by Natalie Pawlikowski, NCF Seasonal Botany Field Research Assistant

Natalie Pawlikowski

Five months on Nantucket have come and past. Most of my days have been spent working with the island’s diverse shrub, grass, and forb species.  Some highlights of the season included seeing  the Turk’s Cap Lilly (Lilium superbum) bloom at Squam Farm, monitoring Broom Crowberry (Corema conradii) in the Middle Moors, and observing the uniquely wind-twisted and multi-trunked trees at Squam Swamp.

Turk's Cap Lily

Turk’s Cap Lily

However, I have also have had the opportunity to assist with several wildlife projects. I helped trap crabs, insects, and looked for snails at Medouie. But in particular, I found the results of monitoring bats very exciting.  Together with Kaitlyn, the other botany technician, and Danielle (NCF’s Research Technician/Field Supervisor), we periodically checked “bat boxes” across the island and throughout the season to assist with research conducted by Zara Dowling, a graduate student at UMass-Amherst. A bat box is a small box with a microphone and recording equipment. We download the data, sent it to be analyzed for bat calls, and it turns out, that we have red and hoary bat species on Nantucket!

Scaling a tree to check a bat box!

Scaling a tree to check a bat box!

Overall, I had the opportunity to participate in a wide range of research projects. I enjoyed exploring the various coastal habitats, familiarizing myself with the islands’ flora, and working alongside some great people. Though I don’t know exactly where I am headed next, I am certain this position has provided me with skills and experience that will help me pursue a career in conservation.


The Nantucket Conservation Foundation is a private, non-profit land trust that depends on contributions from our members to support our science projects, conservation property acquisitions, and land management efforts. If you are not already a member, please join us!