on Common Loon conservation, biology, and monitoring.
  • In August, we hosted the five-day 15th annual ANCA Summit with over 100 participants from across the nation.
  • In order to promote awareness and boost attendance, we held a series of special days this year, which included admissions discounts, such as Black Bear Day, Get Outside Day, and Grandparents Day. The finale was a five-day Mountain Lion week that featured a “Big Cats” presentation and a demonstration at the Mountain Lion exhibit of the ongoing enrichment program.
  • A new dedicated T1 line was installed which will facilitate the CritterCam, distance learning initiatives, and telephones.
  • We started a Facebook page and Twitter account in order to reach as many supporters as possible.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to Alex Ray for his service to the Science Center.


  • In January, with the help of the NH Electric Coop, we installed an artificial Osprey nest on a 60-foot utility pole near the Upper Pond in the hope of attracting a pair of Ospreys to the property.
  • In March, we mailed more than 10,000 school brochure posters to every school and every elementary, middle, and high school teacher in the state.
  • In April, we launched the American Kestrel Project with funding from the Jane B. Cook 1983 Charitable Trust. During the year we reached more than a 1,000 students in schools across the state and mounted more than 40 specially-designed nesting boxes on school grounds.
  • In May, we welcomed our first Communications Intern who assisted with marketing and public relations, including the creation of the Science Center's first blog.
  • The first annual Squam BioBlitz was held on June 7. This 24-hour bio-inventory was done as a cooperative project with the Squam Lakes Association and the Squam Lakes Conservation Society with support from the Holderness Conservation Commission.
  • In June, Executive Director Iain MacLeod led a group of nine guests on a 12-day Wildlife Tour of Scotland.
  • In June, we welcomed a new Coyote to replace the long-time program Coyote who died last winter (at age 16). This new Coyote came from Michigan and was a little over 2-months old when he arrived here.
  • In July, we hosted a special preview showing at Plymouth State University of George Butler’s new documentary about the Ivory-billed Woodpecker “The Lord God Bird.”
  • In July, with funding from the Samuel P. Hunt Foundation and the McIninch Foundation, we launched a Curriculum framework realignment project. This project will entail a thorough examination of all our 40+ school programs to ensure that they are appropriately aligned with NH school frameworks.
  • In August, Senior Naturalist Dave Erler received the Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award. This award is given annually by the Garden Club of America and is "Awarded to an individual who provides outstanding environmental education for youth under 16 years of age in horticulture and the environment, and has inspired their appreciation of beauty and the fragility of the planet."
  • "Stirring It Up Green" was the theme for this year's Annual Meeting and Summer Gala Dinner in August. Gary Hirshberg, president and CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm was the Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker.
  • In September, we received a Bobcat kitten. This Bobcat joined our older Bobcat on exhibit in November, and was the star of New Animal Day on November 22.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to Carol Thompson for her service to the Science Center.


  • An outside marketing firm was hired to do an overhaul of all outward marketing design elements – logo, stationery, brochures, website, signage, and advertising styles including fonts, colors, graphics.
  • A new exhibit in the Mead Discovery Place highlights adaptations and behaviors of the Eastern Coyote.
  • The Lovett-Woodsum Family Charitable Foundation funds new hands-on exhibits to the River Otter Exhibit and extensive improvements to the observation area and animal shift building.
  • “Turtle Talks” are taught by specially trained volunteer docents every week in July and August.
  • Ragged Island in Lake Winnipesaukee was sold to Lakes Region Conservation Trust.
  • A “Green Team” of staff members is formed to prioritize and implement “green” choices for operations and facilities.
  • A new “bat condo” was built and erected adjacent to the Life Underground Exhibit, a new recycling shed was constructed for the picnic area, and the floating section of the marsh boardwalk was rebuilt.
  • Lake cruises saw major increases in attendance and income, especially from group tours, following the acquisition of two new boats from Squam Lake Tours.
  • Executive Director Iain MacLeod led a 10-day nature tour to New Mexico in November.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to Joan and Paul Mayerson for their service to the Science Center.


  • All six classrooms received technological upgrades allowing digital images and video clips to be shown during programs.
  • The Holderness Inn, formerly the site the “Nature Store” was leased by the “Squam Lakes Artisans” Gallery of Regional Arts and Crafts and the Kirkwood Gardens Café, serving snacks and lunch.
  • 2006 was highlighted by the celebration of our fortieth anniversary and a look back at our extraordinary growth and accomplishments over the years. Judy and Larry Webster hosted a spectacular Gala and Annual Meeting at Burleigh Farm. A forty-foot long anniversary cake was enjoyed at an Open House for Holderness residents, former staff members and former trustees and their families. A forty-year timeline was displayed.
  • Iain MacLeod is welcomed as our seventh Executive Director.
  • We gained national accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) distinguishing us among the very finest educational institutions and the only AZA-accredited organization in all of northern New England.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to Nancy Beck for her service to the Science Center.


  • Mead Discovery Place exhibit features research conducted at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in Woodstock, NH and important watershed concepts.
  • Science Center moves towards meeting Association of Zoos and Aquariums accreditation requirements by completing a new animal quarantine facility in the old bear exhibit building.
  • As outlined in Forging Trails: A Strategic Plan for SLNSC 2003-2008, program evaluation begins in the areas of school programs, lake cruises and exhibits.
  • Webster Education Building staff, animals and volunteers move back into the newly renovated facilities.
  • Bald Eagles nest for the third year in a row on Squam Lake after a 50 plus year absence.
  • First Animal Enrichment Day held.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to John McRae for his service to the Science Center.


  • Dave Chase becomes the Science Center’s sixth Executive Director.
  • Human Resources Assessment is conducted by Technical Development Corporation.
  • Twenty-fifth anniversary of the Hawk Watch with 4th graders at Inter-Lakes Elementary School in Meredith.
  • Mead Discovery Place exhibits “Turtle Trackers,” featuring research by NH Fish & Game Department on the Blanding’s Turtle.
  • New Volunteer Appreciation Display – “Volunteers Complete the Picture” – recognizes cumulative volunteer hours of individuals dating back to 1994.
  • Webster Education Building renovations started including a new Animal Room with exercise and enrichment area, new storage area for educational props and mounts, along with refurbishing of offices, library and kitchen.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to Michael O'Leary for his service to the Science Center.


  • Two mountain lion cubs arrive from Montana in January to be the focal points of the new Mountain Lion Exhibit, which opens in May.
  • Life Underground Exhibit opens in July, featuring a 12-foot long diorama of the soil community, live ants and earthworms and chipmunk viewing station.
  • Mead Discovery Place opens. Dedicated to the late Bill Mead, this exhibit in the Trailhead Gallery focuses on current issues in the environment and will change each year.
  • Volunteer Recognition Dinner is held this year aboard the Winnipesaukee Belle out of Wolfeboro.


  • Forging Trails: A Strategic Plan for SLNSC 2003-2008 is adopted by the Board of Trustees, with major goals in three areas: funds, civic capital, and education.
  • Welcome Center dedication in May. New retail store is named the Howling Coyote.
  • The Horizon Project completes fund raising at just over $5 million.


  • New Bobcat and Ecotone Mammal Exhibit completed. Moose sculpture added to exhibit trail. Upgrade to water system for exhibits completed.
  • New entrance and larger parking lot completed with improvements for safety. Picnic pavilion is added.
  • Accessibility is improved for wheelchairs and strollers by widening and leveling trail surfaces. Motorized scooters are available for those with less mobility.
  • Kirkwood Gardens receives a statue in honor of Nancy Richards. New “Visitor Center” ground breaking August 2001. It is now known as the Welcome Center.
  • SLNSC sponsors its first major nature trip with destination of South Africa. Trips in subsequent years explore the Galapagos Islands, Belize and Tikal, the Amazon and Machu Picchu of Peru, Alaska, and New Zealand.
  • The annual summer gala celebrated the Center’s 35th birthday. The theme: Beetle Bash.
  • Controversy over burial ground site with the Abenaki Nation. Protesting takes place in August and early September.


  • Name changed to Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, effective January 1, 2000.
  • Tamworth Pavilion winterized. New outdoor public amphitheater and two-story garage constructed.
  • New Black Bear Exhibit opened and White-tailed Deer Exhibit upgraded.
  • Golden Pond Tours business and three boats purchased. One boat is outfitted as a third boat for school lake programs.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to Steve Woodsum for his service to the Science Center.


  • New exhibits added to the Gordon Children’s Center.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to Dave Erler for his service to the Science Center.


  • Trustees approve Horizon Project which becomes a five-year capital campaign including 23 specific projects costing an estimated $4.7 million, with five specific goals: 1) expand the existing endowment; 2) build new live animal exhibits and create enhanced learning opportunities to attract and accommodate more visitors without losing the “walk in the woods” experience; 3) expand and improve visitor services facilities; 4) make exhibit trail wheelchair accessible and, 5) enhance the SLNSC infrastructure with investments in new management information systems, additional animal care facilities and new collection maintenance and storage facilities.
  • SLNSC collaborates with New Hampshire Public Television to produce a 16-part natural science instructional television series called NatureWorks, targeted to students in grades 4-6 and for use by teachers to supplement science curricula. The programs are accompanied by printed teacher resources and an interactive website.


  • A new Bird Exhibit and aviary replaces the former Bird and Loon Exhibits.
  • Docents are trained for the first time at the Science Center, with 45 volunteers taking part.
  • The Science Center’s Wildlife Art Calendar, featuring middle and high school art, is produced for the first time.
  • The Horizon Award is presented to Dennis Capodestria for his service to the Science Center.


  • SLNSC’s lake ecology program capacity for schools and the public doubles with the addition and outfitting of a second pontoon boat.
  • Board of Trustees establishes the Parsons Award to recognize extraordinary volunteer service to the Science Center.
  • Science Center offers its first Cabin Fever Day in Gilford, featuring free live animal talks and exhibits that introduce the public to the Science Center. This successful event continued each year since then at other locations around the state. In later years, it was called Wild Encounters Day and took place in Lebanon (2009), Concord (2010), Nashua (2011), and Gorham (2012).
  • The Horizon Award is presented to David Cote, DVM for his service to the Science Center.


  • Mission statement adopted by unanimous vote of SLNSC’s Board of Trustees: to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural world.
  • Long-range plan (On the Horizon, A Strategic Plan for the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center 1995-2000) adopted with primary focus to assure excellence in education programming. Secondary goals: investments in facility improvements, staff and volunteer development, financial growth and stability, community relations and preparing future Board leadership.
  • SLNSC acquires possession of 11-acre Ragged Island (in Lake Winnipesaukee) by request from two other non-profits to settle their property title dispute. Restricted by deed to educational and land conservation use.Staffed and open to the public summers.
  • Kirkwood Gardens, adjacent to the renovated Inn, landscaped as a free public garden exhibiting plants attractive to wildlife.
  • Forest Trail added, a 2/3-mile self-guided hike interpreting forest ecology and management.
  • The first Horizon Award presented to Honorary Trustee Elizabeth F. Wood. The Trustees established the Horizon Award as a means to recognize exceptional and extended individual service to the Science Center and to its mission by Trustees, staff, and volunteers.


  • Bequest used for trail improvements for safety and accessibility.


  • Naturalists offer first natural history cruises on Squam Lake, entitled “Nature of Squam.”


  • Will Abbott becomes the fifth Executive Director.
  • Grant from the Educational Foundation of America used to promote new exhibits and improvements with first ever paid advertising. Public admissions increase over 50%.


  • Science Center hosts first New Hampshire Day, with admission free to NH residents.
  • 25th Anniversary Nature Quilt, made by volunteers, has 25 panels, each representing one year in the life of the Science Center.
  • New entrance sign: Larry Fernald of Holderness carves a bear, deer, fox and bobcat from slabs of three-inch thick pine to set the tone for visitors as they arrived.
  • Quarter Century Fund capital improvements completed by 1992: new Visitor Center, upgrade of driveway and parking lot, a workshop/graphics center added to the main building, and a seasonal pavilion built. Major new QCF exhibits: River Otter Exhibit, Children's Activity Center, Raptor Exhibit and Washburn Exhibit (showing how renowned cartographer Bradford Washburn mapped Squam Lake) and the Fauver Gallery.


  • A new Nature Store emerges from renovations to the old Holderness Inn.
  • First year of Science Center’s Day Camp; sessions will run each summer through 2004.


  • Bill Webb becomes the fourth Director of the Science Center.
  • Natalie Parsons joins the Science Center with a job devoted to managing volunteers as Volunteer Coordinator.


  • The Science Center newsletter gets a new look and name: Tracks & Trails.


  • The Quarter Century Fund, a $1.25 million capital campaign starts, raises $900,000 for capital improvements and more than $500,000 for endowment.


  • A pontoon boat is purchased with grant funds and first Lake Ecology classes offered.


  • Richard “Rick” Ashley becomes the third Director of the Science Center.
  • Name changed to Science Center of New Hampshire to highlight expansion of programming and fund raising to a statewide audience.
  • New exhibit buildings constructed.
  • Long-range planning, with the Potomac Group as consultants, is initiated.
  • A new marsh is dug by the stream from the Upper Pond.


  • Dedication of new Education Building (currently called the Webster Education Building), with new access road and parking lot. Existing office building was moved ¼ mile from its Route 3 location to be integrated with a new educational wing, now close to prime teaching areas.


  • The Science Center collaborates with NH Public Television to produce the educational television series, “Up Close and Natural,” for Grades K-3.
  • In 1980, archaeological excavations were started on the Piper Homestead by Dr. William Taylor and students from Plymouth State College.


  • The Orton Mobile Science Lab is the Science Center’s first outreach van. Moultonborough School is the first school to schedule outreach programs for an entire school for an extended period of time (12 weeks) – the Unit Approach.
  • The Science Center Environmental Theatre opens with “Harry the Hare Finds His Friends” (winter adaptations) and the “Loon Homecoming” (threats to loons).
  • Science Center’s current logo is born as “a symbol that would graphically tell people that we are an environmental education organization which offers programs for young and old and that we emphasize environmental interrelationships.” Fred Pickel, a graphic artist from Holderness, crafted the logo.
  • The creation of the Arthur Unsworth Memorial Library adds a new educational dimension to the Science Center.


  • Outreach programs take indoor and outdoor programs to schools for the first time.


  • Robert “Bob” Nichols becomes the second Science Center Director.
  • Ecotone Trail added, bordering the upper meadow and forest.
  • First summer intern program.


  • New Animal Room facility results from the transformation of the Holderness Inn kitchen, housing lecture animals: 13 mammals, 20 birds and 25 reptiles.
  • First Bear Exhibit opens.
  • Second Annual SLSC Benefit Horse Show highlights the addition of a ‘permanent’ horse ring.


  • First mission narrowed to focus on natural science education and make use of the 200-acre property as an outdoor classroom by adding school programs to be taught outside.
  • Science Center volunteers are organized by a committee called the “Friends of the Science Center.” Most popular volunteer session is spring “Labor Day” to spruce up the Science Center for the season.


  • The Science Center Volunteer Group is organized, starting with 20 people – “housewives, teachers, doctors, students, nurses and others who have indicated an interest in label research, art work, carpentry, trail work, and gadgeteering.”
  • Trustees approve a budget of $180,000 covering the 18 month period, January 1, 1970 to June 30, 1971.


  • “Actual birth year of Science Center” – on July 1, the Science Center opens for its first summer season, including lecture demonstrations in the barn auditorium, two trails on Mt. Fayal, and live animal exhibits: small mammal hut, snake island, bird and reptile hut, deer knoll, goose pond, bobcat glen, frog pond hut, as well as three exhibits showing early life of New Hampshire settlers: blacksmith shop, sap house, and steam-operated sawmill. Admission is $1.25 adults, 75 cents juniors.
  • First membership year: Dues – Family $12, Adult $7, Junior $3, Sustaining member $25. Those joining by December 31 have their names inscribed in Science Center archives as charter members. Auction of furnishings of Holderness Inn (32-room inn formerly operated by Miss Ruby Davison, built in 1896).
  • Pilot school program starts in January 1969 for Grades 3-12, addressing science education needs of NH schools. Held in basement of director’s residence. Topics: Biology of Birds, the Story of Reproduction, and Sound and Hearing.
  • “Holderness Day” hosted by the Science Center – residents of Holderness and their guests are invited to walk trails and attend programs.


  • John R. Quinn joins the Science Center staff as Artist-Naturalist, producing many visual aids and props. Naturalists still use his “Quinn Board” illustrations to this day.


  • Federal Title III grant used to organize first educational programs.
  • First Director, Gilbert “Gib” Merrill, and staff hired.
  • Original mission statement: 1) to be a museum of natural, scientific, cultural and historical subjects; 2) to educate school children and others in the fundamentals of natural science; 3) to serve as a training center for environmental education; and 4) to be a natural sciences resource center.


  • Original 180 acres purchased with money raised from local community. Following is the purchase of the Holderness Inn and surrounding facilities as well as a tract of land atop Mt. Fayal. With the Inn comes a small piece of land on Little Squam which will prove to be a valuable asset for future lake programs.
  • Squam Lakes Science Center is incorporated as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.


  • Holderness residents meet to plan a way to preserve the area’s natural assets.