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


The NLC is participating in a series of meetings with US Congressional offices today as a part of the @waterkeeperalliance and @environmentalworkinggroup Virtual Lobby Day to support the Clean Water Standards for PFAS Act and appropriations for the EPA to meet the goals in their PFAS Roadmap. This Bill would require the EPA to set new standards under the Clean Water Act for at least nine industries likely to be discharging PFAS into the environment. ⁠

As a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, @nantucketlandcouncil and the Nantucket Waterkeeper advocate for drinkable, fishable, and swimmable water for all.
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Check out New England's Aquarium's latest blog post written by Caroline Collatos. Click on the link in our bio to read the entire post!⁠

Caroline Collatos is a shark biologist, and a PhD student at the New England Aquarium. Spending summers in Nantucket helped foster Caroline’s interest in the various inhabitants swimming in our waters. She has been specifically studying the critical role sandbar sharks, (Carcharhinus plumbeus,) play in our local marine ecology, monitoring their behavior and activity, as she realizes their continuing importance to maintaining a balanced food web in the waters around Nantucket and Nantucket Sound.⁠

This work is being conducted in collaboration with University of Massachussets Boston, The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, Massachussetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and the Nantucket Land Council.
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We are excited to promote the latest book by Jack Ahern, Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Design with Nature on Cape Cod and the Islands offers a sustainable approach to landscape design based on the Cape and Islands' ecology and native plant communities that are well adapted to local soils and growing conditions, including climate change.

The book includes strategies for ecological planting design and a portfolio of photographs of active ecologically-designed landscapes.

To purchase the book click on the link in our bio!
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Happening tomorrow!⁠

Join Water Resource Specialist Thaïs Fournier and Waterkeeper RJ Turcotte for a "crash course" on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and how you can get involved with monitoring our island ponds. ⁠

We will start with a general introduction to the science behind HABs and will move on to techniques that will help the Town, NLC and other partner organizations monitor our ponds, expand research and enhance public safety and awareness.⁠

This training will be provided virtually by Zoom. Click on the link in our bio to register!
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Don't miss out on an opportunity to support our pollinator community! Sign up for NLC's 2022 Planting for Pollinators Program. Once you've registered, you will receive monthly tips and strategies to help create a pollinator-friendly community. The plants suggested through our program will require less water and less fertilizer than most, leading to improved water quality and overall sustainability. ⁠

When you ditch the chemicals and work with nature, you support robust biodiversity and ecosystem health from the soil to the sky. ⁠

Register by clicking the link in our bio.
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There are still a few spots remaining for Sunday's Wellness Walk with the Linda Loring Nature Foundation. Enjoy a guided walk + learn more about the natural habitat of the 275-acre property!⁠

To sign up, click on the link in our bio and register through eventbrite.com
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Interested in being part of the conversation for Climate Action on Martha's Vineyard?⁠

Vineyard Conservation Society (VCS) is part of a team putting together a Climate Action Week for MV, May 8-14. This is a week of in-person and virtual events, everything from special local dinners at restaurants to scientific and planning talks and special sermons and talks at various faith organizations, among other things. It spans the gamut. ⁠

VCS would love to connect folks from Nantucket with the virtual offerings. One event, in particular, is focused on eco-anxiety in the age of climate change – a conversation the Nantucket community should attend! Click on the link in our bio to find out more information. The entire lineup for the week can be found on The Vineyard Way website.
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Town Meeting Voted:⁠

• To refer ARTICLE 42 to committee for further study. Unfortunately, the community was not able to send the Town a clear message with a vote against this article, but the NLC is pleased it did not pass.⁠

• Yes on ARTICLE 58, unfortunately, as this will create "bonus lots" adding more density. The NLC will petition the Planning Board to require that they at least be tied to workforce or community housing.⁠

• Yes on ARTICLE 69, expanding the Single-Use Plastics Ban to prohibit Nip Bottles!⁠

• Yes on ARTICLE 79, to petition the state to ban fertilizer use on Nantucket (except agriculture)! ⁠

• To refer ARTICLE 81 to the NP&EDC for further study. The NLC hopes the principles of this article will be further considered and implemented in the future.⁠

The Nantucket Land Council is Nantucket's environmental watchdog. Our mission is to protect and preserve Nantucket's natural and water resources through land protection and open space preservation, advocacy, research, and education. ⁠

For more information visit www,nantucketlandcouncil.org or email nlc@nantucketlandcouncil.org or DM us here.⁠
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The Nantucket Land Council is seeking exceptional candidates for our Development Director position.⁠

The successful candidate will be responsible for a broad range of the organization’s fundraising efforts, membership cultivation, marketing, advertising, events, publications, and community engagement.⁠

Required Qualifications:⁠

• A passion for protecting Nantucket’s natural environment⁠
• Experience in non-profit fundraising, knowledge of the island⁠
• Bachelor’s Degree or above⁠
• Strong organizational, writing, and editing skills⁠
• Proficiency in Microsoft Suite programs, WordPress, and database management⁠
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills⁠
• Ability to manage all aspects of bi-annual membership drives⁠
• Special Events experience including planning, budgeting, execution, and stewardship⁠
• Administrative management experience⁠

To apply please send your resume and cover letter to Emily Molden at emily@nantucketlandcouncil.org.
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Interested in helping improve water quality on Nantucket this summer? Join Water Resource Specialist Thaïs Fournier and Waterkeeper RJ Turcotte for a "crash course" on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and how you can get involved with monitoring our island ponds. ⁠

We will start with a general introduction to the science behind HABs and will move on to techniques that will help the Town, NLC and other partner organizations monitor our ponds, expand research and enhance public safety and awareness.⁠

This training will be provided virtually by Zoom. Click on the link in our bio to register!
...

This summer be on the lookout for NLC’s collaboration with The Nantucket Garden Club! The goal of this partnership is to recognize gardens throughout the community that reflect best practices to encourage biodiversity, reduce the impact on our waters and withstand the ravages of increasingly severe weather conditions.

Stay tuned + visit www.nantucketgardenclub.org for more info + other amazing offerings!
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Reminder to Vote for the Environment at Annual Town Meeting Monday, May 2, 2022! To learn more about NLC's recommendations on specific articles, click on the link in our bio! ...

NLC News: April 29, 2022 – Annual Town Meeting + NLC Recommendations – May 2nd @ 5PM, Monday, Nantucket High School Mary P. Walker Auditorium ...

Happy Arbor Day from the Nantucket Land Council! As a way to celebrate – plant a tree! You can pick up a free seedling courtesy of the Nantucket DPW. Read the details above for more info! ...

Did you see our ad in this week's @Inquirerandmirror? Let's talk about Conservation Restrictions (CR). One of the primary land preservation tools used by the NLC in cooperation with conservation-minded Nantucket landowners is the Conservation Restriction. ⁠

A CR is a recorded legal agreement between an owner of land with conservation values and a nonprofit group, such as the Land Council, or governmental entity that always will protect that land. ⁠

Each CR reflects a unique parcel of land and its landowner’s wishes for the future use of the land. The @nantucketlandcouncil holds a total of 92 Conservation Restrictions on over 1,500 acres of land throughout Nantucket, Tuckernuck, and Muskeget Island.⁠

Please contact the office to learn more, email emily@nantucketlandcouncil.org or DM us here.
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Article 81 paves the way for our “Planning Commission” to focus on a wider range of issues, such as preservation of natural resources and balanced economic growth, that are all becoming increasingly important to the future of our community and our island. ⁠

The Nantucket Land Council is Nantucket's environmental watchdog. Our mission is to protect and preserve Nantucket's natural and water resources through land protection and open space preservation, advocacy, research, and education. To read all of NLC's ATM recommendations or more information about this article, click the link in our bio or visit https://www.nantucketlandcouncil.org/nlc-news-annual-town-meeting-recommendations/#article-81⁠

Questions? Email nlc@nantucketlandcouncil.org or DM us here.⁠
...

The Nantucket Land Council is seeking exceptional candidates for our Development Director position.⁠

The successful candidate will be responsible for a broad range of the organization’s fundraising efforts, membership cultivation, marketing, advertising, events, publications, and community engagement.⁠

Required Qualifications:⁠

• A passion for protecting Nantucket’s natural environment⁠
• Experience in non-profit fundraising, knowledge of the island⁠
• Bachelor’s Degree or above⁠
• Strong organizational, writing, and editing skills⁠
• Proficiency in Microsoft Suite programs, WordPress, and database management⁠
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills⁠
• Ability to manage all aspects of bi-annual membership drives⁠
• Special Events experience including planning, budgeting, execution, and stewardship⁠
• Administrative management experience⁠

To apply please send your resume and cover letter to Emily Molden at emily@nantucketlandcouncil.org.
...

The citizen warrant Article 79 resubmits a proposal to ban fertilizer use in response to the ongoing deterioration of Nantucket Harbor and freshwater ecosystems across the island. Nantucket has strong and appropriate fertilizer regulations, but the system by which they are implemented and enforced is not working. In the absence of improvements, an alternative approach such as a ban, with appropriate exceptions, must be considered. Join us at Town Meeting to ask the Town for leadership on fixing our existing regulatory framework, or support Article 79 to send the message that something must be done to address this contributor of harbor pollution. ⁠

The Nantucket Land Council is Nantucket's environmental watchdog. Our mission is to protect and preserve Nantucket's natural and water resources through land protection and open space preservation, advocacy, research, and education. To read all of NLC's ATM recommendations or more information about this article, click the link in our bio or visit https://www.nantucketlandcouncil.org/nlc-news-annual-town-meeting-recommendations/#article-79⁠

Questions? Email nlc@nantucketlandcouncil.org or DM us here.⁠
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