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Almanac Archive for February 6, 2018

   The Conservation Almanac
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Quote of the Week
“They’re acting in a hurry, appealing to the base, and trying to seem decisive. They’re not following the prescribed steps of the law. They’re creating errors for themselves as they go, sowing the seeds for the legal attacks.”

—Vermont Law School professor Patrick Parenteau, on the expected legal challenges to efforts by the Interior Department to open coastal waters to oil drilling, reduce conservation land, and roll back environmental protections for wildlife.
Conservation Calendar

Seed Swap & Germination Testing
Saturday, Feb. 10, noon - 2:00 pm, West Tisbury.
Learn all about heirloom (open-pollinated) seeds at this workshop co-sponsored by Island Grown Schools, The Farm Institute, Polly Hill Arboretum, and the West Tisbury Library. If you have extra seeds, bring them to swap with others or donate to the MV Community Seed Library. You can also check out seeds from the collection to take home, learn how to do germination testing for seed viability, and help test the seeds in the Seed Library's growing collection. A free event at the West Tisbury Library, call (508) 693-3366 for more info.

The State of the Herring

Monday, Feb. 12, 9:00 am, Aquinnah.
The Natural Resources Department of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) hosts a meeting to discuss the current state of the Island’s herring fishery. For many years, river herring and alewives have been in decline regionally. What is the status of our local populations, and what can we do to bring back this valuable resource?

The meeting will bring together fishery managers, watershed organizations, state and federal agencies, and the interested public. The discussion will be open to everyone in attendance, so please come out and share your experiences and ideas. At the Wampanoag Tribal Community Center; for more info and to RSVP, please email Andrew

Winter Wildlife at the Arboretum

Saturday, Feb. 17, 9:00 - 11:00 am, West Tisbury.
Join biologists Luanne Johnson and Liz Baldwin of BiodiversityWorks at the Polly Hill Arboretum to survey for winter wildlife activity. The workshop will start indoors, learning some of the tracks and sign of local species. Then, we'll venture outdoors to document all of the wildlife we can find as we walk around the Arboretum. $35 per person ($20 for PHA members), registration required, call (508) 693-9426.

Friends of the State Forest
Calling on walkers, bikers, hunters, abutters, etc.
Photo: David Foster
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 7:00 pm, Vineyard Haven.
A second meeting of the newly-formed "Friends of the State Forest" will be held later this month at the Tisbury Senior Center. The first meeting was well-attended by conservation professionals, but the group wants to increase the involvement of people with other interests in the State Forest: hunters, bicyclists, abutters, and local government representatives. Please share this message with anyone who could be interested, and come on out to the next meeting and learn what the "Friends" are all about!

The mission of the Friends is to promote the interests of our largest, and often underappreciated, conservation property on the Island, the Manuel Correllus State Forest. For more info, email Bob Woodruff.
Local News
Next Winter Walk: Exploring the Woods Preserve

Always a fun and educational hike: See more photos from our 2012 and 2014 visits to the Woods Preserve. 

Join VCS at 10:00 am, Sunday, Feb. 11  for a return to the ever-changing Frances Newhall Woods Preserve. Located across the towns of West Tisbury and Chilmark, the 512-acre property provides one of the largest intact ecosystems on our island, including at least eight distinct natural communities, ten different soil types, and more than 200 plant and animal species.
Please note, tough footing: Walks at the Woods Preserve often traverse areas where shrubby vegetation, mowed or burned, stiffly pokes up from the ground. So wear strong-soled shoes or boots, and we suggest leaving dogs at home – in previous years, sore paws have led some to be carried out by their human companions!
VCS has offered guided walks on the Woods Preserve since its protection in 1991, when the owners, Edwin Newhall Woods and Jeanne Woods donated a permanent Conservation Restriction (CR) to the Nature Conservancy (TNC). Upon the Woods’ death, the land was bequeathed to TNC and the CR was conveyed to VCS.

Parking is off North Rd., about one mile from the State Road end; look for VCS signs and flags on the south side of the road. The walk will last one to two hours, followed by cider and cookies.

The First Step in "Breaking Free from Plastic": Grocery Shopping

Demystify "Zero Waste" shopping with tips and tricks for avoiding the ubiquitous plastic packaging at the grocery store

Increasingly, plastic packaging is everywhere you look. Yet nowhere else on Earth is quite so thoroughly wrapped, bagged, and freshness-sealed as the grocery store. Since we all have to eat, excessive plastic food packaging is a big reason why the prediction by the World Economic Forum – that by 2050 there will be more pounds of plastic than fish in the ocean – is plausible.  
Plausible, but far from inevitable. If you’re ready to learn how to reduce, or even avoid altogether the excess packaging that comes with every trip to the grocery store, join us next Tuesday (the 13th) for the first of our “Breaking Free from Plastic” workshops. Come with questions – leave with solutions! 
A collaboration between VCS and Plastic Free on MV, these fun, informative, and family-friendly gatherings are planned for the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 6 to 7 pm, and will be held at the Island Cohousing Common House (see map for directions).
A Haunted Happening: Zero-Waste Movie Night Brings Island Community Together

The Ghost of Plastic Past, Present, and 1000-years into the Future waits patiently for the big show to begin (See more photos)

Even though it has been over three months since Halloween, last week there was a haunted house at the West Tisbury School. But this was not just any garden-variety fear factory, this was the “Plastic House of Horrors.” Just to enter, you needed to muster sufficient bravery to pass through dangling tentacles of plastic packaging and tape extruded from old VHS cassettes – and things only got worse from there. All manner of plastic waste was transformed for the night into spider webs and a devilish diversity of monsters.
The spooky spectacle was created by the WTS sixth graders to get the community thinking about how our mundane, and seemingly innocuous, everyday plastic items may not be so innocent. Equally arresting as the physical manifestations of waste were the facts displayed on student posters – especially those regarding ocean pollution. In light of these real-world problems, many of the less outwardly fearsome denizens of the haunted house took on a more sinister edge. That Baby-Kale-Plastic-Clamshell-Zombie was simply waiting to reveal its true colors.      
The Plastic House of Horrors was just one part of the Island’s first Zero Waste Community Movie Night. The featured attraction of the free event, held at the West Tisbury School, was the world premier screening of “Everything Connects,” by Dylan D'Haeze. The 14-year-old filmmaker traveled to the Vineyard all the way from Washington State to speak to students at the screening. The night also featured dinner by Josh and Angela Aronie’s Food Truck, cocoa and coffee from Chilmark Coffee, and a zero-waste bake sale run by the WTS student council, all mindful of the evening’s waste reduction goal. Everything from the hot cocoa mugs to the popcorn bowls was reusable. Guests were asked to bring their own place settings for dinner, and for those who forgot, ceramic plates, bowls, and metal flatware were available to rent. Story continued here, second column
The Vineyard Conservation Society is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to preserving the environment of Martha’s Vineyard through advocacy, education and the protection of the Island’s land and water.
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Copyright (C) 2018 *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.
Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.