Natural History Week – Building Durable Communities: Lessons for a Livable Planet

June 16, 2018 to June 23, 2018


“Building Durable Communities combines two concepts: Durable: continuing to exist, stable; Communities: groups of organisms—animals (including humans), microbes, plants—living together in the same environment. These concepts frame the fundamental challenge before humanity: Can we create and sustain durable communities in which humans can fulfill their highest ethical aspirations as articulated by humanity’s world religions?” –  Carl N. McDaniel

Our 2018 speaker is Carl McDaniel, Professor Emeritus of Biology, Renssaelaer Polytechnic Institute, and Visiting Professor of Environmental Studies, Oberlin College. Carl is an experimental scientist and environmental educator who has spent a lifetime living this theme as a researcher, educator, and individual. He and his wife Mary built an energy-positive home (Trail Magic), designed a bio-diverse carbon-sequestering landscape, and have grown up to 40% of their own food. Carl has published more than 60 scientific papers, numerous general audience pieces, lectured across the United States and in six foreign countries, and written four books that will be the springboard for his program “Trail Magic: Lessons for a Livable Planet.”

Click here to visit Carl’s website.

Folk Musician Diane Taraz will present a program of Sea Music on Monday evening, June 18. Join us for rousing chanteys, thrilling ballads, maritime lore, and tales of shipwrecks, pirates, and sea-serpents! Diane plays guitar and lap dulcimer, and many of the songs are ideal for singing along. You can find out more about her at

Youth Programming

While families are welcome to attend NHW, the Conference does not provide a formal children’s program. Parents are responsible for the supervision, entertainment, and safety of their children during the conference. There will be some Island-sponsored activities in which children (accompanied by an adult) may participate, such as tidal, geology, and history walks; some recreational equipment and art supplies are also available to children to use with their parents’ supervision and participation.


Carl McDaniel, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biology, Renssaelaer Polytechnic Institute, and Visiting Professor of Environmental Studies, Oberlin College

Minister of the Week

The Rev. Douglas Wilson, Founder and Retired Executive Director of Rowe Camp and Conference Center

Program Fee

$125 per adult, 18+
NHW program fees cover conference activities, entertainment, arts and crafts materials, and our conference speaker. Parents/guardians of children under 18 are encouraged to consider a donation to help defray the costs of those activities in which children may participate, art and craft materials, and snacks.

Room & Board Rates

These rates include lodging, meals, and ferry transportation.

NHW Standard Shared Standard Single Motel Shared Motel Single
Adult 18+ $967 $1,315 $1,191 $1,747

Youth rates are determined by age on the first day of the program, regardless of room type.

NHW Under 6 6-11 Yrs 12-17 Yrs
Youths Free $448 $640

Ferry Schedule

Saturday, June 16
Departure: Portsmouth 2:25 p.m.
Arrival: Star Island 3:25 p.m
Saturday, June 23
Departure: Star Island 8:20 a.m.
Arrival: Portsmouth 9:45 a.m.


The Thomas Seavy Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance for attendance at NHW. It was created from a generous bequest by former conferee Lee Harrison. Natural History Week Shoalers have added to this fund, and 50% of the proceeds from our annual art auction also help the fund grow. The Steering Committee for NHW oversees administration of the fund. Instructions and a form for application are available at the NHW website. Applications are sent to the NHW Registrar at


Contact Registrar Anne Perkins at


Photo Credits:

  • Featured Image (top) Second Year Tall Grass Prairie at Trail Magic by Carl McDaniel
  • Carl and Mary McDaniel at Trail Magic by Steve Manheim