Author Archives: C. Schmitt

Three Nations Anthology

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 […]

Ice Age survivors: a tale of two land-locked fish

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 […]

Foxes in the henhouse: we’ve been here before (sort of)

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 […]

Poem for a blizzard

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 […]

Fish return to a restored Penobscot

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 […]

A New National Monument on the East Branch Penobscot River

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 […]

Collective Quarterly

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 […]

Science and the origins of conservation in Acadia

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 […]

Affirmation Acadia

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, […]

Sharing Stories of the Champlain Society

Given the Champlain Society’s contributions to Acadia National Park and the broader worlds of science and conservation, its no wonder these Harvard men are in the spotlight in this centennial year. Mount Desert Island Historical Society‘s Somesville Museum features an exhibit on the young naturalists, including maps of their explorations, a replica of their parlor […]