The essay “One Letter Away” is included in the Three Nations Anthology from Resolute Bear Press, edited by Valerie Lawson. This lyric piece joins other essays, stories, and poems by writers from First Nations, United States, and Canada. Lyric essays emphasize form, using structure, style, and systems to communicate their content. Scientists often say that […]

The sand, smoothed by the tide, glitters with flecks of mica and quartz. The beach ends at an outcropping of rocks draped with seaweed and rough with barnacles. Tidal pools of seawater glisten with life: rusty splotches and pink-crusted algae, leaves of sea lettuce, baby fishes hiding in miniature caves. Beyond, the Atlantic Ocean roars. […]

Maine lakes are home to two evolutionary wonders of the animal kingdom, Arctic char and landlocked salmon, related species of fish that exist in very few places. They descend from a common ancestor that lived millions of years ago. Evolution took them on diverging pathways during repeated ice ages. The char stayed farther north, swimming […]

The President’s Salmon is an environmental history of the Atlantic salmon and the Penobscot River in Maine. But it also tells a broader story of how American presidents, and their national policies on energy, trade, and the environment, have real impacts at the local level. Sometimes these effects outlast their presidents; other times, citizen action […]

Portland Press Herald photo   MAMMOTHS by Catherine Schmitt Snow plows thunder down the street like mammoths parading before the new ice sheet. Clashing tusks, crash of plow on pavement, stiff-legged stomp in the early dusk. What is bone, iron, brick wears the season in a shaggy coat of icicles. Cold, and snow keeps falling […]

Between the head of tide above Bangor to where it widens into the bay at Searsport, the Penobscot River shifts from a flowing freshwater waterway banked by cedar and pine to a brackish, wave-lapped marsh with a rocky shoreline. In this estuary, salt concentrations fluctuate as wind and tide push water and sediments back and […]

On August 24, 2016, President Obama designated 87,500 acres of northern Maine as Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. The new public land encompasses much of the East Branch Penobscot River. I visited the area in 2014 while researching Chapter 5 of The President’s Salmon. Here’s an excerpt. The East Branch Penobscot River begins at […]

I revisited Adam Campbell and North Haven Oyster Company for Issue 5 of the magazine Collective Quarterly. The Collective is a media and publishing company dedicated to documenting the life and work of those living purposefully. Each issue of the magazine is devoted to a single place, with photography and true stories by artists who […]

At the Mount Desert Island Historical Society’s Annual Meeting on August 18, 2016 from 5 pm to 7 pm at The Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor, I presented “The Champlain Society: Science and the Origins of Conservation in Acadia,” part of the Acadia Centennial Lecture Series. Watch a video of the lecture on the Friends of Acadia Facebook […]

Here is a story from the archives, first published story about the first trail hiked in Acadia after first moving to Maine fifteen years ago this August. These moments climbing the Precipice Trail are as vivid as they first were, and the affirmation has only strengthened. Publishing in Friends of Acadia Journal was special then, […]