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Almanac Archive for August 20, 2012

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Green Tip of the Week

From the US EPA, regarding a common source of wasted fuel and air pollution:
"Remind your school system to turn off bus engines when buses are parked. Exhaust from idling school buses can pollute air in and around the bus, and can enter school buildings through air intakes, doors, and open windows. Constant idling also wastes fuel and money, and school bus engines really need only a few minutes to warm up."

Conservation Calendar

The Tree Tour
Wednesday, Aug 22, 10:00 am to noon.
Join collections and grounds manager Tom Clark for this informative and fun walking tour of the many glorious mature trees of Edgartown. In the midst of the mantle of green that envelops downtown Edgartown, the hydrangeas and picket fences, many unique and fine specimen trees await discovery. Expect the famous Pagoda Tree and so much more. Call 508-693-9426 to pre-register and for carpool and meeting location. $20, or $10 for PHA members.

Ecological Solutions to Water Quality Problems
Thursday, Aug 23, 4:30 pm, at the Tisbury Senior Center, VH.
Dr. John Todd will give a presentation,
“Stewardship of Martha’s Vineyard Waters,” which discusses the problems with coastal ponds on the Cape & Islands and outlines solutions using an ecological approach. For more information, see the press release. Co-sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and Tisbury Waterways. The Senior Center is at 34 Pine Tree Rd.

Not-So-Creepy Creatures of the Night Hike
Friday, Aug 24, 6:45 pm, Long Point, WT.
Guided walking tour for ages five and up begins at the winter entrance to Long Point Wildlife Refuge. Reservations required; space is limited. Cost is $12 for kids ($10 members), with accompanying adults free. Call 508-693-7392 for more info.

Polly Hill Talk: Local Effects of Climate Change
Wednesday, Aug 29, 7:30pm, at the Arboretum.
The timing of leaf out in the spring and leaf fall in autumn is being studied by scientists looking at the effects of a changing climate. Learn more about the study of leaf phenology from Professor Richard Primack in this illustrated talk. $10/$5 for PHA members. For more on the subject, see Dr. Primack’s  op-ed Early Bloomers.

Toddler Time
Wednesdays, 10:00 am to noon, Native Earth Teaching Farm, Chilmark.
Wednesday mornings at Native Earth are Toddler Time, where toddlers and their adults can meet and play in a fun and unfettered environment. Suggested donation of $5. For more info call 508-645-3304 or see website.

Guided Birding Tours
Saturdays, 9:00 to 11:30 am, starting at MV Reg. High School.
Visit birding hot spots with your guide Robert Culbert. Carpool will depart from the high school faculty parking lot at 9:00. Cost is $30 per adult, $15 for under 18. For more details, call 508-693-4908.

West Tisbury Farmers' Market

Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9:00 to noon at the Grange Hall, West Tisbury.
Fresh picked produce from local farms, flowers, delicious baked goods and prepared foods from Island kitchens and more.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Local News

VCS at the Ag Fair

Climate change can show up where you least expect it, even an Agricultural Fair (click to enlarge)

Thanks to all who came out last week to support the MV Ag Society and check out the educational display from VCS, which won this year's special Michael Wild Memorial Award*. Centered around a theme of how climate change threatens Island resources, the display featured photos of iconic Vineyard landscapes and infrastructure along with a SLOSH (Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes) map, created by Chris Seidel of the MVC, that reveals which areas of downtown Vineyard Haven would be inundated under various hurricane strengths.

* The award is given in memory of fearless and dedicated Island advocate Michael Wild, who was a leader on many environmental issues and projects, including recycling, smart development, and sustainable fishing and farming.

Facts of Weather Require Precaution

In the seventh part of her series on local climate change impacts (originally run in the Vineyard Gazette, and reproduced with permission), Liz Durkee takes a look at extreme weather events:

“Wind, water and waves trump humans at every turn. More severe storms on the Vineyard will put at greater risk coastal homes, roads, seawalls, bridges, utilities, beaches and salt marshes, boats and marinas, fisheries and aquaculture. A major hurricane will cripple the local economy.
Other News

Ice-Free Arctic Summers May Arrive Sooner than Expected

At the North Pole, an area the size of Europe melts every summer and then freezes again the following winter. (Photo and caption from ESA)

As reported in the Guardian, recent data from satellites launched by the European Space Agency suggest that sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster than previously believed. Only 7,000 cubic kilometers of ice remained by summer of 2012, down from 13,000 in 2004. Roughly extrapolating these preliminary results (with the caveat that future melting could easily be faster or slower than any given 8-year period) suggests that by 2022 there could be no ice remaining in the Arctic for at least one day in the summer. (See ESA's website for more on the CryoSat ice mission.)

It's worth noting that the melting of sea ice poses little direct threat to human interests: this is ice that is already floating in water, so its melting doesn't cause global sea levels to rise much, at least compared to melting land-based glaciers. But, aside from the fact that any observation of faster-than-expected melting is an ominous sign, the loss of ice creates a dangerous feedback mechanism: ice is more reflective than water, so an Arctic Ocean without ice cover will absorb more heat from the sun. This will lead to more overall global warming - and, unlike melting sea ice, thermal expansion of water as it warms does contribute significantly to sea level rise.
Submit your conservation news to: almanac@vineyardconservation.org

Copyright (C) *2012* *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.