Tag Archives: history

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 […]

Art Meets Science on Mount Desert Island

As part of the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory’s Art Meets Science Cafe series, I presented a history of artists and scientists working together on Mount Desert Island. Focused primarily on the art and artists accompanying scientists in the nineteenth and very early twentieth century, the talk provided a chronology of scientific work in Acadia […]

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 […]

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 […]

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), […]

image of Narraguagus River

The Can Do Crew

In December 2011 Atlantic Salmon Journal asked me to report on activities of the Downeast Salmon Federation in eastern Maine, a grassroots organization that has overseen the restoration hopes for salmon and other sea-run fish since 1982, when local anglers banded together in order to pool resources and regain some political clout, which had been […]

Spring Tradition: Anglers Vied to Catch Penobscot’s Presidental Salmon

This article appeared in the Bangor Daily News on March 30, 2012.One hundred years ago, a local fly-fisherman decided to send an Atlantic salmon, the first one caught in the Penobscot River, to the president of the United States. This is the story of that fisherman, and the tradition he began, compiled from newspaper archives […]

sardine comic book cover

Long May They Run

Just a few months into 2010, the Year of the Sardine, news came that the Stinson Seafood plant in Prospect Harbor—the last sardine cannery in the United States—was closing. The sardine song became a requiem; the herring hymn an elegy that carried across the continent, across the Atlantic, and up Penobscot Bay, where I heard […]