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“Invasive species damage the lands and waters that native plants and
animals need to survive. They hurt economies and threaten human
well-being. The estimated damage from invasive species worldwide totals
more than $1.4 trillion – five percent of the global economy.”
excerpt from The Nature Conservancy's website
Global Warming: Plants and Habitats
Tuesday, Aug 16, at 1:00 pm
, at the Old Mill in West Tisbury.
MV Garden Club meeting. Tim Simmons will
speak on global warming and its effects on plants and their habitats. $5
admission, free for members.
For details, call 508-693-5334.
Flatbread for the FARM
Tuesday, Aug 16, from 5:00 pm to closing at Flatbread Company
Delicious pizza, raffle packages and lots of fun in support of The FARM
Institute! Proceeds from the sale of each pizza go directly to support
The FARM's education programs. Call Cathy at 508-627-7007 for more
Wild Edibles and Medicinals Walk
Wednesday, Aug 17 from 10:00 to 11:30 am at the Polly Hill Arboretum.
Join John Forti (Strawbery Banke historic garden curator, ethnobotanist,
herbalist and Slow Food Leader), in this hands-on nature walk to
better understand our habitat and how it has supported people over
history, while gathering wild edibles to create a delicious salad and
herbal tea to sample as a group. $25/$15 for PHA members. For more
information, call 508-693-9426.
The Last Mountain
Wednesday, Aug 17 at 8:00 pm, at the Chilmark Community Center.
The MV Film Society presents The Last Mountain
a documentary focusing on the devastating effects of mountaintop coal
removal in West Virginia’s Coal River Valley. Director Bill Hanley and
supporter Bobby Kennedy, Jr. will be attending. $14 ($7 for Film Society
Help Fight Invasive Stiltgrass
Saturday, Aug 27 from 9:30 am to noon, Hoft Farm Field Station.
The Islands Office of The Nature Conservancy is seeking volunteers to
help control a new population of Japanese stiltgrass found near the
Longview neighborhood and their Field Station on Lambert's Cove Rd. See
the press release
for more information, directions, and contacts.
Oak Bluffs Open Market
Every Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Waban Park, Oak Bluffs.
This self-described "fab combination
of Farmers Market, Artisan Fair, Vintage Flea Market and Body, Mind,
Spirit Fair" takes place every Sunday at Waban Park, across the road
from Inkwell Beach (a short walk down Seaview Ave. from the ferry). The
Market also features live music from 11:00 to 1:00.
In Season Recipes
Almost all of the ingredients for a fresh summer gazpacho can be
obtained locally. There's a well-stocked farmstand on most of the
heavily travelled roads, but for the more intrepid, consider taking a
backpack, a bicycle, and this guide map from the Island Grown Initiative on a morning farm tour to some less well-known spots.
1 cucumber, seeded
2 sweet peppers (red or green)
4 ripe tomatoes
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups of tomato juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (optional)
Dollop of sour cream as a garnish (optional)
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into
1-inch cubes. Put chopped vegetables into a food processor and pulse
until they are coarsely chopped. Do not over-process!
After the vegetables are processed, combine them in a large bowl and
add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix
well and chill. Serve with basil and sour cream, if desired.
|Monday, August 15, 2011|
Invasive Species: Ecological Bullies or the Scapegoats of Nativists?
This Saturday, the local TNC
chapter battles Japanese stiltgrass (see Calendar), a recent addition to
our collection of invasive species. Photo by Liz Loucks.
An uproar that began in the scientific community has recently found its
way to the popular press, and now poses a challenge for conservation
groups and land managers everywhere: Should we really be trying so hard
to fight invasive species? And can we even trust the motivation or
judgment of those who do? This piece
in the Boston Globe is recommended, as it presents a fairly even-handed
account of the controversy (though the counter-argument is relegated to
Without a doubt, our island is no stranger to problematic invaders. The
usual suspects occupy the usual locations – Asiatic bittersweet and
Multiflora rose dominate roadsides and fencerows – but invasives
threaten ecologically sensitive and valuable habitats as well, including
our ponds (the reed Phragmites) and the sandplain grasslands
near the southern shore (several, including Spotted knapweed and Cypress
spurge). Because of the importance of these habitats, a considerable
amount of effort from local land managers is spent trying to control
them. Consistent with this effort, there is a budding enterprise to
spread native gardening and landscaping, an effort which helps
strengthen native ecosystems and build resistance to the threat of
present and future invasions. Recently, though, the whole idea of “going
native” has come under attack. From the Globe article:
“. . . underneath all these efforts is a potent and galvanizing
idea: that if we work hard enough to keep foreign species from
infiltrating habitats where they might do harm, we can help nature heal
from the damage we humans have done to it as a civilization.”
But is this so? In the absence of a survey of the opinions of the
“ecologists and conservationists” that are the subject of the claim,
this appears to just be attempted mind-reading. Others take their
telepathic insights to more antagonistic levels. Mark Davis, the lead
author of the Nature article
(subscription req.) that helped spark the conflagration, sees nostalgia
driving the fight against invasive species: “Newcomers are viewed as a
threat because the world that you remember is being displaced by this
new world.” Finally, some criticisms, such as this Op-Ed
in the N.Y. Times, see a connection between efforts to control invasive
species and the recent rise in anti-immigrant sentiment in America.
Comparing the native species movement with the Minutemen (the militia
group that patrols the Southwestern border), the author concludes that
“both are motivated — in Margaret Thatcher’s infamous phrase — by the
fear of being swamped by aliens.” (Continued at the VCS website, 2nd column)
VCS at the Ag Fair!
Frances Newhall, circa 1910, Woods family collection
This year, Martha’s Vineyard lost several pioneering conservationists:
Ozzie Fischer, Jane Newhall, Bob Woods and Jeanne Woods. All of them
contributed in important ways to protecting the Island they loved. As an
example of their contributions to land preservation, VCS will have a
display at the fair recounting the story of the gift of a conservation
restriction establishing the Frances Newhall Woods Preserve and its
connection to the creation of the new Agricultural Hall.
The fair runs August 18-21, from 10 am to 11 pm (ending at 7 pm on the
21st) at the fairgrounds on Panhandle Rd. in West Tisbury. If you can't
make it out to the fair (though we hope you can!), you can read the story at our website.
Walking Martha's Vineyard
From the beach at Menemsha Hills Reservation. Photo by Jodi Hilton.
Some of the less well-known, but most rewarding local adventures can only be accomplished on foot, as is well articulated by Alexandra Styron in the N.Y. Times.
With the passage of time, the cross-island beach walk she recounts may
be increasingly difficult to pull off; on the other hand, though, recent
trail extensions and easements have opened up new options for spending a
day exploring the interior of the island, and even popping out every
now and then on a secluded beach, well-hidden from motor traffic. For
much more detailed information and color trail maps, check out the new 4th
edition of our Walking Trails book, available at The Bunch of Grapes,
Edgartown Books, Alley's General Store, Cronig’s, Brahmhall and Dunn,
The Secret Garden, Felix Neck, and the VCS office ($15), or online at
our website ($20).
Support the Public Lands Preservation Act
From the The Environmental League of Massachusetts:
Recently, ELM and several other organizations sent a letter to all
members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in support of the
Public Lands Preservation Act. This important bill would put into place
commonsense safeguards to ensure that public conservation lands, which
are supposed to be protected by Article 97 of the Massachusetts
Constitution, are actually protected. Members of the House of Representatives need to hear from their constituents on this important issue. See the ELM website for explanation of the the bill and contact information for representatives.