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Matt Pelikan

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Poet-turns-novelist pens Martha’s Vineyard thriller

Martha’s Vineyard poet-turned-novelist Michael West writes a Shark Tournament thriller.

Rain — one of nature’s main elements

The current composition of rainwater is altering the ecology of our aquatic systems, helping some forms of life, and hurting others.

Five New Year’s resolutions to better appreciate the natural world

Rediscover Martha's Vineyard in 2014, you might be surprised what you find.

Snowy owls put on a show

They have been seen from Gay Head to Chappy and many spots in between.

Partners in oyster restoration

The Nature Conservancy thanks our partners in this past year's oyster restoration project in the Tisbury Great Pond, straddling the Chilmark/West Tisbury town line at the mouth of Town Cove.

Survival of the flimsiest

Kinglets are tiny, a good inch shorter and half as heavy as our black-capped chickadees, and by all rights, they should freeze solid at the first taste of winter weather.

Wild Side: Away at home: the backyard naturalist

You never know what kinds of critters you're sharing the landscape with, and there is always something surprising out there, ready to be discovered.

Tech support for nature lovers

Experts regularly peruse new postings to verify the IDs, making the information on BugGuide almost as reliable as that in old-fashioned, fully edited, paper-based field guides.

Worth their weight in gold

Combined with a goldfinch's small size, plump shape, and twittery flight notes, the roller-coaster flight makes these birds easy to recognize.

The wrong kind of fishing

"I hate the reliance of the shark tournament on expensive boats, expensive gear, and the climate-trashing combustion of vast quantities of fossil fuel."

Goldenrod is misunderstood, blamed for many woes

Mistakenly maligned as an allergen in late summer and early fall, goldenrods actually serve many positive purposes.

Color provides cues, clues

Color plays countless roles in the natural world, and vastly enhances our enjoyment of nature.

Wild Side: Where have the butterflies flown?

I worry that this bizarre butterfly pattern is a symptom of some large-scale, fundamental ecological shift.

Where have Island snakes snuck off to?

And it's sad to think of the impacts the decline of these important animals has had on human well-being.

Box turtles, private but vulnerable, do well on Martha’s VIneyard

The Island probably represents the closest this excellent reptile has to a stronghold in the state.

Spiders may frighten us, but they are also fascinating

Most of these interesting arthropods are harmless, indeed beneficial, to humans, and they help maintain ecological balance.

Young birds face threats from all quarters

Parents have just a few weeks to bring their offspring to independence, fending off countless risks in the process.

Wildlife biologists tag willets to learn their habits

Little is known about where willets winter, how they migrate, and how our coastal population is related to a second population that nests on the northern plains.

Butterflies on Martha’s Vineyard are varied and very interesting

Knowing the habitats of these excellent butterflies will help you notice them in the first place.

Look closely to see beauty, elegance in beetles

They may be small and inclined to hide, but insects are fully equal to birds as quarry for the careful observer.