Category The Champlain Society

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 […]

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 […]

handwritten notebooks

The Champlain Society Transcriptions

In the Spring 2015 issue of Friends of Acadia Journal, Maureen Fournier, a seasonal ranger for Acadia, and I describe the experience of reading and digitizing the nineteenth-century notebooks of the Champlain Society. From their notes, we can trace their movements across the island as they collected specimens, made observations, and talked to local residents […]

Students as conservation catalysts

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.

Visionary science of the “Harvard Barbarians”

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 […]

Influenced by Nature

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 Champlain Society

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 […]