Upcoming Virtual Open Nights with the MMA

Nantucket, MA –  The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting two free virtual Open Night events via Zoom in November, including a special Members-Only event (November 11) and our first ever Spanish Language Open Night (November 18). Join our professional astronomers for an impressive tour of Nantucket’s night sky through a live-streamed telescope. Our astronomers will focus on bright objects, including Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. Both events will include discussion of these planets and time for a Q&A.

The Members-Only Virtual Open Night will take place on Wednesday, November 11, from 6-7PM. In case of inclement weather, the rain date will be Thursday, November 12, from 6-7PM. Members can register for this event at mariamitchell.org or directly at:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KESBJTAPR4-7AOhgXsUtjg

The Spanish Language Virtual Open Night will take place on Wednesday, November 18, from 6-7PM. In case of inclement weather, the rain date will be Thursday, November 19, from 6-7PM. Participants can register for this event at mariamitchell.org or directly at:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fhF-w2DDSAOQ7jx8-o87lw

Maria Mitchell In Her Own Words

Oct. 25, 1875 . . . I have scarcely got over the tire of the congress yet, although it is a week since I returned . . . . It was a grand affair, and babies came in arms.  School-boys stood close to the platform and school-girls came, books in hand.  The hall . . . could hold at least one thousand seven hundred.  It was packed and jammed . . . . When I had to speak to announce a paper I stood very still until they became quiet.  Once I had stood that way, a man at the extreme rear, before I had spoken a word, shouted out, “Louder!”  We all burst into a laugh.

Maria was now the president of the Association for the Advancement of Women (AAW).  This was its annual meeting in 1875.  One of the founders of the AAW, Maria would also found its Science Committee which she would chair for life.  Her sisters and sister-in-laws were members.  Her sister, Phebe Mitchell Kendall, chaired the Women’s Dress Reform Committee – if you know anything about “bloomers” this is, in part, where it happened.  I like to wonder if her Quaker upbringing provided her with any oratory skills.  With some empowerment from watching other women stand up in Quaker meeting to address the meeting.  Lucretia Coffin Mott stated that was something that gave her strength and confidence – watching women standing in Quaker meeting and addressing the gathering.  The Reverend Phebe Coffin Hanaford implied the same – and as a young girl she stood on an apple box to speak to her “meeting” – her large gathering of siblings.

JNLF

James Elliot to Speak as Featured Guest for Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Science Speaker Series

Nantucket, MA – On August 12th at 7pm, the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association is hosting a live Zoom lecture featuring James Elliot as part of the Maria Mitchell Science Speaker Series. His talk, “Life History and Population Dynamics of Green Crabs (Carcinus maenas)” is a featured event in our Nantucket Green Crab Week lineup, taking place from August 10 to August 14. Elliott serves as Greencrab.org’s Science Communications Advisor, supporting scientific decision making and creating educational content for the group. Full time, Elliot works at New England Biolabs as a scientist studying novel methods for enzyme development in the biotechnology industry.

In his talk, Elliot will discuss the nature and history of the highly invasive green crab. Carcinus maenas (the “shore crab” or “European green crab”) is a very proficient invader (considered to be one of the world’s 100 worst invaders by the International Union for Conservation of Nature) due to its phenotypic plasticity, wide temperature and salinity tolerance, and an extensive omnivorous diet. Native to Atlantic Europe, it has established two well-studied nonindigenous populations in the northwestern Atlantic and northeastern Pacific and less-studied populations in Australia, Argentina and South Africa. Carcinus maenas has been the subject of numerous papers, with over 1000 published in the past decade. Along with a summary of the results from a 3-year long trapping study in Salem Sound, this talk will broadly review current published information on the life history and population dynamics of this very important species, including genetic differentiation, habitat preferences, sizes of crabs, sex ratios, ecosystem dynamics and ecological impacts in the various established global populations of green crabs.

Elliot holds a Biology degree from Salem State University and a Master of Science degree from University of Maine. An active member of the New England Estuarine Research Society and the Crustacean Society, Elliot has previously worked closely with the Division of Marine Fisheries studying population dynamics and molt endocrinology of crustaceans during his time at the Cat Cove Marine Laboratory (Salem, MA) and the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA).

Most recently, Elliot worked with Dr. Alan Young to publish an up-to-date account of the current information on the life history and population dynamics of the European Green Crab. While no longer affiliated with academia, he continues to engage in citizen science wherever possible.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) 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, a research center, 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.

Mass Audubon Climate Experts Featured Guest Speakers for Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association’s Science Speaker Series

LINCOLN, MA— Join Mass Audubon’s Climate Change Program Director, Alexandra Vecchio, and Climate Change Adaptation Ecologist, Dr. Danielle Perry, for the next lecture in the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association’s Science Speaker Series, taking place by Zoom on Thursday, August 13, at 7 p.m.

In their presentation, “Nature’s Value in Solving our Climate Crisis,” Vecchio and Perry will deliver an overview of how actions-focused climate advocacy and nature-based solutions can safeguard our world from the impacts of climate change.

They will discuss how the state Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program can help communities adapt to a warming planet, share examples of nature-based climate strategies, and discuss habitat management initiatives that enhance the resilience of various coastal ecosystems.

As a conservation leader in New England, Mass Audubon is committed to taking bold action to combat the climate crisis. This organization-wide priority threads though all aspects of its work, from the advancement of climate policy at the local and state levels to the ecological restoration and management of its more than 38,000 acres of protected land, and recognize the need for urgency to protect people and wildlife alike.

Vecchio, who holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, is responsible for implementing Mass Audubon’s statewide Climate Action Plan. In particular, she oversees the organization’s climate change education programs, public outreach and community engagement, local climate advocacy efforts, internal and external climate communications, and offers scientific and policy consultation to external partners.

Perry is working to improve the resiliency of Mass Audubon sanctuaries to climate change impacts. In her position, she is evaluating the vulnerability of sanctuaries to climate change effects and implementing climate change adaptation projects to improve resiliency of these environments. She is also responsible for developing external partnerships with cities and towns, nonprofit organizations, environmental agencies, and other partners to enhance the resiliency of Massachusetts lands and resources in order to prepare for climate change impacts.

Please register at mariamitchell.org.

The Maria Mitchell Association Science Speaker Series is co-sponsored by Cisco Brewers, Nantucket Island Resorts, the Osceola Foundation, and ACKlimate.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) 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, a research center, 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.

Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts’ largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state’s natural treasures for wildlife and for all people—a vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.

Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today’s and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at massaudubon.org.

Nantucket Green Crab Week with The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association and The Nantucket Land Council

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA), in partnership with the Nantucket Land Council (NLC), is excited to announce the first annual Nantucket Green Crab Week. Between August 10 and August 15, 2020, participate in fun daily events to learn about and take action against invasive European green crabs on Nantucket.

European green crabs were first introduced to North America in the 1800s, likely traveling in ballast water of merchant ships from Europe. This invasive species is now abundant on Nantucket, threatening crucial aquatic resources, including eelgrass beds, shellfish populations, and native crab communities here on the island.

Join the MMA and NLC for a full schedule of activities and talks designed to generate awareness regarding Nantucket’s green crab population. During the week, learn more about the threat this invasive species presents through educational videos and a live lecture with Greencrab.org’s Science Communications Advisor, Jimmy Elliott. Participate in green crab research by studying and mapping green crab populations for a new Citizen Science survey, and learn how to collect and use green crabs in a variety of ways, including cooking them for delicious meals! As part of the NLC’s summer Clean Water Topics On Tap webinar series, join Mary Parks, author of The Green Crab Cookbook for a live Zoom cooking demonstration. Other events include a live question and answer session, green crab composting instruction presented by the NLC, and more.

Visit the Maria Mitchell Association Green Crab webpage at https://www.mariamitchell.org/get-involved/green-crabs to view the full Nantucket Green Crab Week schedule, watch videos, register for Zoom events, and learn more about this invasive species.

Follow the events on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MariaMitchellAssociation/ https://www.facebook.com/nantucketlandcouncil/

Together as a community, it is possible to help prevent green crabs from destroying the natural resources that make Nantucket’s waters so special!

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) 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, a research center, 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.

Nantucket Land Council is a 501 (c) 3 environmental advocacy organization – protecting and preserving open space, harbor, pond, and groundwater, and advocating for the environment at Select Board, Planning Board, and Conservation Commission meetings.  The Nantucket Land Council also hosts the State of the Harbor Forum each year and Oysterfest each November to educate residents on the state of our water resources, and what we can all do to help maintain this critical resource.  For more information on the Nantucket Land Council’s environmental work and initiatives, please visit https://www.nantucketlandcouncil.org.

Maria Mitchell Observatory NSF-REU Interns Present Summer Astrophysics Research Projects

Nantucket, MA – On August 5 at 7pm the summer 2020 National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate (NSF-REU) interns will present their summer research projects in astrophysics virtually on Zoom as part of the Maria Mitchell Summer Science Speaker Series.

While the interns were not able to travel to Nantucket due to the COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions, they were able to participate in the research component of the program virtually, via Zoom and email.  This summer’s research projects covered a wide range of topics from searching for planets around white dwarf stars and determining the potential habitability of exoplanets, to studying black holes and the cosmic web.  “While it was unfortunate that we could not bring the interns here to Nantucket this summer, we are grateful that we were able to still provide them with an amazing research experience, even if it was entirely remote.  In fact, this experience simulates the way most astronomers work these days – as we all collaborate with other scientists located across the globe.  So, for astronomers, working together with remote collaborators is something we have been practicing long before COVID,” said Dr. Regina Jorgenson, the Maria Mitchell Association Director of Astronomy.  “Several of the interns will be applying to graduate programs in the fall and their research experience at the MMA will not only help them determine what areas of research are most interesting to them, but also will  strengthen their applications to these competitive programs,” Jorgenson continued.

The summer 2020 Maria Mitchell Observatory (MMO) NSF-REU intern class consists of: Devon Barros, Bridgewater State University; Kiana Burton, Temple University; Sarah Graber, Columbia University; A. Granados, Wellesley College; Andrea Mejia, Hunter College CUNY; and Natalia Villanueva, Harvard University.

The research projects that the interns will be discussing are:  “Searching for Planetary Remnants Around Bright White Dwarfs with NASA’s TESS Mission”  &  “Using Millimeter Wavelength Observations to Determine the Potential Habitability of Exoplanets”  & “Peering into the Lighthouse: X-ray Emission from RV Tau Variable Stars and Their Companions” & “Detailed Analysis of Tidal Disruption Event Light Curves: The Search for Clues for What is Powering Their Optical Emission”  & “Dissecting Pulsar Wind Nebulae with the Chandra and NuSTAR X-ray Observatories” &  “Using Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) to Untangle the Cosmic Web: IFU Studies of FRB Host Galaxies.”

The research interns have been advised by Dr. Jorgenson and Jay Chittidi of the MMA, as well as several affiliated astronomers from a range of institutes including the Chandra X-Ray Center, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, Boston University, and M.I.T in Boston, the University of Maryland, and the University of Colorado, Boulder.  This summer two of the affiliated astronomers are former MMA REU interns themselves (Dr. Suvi Gezari, University of Maryland, and Dr. Meredith MacGregor, University of Colorado, Boulder).

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) 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, a research center, 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.

Introducing Our New Interim Executive Director

The Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is pleased to announce that Jason Bridges will be the Interim Executive Director at the Maria Mitchell Association effective August 24, 2020. Jason will replace outgoing Executive Director, David Gagnon.

A graduate of Wabash College with a degree in Psychology and Chemistry, Bridges has been a fixture on the island for over twenty-one years. Currently, Bridges owns and operates the Handlebar Cafe and Nantucket Bike Tours and has been a Select Board Member for over three years. He had numerous past experiences with the Maria Mitchell Association. According to Jason, “The Maria Mitchell Association impacts the citizens of Nantucket through their work to preserve, educate, and research the natural world. I have a close and personal relationship with the MMA. Fifteen years ago, I volunteered to join the MMA’s research team and assisted with snake and spider counts. I met my wife, Courtney Bridges, through the Maria Mitchell Association where she was an educator in 2008. My first business, Nantucket Bike Tours, started through a collaboration with Maria Mitchell. Beyond business and person ties, I gained a great appreciation for the complexity of the night sky through Maria Mitchell. You can find me, on a clear night, playing backyard astronomer with my sky guide in hand. Now, I am thrilled I have the privilege to further the mission of the Maria Mitchell Association as its Interim Executive Director.”

“Jason’s business experience, knowledge of the MMA and Nantucket, and commitment to the core mission make him an ideal Interim Director. We are pleased to welcome Jason onto the Maria Mitchell Association team.” – Helene Weld, MMA Board Chair

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, a research center, 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.

Please join us in giving Jason a very warm welcome to the Maria Mitchell Association!

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association WISH UPON A STAR Fundraiser is back for August

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is delighted to again offer a unique opportunity to win a reserved town parking space for the month of August in our WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER. With roads closing for outdoor restaurant dining, downtown parking is becoming even harder to find. Our July WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER was amazingly successful thanks to our generous donors. $10,000 was raised for the MMA and four lucky winners received their very own parking space in Downtown Nantucket.

This month, we are only selling 100 squares for the three available spaces. You can earn chances to win by making an online donation of $125 or higher to the WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER via the MMA’s website now through 9:00 am on July 31st: https://www.mariamitchell.org/get-involved/wish-upon-a-staff-fundraiser

The three spaces are located at 33 Washington Street.

On July 31st at 12PM, MMA Executive Director, Dave Gagnon, will draw three lucky winners, streamed via Instagram Live and Facebook Live, each receiving one private town parking space for the month of August. Please find the complete rules below.

All donations will support the MMA’s mission to create opportunities for all to develop a life-long passion for science through education, research, and first-hand exploration of the sky, land, and sea of Nantucket Island. This online auction is one of a few fundraisers planned in lieu of the MMA’s Stargazer Gala, which has been postponed until 2021.

How to Enter:

You can earn chances to win by making an online donation for the WISH UPON A STAR FUNDRAISER before July 31st at 9:00 am.

$125 donation – One chance

$250 donation – Two chances

$500 donation – Four chances

$1000 donation – Eight chances * plus two bonus chances (10 total)

When you submit your donation, you will be able to select your preferred numbers for the drawing (1-100). Numbers will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Three numbers will be drawn on July 31st.  We will share regular updates regarding available numbers via our website and social media platforms.

Prizes:

(1) parking space located at 33 Washington Street

(1) parking space located at 33 Washington Street

(1) parking space located at 33 Washington Street

The winners will have access to their parking space from 6AM August 1 – 9PM August 31. We will select the prizes in the following order:  Space 1A at 33 Washington Street, followed by space 1B at 33 Washington Street, followed by space 1C at 33 Washington Street. The winners will be contacted on July 31st following the drawing.

For more information, please contact Logan Gomes, Director of Advancement at (508) 228-9198.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) 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, a research center, 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.

 

 

Executive Director David Gagnon of the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Announces Resignation

Nantucket, MA – After a tenure of approximately five years, David Gagnon will be resigning from his role as the Executive Director of the Maria Mitchell Association (MMA), effective next month. He will be moving back to Vermont to be closer to his family and is excited to accept an executive leadership position close to his home.  He will work closely with the MMA to ensure a smooth transition.

The MMA has been fortunate to have Dave’s leadership, said Helene Weld, Board Chair. “Dave has made tremendous strides toward implementing our strategic plan, raising our visibility on island, and driving the MMA toward fiscal stability. He’s helped advance many important projects including the completion of the Science Research Center, the re-instatement of the MMA Science Speaker Series, expansion of our summer Discovery Camps and year-round work in the school systems. During the last five years we’ve instituted a popular pop-up science program downtown, premiered the Maria Mitchell Women of Science Symposium, and began collaborations with Remain Nantucket focusing on ocean plastics and climate change, including the future placement of a Seabin in Nantucket Harbor to collect and study marine plastics. Last year we collaborated with the Land Bank, CPC and Nantucket Cottage Hospital to build a fully accessible Discovery Playground with science interpretation. It has been a productive period for the organization. We will miss Dave on the island and wish him well.” A search for his successor will be conducted later this year.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) 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, a research center, 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.

Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Awarded Community Preservation Act Grant for Fiscal Year 2021

Nantucket, MA – The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) is pleased to announce that the Community Preservation Committee has awarded the MMA $319,000.00 for the conservation and restoration of the exterior of its historic 1908 Maria Mitchell Vestal Street Observatory and its 1922 attached Astronomical Study.  The award is a grant recently approved at Nantucket’s Annual Town Meeting on June 25, 2020.  Coupled, with funding from the M. S. Worthington Foundation, these monies will allow the MMA to attend to much-needed work to the exterior of the building which will alleviate shifting of brickwork, replacement of rusted lintels, and rebuilding and replacement of spalling bricks and mortar.  It will also allow for copper work to be completed on the historic 1908 dome roof which is made of copper and other alloys.

According to Jascin Leonardo Finger, the MMA’s Deputy Director and Curator, “This has been a project long in the making.  We are excited and grateful to our funders and ready to get to work on this historic, continually working observatory so that it can continue to be a vital part of astronomical research into the next 100 years while also standing as a shining example of important historic preservation work and historic architecture on Nantucket.”

The Community Preservation Act, established in Massachusetts and established on Nantucket in 2002, has a Committee consisting of nine members. The members include an appointed designee from each of the following: the Conservation Commission; the Historic District Commission; the Nantucket Islands Land Bank; the Planning Board; the Park and Recreation Commission; the Nantucket Housing Authority; and the Board of Selectmen. There are also two members-at-large from the community.  The CPC studies the needs, possibilities, and resources of the Town regarding community preservation.  The committee makes recommendations to Town Meeting for: the acquisition, creation and preservation of open space; for the acquisition and preservation of historic resources; for the acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use; for the creation, preservation and support of community housing; and for rehabilitation or restoration of such open space, historic resources, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created based on grant applications from entities in the community.

CPA funding has allowed the MMA to complete many important historic preservation projects on the historic Mitchell House (1790), birthplace of America’s first woman astronomer Maria Mitchell, as well as the conservation of the exterior of its Research Center, formerly known as the MMA Science Library (ca. 1830 and 1930).  It also supplied substantial funding for the all-inclusive, accessible playground on Old South Road, a collaboration between the Maria Mitchell Association, Nantucket Islands Land Bank, and several other entities on and off-island.

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) 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, a research center, 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.