Apple Blossoms
Nantucket Events

The Diversity of Island Life

Every other year, Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative Assessment Week offers naturalists, researchers, and the public the chance to help document the many exciting and amazing species on Nantucket Island.  From Wednesday, May 16 until Monday, May 22, a variety of walks and talks will be offered both during the day and in the evening for participants to learn more about the flora and fauna that share the island with us.  Kids and parents can attend family oriented programs and children’s classes to learn about insects, shorebirds, plants, and much more!  A complete listing can be found in the calendar of events in this publication or online at or at

NBI Assessment Week co-chair Danielle O’Dell, a scientist with the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, said the NBI chose pollinators — which can be birds, mammals, insects, and even the wind — as this year’s theme because the NCF and the Maria Mitchell Association have begun pollinator-related research projects on Nantucket.

Apple Blossoms
Photo by Len Germinaria

The keynote lecture, titled “Beyond Bees: Pollinator Diversity and Invertebrate Conservation on the Cape and Islands,” will be delivered by Dr. Paul Goldstein, an entomologist with the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian) and also the University of Maryland. Dr. Goldstein began studying moths as a youth on Martha’s Vineyard and has been active in the entomological and conservation communities for many years, having served as head of the Division of Insects at the Field Museum of Natural History and on the faculties of the University of Chicago and the University of Florida. His perennial studies on the offshore islands’ insects include work on the changing moth fauna, the conservation genetics of threatened beetles, and most recently the composition of our pollinator communities.

But NBI Assessment Week isn’t all about sitting back and listening to the experts. Do you have digital photos of nature on Nantucket?  Enter the NBI amateur photo contest! Submit existing photos or shoot photos of plants, insects, animals or landscapes during the NBI Week events and email them to Dr. Jen Karberg at  Entry forms and contest rules are available on the NBI Week website. Photos will be displayed on Monday, May 21st during the evening dinner, and winners will be announced and prizes distributed after dinner.

The week’s walks, field trips and lectures are all free, and attendees of some of the dinner events need only pay a small fee.  To register for all NBI Assessment Week events, please contact Andrew McKenna-Foster at or 508-228-9198.  Whether you live year-round on Nantucket, seasonally, or you’re just visiting, you are invited to come enjoy and learn about the island during NBI Assessment Week!

The Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative is a partnership between Nantucket conservation organizations, universities, non-governmental organizations, and individuals interested in documenting the biodiversity of the islands and adjacent waters and monitoring and conserving that biodiversity over time. Each year the NBI offers small grants to visiting scientist and students to study topics relative to biodiversity. Members of the NBI include: the Linda Loring Nature Foundation, Maria Mitchell Association, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Nantucket Garden Club, Nantucket Islands Land Bank Commission, Nantucket Land Council, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program of Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, Science Department of Nantucket High School, The Trustees of Reservations, the Tuckernuck Land Trust, and the University of Massachusetts Boston Nantucket Field Station. Thanks are due to the retail establishments in our community that are donating food, drinks, or other items.

Articles by Date from 2012