The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association is Hosting a Winter Naturalist Speaker Series

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2019
Contact: Lydia Gullicksen

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association is Hosting a Winter Naturalist Speaker Series

Nantucket, MA – Throughout the months of February and March, the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association will be hosting speakers at its newly opened Research Center at 2 Vestal Street on select Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm. The series will focus on natural science and the natural world of Nantucket. Each hour long lecture will feature a local scientist or specialist and will be comprised of a talk, followed by a question and answer session.

The first lecturer in the Winter Speakers Series will be Julia Blyth on February 20th, the Biological Collections Manager at the Maria Mitchell Association. In what promises to be a unique experience, she will prepare a specimen of a bird that was found dead on Nantucket.  Once processed, the specimen will become a permanent part of the MMA’s biological collections. This demonstration will be projected on a big screen so the audience can see her work in real time and up close. Blyth prepares specimens, maintains the collections, and carries out field research with Barn Owls, Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies), and leafminers. The Maria Mitchell Association has been carefully preserving and curating biological specimens from Nantucket Island for over a century. Blyth has herself been adding to the MMA’s collections since 2011.

Up next will be Vincent Murphy on March 6th. Murphy is an ecologist who has worked with a large variety of species and habitats in Europe and North America. Murphy is now the Protected Species Technician for the Town of Nantucket. His talk entitled “Nantucket’s Protected Shore Birds” is about the protected species that breed around Nantucket each summer and the Town’s efforts to protect these species. The legal standing, conservation strategies, future management, and beautiful pictures of shorebirds will be featured in his talk.

On March 20, Nantucket’s very own Ginger Andrews, the MMA’s field ornithologist, will talk about bird rehabilitation Andrews the daughter of acclaimed ornithologist Edith Folger Andrews and ichthyologist J. Clinton Andrews, grew up in an ornithological world. With birds often in rehabilitation in the very house she lived in, she has a very unique perspective on birds and will share her stories and wisdom. Come hear her discussion on the needs, individual personalities, and conservation of bird species she has encountered, including the Barn owl.

Jack Dubinsky, the Maria Mitchell Association’s aquarist, will speak on March 27th about the Gelatinous Zooplankton of Nantucket. He will discuss the odd and puzzling world of the “gelata,” which are drifting marine animals that lack rigid structure and are often translucent. While jellyfish are the most famous of these creatures, there are gelatinous representatives from almost every animal phylum, including Arthropods, Molluscs and even Chordates! At the end, he will discuss species commonly seen around Nantucket.

Each lecture will be free for Members of the MMA and $5 for Non-Members.

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.