Tag: Dr. Sarah Treanor Bois

Lady Slippers
Island Science

Look Out for Lady Slippers

It’s the time of year to hunt for one of my favorite spring flowers. No, not to pick, but to view and enjoy in the wild. The Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid (or Lady Slipper Orchid), Cypripedium acaule, is emerging now in time to flower around Memorial Day. As the name implies, Lady Slipper Orchid flowers look like elegant pink ballet slippers. Of course, being a New England native orchid, these plants are much hardier that their delicate appearance implies. The Lady Slipper orchid is a hardy perennial that is able to withstand the brutal New England winters underground. The leaves emerge in springtime (usually early to mid-May) with the flowers visible late May to early June.

Eastern tent caterpillars
Island Science

For the Love of a Caterpillar

Spring seems to have finally arrived on the island. The Spring Equinox on March 19 officially marked the start of spring, but we all know not to be suckered in by those arbitrary dates. Traditionally, spring is marked more by the indicators of the changing season. It could be the Daffodil Festival which holds to the calendar date of the last weekend of April. Or it could be something more attuned to the spring climate: blooming forsythia, calling of spring peepers, and migratory birds arriving from their winter stays.
Do you have a favorite sign of spring?

Island Science

Fighting the SPB

With our changing climate, one impact we are currently experiencing is our island is becoming hospitable to new and different species. Warmer winters, fewer cold snaps, and hotter, drier summers are welcoming a suite of new species. As some species expand their ranges into new territories, they may have little effect on the surrounding ecosystem. Other species have the potential to cause ecological and economic harm – a true invasive. The Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) is our newest Nantucket visitor wreaking havoc and causing harm to our native pitch pine stands.

Island Science

It Takes a Village

September is Climate Change Awareness Month, a proclamation adopted by the Nantucket Select Board in 2020. But what does that mean for the island and our community? As an island, most of us are “aware” of climate change already. Discussions of storm surge, sea level rise, and erosion will get you a response at any island gathering place. Where the most vulnerable areas are is no longer a conversation just for the experts. Everyone has been affected by flooded roads, loss of beach access due to erosion, or boat cancellations due to frequent winter storms.

puss moth caterpillar
Island Science

Cute and Fuzzy and Very Toxic

Back in 2005, when I was a field assistant with the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, I spent many days in the heathlands on my hands and knees recording vegetation—an integral part of our research. One early fall day, as I placed my hand on the ground, a severe pain generating from the palm of my hand pulsed up through my arm. Looking back at the spot where my hand had been I expected to see a shard of glass or a giant rose thorn. None of the above. I had just squished a puss moth caterpillar with my palm.

Spotted Lanternfly
Island Science

Spotted Lanternfly Found on Nantucket

by Dr. Sarah Treanor Bois, PhDDirector of Reseach & Education at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation Sometimes finding a new species on the island is a welcome site; a new bird to add to a life list or a plant long forgotten and rediscovered. This is not one of those […]

Stump Pond
Exploring Nantucket

A Shaded Walk Through Time

Living on the island year-round, we have to mix up our walking and hiking trails. I have two dogs that need exercise (and love water). I can easily get in a rut and rotate through the same three or four trails every week. Over the past years, I have made an effort to try new trails (or trails that are new to me) or to return to areas I thought I knew but haven’t visited in a while. With more than 9,000 acres under protection as open space, we are lucky to have so many trails on Nantucket to choose from!

Portuguese Man-o-War
Exploring Nantucket, Island Science

They’re Here… Portuguese Man-o-War

Last weekend, the first Portuguese Man-o-War of the season were spotted off of Cisco and Ladies Beaches. By the time this article is printed, I expect there will have been more sightings.

Known for its vibrant blue and pink colors, Portuguese Man-o-War has a gasfilled bag on top with tentacles that can extend up to 30 feet in length. During the day, the Man-o-War tentacles coil up, and appear thicker and shorter, but when they fish for prey at night, the tentacles extend out further, difficult to avoid for a swimmer.