As Earth Day approaches, it's good to reflect on how we can each do our part to make the planet just a little cleaner. This is especially important on small islands like Nantucket, where human occupancy is more concentrated. Fortunately, Nantucket already has several organizations and policies in place to protect the island's environment and wildlife.
Some of the organizations working to protect and conserve Nantucket's unique vegetation and wildlife through environmental activities and sustainable practices include:
- Food Rescue Nantucket: Their mission is to collect and distribute food that would otherwise be thrown away, reducing waste and helping the local community.
- Marine Mammal Alliance Nantucket: Provide information about the importance of public involvement in marine mammal conservation through island events. They encourage discussion by facilitating projects and bringing marine mammal conservation experts to motivate and inspire.
- Maria Mitchell Association: Non-profit organization that provides education programs and scientific resources to the community for studying Nantucket's environment and biodiversity. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell.
- Linda Loring Nature Foundation (LLNF): Promote environmental literary through research, education, and stewardship. Currently, preserves 104 acres of open space along Eel Point Road, protecting the rare and fragile habitats found there.
- Nantucket Conservation Foundation: Their mission is to assist in the preservation of Nantucket's character by conserving, maintaining, and managing natural areas and habitats to encourage an appreciation of an interest in Nantucket's natural resources.
- Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative: The mission of the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative (NBI) is to conserve the native biodiversity of Nantucket through collaborative research, monitoring and education.
- Nantucket Land Council: The Island's advocate for environmental issues, resources and solutions. They are dedicated to protecting Nantucket's natural world and rural character through conservation efforts, research, and legal action.
- Sustainable Nantucket: They initiate programs that help build a more locally based, self-reliant food economy, with sustainable food production.
- ACK Clean Team: A group of over 400 locals dedicated to keeping the island's beaches, dunes, roadsides, and bikes paths litter free. From Daffodil Weekend until the end of October, The Clean Team cleans up over four tons of litter and debris!
- Nantucket Land Bank: The first program of its kind in the U.S, it is a land conservation program created to acquire, hold, and manage important open spaces, resources, and endangered landscapes for the use and enjoyment of the general public. It has served as a model for several communities across the country.
- MassWildlife's Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program: Responsible for the conservation and protection of hundreds of species that are not hunted, fished, trapped, or commercially harvested in the state, as well as the protection of the natural communities that make up their habitats.
How can you do your part on Nantucket and in your own community?
- Pick up after yourself! Do not leave any litter or waste behind.
- Walk or bike. Cut down on your carbon footprint by avoiding cars and vehicles.
- Use a refillable water bottle. Plastic water bottles and caps take hundreds of years to dissolve and often end up in our oceans.
- Use reusable bags and containers. Since 2016, Nantucket Island has banned the use of single-use plastic bags and other single-use plastic containers, including Styrofoam.
- Pick up your pet's waste and dispose of it properly. Pet waste is considered an environmental pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Opt to use biodegradable straws. Last year, Nantucket started the "Stop the Straw" initiative, a collaborative effort of the town, to drastically cut down on the use of plastic straws.
Photo: "We invite you to join in our greening efforts. If you would like our staff to change your bed linens, please keep the starfish on your bed."
White Elephant Resorts understands the need and importance of adopting more eco-friendly practices. As we accept feedback and suggestions from guests, employees, and locals, our goal is to make our hotels more Green and earth-friendly. In addition to our support of Nantucket's "Stop the Straw" initiative with our switch to paper straws, small actions like the one shown in the photo above push us in the right direction.