About Us

The Nantucket Field Station is a unique educational opportunity on Nantucket for children of all ages. The Nantucket Field Station is diverse in its occurrence of natural features. On the property there is a large, pristine salt marsh and tidal creek, freshwater ponds, freshwater and brackish wetlands, uplands, barrier beach, as well as 2,000 feet of harbor waterfront. The Field Station serves as a living laboratory where the interrelationships of natural elements are tangible and readily available to be observed, studied, and interpreted. Nantucket offers students and researchers many exceptional natural resources for study.  The Field Station provides an extraordinary setting in which students and teachers are able to consider the arts, humanities, and social sciences related to the island.


A Brief History of the Field Station (1963 - present)

In 1963, the University of Massachusetts Boston acquired a 90 acre parcel which comprises the majority of the Nantucket Field Station. In 1981, the family of Katherine Coe Folger deeded the 17 acres of the Folger's Marsh to the University to bring the total land area to 107 acres bordering on Nantucket Harbor. The Quaise property offers harbor beach front, tidal flat, dune, shrub thicket, freshwater pond, vernal pond, freshwater marsh, and salt marsh habitats. The Field Station has been used for education, research, and community service programs since 1969. The property facilities include a laboratory, office, staff housing, a workshop, and a dormitory with classroom space. Additional housing is available off site for students and researchers at Gouinn Village.

In 2003, the University received several unsolicited offers from private parties interested in purchasing and developing the property. As the University seriously considered the sale of this asset, it started working closely with the Nantucket Conservation Foundation to focus on ways of continuing its presence on Nantucket while preventing the development of this important parcel. As a result of great foresight and at the urging of several friends of the Field Station, most notably Grace Grossman, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation purchased the Field Station. The sale of the property was completed in 2008. The Trustees of UMass named the Nantucket Field Station the Grace Grossman Environmental Center as a tribute to Grace's tenacity in 2006 upon hearing of her passing.

In 2008, the Nantucket Field Station expanded their educational outreach for K-12 students. The new program provides access and guidance for students and families through curriculum developed by the staff of the Nantucket Field Station. One
of the key components of this outreach is the Junior Ranger program. The Junior Ranger program, now entering our seventh year provides training for selected students to assist in weekly nature walks for the public as well as time and guidance for science projects that are chosen in a joint agreement between the student, parent, and the Nantucket Field Station Education Coordinator and Director.

Guidelines for Day Use of the Nantucket Field Station

The Nantucket Field Station values community efforts in environmental education. As a teaching and research organization with 50 years experience in the Nantucket environment, we welcome the opportunity to share ideas with you about interesting and appropriate ways to use the Station and other island habitats for vitally necessary environmental education. To preserve our habitats for teaching and research, and to insure a quality experience for our visitors, students, and investigators, we ask you to observe the following guidelines:

Call our office at 508-228-5268 at least 24 hours in advance to arrange your visit if you are bringing a large group. If you reach our answering machine, please leave a return telephone number.
·         Field trips are limited to 25 people total per visit.
·         Sponsoring organizations are responsible for making sure trip participants observe Field Station Guidelines
·         Groups of 4 or more must sign in at the sign in box attached to the lab using the large group sign-in sheets. People using Field station grounds in groups of 1-4 people should sign in using the daily sign in sheet (left side of sign-in box).
·         Visitor parking is in front of the Field Station laboratory, the first building on your right as you enter the property. Please do not bring vehicles beyond this point except for handicapped access.
·         The Field Station property and trails are open to the public, but building access is limited to authorized visitors only. Please respect the privacy and work-in-progress of our resident students and researchers.
·         The Field Station is home to many species of island flora and fauna. Please tread lightly and try to observe birds and animals without disturbing them.
·         It is permissible to pick up shells or rocks from the beach as long as they are not providing a home for an organism. Please leave all living organisms and plants where they are, unless you are doing a research collection and have the proper permits.
·         To preserve fragile vegetation, please do not walk on the dune or salt marsh.
·         For their safety, please keep children under close supervision.
·         Flags, marking tape, buckets, plastic hoses, and other objects around the Field Station are in use for on-going experiments. Please do not disturb.
·         The Field Station has a Port-a-John located at the side of the laboratory. Please dispose of all litter in the trash can provided, in front of the Lab.
·         If you bring a dog with you please clean up after them.  Pooper Scooper bags are provided at the Laboratory next to the sign in sheets.

Group Field Trips

The Field Station welcomes visits from school and camp groups. We ask that trips be scheduled in advance to insure the availability of staff and grounds. Call to schedule your trip by calling Len Germinara at (508) 228-5268 or contacting him via e-mail at lensir@hotmail.com