Home‎ > ‎Almanac Archive‎ > ‎

Almanac Archive 8/29/2011

Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
Visit our Website

Support Vineyard Conservation

Find us on Facebook

Living Local
Harvest Festival

Saturday, Oct 1 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury
Join your friends and the MV community to celebrate and learn about local food production, protection of marine life, renewable energy, resource conservation, island development and growth and the wealth of local knowledge. Rain date is Oct 2. On Friday Sept 30, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, there will be a special storytelling event with Island Elders at the Grange Hall.

Quote of the Week
"Were we and the rest of the back-boned animals to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well."
- David Attenborough, 2005

Conservation Calendar

Mytoi Garden Volunteer Time
Wednesday, Aug 31, 9 am to noon, Chappaquiddick.
Join gardening volunteers at Mytoi to help mulch, weed, prune and keep the garden looking its best. Insect spray is a must. For details, call 508-627-3599.

Felix Neck Children's Programs

Thursday, Sept 1, 10:00 to 11:00 am, and Friday, Sept 2, 10:00 to 11:30 am, Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.
Felix Neck offers two fun programs for kids this week. On Thursday, check out the Creature Feature (ages 3-5, with guardian), a close-up look at native animals of Martha's Vineyard. Friday is Seashore Discovery (all ages). Both programs are $9, or $6 for members. Call (508) 627-4850 for details, or click the links above.

Grey Barn Farm Tours

Every Thursday from 10:00 to 11:00 am.

Watch cow milking and learn about our organic farm with the largest renewable energy installation on the island. At the Grey Barn Farm, 22 South Rd, Chilmark. For details, call 508-645-4854.

Fall Plant Sale

Saturday, Sept 10, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Polly Hill Arboretum.

Trees, shrubs and perennials, including native Island plants, suitable for the Vineyard climate will be on sale. Arboretum staff will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice. For details, call 508-693-9426.

In Season Recipe

Congratulations to Virginia Jones on the recent publication of her work Fresh from the Vineyard, a cook book to showcase and support island agriculture and fishing. Proceeds from sales of the book (available at Bunch of Grapes and the Allen Farm) will benefit both VCS and the Island Grown Initiative, two organizations that – in very different ways – have helped promote and sustain local agriculture.
Fresh from the Vineyard features recipes that take advantage of our bounty of local produce, meats, and seafood. With island corn starting to come in, let’s sample one of Ginny’s corn-based recipes (though, for the record, it reads better in her writing!):

  • 3 cups fresh corn
  • 3 local eggs
  • 1 ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup corn meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • Grated cheese (for the top, optional)
Melt the butter in a sauce pan and remove from heat. Then mix in the flour, corn meal, salt, and sugar (if desired). Beat in 3 eggs, followed by the corn, and then the milk, mixing well. Pour this mix into a buttered 1.5 qt casserole and place in a pan of about 1 inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees until just set, about 45 minutes. Serves 6-8.
Monday, August 29, 2011

Local News

Recycling by Government and Small Business

The Sea Green recycling team patrols M.V. Savings Bank

Led by Dave Nash, VCS recently undertook an island-wide survey of recycling efforts. In this installment of a six-part report, Dave looks into recylcing by government offices and businesses:

We visited all of our island government offices to see how they all stacked up in the effort to recycle.  Only one town, Edgartown, has an “official” recycling coordinator although every town, the county and the tribal offices all recycle to some extent.  There is a significant benefit to having a coordinator in town hall.  It allows for someone to develop new recycling opportunities while watching out for ways to improve existing efforts.  Edgartown extends their efforts to include computers and electronics.  Most towns however have someone who does watch out for how well their co-workers are recycling.  Some towns even have two people.  Tisbury town hall actually has an “enforcer” and a “retriever”; two dedicated recyclers who remind and check to see that their town employees are doing a good job.  One comment received from one town employee addressed the additional benefit of everyone being in sync with respect to recycling efforts.  When these same people are involved with purchasing the same mind set extends to purchasing policies such as buying post consumer recycled white paper or maybe even looking at products with reduced packaging.  One town employee reported that trying to be green with purchasing isn’t always that easy due to lack of available items as well as high costs; purchasing also occurs independently in departments within a given town.  If our towns and businesses combined purchases it would perhaps translate into more widespread use and better affordability.  
Small business represents another opportunity that sometimes takes a little effort.  An effective and efficient recycling effort can occur at the smallest business in conjunction with a trash hauler, or self hauling as long as everyone cooperates and treats their work environment just as they would their home recycling efforts.  White paper and paper products are the primary recyclable generated by offices.  With single stream recycling now available, bottles, cans, mixed paper and plastics are easily handled.  Corrugated cardboard is also a frequently recycled item and one of the recyclables that holds its marketability and value well.  Businesses generating ”confidential” white paper can shred and bag this paper themselves for recycling or can hire a mobile shredding company to do that job for them.
Recycling in a small office setting requires nothing more than an awareness of what is being discarded.  The Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank has what they refer to as a “recycling team” affectionately called “Sea Green” which works to maximize efforts to keep MV Savings Bank as green as possible.  Their team has on-going periodic meetings to oversee their in-house recycling efforts at the various bank offices around the island.
People who don’t recycle at home are obviously going to have a hard time recycling at the office and that’s where a little organization helps, such as the use of containers which are color coded or clearly marked.  A printed reminder on the office refrigerator can help as well.  One business was having a difficult time because their office cleaning company had non-English speaking employees.  Printing out some instructions in other languages can quickly remedy that.
What’s your definition of native?

American - yes. Native - maybe?

The discussion about the controversy around invasive species in the last edition of the Almanac raised a related question: What exactly is a native species? It’s an important practical question if there’s any validity to the views of those who argue that many people are reflexively opposed to non-native species without first considering whether they are in fact harmful. If we’re spending millions of dollars and thousands of hours controlling species based on nothing more than “nativeness,” then it matters quite a lot if that definition is a little fuzzy. As was previously argued, I think these claims range from somewhat overstated to completely ridiculous, but the question of what is a native species remains interesting.

Most of the time, the definition rests on one crucial distinction: Were humans involved? A native plant or animal population could exist in a certain place because it evolved there, because it moved there on its own, or was carried there by wind, water, or an animal. The only things termed “non-native” or “exotic” would be those that got where they are today on the backs of humans (whether accidental or intentional). Simple, right? Well, there are a few challenges. (Continued at the VCS website, 2nd column)
Other News

Defending Science at the EPA
Though unfortunate, effort to curtail scientific research at the EPA (and weaken its regulatory ability) through reductions in funding is a legitimate application of politics in a democracy. Suppression and censorship of scientific results is not. While the former is the larger present threat, there is strong evidence for the occurrence of the latter in recent history. Thankfully, the EPA is currently working on a scientific integrity policy intended to protect against future censorship. The Union of Concerned Scientists, believing that the current draft is not strong enough, recently sent out this action alert, which contains more information, links to line-by-line analysis of the policy, and most important, instructions for contacting EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and pushing the EPA to take a tougher – and clearer – stance.
Could DIY be the Next Step in Recycling?

Ito amazes another audience

Akinori Ito’s Blest Corporation has invented a machine that can convert two pounds of plastic back to a quart of oil at a cost of only 1 kWh. See him demonstrate the home-use version of the machine in this video.

Submit your conservation news to: almanac@vineyardconservation.org

Copyright (C) *2011* *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.