A young gray seal – about three feet long and forty pounds – meandered its way around downtown Edgartown before New England Aquarium volunteers were able to guide it back to the sea.

Tom O'Hanlon


The Island is a welcome outpost for a multitude of migrating shorebirds, including six species that stay awhile to nest during the breeding season.

Lanny McDowell


Central to the Vineyard’s past and present, shellfish may matter even more in our future.

Matt Pelikan


Modern technology is key to understanding the mysteries and science of sharks, says marine biologist Greg Skomal, the Discovery Channel’s “shark guy” and one of the world’s leading shark experts, who talked to us at his office in Oak Bluffs before leaving for Saudi Arabia this spring to tag sharks.

Jim Miller


I came across this advice at an online discussion group for dealing with a pet that has been skunked: “Take several ounces of tomato juice...add vodka...drink.”

Believe it or not there’s actually some wisdom there because the tomato-juice bath, probably the most commonly prescribed solution for de-skunking a pet, actually does little more than mask the odor; it doesn’t actually get rid of it.

Geoff Currier


Look closely and you might be lucky enough to spot a rare red-footed falcon swooping overhead. Six thousand people checked out this Eurasian and African bird of prey that spent a few weeks in Katama in 2004 – the first time it set foot in North America. People still talk about that sighting, which was reported nationally, and it’s anybody’s guess what unique bird might show up on-Island this week, this month, or this year.

Brooks Robards


As a medical herbalist, I teach people about the wild edible and medicinal plants growing near us, and one of the requests I get most is for poison ivy remedies. The three-leaved vine persists in Island woods, and many people succumb at some point to the itching welts caused by dermal contact with the plant’s oils. I sell a popular poison ivy remedy, but it’s very easy for the do-it-yourselfer to prepare a safe and effective family remedy, simply by harvesting wild plants.

Holly Bellebuono


In the 1950s and ’60s, Chappaquiddick was considered the backyard of Edgartown. Not many people had heard of it – before Kennedy – and the summer population was small, including a few extended families. My family spent summers here, along with about fifty relatives in seven or eight houses scattered across the island. People knew each other, and most kids could roam wherever they wanted as long as they came home at the end of the day.

Margaret Knight