UMass Boston

Facilities & Activities

The Nantucket Field Station is in operation year round with a station director in residence, a laboratory for research and teaching, a 14 bed dormitory and lecture room overlooking Nantucket Harbor. Research and education is supported for use by groups and investigators from a number of institutions in addition to UMass Boston. We support undergraduate summer courses, year-round interdisciplinary seminars, field trips and use by numerous local community and governmental groups. 



Preparing for Your Stay

Reservations & Planning

Requests are followed by either a discussion for planning purposes or a confirmation of reservation based on the description of intent as well as availability of space and scheduling information. Priority in booking will be placed on University courses, research and activity, but other educational outreach, scholarly activities, conferences, events, retreats and orientations are all supported and promoted by the field station. Interested parties are encouraged to inquire.

To arrange for payment for housing for lodging at the field station bunkhouse please contact the director Yvonne Vaillancourt at 508-228-5268 or send an email to

Priority is given to UMass Boston classes, students and researchers with housing available to UMass system users, other colleges, state agencies, and educational and research groups. We do not house ecotourists or members of the public not directly affiliated with an education, research, or outreach mission. UMass rates and outside system rates are $30/$60 per person (UMass rate/External rate) per night at the field station bunkhouse. We book many months in advance. Please note that pending Board of Trustee approvals prices could increase in 2024 and/or 2025.


Make Reservations

Guidelines- The Top Ten Things to Know


All waste must be sorted into one of four categories; offenders will be charged a fee! Lack of adherence to the recycling protocol will be grounds for denial of future reservations. Rinse material to be recycled, sort returnables, all other can be mixed into the designated containers lined with CLEAR plastic bags:

  • MA Returnable Cans and Bottles & plastic bags
  • Recyclable items Hard plastic (bottles, cups, lids, containers, etc.), Aluminum and metal (cans, Snapple lids, clean aluminum foil, etc.) Glass containers (not broken glass)
  • Non-compostable & non-recyclable trash (bulk trash-soft plastic film, Styrofoam, and cardboard) can be mixed together but must be disposed of in CLEAR, translucent, plastic bags. IV. Compostable Trash is defined as paper and food. 

2. Only UMass staff and faculty are allowed to drive state vehicles and/or boats.

3. What is outside, stays out (bikes for example) and what is inside, stays in (furniture for example).

4. Poison Ivy is abundant- Leaves of 3 leave them be! Identifiable by three glossy leaves, typically found as short plants, here they can grow to be several feet tall or vine like. Leaves are shiny red in late summer and fall. If you contact poison ivy wash area of concern immediately. Technu is a product that helps remove poison ivy oils from your skin, and exists at the station. Ivy Block is also available in the lab, use prior to contact to reduce itching. To avoid contact, closed toe shoes should be worn.

5. Small deer ticks are abundant and carry Lyme disease, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and others. Use repellent, stay in mowed areas, avoid tall grass, or wear longs pants tucked into your socks. Check yourself every day for ticks and know the signs of a bite to be concerned about: large rash/bulls-eye shaped rash or reddened area. Report any major fatigue or flu like symptoms to field station staff.

6. Quiet hours on island (including loud talking outside) are from 10:00 pm to 7:30 am. Respect those hours at all Nantucket locations.

7. Be considerate of other field station users, respectful of the property and make yourself aware of resources and requirements: Read through all the information posted and in the booklets provided in each unit. Familiarize yourself with evacuation and fire safety information.

8. Follow UMass house rules: no alcohol or tobacco product use in the buildings, leave housing neat and clean, remove food and trash upon departure; clear out refrigerators and pantries, communicate known issues to staff. Clean grills and dispose of charcoal after use in a paper bag in the trash. Groups that do not clean or do not dispose of their food or recyclables will be charged a damage or improper use fee.

9. Only in an emergency call the director (508-228-5268), do not approach or knock on the residence door for anything other than an emergency. Instructors can reach the director via email or phone. Students should go through their instructors with requests or maintenance issue.

10. NO overnight guests are allowed. Service dogs are welcome; pets are not allowed in either the condos or the field station dorm. Any exception requires written permission from the director, prior to your arrival. Only faculty actively teaching a summer class are allowed to have family stay with them.

Field Station Lodging

Our Nantucket Field Station bunkhouse style dormitory overlooks Nantucket Harbor and supports up to 16 overnight guests at one time. 

There are two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a full kitchen, a dining room that also serves as a small meeting space and a conference room for lectures or group work and discussion. The conference room is outfitted with a ceiling mounted projector, screen and large monitor.

Seasonal offsite housing is also available closer to town for larger groups or courses needing additional or separate instructor and group leader housing or to support concurrent station activities.


Laboratory & Equipment

The Nantucket Field Station houses a variety of field and laboratory equipment which is available for reservation and use by researchers and educators. If you are interested in using NSF equipment, please contact the station director as far in advance as possible to check on availability as it may already be reserved or in use. Reservations for lab or research bench may have associated fees, please forward questions you may have.

Representative Field Equipment List

  • boats, dinghies, canoes, kayaks
  • plankton nets
  • hand held water sampling units (temperature, DO, salinity, conductivity, pH)
  • hand held fluorimeter
  • vacuum pumps
  • depth finders
  • secchi disks
  • snorkeling equipment
  • life-vests
  • buoys
  • vegetation survey grids
  • well sampling equipment
  • coring equipment
  • YSI probes (salinity, temperature, pH, DO)
  • transects
  • quadrats

 Representative Lab Equipment List

  • stereo microscopes
  • compound light microscopes
  • swinging bucket centrifuge
  • balances
  • drying oven
  • chemical hood
  • -80 freezer
  • refrigerator and -20 freezer
  • spectronic 20 spectrophotometers
  • Hach colorimeter/spectrophotometer
  • incubator
  • sieves 
  • deionized water

Request Equipment

Payment Information

The Nantucket Field Station accepts in person credit card payment in the laboratory while you visit or you can bring or mail checks made payable to UMass Boston. Please mail together with a copy of the invoice, directly to the station:

Yvonne Vaillancourt 
180 Polpis Road
Nantucket, MA, 02554

UMass users can recharge to their funding sources, account code are on the invoice or contact the director if you have any questions about the method of payment at 508.228.5268 or email:

Groups that cancel their reservations less than 10 days before arrival for any reason other than the inability to get to Nantucket due to adverse weather or medical emergency will be subject to a $100 cancelation fee. 

Contact Us

Nantucket Field Station
180 Polpis Road
Nantucket, MA

Phone: 508.228.6268
General Email:

Spring/Summer: 9 AM-7 PM
Fall/Winter: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
(or by appointment)