2019 Seasonal Field Assistants Brendan Connolly (l) and Jeremy Vandenberg (r) with long time NCF Coatue Ranger and Shorebird Monitor Neil Foley (m). Photo Credit: Eleanor Hallewell Photography

Meet Brendan Connolly

Brendan Connolly trapping green crabs on Nantucket

By Brendan Connolly: The natural world has filled me with awe and has been a constant driving force throughout my life. In particular, botany has been a large passion of mine, one that I have focused on through my undergraduate education, previous work experience, and a small addiction to collecting unique succulents and cacti. Although I do particularly love plants, I do not like to limit myself, I am fascinated with all taxas. Protecting our natural environment and species through conservation work is my true passion.

I am from Willoughby, OH, a small suburb east of Cleveland, and recently graduated from Denison University in 2018, with a Bachelor’s degree in both biology and psychology. Through my education, I gained an immense appreciation for the scientific process, and research has become a strong passion of mine. Since graduation, I have been pursuing conservation positions. Shortly after graduation, I took a position as a conservation intern at the Dawes Arboretum in central Ohio. This job really solidified my love for plants and conservation. I gained experience with restoration ecology methods, conducting ecological research, invasive plant removal, and learned closely from the resident botanists!

I am thrilled at the opportunity to work with NCF, and have been really impressed by the organization’s emphasis on practical conservation research, rare species protection, and amazingly beautiful properties. What has really stood out to me, is the number of rare species and communities on the island, Nantucket truly is amazingly unique. I can’t wait to see what I can learn! Finally, if you see me out in the field, hiking, or birding, please stop and say hi!

Meet Jeremy Vandenberg

Jeremy Vandenberg holding a Northern long eared Bat

by Jeremy Vandenberg: Hello everyone! I’m thrilled to be working with the incredibly dedicated and talented team at the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. I’ve never been to Nantucket before, but I love traveling to new places and exploring, and  I can’t wait to spend the next few months on this beautiful island exploring everything Nantucket has to offer! I am originally from Armonk, NY, where I grew up hiking and exploring the Hudson Valley. However, I have called many places my home over the past few years, and now I am excited to include Nantucket on my growing list.

After graduating from Middlebury College in 2017 with a degree in Conservation Biology and Chinese, I’ve worked seasonally in a wide variety of positions including watershed restoration in Pittsburgh, animal behavior and breeding research in China, and bat and cave monitoring in southwestern Oregon. I love taking positions like these because of the incredible diversity of projects and taxa that I have the privilege to work with. One of my favorite experiences so far was working with the National Park Service conducting cave biology surveys at Oregon Caves National Monument, a job that has inspired my love for working with bats. In the future, I hope to go to graduate school for conservation biology (big surprise), and conduct research on bat ecology. However, I seem unable to focus on one particular taxa, since the world is just so dang interesting! I’ve already learned so much in the first few weeks at NCF conducting surveys on grassland and salt marsh plants, horseshoe crabs, spotted turtles, snakes, and bats. The flora and fauna of Nantucket are unique and fascinating, and I know I will finish the season twice the biologist I am today.