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Almanac Archive for Dec. 1, 2021

Conservation Almanac Special Notice
Next Winter Walk: Mill Brook Watershed Protection
Join your VCS friends next Saturday, December 11, at 10:00 am for the second in our series of Winter Walks highlighting open space protected through the use of Conservation Restrictions (CRs) on private lands. Beginning at the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury (the iconic red barn where Scotchman’s Lane meets Old Country Road), the walk will be something of a sequel to November’s exploration of the “hidden gems” of conservation tucked into West Tisbury’s town center. December’s walk will focus on CRs that protect the watershed of the Mill Brook (the Island’s longest surface waterway), starting at Ellen Weiss’ property (across the road from the gallery), site of the nineteenth-century Nathaniel Hancock House.

Please note: Due to ongoing concerns surrounding Covid-19, we must limit the total number of participants. Registration is required, with priority given to current VCS members. Please register online here, or email us with your name and the number of guests. We hope to see as many of you as possible out there, so contact us soon – and if you're not yet a member, Join Today!

Walking the Walk: Conservation History of the Weiss CRs

In 1997, Ellen Weiss' parents Harry and Gertrude Weiss granted one of the first CRs recorded on Martha's Vineyard. As the then-president of the Vineyard Conservation Society, Harry sought to “walk the walk” by donating the four-acre restriction on their property,  which to this day protects hundreds of feet of frontage along the Mill Brook.

That CR was just one component of the family’s overall estate plan, which included the reservation of future house sites for the children. In 2000, daughter Ellen Weiss granted an additional CR on one of those building sites, and by forfeiting her development rights permanently conserved an open field and more than 200 feet of rural roadside, from Scotchman’s Bridge to the intersection at the Granary Gallery.

By keeping development away from the roadside, the CR secures an important ecological and scenic resource, safeguards the integrity of the Mill Brook, and extends a foothold of conserved open space in that part of town. The arrangement involved careful coordination with the town zoning board, conservation commission, and select board to ensure the perpetual protection of this historic landscape.

Top photo by Brendan O'Neill. Click here for more scenes from the "Hidden Gems of West Tisbury" walk (album photos by BON, plus Signe Benjamin, Jeremy Houser, Kathy Kinsman, and Samantha Look); historical background here. Bottom image via Google Earth: 1977 CR highlighted in yellow, 2000 CR in red.

Zoom Workshop Explores Excess Nitrogen & Land Use Change
Join Great Pond Foundation tomorrow at 1:00 for a science whodunnit. We know the Island's coastal ponds are suffering from excess nitrogen pollution, but how did it get there? First suspect up, that emerald green lawn by the carriage house . . . but what about the Canada goose sitting there smirking on the hillside? Or . . . what if it was the butler in the bathroom all along?

The first of the three-part "Island Ponds Community Workshop" hosted by Great Pond Foundation, tomorrow's (Dec 2) zoom kicks things off with a deep dive into the question of how changes in land use contribute to  nitrogen pollution. Keynote speaker Dr. Javier Lloret of the Marine Biological Laboratory will discuss the use of isotopes to identify nitrogen pollution sources, followed by a panel discussion with local experts. Registration is required; please email GPF to receive the Zoom link. For more info, see flyers for the series and tomorrow's workshop.



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