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Quote of the Week
“They keep saying that sea levels are rising an' all this. It's nowt to
do with the icebergs melting, it's because there's too many fish in it.
Get rid of some of the fish and the water will drop. Simple. Basic
--Karl Pilkington, The Ricky Gervais Show
Walk at Felix Neck
Tuesday, Feb 11, 10:00 to 11:00 am, Edgartown.
Join Felix Neck for a winter walk to discover what's happening in nature
during the Sanctuary's off season. Warm up afterward with a hot
beverage. $5, free for members. For more info, call (508) 627-4850 or
Documentary Film on Genetically Modified Organisms
Wednesday, Feb 12 at 7:00 pm, Edgartown
"Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives" showing at the Edgartown
Library. Presented by Slow Food M.V. For more info, call (508) 627-4221.
Guided Birding Tours
Saturday, Feb 15 at 1:00 pm, at the MV Reg. High School.
Visit birding hot spots with your guide Robert Culbert. Carpool will
depart from the high school faculty parking lot at 1:00. Cost is $30 per
adult, $15 for under 18. For details call (508) 693-4908.
Learn your Wildlife Signs
Saturday, Feb 22, 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
Two programs on opposite ends of the island to help burnish your scouting skills -- too bad you can't do both!
At Sassafras Earth Education
in Aquinnah, learn the Art of Tracking in snow or sand. $25 per person, RSVP rec'd. Call (508) 645-2008 for more info.
Or, head to Felix Neck
for the Skull and Bones
workshop, which is exactly what it sounds like. $30 ($25 for members),
registration required. Call (508) 627-4850 or see website
for more info.
Wednesdays, 10:00 am, Chilmark
For toddlers with an adult, call (508) 645-3304 for more info or to arrange to come by at a different time. At Native Earth Teaching Farm
on North Road, Chilmark.
Wednesdays, 2:00 to 4:00 pm, Saturdays, 9:00 - 11:00 am, Vineyard Haven
Free gently worn clothing at the Christ United Methodist Church (Stone
Church). Re-use beats recycling any day. For more info, call (508)
|Monday, February 10, 2014
Walking on History: The Lost Bass Creek
Possibly the most urban VCS Winter Walk to date (Photo by Brendan O'Neill; see slideshow here)
Winter hiking at Five Corners? On Feb. 9, 2014 an intrepid group of
more than 40 walkers participated in the VCS "Lost Bass Creek"
exploration, setting out from the post office parking lot near Five
Corners in Vineyard Haven.
As part of this year’s “Living at Sea Level” series, the walk used vintage photographs, maps (present and past; also see here),
and first-hand accounts to dramatically illustrate the pervasive nature
of change, and how it can sometimes occur over short periods of time.
Echoing the theme of earlier walks, it emphasized the critical
importance of planning for the climate change impacts already underway
on our Island.
A complex barrier beach and estuarine system once existed in the area of
Five Corners and the flat expanse of the Legion Veteran’s Memorial Park
behind the post office. Two hundred years ago, sailing vessels of all
kinds entered the Lagoon Pond through the Bass Creek. A navigable
waterway of 6 - 7 feet in depth emerged through an opening in the
barrier beach near the present location of the Steamship Authority
parking lot. It formed a curving arc past the present Stop & Shop
and Five Corners locations, widening into the Bass Creek.
In September of 1778, more than 4,000 British troops and dozens of
warships moored in the harbor and forcibly re-provisioned their ships.
More than 10,000 sheep, 300 oxen, and all manner of goods and
possessions left with them. That winter was particularly harsh on the
Island, and there are accounts of the impoverished town residents
cutting bass from the frozen Bass Creek.
Continued at VCS website, second column
Building Tisbury's Memorial Park, on the shores of the former Bass Creek (photo courtesy Lester Baptiste)
Environmental Change, Images in Motion
The walk at Bass Creek explored a very
specific example of very deliberate alteration to our natural
environment. Of course, the world around us is always changing,
sometimes with human assistance and sometimes on its own. Today we
present three compelling visualizations of environmental change.
First, a look at Google’s Earth Engine, for a time-lapse series of satellite photos of our Island. With this view centered on Edgartown,
you can see the shrinking shoreline at Wasque and the opening and
eastward migration of the cut at Norton Point. The images dating back to
1984 also reveal development impacts and other changes to the Island’s
interior. You can also move the map around for a bird's-eye view of the
changing landscape of the entire region. Check out, for example, the
rapidly migrating beaches around Chatham on Cape Cod.
Next up, a more global and ominous take on one of the contributors to
this shoreline change: our rising planetary temperature. This 14-second animation from NASA
depicts 60 years of climate data as one giant flowing global Lava Lamp.
It’s probably best not to speculate on how the world’s climate
scientists truly feel about reducing decades of complex research to this level
of brevity, but it is quite the visual effect: if a short attention
span is the final barrier to one’s acceptance of global warming, this
should be an effective antidote.
Finally, a peek into the world of trying to put it all back together again. There is no narration accompanying this footage
taken by a remote control helicopter, observing the work of heavy
equipment on and below Nantucket's 'Sconset Bluff. Further to that end,
the simple caption for the video – Sand! We need more sand! –
leaves it to the viewer to decide what kind of change we are really
looking at here: slowing the rate of change, reversing change, forcing
change on human terms, or creating future change through unintended
What do you see in these moving images? Send your observations to email@example.com