February 4, 2016

Your Bi-Weekly News & Updates
Courtesy of Yesterday's Island

The Birding World Loses a Giant
The passing of E. Vernon Laux, Senior Naturalist at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation (LLNF) and known to all as "Vern," is a loss for all of us in the science and education community on Nantucket.  The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (NMMA) staff and interns were fortunate enough to learn from and work with Vern over his many years on the island.  "Vern was not only an excellent ornithologist, he had an exceptional ability to pass on his enthusiasm for birding to beginners and experts alike.  I bet birds even enjoyed being part of his bird walks," says Andrew Mckenna-Foster, Director of Natural Science at the NMMA. 
Vern was instrumental in helping to organize the collaborative Nantucket Birdathon fundraiser over the last five years and was an enthusiastic participant, always winning the highest species count with his team of birders.  "Vern genuinely wanted everyone to enjoy learning about the natural world and did anything possible to make that happen," continues Mckenna-Foster.  Vern will be missed but always remembered, especially when an unusual or even an "ordinary" bird alights on a branch.  The NMMA family sends its heartfelt condolences to Vern's family and friends and his LLNF colleagues.

Camp Registration is Open!


Registration is open and classes are filling up faster then ever beforeMake sure to visit our website to sign up or call 508-228-9198 for help.  Also, be on the look-out for the 2016 Event and Program Book. 


Summer is coming!


Astronomy Student Wins Top Award


We are excited to announce and congratulate one of this summer's REU students, Patrick Drew, for winning the top prize at a recent meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).  Patrick, who attends the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the recipient of the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student
Award.  He was one of eight undergraduate students given this honor, out of nearly 130 undergraduate students who entered the competition. 

Become a Member Today!

General Membership Benefits Include:
  • Free Admission to Properties
  • Free Admission to Open Nights and Lectures
  • Online Newsletter
  • Discounts on Field Trips, Workshops, and Programs
  • 10% Discount at Museum Shop
  • Member-Only Stargazing
  • Invitations to Special Member Only Events
  • Advance Notice of Programs
  • Acknowledgement on Website and Newsletter
Basic Memberships

Individual $75
Senior Couple $75
Island Family $75
Family $125
Family/Grandparents $125

Supporting Members

Nova $250
Supernova $500
Galaxy $1,000
Miss Mitchell's Comet $5,000



Science Library Update
Things are continuing to move along for the soon to be MMA Research Center formerly the Science Library. We have our demo permit from the Town but we are not really demolishing anything. We needed this permit in order to take down the circa 1992 plywood walls in the basement and the old ceiling tile system in the basement that covered the framing and joists. Now, you can see the wonderful nineteenth century framing and joist system! This is thanks to the hard work of carpenter Matt Anderson and his assistant Amos.
You may or not be familiar with the fact that the MMA's administrative offices were once housed in the basement of the Library. When the old ca. 1950s Terrace Cottage was removed and the new Drake Cottage built, the administrative offices moved above ground, relocating to Drake.
On the back of one of the plywood boards that was removed, we found the note you see in the image by island carpenter, Paul Michetti, who noted the date and the weather when he installed the wall that helped to create two small office spaces in the basement of the Library. This is something that many island builders and carpenters just don't do anymore. We did this at Mitchell House when we sistered in a small piece to the sill - noting the date and who was there. It's a tradition - and also shows the next people to come along what was done and when and by whom.

Camp Scholarships Available

Thanks to a generous grant offered by the Ella George Children's Foundation (EGCF), a nonprofit foundation, the Maria Mitchell Association is offering up to 12 scholarships for eligible Nantucket residents and visitors. The grant reduces the cost of the program by 80% with the purchase of a discounted Family Membership for $25.00. Participants in the Discovery and Naturalist Leadership Programs are eligible for this grant. 

Five Planets at Once
Maria Mitchell's Astronomer and Telescope Engineer, Gary Walker was lucky enough to catch Mars, Jupiter and Saturn on Wednesday morning at 6 am.  "I was hoping to catch Venus and Mercury which are also visible, but the morning haze in the southeast foiled me."  Come out to Loines Observatory on Friday morning this week, if it's clear, and see if you can see all five.  Get there before 6 am.  If you are not that ambitious and have a great southeast horizon, use the finder chart at:   http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/sky-at-a-glance/this-weeks-sky-at-a-glance-january-29-february-6/ to see where to look.  The last waning moon will also be up.

Welcome New and Renewed Members
Carrie & Leigh Abramson
Jeanine & Alastair Borthwick
Scott Dehm & Amy Hauk
Hattie Ruttenberg & Jonathan Molot
Abrar & Laura Qureshi
Rachel Rock & Josh Levy
Bradford & Shira Paul
Margaret & John Goldman
Katherine & William Beattie
Tony & Sarah Lathrop
Hee Sun & John Rotondo
Angel & J. Pepper Fraizer
Stephanie & Rob Hutchison
Fay Gambee   
Melissa & Alex von Summer
Reade & Elizabeth Griffith
Michelle & Jeff Constable
Justine & Michael Mullin
Liza & Brad Jancik
Lisa Gustavson & Chris Sales
Bridget Eklund & Eric Carlson
Lacey & Matt Malloy
Sharon & Charles Cote
Alison & Jack Barlow
Kristen & Alex Klabin
Christie & Brian Sauvigne
Liza & Brad Jancik
Debbie & Doug Raymond
Lindsey & Merrick Axel
Alison & William Roberts
Ethan & Alexis Devine
Mary Chlopecki & Michael Kearney
Brooks Smith   

Anna & Erik Caspersen
Gregg & Danielle Darish
Tiffany & Brandon Lawrence
Christina Burns & Isaac Henderson
Marcia Butman & Toby Sackton
Bev Haas   
Arthur Kelly   
Gina & Charles Martucci
Sherry Lowe   
Jane & Stephen Land
Betsy & Bill Guardenier
Henrietta & Robert Morse
Anne & Paul Noble
Judith Rushmore   
Jerry & Becky Pfund
Jeffrey Rosenthal   
Lauren & Vaios Theodorakos
Daniel & Abbe Klein
Gita Nakarmi-Mali & Reeta Nakarmi
Judy Waternan & Alison Minogue
Lee & Priscilla Saperstein
Dominic & Shannon Bell
Diane Dietle   
Lindsey & Caleb Cressman
Holly Witherell & Eric Nordby
Desi Anguelova   
Carolyn Durand & Ben Champoux
Hadley & Jesse Dutra
Sarah Holton-Roth & Mark Lucas
Olessya & Patrick Noddin
Leslie & Craig Miller

Erin & Scott Carson
Dianne Tartamella & Seth Collette
Anne & John Kuszpa
Gina & Doug LeBrecht
Kristen & David Dussault
Alexandra & Kurt Rosenberg
Robert & Laura Graves
Elzbieta Wdowiak & Damien Hennessy
Siobhan O'Mahony & William Moore
Nicole & William Lynch
Sara Brooks & Ali Fisher
Michelle & Tucker Holland
Andrea & Carol Jarrett
Jodi & Pat Levesque
Theresa Williams   
Erika & Robert L. Mooney
Joseph & Tiffany Noonan
Mary Beth & Lee Bradley
Julie Hensler & William Clift
David & Dorothy Lund
James & Christine Lynch
Val & Robert Hall
George & Ann Hubbs
Allan & Marcia Chertok

Jennifer & George Nelson


Denise & Doug Schenkel


John & Jane Miller


Laurel & Michael Schnitman


Portia Valero & Tabatha Beun 

Name | Company | Phone | Email | Website