, Salem, MA

September 28, 2012

Looking into local waters

By Will Broaddus
Staff Writer

---- — Pike Messenger, who taught biology at Triton High School for many years and served as Middleton’s conservation agent from 1992 until 2009, has just published “The Water Closet,” a collection of 300 essays on water.

“They’re always related to water,” said Messenger, 79. “It’s on water animals, water plants, hydrology, the Wetlands Protection Act. If there’s a flood in Bangladesh, I might do something on floods, but it’s very local.”

The essays range from three-quarters to 1


pages in length and were previously published in local newspapers and at the Middleton Stream Team website.

“I was brought up in the area, and lived here all my life,” Messenger said. “I’m very interested in this area’s social and natural history.”

Messenger writes from the perspective of an environmentalist concerned with conservation, and he has included a few rants about global warming with his observations of nature.

“I get some kickback sometimes, which I like,” he said.

Recent topics include the return of beavers to local waters, following a ban on leg-hold traps in 1995.

“The Water Closet” also looks at local development in Middleton, which boomed in the 1990s and the early years of this century and has put a lot of pressure on local wetlands.

The book, which also includes a few of Messenger’s poems, along with photographs from locals, costs $20 and is available at