Thanks to the VCS members, board, and staff, our partner organizations and volunteers, and the scores of attendees who have helped make this year’s Living at Sea Level series of walks a success. Finally, after a winter of walking at sea level, why not take a short rest before the Earth Day Beach Clean-Up on April 19 – and in the meantime, Join VCS! Member support makes all of these events possible.
On Feb. 9, 2014 an intrepid group of more than 40 walkers participated in the VCS "Lost Bass Creek" Winter Walk, setting out from the post office parking lot near Five Corners for an exploration of the filled tidal lands of Vineyard Haven. Read the full story here.
Bass Creek in the early 20th century (at right) and today (below)
A common trait of Living at Sea Level is for humans to find creative ways to expand our available habitat. One reality of living in a time of rising seas, however, is that these engineered human habitats may be some of the first to be given back to the sea.
Slideshows of some of our other walks can be found at the Events page.
In support of their ongoing coverage of coastal erosion
and shoreline change on the Vineyard, the VIneyard Gazette recently ran a story focusing specifically on the impacts of sea level rise due to climate
change. Borrowing extensively from the sea level rise portion of our new report
on climate change impacts on our island, as well as quotes from author and VCS
staffer Jeremy Houser, the story is a nice introduction to the science behind
sea level rise and what more we can expect in coming decades. See our climate change page for more on the
report, or view the sea level rise section here.
Note: if printing, be sure to download the .pdf files from our Climate Change page. Print quality from the online viewer can be very poor.
Conservation and Restoration
Renovated Farmhouse Serves as Setting for Conservator Appreciation Event
This year's annual thank-you event for our Conservators was graciously hosted by Jeff Scheuer and Heidi Rotterdam at their home on Tisbury Great Pond. A writer by trade, Jeff contributed the following piece describing the methods and motivations of their home's recent renovation for a past issue of our print newsletter, Vineyard Conservation. All VCS members receive the newsletter (past issues can be read here) twice yearly. For information on becoming a Conservator, please contact our office at (508) 693 9588.
A friend of mine who was passionate about preserving the Vineyard used to say that an environmentalist was “someone who built a house last year.” It’s a weak definition, though; one that speaks only to interests, not to larger arguments or values. Surely it can’t mean we all have a right to do and to build as we please, or that law is the only guide. We’re still responsible for our footprints.
Environmentalism is a prism of many facets, however. It’s partly about conserving what is ancient and good – old things, old ways, nature itself – an idea that isn’t new or unique to this island. But change isn’t always bad, and sometimes it’s necessary. The problem is heedless, tasteless, selfish, and disrespectful change. We’ve all seen it.
We conserve in order to retain our civility in the broadest sense: our connections to the past and the future. Environmentalism is about connections and relationships, not absolutes. And since land and old houses, especially on islands, are inherently limited quantities, and getting more limited all the time, we must balance the imperatives of land, history, community needs, and sustainability.At least, that sounds reasonable. And I’m generally in favor of balances – which doesn’t mean granting equal weight to all claims. But I’m also an environmental radical, with a lifelong penchant for older and quieter things and places. I just prefer them – period. But I’m also radical in the belief that, whatever balances must be struck, certain things are constant: Nature doesn’t return where it isn’t wanted. Old houses aren’t built anymore, and new ones are often unsightly. Everyone needs both dignified shelter and open space. Continued here, second column
21st Annual Earth Day Beach Clean-Up
Edible Wild Plants of Martha's Vineyard
Now back in stock!
Back in stock after a year's absence, new VCS members can choose to receive a free copy of Edible Wild Plants of Martha's Vineyard by Linsey Lee when they join. This beautifully illustrated guide to our wild bounty of edible plants includes descriptions of plants and their habitats, with fascinating information about traditional medicinal and folklore uses.
There's never been a better time to join than today!
Edible Wild Plants is also available for purchase at Alley's General Store, Bunch of Grapes, Felix Neck, Morning Glory Farm, the M.V. Museum, and the VCS office.
Walking Martha's VineyardGet outdoors this off-season and enjoy the tranquility with the new 4th edition of Walking Trails of Martha's Vineyard featuring several new trails!
Available for $15 at many Island locations, including The Bunch of Grapes Book Store, Edgartown Books, Alley's General Store, Cronig's, Brahmhall and Dunn, The Secret Garden, Felix Neck, Allen Farm, and the Vineyard Conservation Society office. Or, order through our donation page (by choosing the $20 option) and have it shipped to your door.
You can find the book at many Island stores and farms, including Bunch of Grapes, Cronig's, Larsen's Fish Market (Menemsha), Allen Farm, Morning Glory Farm, Mermaid Farm, Nip N' Tuck Farm, and Fiddlehead Farm Stand
Two locally produced videos help make sense of this complex issue ---
Building and Island Understanding
Video of the entire presentation was recorded and professionally produced by Martha's Vineyard Productions for VCS and MVTV. Click the link below to watch!
An Island in Conflict:
What to do about Climate Change
Longtime VCS friend Marnie Stanton has produced a new video, funded by the Edey Foundation, that looks at some of the most important local climate change issues. Marnie's 15-minute video features an extensive interview with Islanders Chris Murphy and Liz Durkee, along with shorter excerpts from other local opinion leaders. She touches on a variety of issues, but really focuses on the difficult decisions the Island faces as sea level rise and increased erosion complicate the business of coastal planning and managing development. Where should hard armoring of the coast be allowed, and where should we allow beaches to grow and recede naturally? How do we manage the competing interests of private business and property with the public good?
The most important, longest running, and most costly campaign in the Vineyard Conservation Society’s 45-year history involves environmental legal defense at Moshup Trail. The lawsuit isn’t over, but we have registered a significant win.
On August 12, 2010, Judge Charles Trombley, Jr. of the Land Court Department of the Trial Court ruled in favor of VCS and co-defendants in a long-running case involving developers’ efforts to force access through conservation holdings at Moshup Trail, Aquinnah.
VCS has always taken the long view of land protection in this area.
For more, click HERE