Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


December 27, 2012

Local duo releases Alpine guide

Andover duo produce environmental guide

The number of lynx and mountain caribou have declined in New England. A new book from two Andover natives helps identify where they’ve gone.

Mike Jones and Liz Willey, members of Andover High’s class of 1998, recently co-edited the Eastern Alpine Guide. The book documents the biodiversity throughout the Alpine Mountains, from Mount Washington all the way into Newfoundland.

To catalog the species living in the hills, Willey and Jones frequently used motion sensitive camera technology that only snapped photos when something walked into the frame, according to Willey.

They also found and documented an array of amphibian species and vegetation, “different species that might be up there that people weren’t aware of,” she said.

To do the book, the two collaborated with several other climatologists, geologists and biologists to record what exists in the northernmost reaches of the Appalachian Mountains. The two worked on the project for nearly ten years, though they only settled down to write it recently, Jones said.

They’ve been married for five years.

“It was fun to sit around a camp at night with researchers from Quebec and New England, and it was an interesting experience,” Michael Jones said. “Even the opportunity to work with both people in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces was fun and exciting. We learned a huge amount.”

After graduating from Andover High a decade and a half ago, the two pursued different degrees for different careers. Willey went to MIT in Cambridge, majoring in engineering, and Jones pursued a natural science degree at Hampshire College in Amherst. After that, they pursued doctorates in biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The primary goal of the book project was to build a constituency of knowledgeable citizens who both understand and seek to protect the regions where these animals live, according to Jones.

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