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Summer Beauties

July 29, 2019

by: Karen Beattie, NCF Science and Stewardship Department Director Nantucket has experienced an uncommonly wet growing season so far this year. The abundance of rain has produced lush and verdant vegetation across the island that is persisting into the recent hot and dry weather conditions more typical of summertime on the island. Take a walk…

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What’s in Your Pond?

June 14, 2019

The answer to that question might surprise you. Ponds are hotspots for insects, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. The combination of wildlife and ever-changing lush landscapes also attracts the human eye. We are fortunate on Nantucket; while sometimes we have “too much of a good thing” in terms of over-exuberant pond vegetation, most of our aquatic…

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Spring Unfurls at Squam Swamp

May 10, 2019

This is a great time of year to take a walk through the winding trails of Squam Swamp and see the season spring to life. This trail loop off Wauwinet Rd. takes visitors through eerily shaped stands of hardwood forest and past freshwater bogs filled with vibrant mats of sphagnum moss. Bunches of Cinnamon Fern…

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Early Spring Botany: Into the Thicket

March 14, 2019

As winter brightens into spring and we all suffer through the “spring forward” time change, the trees and shrubs in our landscape are beginning to awaken from their winter dormancy. But until bud burst, you can still get out there and learn to recognize more of our Nantucket Flora in winter condition — let’s hope,…

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Winter Botany: Twigs and Buds

February 6, 2019

During the colder winter months, many of our trees are “closed for the season.” Like island businesses, trees will have an “opening date” sometime in spring when flower buds will pop and leaves will unfurl. Exploring the forest in winter can be a fun way to see another facet of island ecology and learn to…

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Winter Botany: Marcescent Leaf Mysteries

December 3, 2018

If you happen to be wandering through Squam Swamp or Squam Farm as autumn gives way to winter, you may notice that while most of the trees have already shed their foliage, oaks (Quercus spp.) and American beech (Fagus grandifolia) may still retain old dried leaves rattling spookily in the wind. Some individuals seem to remain almost fully dressed, while…

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In Bloom Now: American Cow-Parsnip

June 14, 2018

If you’re out and about on Nantucket this month and see super-sized umbels of white flowers that resemble Queen Anne’s lace but are the size of dinner plates, topping plants with beefy stems and large coarse leaves, it’s likely you have come across American cow-parsnip (Heracleum maximum). Typically found at the edges of wetlands and…

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Wildflowers Signal Shift to Autumn

September 12, 2017

As the weather begins to hint of September crispness, there are a couple of island wildflowers that signal the shift. You’ll know that change is in the air when swamp rose mallow and sea lavender reach their peak. Swamp mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) is Nantucket’s native wild hibiscus. Rather than living in true swamps, this big…

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It’s Blueberry Season!

August 11, 2017

By Karen C. Beattie Summer is in full swing here on Nantucket – the beaches are packed, the restaurants and shops in town are at their busiest and the bike paths are congested. If you are looking for an alternative to these more common summer activities and want to be a true “Nantucket Locavore,” you…

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What’s Ailing Nantucket’s Black Oaks?

August 4, 2017

By Kelly A. Omand If you spend a lot of time looking upwards in the forests of Nantucket, you may have observed something sinister occurring in the canopy of our black oak (Quercus velutina) trees. When first noticed several years ago, it seemed like damage from the usual suspects; fierce storms and salt spray often…

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