My Latest Visitor

This was my latest view out of the window by my desk at the beginning of February.  At first, just a “LBJ” (little brown job) and then I realized exactly what LBJ he was – a Carolina Wren.  There once was a time not long ago that they really didn’t spend the winter with us.  But as their feeding areas have been altered by climate change, they tend to stick around much more in the winter and there are greater numbers in the warmer months than I ever remember.  They have a wonderfully LOUD song.  A distinct one.  We once had one on our deck in the summer that was so loud, we had to close the door onto the deck as he continued to sing because my husband and I couldn’t talk over him.

Maria Mitchell likely only ever saw them during her trip to the South in 1857.  One of our birthday speakers this summer, Drew Lanham, is from South Carolina.  He awoke in his hotel room at dawn to the singing of a Carolina Wren and for a moment he said he was totally confused as he thought he was home until he really looked around his room.  He was surprised to hear one on Nantucket – and he is an ornithologist!

Wrens can be a little mean which I’m not too fond of.  They’ve been known to kick other birds and their eggs out of a nest and take it over.  But the male wren builds a few nests to a certain level, the female picks the one she likes, and then they complete the chosen nest.  That, I like!

The Carolina Wren was also a favorite of my friend and mentor, MMA Ornithologist Edith Folger Andrews.

JNLF

Special Birthday Speaker: J. Drew Lanham August 22

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On August 22,  we will be co-hosting J. Drew Lanham with the Nantucket Atheneum.  Professor Lanham is the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature as well as numerous articles, poetry, and research papers in peer reviewed journals.  He is the Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology in the Forestry and Environmental Conservation Department at Clemson University.  He will be speaking about his work in songbird ecology and his perspectives on the role of African Americans in natural resource conservation.  His book is a must-read!  His lecture will be FREE and run from 7-8PM.  A book signing will follow.  http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/faculty_staff/profiles/lanhamj

Please join us and celebrate Maria Mitchell’s 200th!

JNLF

Special Birthday Speakers for Maria’s 200th Birthday Year!

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I am very excited to highlight our three special birthday speakers for this summer whom I believe touch on the life of Maria Mitchell in special ways.  And, I am very pleased that they have all agreed to come from some far distances to help celebrate Maria’s 200th!

Our first speaker will be on Wednesday, June 27 at the Nantucket Atheneum.  David Baron’s most recent work is American Eclipse which came out last summer.  He featured five astronomers – as well as other notables – and their trials and triumphs of observing and documenting the eclipse of August 1878 in Colorado.  Maria is one of the featured astronomers as she travelled out west with several of her students – including her sister Phebe Mitchell Kendall – to observe and record the eclipse.  Baron makes the event come alive in this book and notes the frustrations, challenges, and successes of observing in the late nineteenth century.  It really is a must-read and we hope you will join us for this FREE lecture at 7PM on the 27th.  A book signing will follow.  You can learn more about David Baron on his website. http://www.american-eclipse.com

On July 25, starting at 7PM at the Nantucket Historical Association’s Whaling Museum, we will welcome noted author, Dava Sobel.  Sobel is the author of Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter, as well as numerous other books and articles.  Her newest book, The Glass Universe, looks at the women of the Harvard College Observatory and their work as star catalogers – an almost all female group.  The MMA has a unique tie to the Harvard College Observatory – Maria played a small role in this program, Harvard Observatory’s helped the MMA to develop its Astronomy Department back in the early 1900s. and we had several ties to the women who were Harvard’s star catalogers, including our first astronomy director, Margaret Harwood.  It’s a wonderful book and we hope you will join us.  Tickets can be purchased via the NHA at 508.228.1894 for $25.00.  A book signing and a special reception with the author will follow this lecture.  http://www.davasobel.com/

And finally on August 22, at the Nantucket Atheneum we will be hosting J. Drew Lanham.  Professor Lanham is the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature as well as numerous articles, poetry, and research papers in peer reviewed journals.  He is the Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher and Certified Wildlife Biologist Forestry and Environmental Conservation Department at Clemson University.  He will be speaking about his work in songbird ecology and his perspectives on the role African Americans in natural resource conservation.  His book is a must-read!  His picture will be FREE and run from 7-8PM.  A book signing will follow.  http://www.clemson.edu/cafls/faculty_staff/profiles/lanhamj

Please join us and celebrate Maria Mitchell’s 200th!

JNLF