Connect • Reflect • Protect
In our 50th anniversary year, we launched the Connect • Reflect • Protect initiative to strengthen the bonds between our human and natural communities, such that the next half-century may be even more successful than the last.Read more about the broader purpose and history of Connect • Reflect • Protect, and below, view some of the highlights of what we’ve been doing recently to spread the message of conservation.
Why not use something made to last, instead of something made to be garbage?
Plastic Waste Reduction
Vineyard High School Students Chip in One Bottle at a Time
Congratulations to the students of the MV Regional High School, who in just the first week of school saved over 1800 disposable water bottles from the waste stream thanks to the recent installation of two bottle refilling stations at the school. The machines, which dispense cold, filtered water similar to a traditional water fountain, are so convenient that now almost every student is carrying a reusable water bottle.
VCS is working to expand our plastics reduction campaign from the recently passed plastic bag ban to other creative solutions that actively reduce pollution and waste. Schools are an especially sensible place for these bottle filling stations because not only are they reducing waste every day, they are instilling a positive sense of pride in reducing waste for young people. The first two filling stations were installed over the summer as a pilot program to test the waters, and so far it has been hugely popular – we have now secured funding to take the project Island-wide!
The Art of Conservation
The VCS Island Adventure
VCS is reaching out to Island youth with a new questing adventure. Kids accumulate points by choosing activities and questions from our Island Adventure Guide, and in the process connect with new places to love and explore on the Island, reflect on something new or interesting about the outside world, and become inspired to help protect and nurture that world.
While learning and exploration are their own reward, prizes will be awarded to all who finish the quest. Best of all, it’s completely free!
Brochure for Homeowners on Lawn Fertilizer Regulations
During the 2014 Town Meetings, voters of all six Island towns approved a new bylaw that would regulate the sale and use of lawn fertilizer. Importantly, the regulations apply to everyone – homeowners as well as professional lawn care companies.
The bylaw, intended to protect our waters by reducing nutrient pollution, was created by the MV Boards of Health incorporating input from the MV Commission, other elected officials, local landscapers, golf course managers, UMass Extension scientists, and many members of the community, including VCS. While the new rules are thorough and well-considered, and not especially onerous in what they restrict, they are also not necessarily simple to understand for the average homeowner.
Therefore, to help spread the word about how to comply with the new bylaw while maintaining a healthy, non-polluting lawn, VCS has prepared a new informational brochure. Look for it in Island garden supply stores this spring, or contact VCS directly for a copy. Also, please do let us know if you would be interested in helping spread the word around your neighborhood; we can provide as many copies of the brochure as you need.
Many thanks to the MV Boards of Health, the Polly Hill Arboretum, and Michael Loberg for partnering on this project.
Land Protection and Legal Defense at the Moshup Trail Heathlands
April, 2016 Update: Victory at the Supreme Judicial Court Secures Conservation Gains!
Environmental legal defense is a necessary part of the Vineyard Conservation Society’s mission. For more than a decade, VCS has fought to defend the moorlands of Moshup Trail in Aquinnah against developers intent on building a subdivision access road through this fragile and rare resource. These wild moors have been eradicated in more than 90% of their historical range, due largely to land development. The primary threat to heathland habitat is “fragmentation” in the form of road building and house construction.
As a tribute to one of the founding acts of the Vineyard Conservation Society, in our 50th year we kicked off the annual Winter Walks series with a return to the Gay Head Cliffs. In 1965, VCS collaborated with the Town of Aquinnah to win a National Natural Landmark designation for the Cliffs. Since that time, VCS has helped conserve many other parcels of open space, family farms, and natural habitats, but the Gay Head Cliffs will always remain one of the most iconic and powerful reminders of what is special about this Island.
Recaps and slideshows of our Winter Walks can be found at the Events page.
VCS Books Help Make the Most of Your Outdoor Adventures
There's never been a better time to join VCS than today! 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 habtats, with fascinating information about traditional medicinal and folklore uses.
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 Trails of Martha's Vineyard
Read more about these books and other VCS offerings at the Publications page.
Watch the presentation online, or for the full VCS perspective on the local impacts of global climate change, head to our climate change page, which features newspaper commentaries from VCS board and staff, an extensive report on the science of GCC, storm inundation maps, two more videos and much more!