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Almanac Archive for December 6, 2016

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Quote of the Week
--Supreme Court of the United States, regarding the request to review the decision of the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court.

See Vineyard Gazette for the story, or, for a deeper dive into the 20-year legal defense effort to conserve the globally rare Moshup Trail heathlands, pages 4-7 of the last VCS newsletter.

Scenes from Flat Point

(Click for full-size; or see here for all the shots from November's Winter Walk at Flat Point Farm) 
Conservation Calendar

Holiday Event at Sheriff's Meadow

Saturday, Dec. 10, 2:00 - 4:00 pm, Edgartown.
As a respite from this weekend's scene of Christmas chaos in downtown Edgartown, stop by the Sheriff's Meadow Sanctuary to reconnect with nature for a bit. There will be crafts, holiday decorations, refreshments, and a scavenger hunt. See the SMF website for description of the property and directions; please note that there is no on-site parking.

Kids' Christmas Bird Count

Sunday, Dec. 11, 8:30 - 11:30 am, Long Point.

Calling all kids! Join BiodiversityWorks and other Island conservation organizations for a fun introduction to birding at Long Point Wildlife Refuge. We'll practice with binoculars and spotting scopes, then head out to observe birds around the refuge. Afterward, we meet back at the Visitor’s Center for a tally while we enjoy hot drinks and snacks.

This free event is primarily designed for kids 8 and up and their parents, but there will be activities back in the Visitor's Center for younger kids, so go ahead and bring the whole family! Please preregister by email or call (508) 693-7662. Also, volunteers are needed -- please email Luanne to volunteer. For more info and directions see TTOR website; use the winter entrance off Deep Bottom Rd.

Guided Walk: Menemsha Hills

Sunday, Dec. 18, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, Chilmark.

Trustees staff lead a moderate-to-strenuous hike along Menemsha Hills to the 2nd highest point on Martha's Vineyard. Learn about the geology of the area and enjoy the fall colors and a view of the historic Chilmark Brickyard. The route will include walking on rocky beach & some moderately steep trails. $10, $6 for children (TTOR members $5/$3); for more info see website or call (339) 927-8778.
Local News

Next Winter Walk: Morning Glory Farm

No cheating! We're walking this Sunday!

Join your VCS friends this Sunday (the 11th) at 1:00 for a holiday hike around the fields of Morning Glory Farm and nearby conservation lands. After about a two mile walk we'll gather around the fire at the farm stand for cider, cookies, and hot chocolate.
The walk will be lead by long-time owner and operator of the farm (and new VCS president) Jim Athearn. The relationship between VCS and the Athearns dates to the early 1980s partnership (also including the town, the state, the Land Bank, and the previous owners) that succeeded in preserving the land on which the farm now sits, guaranteeing its farming future in perpetuity. Click here to read more about the conservation history of this iconic Island farm. 
VCS has been sponsoring free guided walks for thirty years; they are traditionally from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on the second Sunday of the month from November through March.

It's B.Y.O.B. Saturday in Vineyard Haven

On Saturday, Dec. 17th, VCS and the Vineyard Haven Business Association are getting together to celebrate the Island’s first Bring Your Own Bag event. So, bring that holiday shopping list on into town – and don’t forget your reusable bag!

All customers who BYOB will qualify for a variety of promotions across town: you may find a special discount, or the opportunity to “pay it forward” with free gifts to the Red Stocking Fund and others (check out our website next week for a list of promotions and participating merchants). VCS will be on hand from 11 am to 3 pm, eager to provide holiday cheer and free reusable bags. Look closely and you may even find our Eco-Elves and their special sack of free gift cards.

In the spirit of the giving season, the BYOB event is a recognition of the gift that Vineyard Haven and four other Island towns gave to the Island at last spring’s town meetings, voting overwhelmingly to reduce our use of disposable plastic bags. Prior to passage, our Island was using about 5 million plastic shopping bags each year, many of which find their way into the natural environment. But now that number is already declining, thanks to voluntary switches by businesses, and this New Year’s Day it becomes official. Thank you!

While we celebrate the upcoming change, we also hope to spread the message that reusable bags are good for more than just grocery shopping. We can all be part of the effort to realize the BYOB spirit of the bylaw for all types of stores – retailers, markets, even take-out restaurants – by bringing our own bag, not just taking a paper one instead of plastic. As BYOB working group member Sam Look said, “We are so grateful for the work businesses are undertaking to make this change for our community, but as customers, we need to support their efforts. Every time we bring our own bag, it is one less that they have to order, pay for, ship, store, and stack on a checkout counter. They’ve been meeting our needs – let’s change what those needs are.”

Other News

Bold Bottles, Glamorous Glass, and Creative Cardboard: Getting Crafty with Packaging Materials

The EPA estimates that 30% of the solid waste created by Americans comes from packaging materials – a similar proportion as our organic material (28%, of which half is yard trimmings!) and a larger amount than all durable and non-durable goods combined (only about 20%). That’s just one way of breaking down the waste (by product type, rather than by material; see this EPA Fact Sheet for tons, no pun intended, of waste statistics), but when looking at it this way it certainly seems like the most important issues are 1) organics, for which we will need much wider adoption of composting and/or digesting technologies, and 2) packaging material. What to do with all those bottles, cans, and cardboard boxes? Recycling is the obvious answer on a municipal scale, but it’s not the best answer on a personal scale.
So, when “reduce” is not an option, the next thought should be “reuse”! Check out this collection of crafty projects from the state Coastal Zone Management office. Some are rather complicated (you have to see the octopus costume made with plastic shopping bags), but there are also some simple eco-friendly lifestyle ideas. If you keep a miniature trashcan made from a tennis ball container in with your other beach stuff, then every day can be beach clean-up day!

Different worlds: In the USA, per capita waste has stabilized in recent decades, but the total continues to rise due to population growth. But the global story is different, driven by rising standards of living elsewhere: the UN Environment Programme finds that “Humans are consuming resources and producing waste at a greater scale than ever before and per capita consumption levels are projected to increase with continued development.”
Submit your conservation news to: almanac@vineyardconservation.org

Copyright (C) 2016 *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.