Suzan Bellincampi likes nothing better than to have her phone ring at the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary where she is director, and hear someone say “This is going to sound crazy, but . . .”

Chances are, that kind of an inquiry is going to end up in her All Outdoors column in the Vineyard Gazette.

Since 2002, Ms. Bellincampi has been collecting tales of milk snakes and tree frogs, fairy shrimp and black crows, lady slippers and pine trees, barnacles and rainbows, and explaining the science behind them. Now she has collected the best of those columns into a book The Nature of Martha’s Vineyard, illustrated with photos from Gazette photographer Timothy Johnson.

Ms. Bellincampi tries hard to balance the science of the natural world with the wonder of it. — Timothy Johnson

She has written nearly 1,000 columns, so it’s understandable that the job of narrowing them down to 150 that would fit in a book took an entire winter. She has a few favorites, and many of them are stories where nature and humans intersect.

“What I really like are ones that include people,” said Ms. Bellincampi. “That’s what nature is. It’s about people and place. People connect to nature in kind of a deep way. Sharing the stories has been really important to me, and I’m kind of putting it out there so people can connect on a love of nature and build community about it. It’s kind of what I do.”

Like that time Hope Whipple called her about butterflies landing at her house.

“She called me and told me this magical tale about these butterflies gathering when she was sitting out on the porch,

and they did it every day at the same time, and she didn’t know what was going on,” Ms. Bellincampi said.

That led to a column on cabbage white butterflies, in which we learn that such of large group of butterflies is called a kaleidoscope, swarm or rabble.

She praises her collaborator on the book project, photographer Tim Johnson. — Timothy Johnson

Ms. Bellincampi tries hard to balance the science of the natural world with the wonder of it, for people who don’t spend as much time immersed in nature as she does.

“My goal is to not only to reach people who are interested in nature, but to reach people who are not,” Ms. Bellincampi said. “I use my dad as an example. He would check in and say I loved this article, but he would also check in and say, that one was too sciency for me. Sometimes I take his advice, and sometimes I don’t. I find myself learning about a broader range of things, and using that to bring people in. Everyone understands home, everyone understands love.”

In between the science, Ms. Bellincampi’s book often takes a quirky turn. In a column about the many uses of dandelions, she reveals that she uses them to brew a stout beer that her husband likes.

In a piece about barnacles we learn that in one of a barnacle’s free floating development forms, it has only 13 days to find

something to stick on, and then spends the rest of its life upside down.

In another column on cattails, she tells not only about a secret society that uses the soft downy fluff of cattails to stuff their pillows, but how the plant reproduces by growing both male and female flowers on the same stalk.

"Sharing these stories has been my vocation and my passion," she says. — Timothy Johnson

“It often starts with a mystery, or a shared story of something that has inspired somebody or made them think,” Ms. Bellincampi said. “For people to know about a plant may not be that interesting but for them to know you can make wine out of it or dandelion stout, it makes it more interesting for them.”

She had high praise for her collaborator on the book project, photographer Tim Johnson.

“The photos are amazing,” she said. “He really brought the words to life. It was really exciting for me to help Tim shine and have his photos be out there.”

For Ms. Bellincampi, studying nature is more than her job, it is a way of life. Inspiration for columns can come from anywhere, including her personal life.

“An article on invasive species resulted from a family conflict, one on rocks was about my engagement, and a story of crustaceans about a love affair gone bad,” she writes in the forward of her book. “Sharing these stories has been my vocation and my passion.”

That passion is clear in the pages of The Nature of Martha’s Vineyard.

“We are lucky to live on the Vineyard, and we’re lucky to have people love it as much as we do, visitors and summer home owners,” Ms. Bellincampi said. “It helps us collectively put this special place in our hearts and want to protect it. The reach of the Vineyard helps get my work out further. People have such a strong love of the Vineyard, we want them to take that love home to wherever they are. Love what’s around you. Realize it’s within you ability to protect it, improve it, be thoughtful about it.”