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Almanac Archive for April 10, 2017

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It's Back!

New 5th Edition Available Now

We have just received the brand new 5th edition of Will Flender's ever-popular Walking Trails guide here at the VCS office. We're working to get it up on the shelves of Island retailers for this summer, but if you want one sooner, go ahead and order using this Paypal link ($20 includes $5 for shipping). Or, drop by the Wakeman Center for a visit and save the shipping cost!
Quote of the Week
"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
--Winston Churchill, 1947

Conservation Calendar

Osprey Monitor Training
Wednesday, April 12, 5:00 - 7:00 pm; Saturday, April 15, 1:00 - 3:00 pm, Edgartown.

As part of Felix Neck's Citizen Science program, Sanctuary staff and project leaders Rob Bierregaard and Dick Jennings will lead two sessions training volunteers to help our island osprey population. Volunteers are assigned a nest to monitor for the duration of the season, which runs from late April through September. Registration is required, online or call (508) 627-4850.

Kids' Craft: Creative Recyclables
Saturday, April 15, 10:00 - 11:30 am, Oak Bluffs.

Follow your imagination and build something new out of something old. For kids 5+, at the OB Library, free, no registration req'd

Horseshoe Crabs: A Story of Beach Trysts and Blue Bloods

Tuesday, April 18, 6:30 to 7:30 pm, Oak Bluffs

Join Susie Bowman and Fred Hotchkiss for a slideshow and discussion of these fascinating animals who have found themselves threatened due to their very popularity — traditionally as bait fish, but now also as major resources in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. At the OB Library, free, no registration req'd (Image: embroidered mola from Panama, courtesy John Pearse)
Small Hands Tackle Big Issue

This winter and spring, as part of a broader plastic waste reduction program at the Oak Bluffs School, students have been designing and decorating re-usable shopping bags for giveaway to the public. Many thanks to 4th grade teacher Holly Thomas and art teacher Kim O'Connor for helping launch an inspirational project that has now spread throughout the school!

Local News

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Earth Day Beach Clean-Up

Cleaning 23 beaches doesn't have to be a Herculean task, if you bring enough dedicated volunteers! (Michael Sellitti and Graham Stearns in 2015, photo by Bret Stearns; see 2016 photos here)

This Earth Day, it’s easy to green. For the first time in many years, the 25th annual edition of the VCS Earth Day Beach Clean-Up actually falls on Earth Day, April 22, 2017. To help protect wildlife from plastic pollution, beautify our Island environment, and simply to kick-off spring with a fun family and community event, all you have to do is head out to your favorite beach at 10:00 am. Then, join us at the Harbor View Hotel at noon for what should be our best after-party yet!

Thanks to a generous grant awarded by the M.V. Savings Bank Charitable Fund, as well as our regular sponsors, this year we have been able to “super-size” the after-party in honor of the 25th consecutive year of the clean-up (read all about the history of the event at our website). We have invited guest speakers Tyson Bottenus and Athena Aicher to update us on the latest research on how to clean up plastic pollution in the ocean. Both are avid sailors and ocean lovers, Tyson as sustainability director of Sailors for the Sea and Athena as a research assistant at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole.

In addition, we will have two raffles, one for kids and one for adults, and everyone will receive a wonderful new t-shirt featuring artwork by Jules Feiffer. As usual, MVY Radio will be broadcasting live from Eastville beach. Finally, this year we are making sure there is enough food for all the latecomers – no beach cleaner should go without refreshments just because they worked extra late!

See VCS website for a full list of beaches, sponsor, and volunteer group leaders. We look forward to seeing you all this Earth Day!

Unfinished Business: Oak Bluffs Voters Decide Tomorrow Whether B.Y.O.B. Bylaw Goes Island-Wide
Sighted up-Island, this osprey flew for some time with a bag tied around its neck. It did escape its trap and survive – unfortunately, many birds and other animals are not so lucky. (Photo by Dave Kolb)

Roughly one year ago at this time, five Island towns voted overwhelmingly to reduce litter and ocean pollution, protect wildlife from harm, and strengthen our local recycling system. Tomorrow night at Town Meeting, Oak Bluffs voters finally get their chance to join with the rest of the Island in banning the distribution of disposable plastic bags at checkout counters. Article 44 (viewable here) represents the “Bring Your Own Bag” bylaw originally drafted and promoted by VCS last year. We also intend to introduce an amendment at Town Meeting that would allow stores to apply for up to three one-year waivers due to hardship.
Led by a small group of businesses, opposition to the bylaw in Oak Bluffs has been much stronger than in the other towns. Last year, the bylaw was pulled off the warrant during a March meeting of the Board of Selectmen (viewable at MVTV, enter “3.08.16” into the search bar*), at which business owners were given the opportunity to express their reservations. In recent months, the business group has developed their own plastic bag bylaw, which will appear on the warrant as Article 45 (the entire warrant is at OB Town website, see page 21).
Needless to say, two articles addressing the same issue leads to some confusion, both in terms of the substance of the issue – which bylaw is actually better for Oak Bluffs? – and procedurally, as the two bylaws are contradictory enough that they cannot both be implemented if passed. Please see this flyer for an explanation of the differences.

And finally, Oak Bluffs voters: Don’t forget to come to the Performing Arts Center tomorrow night at 7:00 and let your voice be heard!

* It's over an hour long - you can skip ahead to minute 48 where pulling the article is proposed, or all the way to 58:30 for when things start to get really interesting.

Just Say No to Plastic Grass

No, this isn't about that issue. Where some environmental issues center around difficult choices, competing values, and complex technical details, we hope everyone can agree on this one . . .

Plastic grass in Easter baskets? It's been nearly ubiquitous for at least 35 years, when I remember it sticking to my jelly beans, but why? Let's go people, we can change this pretty easily.

VCS staffer Signe Benjamin spotted this paper grass (pictured at right) at Granite in Edgartown, and also at Morrice Florist in Vineyard Haven. Now, if we could just get the company to put it in a paper bag!
Submit your conservation news to: almanac@vineyardconservation.org

Copyright (C) 2017 *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.