Island Science

Black Tailed Prairie Dogs
Island Science

The Problem with Prairie Dogs

As an invasive species plant ecologist, I work a lot with non-native plants, their invasion history and how and why plants were transported to the island. One fascinating and little-known fact about invasions on Nantucket actually comes in the form of a small, cute mammal. One of the biggest invasive species problems Nantucket has ever faced was the black-tailed prairie dog.

Lone Star Tick
Island Science

Ick! A Tick! What to Do

eastern, south-central, and mid-Atlantic states, their distribution has been expanding. Lone Star ticks can now be found as far west as Colorado and Wyoming and as far north as Maine. They now co-occur with blacklegged ticks in coastal Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket, Tuckernuck, Martha’s Vineyard, Naushon, and Cuttyhunk.

A Berry Good Season
Insider Tips, Island Science

A Berry Good Season

July is upon us, and it’s high season on the island. When traffic is too much and you can’t find a parking spot by your favorite beach, it’s a perfect time to get out on one of the many trails around the island. We are fortunate that there are so many trails created and maintained by our dedicated conservation organizations. With efforts by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, the Nantucket Land Bank, the Linda Loring Nature Foundation, Mass Audubon, the ‘Sconset Trust and more, we all have plenty of options to choose from.

Common Milkweed by Sarah T. Bois
Island Science

Take the 2021 BioBlitz Challenge

July is peak season for many things on Nantucket. It can be the most difficult time to get an ice cream cone or a parking space, as many of us know, but it’s also peak growing season – when the highest biodiversity is visible on island. Blooming flowers, ripening berries, budding fall asters, and fledgling birds abound. There is so much to see in every habitat across the island. What’s the best way to see and enjoy this multitude of species? Join in on the Nantucket Land Council and the Linda Loring Nature Foundation’s July Bioblitz Challenge!

Photo By Tom Griswold
Island Science

Magic of Dark Skies

My first summer on Nantucket, in 1998 as a Maria Mitchell Association intern, was a magical experience for many reasons. Not the least of which was my first time to the beach at night. I will never forget the excitement of riding my bike in the dark with the other interns to catch a glimpse of the Perseid Meteor Shower one August summer night. Before I even saw one shooting star, I remember the awe-inspiring moment of looking up and seeing a sky full of bright twinkly stars. In a place like Nantucket, on this tiny island in the sea, the sky seems to go on forever into the ocean. Forget the sunsets that people “oooh and awe” about. The night sky of Nantucket is where the real show is!

Living with Water
Island Science

Living with Water

Nantucketers have always been a people who live with water. We travel by water and recreate there. Many of our commercial endeavors depend on the ocean, and we rely on the ocean’s bounty. And now, with climate change impacts, we are going to have to learn to live with water in new ways.

Island Science

Stop the Spread… Invasive Scotch Broom

It’s that time of year again when a swath of bright yellow blooms can be seen across the island on bike paths, road edges, and conservation land trails. The non-native invasive Scotch Broom is loved by many, but is a nuisance to others. We are now finding it is becoming more invasive over time, particularly with climate change.

Protecting the Island’s Pollinators
Island Science

Protecting the Island’s Pollinators

April showers bring May flowers and hopefully those flowers are bringing in the pollinators! As the weather warms and the skies clear, Nantucketers are feeling like spring is truly in the air (finally!). Many of us are cleaning up our gardens planning and planting for the season ahead.