July 31, 2014

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association
E-Comet Newsletter

MMA's Executive Director Resigns

The Maria Mitchell Association will say goodbye to Executive Director Janet Schulte who recently resigned from her position.  Janet served in the position for eight years and her vision and dedication will surely be missed.  The MMA wishes her the best and thanks her for her dedicated service.  While a search to fill her position starts, the Board of Directors has asked Board President John Daniels to serve as the pro bono, interim Executive Director.


Mr. Daniels is an accomplished retired businessman with over 30 years of consulting experience in strategic planning, information technology, and corporate governance.  He and his wife also operate Nantucket's Sherburne Inn, an eight-room bed and breakfast.


His leadership will help to assure strong governance during the transition in leadership.  The search for a new Executive Director could take up to six months.

Mitchell House Junior Historian Sampler Class

A longer and more intimate Mitchell House Junior Historian class is the Mitchell House Sampler which we offer once or twice a summer.  Relatively new to the repertoire of offerings at Mitchell House, this class lasts four hours and the students have a chance to spend more time at the Mitchell House with the intern and curator, learning about the time in which Maria Mitchell lived and eating their lunch in the backyard.  They work on different crafts that children and adults created in the nineteenth century, learn about Maria's and her family's role in astronomy and science, and learn a bit more about what a historic house museum is and what makes the Mitchell House so special.  Crafts and activities include nineteenth century games, fiber arts, cooking,  and creating their own scientific-related items from kaleidoscopes to telescopes.  The images seen here are of the recent class on July 28th, ably led by this year's Mitchell House intern, Claire Payne.  Since we had a group of young girls, Claire started the class off in yarn doll making which they took to with deft hands and keen eyes!



For more information on other Junior Historians programs or to pre-register, visit our website or call 508.228.9198 

Animal Naming Contest

The Aquarium's calico lobster and the Natural Science Museum's tortoise need names!  Come by and visit us at the Aquarium and the Natural Science Museum to meet the animals and submit your name into the contest.  The winner will be announced in mid August and will receive a gift from MMA!

MMA Bird Walks

Downtown birding is back!  Wednesdays at 6:30 AM, join us for a stroll through downtown, looking for and identifying birds along the way.  The walk is led by Ginger Andrews, a Nantucket native and naturalist who has been birding on the island for many years.  You will learn a lot about birds, as well as some of the local history of Nantucket.

Upcoming Astronomy Films & Lectures at
33 Washington Street

Film Screening: Nostalgia for the Light
Tuesday, August 12th, 7 PM

Lecture: Astronomy REU Student Research Projects (Part 1)   
Thursday, August 14th, 7 PM

Lecture: Astronomy REU Student Research Projects (Part 2)
Tuesday, August 19th, 7 PM

Lecture: Alone in the Universe
by Dr. Howard Smith
Thursday, August 21st, 7 PM

Film Screening: The City Dark: A Search for Night on a Planet that Never Sleeps
Tuesday, August 26th, 7 PM

Tropical Fish Are Arriving!

During the Marine Ecology Field Trip on Tuesday, Aquarium staff caught one of the first tropical fish of the year, a small permit.  Baby tropical fish arrive every year around this time after getting caught in the Gulf Stream and carried north.  In the past we have seen French angel fish, butterfly fish, short bigeyes, and lookdowns.  These young fish die as the winter approaches and the water temperatures drop.  Come by the Aquarium to see some of these tropical fish on display!

   Permit Fish                       Short Big Eye Fish

Summer Discovery Camp & Teen Programs
(Ages 5-15)

Discovery Camp is underway and the kids are all having a great time!
Register today to reserve your spot!

Discovery Camp Scholarships Are Still Available!

Thanks to a generous grant offered by the EGCF, a non-profit foundation, the Maria Mitchell Association is offering up to 24 scholarships for eligible Nantucket residents and visitors.  The grant reduces the cost of the Discovery and Naturalist Leadership Programs by 80% with the purchase of a Family Membership for $25.00.

For more information or to download an application, visit our website.  


If you have any questions, please call us at 508.228.9198 or email Kim Botelho, MMA's Director of Education. 

Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative's Citizen Science Weekend A Great Success!


Over 260 people attended the various field trips and lectures that were part of the event.  NBI member organizations, which includes the MMA, sponsored scientists to come to Nantucket and focus on biodiversity research.  The MMA sponsored Julia Blyth to look for dragonflies and damselflies and Charley Eiseman to search for tiny leaf mining insects.  Julia added one new species to the modern list and completed some much needed survey work.  Charley found several new species for the island and collected some other unusual species.  Other scientists studied rare and invasive plants, rare tiger beetles, oaks, salt marshes, and harbor invertebrates.  Visit the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative's website for more information!


Left: Julia leading a dragonfly walk; Right: Charley discussing leaf miners. 

Birthday Parties at MMA!

Come celebrate your child's birthday with us.  We are now offering private birthday parties June through October!

For more details on booking a party, visit our website.

Stargazing Nights at Loines Observatory

Where: 59 Milk Street Extension
When: Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays
(Weather Permitting)
Time: 9-10:30 PM

Members: Free
Non-members: $10/person

Let us know what you think!

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 4 Vestal Street
Nantucket, MA 02554
(508) 228-9198
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Board and Staff


John L. Daniels, President
Deb Manus, First Vice President
Michael Nelson, Treasurer
Malcolm MacNab, M.D., Ph.D., Clerk
Howard Blitman
Patricia L.R. Brennan, Ph.D. 
Patty Gibian 
Judy MacLeod 
Toni McKerrow

Mary Archibald (Bebe) Poor, D.V.M  

Eileen Rudden
Anne P. Strain
Edward Symes, III
Helene M. Weld



Administration (508)228-9198
John L. Daniels, Interim Executive Director
George Donnelly, Director of Development & Communications
Joan Alison Stockman, Financial Administrator

Kyra Taylor, Administrative Assistant
Astronomy (508)228-9723
Michael West, Director of Astronomy, Ph.D.
Vladimir Strelnitski, Maria Mitchell Observatory's Director Emeritus, Ph.D.
Gary Walker, Astronomer and Telescope Engineer

Mitchell House & Archives and Special Collections (508)228-2896
Jascin Leonardo Finger, Curator of the Mitchell House

Natural Science (508)228-9198
Andrew Mckenna-Foster, Director of Natural Science
Education (508)228-9198
Kim Botelho, Director of Education 
         Robert Kennedy, Senior Research Fellow, Ph.D.         
Edith F. Andrews,Ornithologist Emeritus
                                            Peter Boyce,  Research Associate, Ph.D.                                        
       Valerie A. Hall, Research Associate, Ph.D. 

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Maria Mitchell Association
4 Vestal Street, Nantucket, MA 02554
email: info@mariamitchell.org

phone: (508)228-9198
fax: (508)228-1031
web: http://www.mariamitchell.org
Maria Mitchell Association