Bloom Family Establishes Maria Mitchell Association Camp Scholarship Fund in Memory of Son, Adam Bloom

Nantucket, MA –Susan and Howard Bloom have announced Adam Bloom photothe Adam Bloom Scholarship Fund for children interested in participating in the Maria Mitchell Association’s (MMA) winter and spring vacation camp programs which will be again running in December and April. Applications, available at, are now being accepted for the MMA’s Winter Discovery Camp which will run December 27th – 30th. Over these four days, campers will understand how nature inspires artists, engineers, and new technologies. They will explore a variety of habitats, design outdoor sculptures, create their own animal superhero, build robots, and learn about the significance of MMA’s scientific collections. They will also build a Nantucket nature collection of their own to take home. This camp is appropriate for ages 7-11 years.

According to Sue and Howard Bloom, “Throughout Adam’s life, he had a keen interest in the world around him. He could often be found with his sister and friends, exploring the beaches and marshes throughout Nantucket looking for crabs, fish, and any other creatures they could find. His passion was inspired by his participation in many of the camp programs at the Maria Mitchell Association. As a child, Adam could be found continuing or repeating the activities that he learned to do at camp that day. He was a budding young naturalist.”

“The Adam Bloom Scholarship Fund will enable island children the opportunity to enjoy these very popular camps and experience the joy of ‘learning by doing’ on our beautiful island. We are deeply grateful that the Blooms and their generous friends decided to create a fund in memory of Adam at the Maria Mitchell Association,” stated David Gagnon, the MMA’s Executive Director. He also added that this is an ongoing scholarship and that additional donations for the scholarship are encouraged and welcome.

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.


The Maria Mitchell Association Releases Denizens of the Deep at Annual Aquarium Release Day

Nantucket, MA – The Maria Mitchell Association, Nantucket’s Science Center, sent the marine creatures in its seasonal public aquarium back to the ocean with a spirited send-off on Saturday, September 3rd.
More than 300 people released 404 animals from the tanks to the edge of the Harbor behind the MMA Aquarium with the help of volunteers and staff. Release Day is an annual event for the MMA Aquarium as it prepares to close the facility for the season. These animals served as ambassadors to the aquatic world for the thousands of summer visitors to the Aquarium.
“We are excited when we catch specimens at the start of the summer season and are eager to share their natural history with visitors. This collection of fish, crabs, shellfish and even sharks, represents the biodiversity of Nantucket Harbor. We are just as excited to release them back to the Harbor at the end of the season. And from the number of people who were present, it is obvious that the public loves this annual ritual,” says Dave Gagnon, Executive Director of the Maria Mitchell Association.
During Release Day, a total of 211 fish were returned to the ocean, along with sixty-six crabs, four sharks, 111 shellfish and mollusks, and a dozen other marine creatures. At the event, the public were invited to make donations to the MMA Aquarium. The MMA Aquarium received a $15,000 matching grant from the Triad Foundation and nearly $6,000 has already been raised. The matching grant will be utilized for Aquarium improvements and marine research.
The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.
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Human and Environmental Effects of Light at Night

On Tuesday, August 30, Dr. Mario E. Motta presented during our Science Speaker Series.  Dr. Motta is a Cardiologist at North Shore Medical Center and Partner at North Shore Cardiovascular Associates.  In his presentation, Dr. Motta explained the effects of light pollution and the best practices for the change over to efficient LED lighting.

If you missed this great lecture, you can see the PowerPoint below.  More information on light pollution can be found on our website here.

Maria Mitchel-2016-LED

Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Astronomy Research Student Selected as a Delegate for the Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum

NEWS August 31, 2016
Contact: Lauren Berlin
508-228-9198 or

Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Astronomy Research Student Selected as a Delegate for the Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum


Nantucket, MA

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (NMMA) is excited to announce and congratulate one of its own National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) sponsored astronomy interns, Tanveer Karim, for being selected as a delegate for the prestigious Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum. Tanveer, who attends the University of Rochester, is one of thirty-one students, and one of the ten undergraduate students, selected out of over 600 students who applied. Tanveer spent this summer working as one of six NSF-REU students at the NMMA where he conducted research on gaseous outflows from the Milky Way Galaxy. In addition to his research, he worked at the Loines Observatory Public Open Nights, where he led visitors on constellation tours of Nantucket’s night skies.

The Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum is a student-led forum that is dedicated to bringing American and Russian students together for research in science, business, economics and other policies in order to promote collaboration and dialogue between students from the two countries. The goal of this forum is to come up with ideas that will help solve real world problems pertaining to the relation between the U.S. and Russia. Delegates of the Forum write policy proposals and white papers that are distributed among individuals and organizations who influence U.S.-Russia relations. The delegates will attend two conferences, one in Moscow and the other one in Stanford, to discuss their work with leading experts in policymaking, academia, and other fields. Past speakers have included Condoleezza Rice, the 66th U.S. Secretary of State, Arkady Dvorkovich, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, and other renowned world experts.

As part of the Forum, Tanveer will be a delegate for the Science, Engineering, and Technology Collaboration working group. He, along with his working group, will identify an issue that is related to scientific collaboration between the U.S. and Russia and find possible solutions. He will be attending the conference in Moscow in November to present the initial findings of his investigation.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association is named after America’s first female astronomer, Maria Mitchell.  She is known for discovering a comet over Nantucket in October 1847.  She went on to become the first professor hired by Vassar College. The NMMA was founded in 1902 to preserve her legacy of scientific achievement and to carry on her passion for hands-on learning. Today, the NMMA operates two observatories (Loines and the Maria Mitchell Observatory), as well as the NMMA Aquarium, the Hinchman House Natural Science Museum, and the birthplace of Maria Mitchell.  More information about the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association can be found at



MMA Education Director Working on State Environmental Literacy Plan

MMA is pleased to announce that our Director of Education, Kim Botelho, was elected Clerk and is now representing the Massachusetts Environmental Education Society (MEES) on the development of the state’s Environmental Literacy Plan (MassELP).   During the MEES annual conference on March 9, 2016, when Phase 1: A Case for Advancing an Environmental Literacy in Massachusetts was released, she presented to 250 educators from all over the state and called them to action to help promote this environmental literacy movement.

 In a follow up letter to teachers, Kim explained that “one of the ultimate goals for states working on ELPs is to get them adopted by their state Department of Education so that environmental education (EE) is integrated into the curriculum in every public school across that state.  How amazing would that be!  As you all know, taking kids outside to learn has so many benefits even beyond building an appreciation for the environment and a greater understanding of ecological processes.  Research shows that environmental education improves student achievement in core subject areas, gets them more engaged in learning,  improves behavior, and so much more.  As indicated in the North American Association for Environmental Education’s ELP Status report, ELPs give teachers and students new opportunities to take learning outside; explore their communities; analyze issues; learn about connections between our economy, society, and environment; support economic growth; and become engaged citizens.  This is the very goal that MEES is working towards. Let’s get EE in every public and private school in MA!!!  Please understand that the intent of this effort is NOT to make a bunch of new standards for teachers to address and test to, but rather, to have them use the outdoors to teach to those standards and subjects that are already required at their schools.”  Kim is now working on compiling best practices in EE from around the state with the goals of (1) increasing public awareness of EE efforts and its importance and (2) gaining more support at the state level for this effort.  If you are a teacher and use the outdoors as your classroom, Kim wants to hear from you and she wants to make sure your community knows about the great work you are doing.   Please send her an email at for more information. 


To see Phase 1, please visit or go to:


Birdathon 2016

The Nantucket Birdathon

5pm April 15 – 5pm April 16

The race to see the most birds in 24 hours on Nantucket!

This is the time of year when the MMA and the Linda Loring Nature Foundation (LLNF) raise funds to help preserve scientific specimens and support bird related programs and field trips.  The MMA protects over 1000 bird specimens dating to the late 1800’s and leads two bird walks a week in the summer.  The LLNF property on Eel Point Rd provides excellent bird watching both on its trails and at its array of feeders.  Edie Ray leads a bird walk for LLNF once a week.

The annual Nantucket Birdathon is instrumental in supporting these activities.  Please join birdingus in promoting and preserving Nantucket’s bird life by contributing to the Birdathon.

To support the Nantucket Birdathon, you can pledge an amount per species seen (we see fewer than 140 species and a typical pledge is $0.50 to $1 per species) by calling us at 508-228-9198.  You can mail contributions (download the contribution form here) to:
Maria Mitchell Association
4 Vestal St.
Nantucket MA, 02554

Or donate online! (put Birdathon in the ‘Other’ field for additional information)

If you’d like to join us birding, email Andrew Mckenna-Foster.  For details on the event, view the information page.

Thank you for your support!

Mechanical Mayhem

Mechanical Mayhem is right around the corner! Bring the family to dismantle and investigate all sorts of mechanical things ‘rescued’ from Take It Or Leave It. Learn about circuit boards, motors, and LEDs. Then build and take home a beautiful piece of robot art!

Free. Drop in anytime between 10am and 2pm
Natural Science Museum
7 Milk St.

Click the image for more images

family activity on Nantucket at the Maria Mitchell Association learning science!

Science Library/MMA Research Center Update

Skip and Jon jrThings on the interior of our soon to be Research Center (formerly known as the MMA Science Library) are beginning to move along.  Currently, Vollans Electric is completing work on one phase which concerns installing electrical outlets into the 1933 stucco Wing.  This portion of the building needs only a very small amount of work – basically the plugs (there are only currently six total outlets; keep in mind the Wing was built in 1933), cleaning and coating the floors, and painting the walls and ceiling on the main floor.  The main floor of the Wing will continue to play host to office space and books of course!  But with an extra desk or two, we need a few more plugs.  And given the way the Wing is constructed, all the wiring needs to be on the exterior of the wall – as the six outlets currently are.

We are also working on our code and handicapped accessibility with island architect Mickey Rowland and engineer Jim Badera.  We have had an initial meeting with the Building Department and  Jascin Leonardo Finger has created an application packet for the Historic District Commission for the building to receive a historic building designation.  Seems a little odd since it is a historic building but the Town needs to approve this which will then allow the MMA to apply for variances to protect the historic fabric of the building.

So, things are beginning to move along on the inside.  We are still raising some last reminaing funds – please let us know if you would like to make a contribution! – and all of the contractors are on board.  We are planning out the timeline and the delicate art of all of them coming and going.  We hope work to begin in earnest soon after the New Year begins so stay tuned!


Edith: My Friend and Mentor (October 29, 1915 to October 31, 2015)

Edith Banding at Mothball Pines.Every time I see a Yellow-rumped Warbler, I hear Edith say, “I call them Butter butts.”  I don’t think I ever look at one and don’t hear her say that.  I don’t think I will ever not hear her say that until I don’t see one anymore.

I was probably nine or ten when I first met her.  My parents took my brother and I on a Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) nature walk.  I think there were probably some groans from the adults who saw two children coming along – little did they know how enthusiastic we were about this walk.  Clint was there as well and my brother made some discovery that got a very excited response from Clint, a quiet and shy man.

I quite literally learned at her knee as she sat in the old black rocker in the Mitchell House.  I was twelve, she was in her early seventies.  What people tend to forget, or simply don’t know is that Edith Folger Andrews began her MMA career in the Mitchell House, as an assistant to the curator; herself working with Maria Mitchell’s cousins.  That unique touch – that connection to the family is what I grew up with learning from Edith when I first began volunteering in the Mitchell House at age twelve.  Over time, Edith became curator and served for many, many years and at several different times as curator – into 1980.  She knew about the Mitchells and the House inside and out.

Yes, ornithology is more than most certainly her life, her passion, but she was also passionate about the Mitchells and the MMA.  The MMA owes a great debt to her as she is largely responsible for much of the ornithological collection we have today.  In the early 2000s, the MMA named the bird collection in her honor.  Edith collected the birds (found dead) on her own or from others, cleaned them, stuffed them, and preserved them.  Her name is on many of the tags as the person who prepared them.  She also trained others to prepare bird specimens.  She was of course heavily involved in the Natural Science department – always a part of the work and research that was ongoing.  And Clint was also heavily involved – helping with others to start the MMA Aquarium.  Her life was very much about those two things – and her family; her husband, Clint; her daughter, Ginger; and all the birds, dogs, Barn Owls, auks, owls, and other animals that had the good fortune of being a part of her life.

I always knew Edith in connection to the Mitchell House.  After all, that is my world.  It was not until maybe four or five years ago that I became more involved in the bird world of Edith Folger Andrews.  She and Ginger asked if I would help to organize and compile Edith’s journals – written in composition books, to small little purse sized day planners, to scribbles on an envelope if that’s all she had with her when she saw something.  For several hours a week, we organized together, found all sorts of treasures, and dug through wonderful photographs.  I typed up journal entries, Edith reading many of them to me aloud, took dictation about certain birding events, and learned all about the Reef Heron, Rocket, and of course dear, sweet Owlbert.  I quickly learned her short-hand for different birds and got better about my own amateur birding – it helps that when you get a name or bird identification wrong the ornithologist yells at you – not meanly of course!  We birded from the living room, sitting in front of the sliders looking at the feeders.  Those feeders that have fed birds for over sixty years I believe.  The mulberry tree where I finally got to compare a Hairy to a Downy woodpecker as they sat there together on the same tree, a Flicker there for good measure.  I learned more about birds during those several hours a week over those few years than I could have imagined.  I also learned more about Edith, her life in her younger years, all sorts of great stories about the old days at MMA, and some of the other things that made her tick like mallomars – which we laughed about one day when we realized they were actually older than her!  My Mom and I even learned how to help a hummingbird to recover from cold when we found one one day in the driveway, lying in the gravel.  Edith told me, “X and I used to put them between our bosoms to keep them warm!”  My Mom and I just looked at one another.  We chose the other option Edith gave us – a brown paper bag under a lamp.

This is not an easy post to write, and it’s a bit rambling.  There is so much I would like to say about Edith.  One thing is for sure though; she had a good and very long life that was very active almost to the end – very much like Maria Mitchell herself.

Thank you, Edith for everything you have given to all of us with brain, with heart, with hand.  You have left a tremendous legacy and a path to follow.  I love you.


The step, however small, which is in advance of the world, shows the greatness of the person, whether that step be taken with brain, with heart, or with hands.    – Maria Mitchell

If you would like to learn more about Edith, you should read her book: Excerpts from a Nantucket Journal.

– See more at: