Category Wild Life

When words inspire music

Swimming Upstream, a chamber opera in four scenes, explores water, our emotional connection to water and rivers and streams. It is a reaction to what humans have done to the planet – dammed streams and rivers, upended ecosystems, contaminated drinking water.  Composer Sheree Clement reached out to me in Fall of 2017. She read The President’s […]

Year of the Salmon

On October 30, NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region launched the International Year of the Salmon on the East Coast at the New England Aquarium. This initiative aspires to bring attention to the conditions necessary to ensure the resilience of salmon and people throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The Honorable Madonna Soctomah of the Passamaquoddy Tribe and […]

Alewives in lakes

The return of alewives, native migratory fish, to Maine rivers and streams is an annual spring event and the focus of restoration efforts statewide. Lots of attention is paid to the migration route, as people clear obstructions and remove barriers and improve passage from streams into lakes, the alewife’s ultimate destination where they spawn and […]

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 […]

The Secret Life of Eels

OTHER MIGRATORY FISH get more attention than the American eel. Salmon is the king of fish; the alewife, the fish that feeds all; shad, the founding fish. Sturgeon are dinosaurs; smelt, the ice shack fish. Yet, historically, the eel was more widespread and abundant than any of these in the northeast United States. The undeserved […]

The President’s Salmon in The Boston Globe

A preview of the forthcoming The President’s Salmon can be found in today’s Boston Globe Magazine. Politics, preservation, and salmon fishing: an annual rite of the Penobscot River sporting world brought a Maine angler and the year’s first Atlantic salmon to the president’s doorstep.

Maine’s Wild Oysters

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” […]

On coyotes, deer…and human nature.

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 […]

The Snowy Owls of Acadia

This article  appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Friends of Acadia Journal. Winter in Acadia: bare limbs of beech and birch cast long shadows on the snow. Evergreens shimmer along shallow coves that sing with the ebb and flow of icy tides. Frozen summits shine like mirrors in the thin sunlight. It is the […]

Sturgeon Moon Rising

In June 2006 I was in the boat with University of Maine researchers when they caught the second and third shortnose sturgeon in the Penobscot River estuary. It was the first sign of the persistence–or re-appearance–of a species thought to be extinct. My article about the science and history of sturgeon, Sturgeon Moon Rising (PDF), […]