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Quote of the Week
"We have, I fear, confused power with greatness."
--Stewart Udall, former Secretary of the Interior
, at a commencement address in 1965.
One year later, Sec. Udall spoke at the dedication of the Gay Head
Cliffs as a National Natural Landmark, a project led by VCS (click for
Nearly fifty years after the
dedication, VCS returned to the Cliffs on a blustery November day for an
invigorating Winter Walk. Read about the walk at the Vineyard Gazette, or check out our slideshow.
Winter Walking at the Arboretum
Saturday, Dec. 13, 10:00 am, West Tisbury
Join Polly Hill staff to explore the Arboretum grounds in the
off-season. Winter is when bark patterns and architectural structure
become evident as deciduous trees lose their leaves, the conifers stand
out with their many textures and shades of green, and even some fruits
and flowers appear. Tours run for a little over an hour. Meet at the
Visitor Center and dress for the weather. Free.
Winter Farmers' Market
Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, West Tisbury
The winter market is on every Saturday in December. At the Ag Hall on
Panhandle Rd. Twenty vendors, live music, and lunch available.
Extra special thanks to all who supported VCS during last week's Giving Tuesday! But if you missed us, there's still time to:
through the end of the year, new members and gift memberships will
receive their choice of one of three great books: our always-popular
guides to the Walking Trails and Edible Wild Plants of the Vineyard, and the special seasonal addition of Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living.
Give the Gift of Conservation
And Let VCS Help with Holiday Gift-Giving
|Monday, December 8, 2014
VCS Through the Decades: 1980s
A Winter Walk at Morning Glory Farm
Despite its broad characterization as a flat outwash plain, there is a bit of topography in Edgartown. (Photo by Brendan O'Neill)
This Sunday, please join VCS for our second Winter Walk of the season, a
trek through the fields and farm operations of Morning Glory Farm in
Edgartown. Owner and operator Jim Athearn will lead the walk through
conservation restricted farmlands and share his knowledge of the history
of conservation at this vital centerpiece of Island agriculture. If
time allows, the walk will also incorporate a farm tour, with possible
visits to greenhouses and barns, the chicken house, and composting area.
About thirty years ago, VCS launched a major conservation project at what is today Morning Glory Farm.
The goal was the preservation of working farmland and the scenic
roadside vista at the approach to Edgartown. The specific strategy was
to assemble a financing package to purchase a permanent agricultural
restriction on 18.3 acres of fields fronting the Edgartown/West Tisbury
This was ultimately accomplished through a partnership of many
stakeholders, including: the landowners, who agreed to sell their
development rights at a bargain price for conservation purposes; the
state, who awarded grant funds for the Agricultural Preservation
Restriction (APR); the town of Edgartown, who voted to supplement the
APR grant; VCS, who helped raise more private funds from the community;
and finally, then tenant-farmers Jim and Debbie Athearn, who
subsequently purchased the land.
The result was a tremendous success, broader than the original goal of
preserving a farm field and scenic vista. Today, Morning Glory Farm is a
successful family-run business, and a leader in the local agriculture
movement on Martha’s Vineyard, the success and diversity of which can be
seen in this map.
Ripple effects of the project include impacts on additional land
conservation nearby, such as the Land Bank purchases at Ben Toms
Preserve and Sweetened Water Preserve.
All VCS Winter Walks start at 1:00 and are about 1.5 to 2 hours
long, followed by cider and cookies. Walks are regularly scheduled for
the second Sunday of the month.
So, How Hot Was It?
With Antarctic ice cover reaching record
levels, perhaps the petrochemical industry could supply some
refrigerated bear barges for inter-polar translocation ― What could
possibly go wrong?
Well, it’s almost that time of year again. Sometime in the next couple
months the official reports will be out on just how warm 2014 was, and
with any luck, the Conservation Almanac will get to have some fun with the confusing and misleading graphs that accompany them. Will 2014 be more like 2013, globally very warm, but cool in the USA, or 2012,
which was globally moderate (cool compared to the “new normal,” yet
still well above the 1960-1990 average) but the hottest ever in the
While a few weeks remain in the year, preliminary estimates have been released by the World Meteorological Organization in a provisional report for the current climate talks in Peru. They indicate that globally, 2014 was one of the hottest years on record, and very possibly the
hottest. The high temperatures were mostly a function of record high
sea surface temperatures, which also contributed to 2014 being a year of extremes:
heavy rainfall events and flooding increased, as well as drought, all
while tropical storms were less frequent. In 2014, Planet Earth was
bipolar indeed: Arctic sea ice continued to decline, while ice cover in
the Antarctic reached a new high.