bACKyard Biologists

Nantucket Land Council is excited to bring science into your home and backyard with our new bACKyard Biologists program! NLC Resource Ecologist RJ Turcotte will provide instruction and demonstration for simple home-based science experiments for your family to experience together. Using Nantucket as your classroom, learn about the basic forces that shape our island like wind and waves, as well as exploring somewhat more complex topics like sea level rise and ocean acidification! 

In addition, stay tuned for future events and activities such as virtual field trips around our beautiful island to explore vernal pools and other unique ecosystems.  Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook @nantucketlandcouncil, and share your adventures with us as well as we explore nature in our backyard! #bACKyardBiologists


Virtual Trips and Lessons

Exploring Vernal Pools
Nantucket’s Sole Source Aquifer

At-Home bACKyard Biologists Experiments

Thermal Expansion and Sea Level Rise

Half of all sea level rise is caused by the melting of glaciers on land. The other half is unknown to most people- you can see glaciers melting over time. Unfortunately, you cannot see water expanding as easily. The process is known as thermal expansion, and we can explore it through a simple experiment- heating water and measuring its rise!
Download (PDF)

Bottle of red liquid headted by light

Capillary Action

Have you ever wondered how trees transport water from their roots to their leaves? Well, the answer has to do with a special property of liquids called capillary action. Capillary action is the movement of a liquid along a solid surface due to charges on the liquid and the surface. Plants use capillary action to bring water from the roots up through the stems all the way to the leaves.
Download (PDF)

Pollinator Thaumatrope

Few creatures are as important for our island ecosystems as pollinators. Butterflies, bees, and even some birds serve as pollinators, helping our plants complete their life cycles and provide us with our fruits and vegetables.
This project is a chance for you to illustrate your favorite Nantucket pollinator in its natural habitat.

By using two paper plates, the pollinator is drawn on one and its preferred habitat on the other. Once assembled, the thaumatrope provides the illusion of your pollinator flying amongst your backyard garden.
Download (PDF)

DIY Weather Station Part 3: Anemometer

Few natural forces shape Nantucket as much as wind does. Look around- especially at our trees. Along the perimeter of the island, trees grow crooked, stunted and gnarly. They survive where few others can- in the salt spray zone. Waves crashing on the beaches produce a fine mist which is carried by the wind. This salt spray kills many plants, but not our hardy species such as Atlantic cedar. Not only do they handle the salt spray, they withstand frequent storms, growing crooked from the wind.rainfall from year to year helps us plan everything from managing Nantucket’s Sole Source Aquifer to managing our food crops and flower gardens. In this week’s bACKyard Biologist, we build our own tool for measuring Nantucket’s rainfall.
Download (PDF)

DIY Weather Station Part 2: Thermometer

Every living thing on Nantucket is influenced by the seasonal temperature changes on here. The plants bloom and fruit during the warmer months, birds and fish migrate by the thousands as the seasons change, and even us humans change how we dress and behave based on what the thermometer reads. The thermometer was invented over five centuries ago and is so useful we have them everywhere- our cars, yards, homes, even some businesses show the temperature on their signs! Today we’ll learn how they work, and how to build one right at home.   
Download (PDF)

DIY Weather Station Part 1: Rain Gauge

Humans have been measuring precipitation for thousands of years. Water is our most critical resource and keeping track of rainfall from year to year helps us plan everything from managing Nantucket’s Sole Source Aquifer to managing our food crops and flower gardens. In this week’s bACKyard Biologist, we build our own tool for measuring Nantucket’s rainfall.
Download (PDF)

The Bee Hotel

Spring is in full swing outside, so this week we’re looking at pollinators. Specifically, bees! Not just any bees though. Not honeybees- OUR bees. These solitary critters are docile, excellent pollinators, and love our gardens. Let’s see if we caSpring is in full swing outside, so this week we’re looking at pollinators. Specifically, bees! Not just any bees though. Not honeybees- OUR bees. These solitary critters are docile, excellent pollinators, and love our gardens. Let’s see if we can encourage a few of them to stick around!
Download (PDF)

Ocean Acidification in a Cup, Part 2

Building on what we learned in the first experiment about how our ocean and atmosphere interact, this time we see how a more acidic ocean directly impacts our iconic shell-building species.
Download (PDF)

Cup of vinegar with an egg.

DIY Birdfeeders and Nature Journals

Attract Nantucket’s beautiful birds to your yard! Each year, thousands of colorful, vocal songbirds visit our community- A pinecone, some string, peanut butter and sunflower seed will get you started on a new hobby.
Download (PDF)

DIY bird feeder using seeds.
Watch

Water Cycle in a Bag

Learn how our planet recycles water by creating a tiny enclosed earth, complete with oceans and an atmosphere, from stuff you have in your kitchen!
Download (PDF)

Frog Life Cycle

Welcome to spring on Nantucket! Frogs, one of the hallmarks of spring, are the subject of our craft this week. The frog’s life cycle begins when adult frogs head for water as the weather warms. They lay eggs, large gooey blobs, thousands of them! Tadpoles soon hatch, grow legs, and join their parents as full-fledged frogs. What kinds of frogs do you hear/see in your yard? What other signs of spring are you seeing? Let us know what you find!
Download (PDF)

Frog Life Cycle Craft using egg cartons.

Ocean Acidification in a Cup

Learn how things like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere make our oceans more acidic, even right here on Nantucket! Download (PDF)

Graphic depicting Ocean Acidification.


Thank You Notes from our bACKyard Biologists


UPDATE from Noah Singer, NLC’s Eelgrass Restoration Manager:

We are excited to announce that all 21,000 reproductive eelgrass shoots have been sorted and trimmed. We could not have accomplished this without the incredible help from all of our volunteers who came out to the hatchery. Also a huge thank you to @nrdack for all of their help and for allowing the use of their facilities.

Next up is transplanting vegetative shoots in 2 weeks and planting the seeds in mid-September. We will have more information going out soon about our new site and any volunteer efforts that will be needed.
...

TOMORROW! Saturday, August 6th @ 8AM—10AM. TRASHTAG! ♻️

Come join us in a collective effort to clean up our beautiful island. Starting from 4 Fairgrounds Road, we will divide & conquer areas that need it most!

Kids, family, friends, everyone! All are welcome to participate.

Special thanks to @nantucket_dpw & @ackcleanteam for their help + inspiration to keep Nantucket clean!
...

The Nantucket Land Council is pleased to announce a generous challenge grant by our Board of Directors which will double every gift up to $75,000 throughout the rest of 2022. ⁠

The Water Fund is a special restricted fund that helps support our water-focused initiatives. In addition to our Eelgrass restoration and research in Nantucket and Madaket Harbors, Harmful Algal Bloom and general pond research, and educational and outreach initiatives, this fund supports the Nantucket Waterkeeper Program. ⁠

Help us meet our goal of $150,000 to protect and preserve Nantucket’s water resources - visit our website for more information or click the link in our bio to DONATE TODAY!
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This Friday, August 5th @ 8:30 - 10:30 am. Join the Nantucket Waterkeeper RJ Turcotte and Mass Audubon: Nantucket's Sam Kefferstan for a 2-hour educational tour of one of Nantucket's great ponds - Sesachacha Pond. ⁠

Explore the incredible biodiversity of Nantucket's unique Great Ponds, discuss water quality issues that face our island's water resources, and learn how you can help protect and preserve these special ponds!⁠

Participants will better understand our island's water resources and great pond systems and enjoy a fun and educational morning on the water. Kayaks and lifejackets will be provided.⁠

Link in bio to sign up!
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Join the NLC in collaboration with Sustainable Nantucket & the Maria Mitchell Association for a fun & exciting way to help control the population of the invasive green crab, all the while creating an environmentally friendly fertilizer for your garden. ⁠

Wednesday, August 10th @ 10 AM - 12 PM. ⁠

Please wear waterproof boots, and bring a sealable bottle or jar to take home your fertilizer! ⁠

This workshop is free, but registration is required, click the link in our bio to sign up!
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The NLC has been working with the Waterkeeper Alliance to celebrate this year’s 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act was a groundbreaking piece of legislation that changed the way the country, and more specifically grassroots citizen groups could affect environmental change. It paved the way for advocacy around clean water issues and provided important legal tools that enabled the people to hold polluters accountable.⁠

The NLC is creeping up to its own 50th anniversary and has been instrumental in paving the way for water protection on Nantucket Island since its beginning. While much has been done to set the stage for long-term water protection, the pressures of increased development have had serious consequences and continue to have real implications for the future health of our waters. ⁠

Join us on Tuesday as we celebrate some of the achievements we have made on Nantucket, as well as engage our membership and audience in further dialogue around what needs to be done now to sustain the health of our waters and why our ongoing advocacy efforts are so important. Following a brief business meeting, Executive Director Emily Molden will make a presentation with special guest and former NLC Executive Director Linda Holland and will facilitate discussion around “What’s Been Done & What’s To Come.”⁠

A reception will follow.
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NLC News: July 29th, 2022 – Annual Meeting, Trashtag, Surfside Crossing, Green Crab Fertilizer Demo & More! ...

In solidarity with all our fellow water quality monitors across the globe, we finish out #lakeappreciationmonth with a #secchidipin photo shoot! Keep up the amazing work, everyone. Water is life! @loringnatureack @nrdack ...

Next Saturday, August 6th from 8–10AM — NLC Trashtag! ♻️

Come join us in a collective effort to clean up our beautiful island. Starting from 4 Fairgrounds Road, we will divide & conquer areas that need it most!

Kids, family, friends, everyone! All are welcome to participate.

Special thanks to @nantucket_dpw & @ackcleanteam for their help + inspiration to keep Nantucket clean!
...

Mark your calendars! Saturday, August 6th from 8–10AM — NLC Trashtag! ♻️

Come join us in a collective effort to clean up our beautiful island. Starting from 4 Fairgrounds Road, we will divide & conquer areas that need it most!

Kids, family, friends, everyone! All are welcome to participate.

Special thanks to @nantucket_dpw & @ackcleanteam for their help + inspiration to keep Nantucket clean!
...

PSA: If you are cleaning out your house or moving, have leftover or old products from a project or job, please bring your hazardous waste to the Collection Center this Saturday, July 23, 9AM-1PM for proper disposal. ...

PSA: if you’re cleaning out your house or moving, have left over or old products from a project or job, please bring your hazardous waste to the Collection Center on Saturday, July 23rd 9AM—1PM! ...

NLC News: 2022 State of Harbor Forum – Tomorrow July 19th at 4:30 at the Nantucket Yacht Club, FREE & Open to the Public! ...

TOMORROW! July 19th @ 4:30 at the Nantucket Yacht Club! ⁠FREE & open to the public ⛵️ A raw bar and cocktail reception will follow.⁠

The Nantucket Land Council is pleased to present the 6th Annual State of the Harbor Forum. This year’s Forum will feature a presentation by the Town of Nantucket Natural Resources Department and will include public engagement and participation in reviewing policies and practices that impact the long-term health, sustainability, and resilience of our harbor ecosystems.⁠

A huge thank you to our 2022 sponsors:⁠
@andersonsstillwatermoorings, ⁠
@nantucketshellfish, and ⁠
Visco Pumping, Inc.
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Join the Nantucket Waterkeeper RJ Turcotte and Mass Audubon: Nantucket's Sam Kefferstan on Monday, July 25th @ 8:30 - 10:30 am. for a 2-hour educational tour of one of Nantucket's great ponds - Sesachacha Pond. ⁠

Explore the incredible biodiversity of Nantucket's unique Great Ponds, discuss water quality issues that face our island's water resources, and learn how you can help protect and preserve these special ponds!⁠

Participants will better understand our island's water resources and great pond systems and enjoy a fun and educational morning on the water. Kayaks and lifejackets will be provided.⁠

Link in bio to sign up!
...

Tuesday, July 19th @ 4:30 at the Nantucket Yacht Club! ⁠FREE & open to the public ⛵️ A raw bar and cocktail reception will follow.⁠

The Nantucket Land Council is pleased to present the 6th Annual State of the Harbor Forum. This year’s Forum will feature a presentation by the Town of Nantucket Natural Resources Department and will include public engagement and participation in reviewing policies and practices that impact the long-term health, sustainability, and resilience of our harbor ecosystems.⁠

A huge thank you to our 2022 sponsors: @andersonsstillwatermoorings, @nantucketshellfish, and Visco Pumping, Inc.
...

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