Scientists are studying isolated oyster grounds in Maine’s Sheepscot River that may date back to the last ice age. Meanwhile, as the aquaculture industry has grown and coastal water temperatures have warmed, cultured oysters have begun to multiply on their own elsewhere, particularly in the brackish waters of the Damariscotta River. Both kinds of “wild” […]

porch

The essay, “The Coyote Gangs of Hope,” which appears in the Winter 2014 issue of 1966: A Journal of Creative Nonfiction, is set in Midcoast Maine in 2010-2011, when confrontations between coyote hunters and property owners prompted legislation to address trespass and hunting methodology. The ensuing debates brought up questions of class and land use […]

50islan2014

This third and final (for now) article on the Champlain Society explores how students can be effective agents of change, and the connections between place, memory, and identity. Published in the 2014 Island Journal.

The Mount Desert Island Historical Society asked me to write an article about The Champlain Society for the 2014 issue of Chebacco, their annual publication. The theme was “Against the Tide: Outliers and Controversies.” At first, the members of the Champlain Society wouldn’t appear to be outliers. I wasn’t sure the story would work for […]

influencedbynature

In May 1871, Charles William Eliot had been president of Harvard College barely two years, and a widower just as long. He needed a break, for himself and his two young sons, a “thorough vacation” in the open air, as he wrote to a friend. He found means in Jessie, a 33-foot sloop, and began […]

The Department of Marine Resources has closed upper Penobscot Bay to fishing after a court-ordered study found elevated concentrations of mercury in crab and lobster. Mercury pollution comes from lots of places, but this particular part of the Penobscot is a hotspot of contamination thanks to Holtrachem, a now-closed plant that made chlorine and other […]

PresSalmon1-600x764

For eighty years, recreational salmon anglers on the Penobscot River in Maine upheld the annual tradition of giving the first Atlantic salmon each spring to the President of the United States. A closer examination of how each president’s salmon would have been prepared and eaten reveals that the celebratory eating of salmon happened at the […]

runningsilver

Salmon, eels and nine other sea-run fish make great migrations across the Atlantic Ocean and along the Gulf Stream and Labrador Current, migrating inland, along the East Coast of North America, some as far as hundreds of miles to spawn in shallow riffles at the feet of the Appalachian mountains. They are the subject of […]

Restoration of the mighty Penobscot River became one step closer to reality on July 22, when hundreds of people gathered on the river banks to watch as demolition crews began dismantling the Veazie Dam. I was there, too, and I wrote about it for Fishermen’s Voice newspaper and made a short video:

The origins of conservation on Mount Desert Island can be traced to a clear, cold night in March 1880, when Harvard student Charles Eliot gathered six of his friends together in 34 Grays Hall in Cambridge to discuss a camping expedition to Maine. Over the course of the summer, and for the next decade, members […]

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