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Almanac Archive for July 23, 2012

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Green Tip of the Week
"Pre-cycle" by considering product packaging when shopping. Packaging makes up 33% of our household waste, so look for products with limited, recycled, or reusable packaging.
--From The Island Blue Pages. 

Conservation Calendar

Landscape History at Polly Hill
Wednesday, July 25, 10:00 to 11:00 am, at the Polly Hill Arboretum.
Learn about the land upon which the arboretum sits: From pre-contact Wampanoag woodlands, to a 19th century roadside inn, to its days as a sheep farm in the 1870s, hear the story of this landscape from Karin Stanley, PHA staff member and amateur historian. Learn about the old buildings, stone walls, and landscape features, and view historic photos from our past. $5/free to PHA members.

Sengekontacket Nature Program
Saturday, July 28, 9:30 to 10:30 am, Oak Bluffs.
Join a Felix Neck naturalist for a free program at Sengekontacket. For ages 14 and under, accompained by parent. Meet at the Little Bridge, on pond side. Sponsored by Friends of Sengekontacket. For more info, call 508-627-4850.

Shellfish Talk at Lagoon Pond Assoc. Meeting
Saturday, July 28, 10:00 am, Sailing Camp Park.
"Oyster Guru" Robert 'Skid' Rheault speaks on the role of shellfish in water quality at the Annual Meeting of the Lagoon Pond Assoc. For more info, call 508-693-2478.

Tank Time at Felix Neck
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 1:30 to 2:00.
Watch turtles, frogs, and salt water tank animals eat their lunch at the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. Free with sanctuary admission ($4 adults, $3 kids). For more information and other programs, see Felix Neck website.

Mytoi Garden Volunteer Time
Wednesdays, 9:00 am to noon, Chappaquiddick.
Join gardening volunteers at Mytoi to help mulch, weed, prune and keep the garden looking its best. Insect spray recommended. For details, call 508-627-3599.

West Tisbury Farmer's Market

Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9:00 to noon at the Grange Hall, West Tisbury.
Fresh picked produce from local farms, flowers, delicious baked goods and prepared foods from Island kitchens and more. For more info, see new website.

In Season Recipe
Zucchini Chips

For summertime snacks, baked zucchini chips are a surefire hit. Also, as an alternative to the delicious but greasy zucchini fries from the take-out shack, they're quite a bit healthier (mental health as well, since you won't have to find parking!)

  • one pound fresh local zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Preheat oven to 450 F.
  • Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch slices. A mandolin slicer is very helpful because keeping a uniform thickness is important to the cooking time.
  • Toss the zucchini with the oil in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, the garlic and cayenne powders if desired, and a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Dip the zucchini slices into the mixture, coating evenly on both sides.
  • Place slices in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray (or, to make them even more crispy, on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet).
  • Bake until crispy and brown. Watch carefully and test for done-ness, they can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Local News

Living Deliberately:
A Climate Change Awareness Event

Margot and Bill Moomaw outside one of the Vineyard's new energy-efficient homes.

Thanks to all who attended our climate change awareness event last week. A well-packed Grange Hall (most of the 130 in attendance found a seat, though a few had to settle for windowsills) was the backdrop for a lively presentation by guest speakers William and Margot Moomaw on how to live deliberately in the face of current and future climate change.
Drawing on not just the “deliberate” quote of Henry David Thoreau but the general spirit of living simply, the Moomaws made the case for taking action individually. Arguing that political change may be a long time coming (or too late), they presented methods for people to improve their home’s energy efficiency, the many green energy options available, and possibilities for using tax credits to defray the costs. While many of the specifics dealt with how technology can be used to help us live a sustainable but modern life, the sense of “living deliberately” – that simple choices, like whether a home really needs large windows on all four sides – ran through their presentation. 

For those who missed the presentation, read on for a link to the complete video!

Local Impacts, Local Productions

For the last several years, VCS has made climate change awareness and education an organizational priority. However, any way you approach the issue - the causes or the solutions; local impacts or global change; the viewpoint of science, economics, or politics - it is truly complex, sometimes overwhelmingly so. As part of our Summer of Climate Change educational effort, we are excited to share two new videos that help make sense of it all.

Climate Change at the Grange
The first video is that referenced above: a complete recording of the Moomaws' presentation on climate change impacts and green living, including introductory remarks by VCS Executive Director Brendan O'Neill and the many excellent questions and comments from audience members. The talk, originally broadcast last week on MVTV, is still airing occasionally on MVTV channel 13 (see schedule for times).

We are very interested in reader feedback regarding this talk: What aspects of the Moomaw's presentation did you find particularly valuable or compelling? What was the most surprising fact or concept raised? Alternatively, was there anything that was confusing, or that you wished they had covered but didn't?

An Island in Conflict:
What to do about Climate Change

The second video to share today comes from longtime VCS friend Marnie Stanton. Funded by the Edey Foundation, Marnie's video features an extensive interview with Islanders Chris Murphy and Liz Durkee, along with shorter excerpts from other local opinion leaders. She touches on a variety of issues, but really focuses in on the difficult decisions the Island faces as sea level rise and increased erosion complicate the business of coastal planning and managing development. Where should hard armoring of the coast be allowed, and where should we allow beaches to grow and recede naturally? How do we manage the competing interests of private business and property with the public good?
Not Your Vineyard Lawn

It is quite a long journey, at least ecologically speaking, to Martha's Vineyard from any location where the local conditions are so favorable for growing turfgrass that exporting the Earth like rolled up carpet is a viable business model.

Who knows what invasive species are coming along for the ride to the Vineyard's newest instant lawns . . . some turf pests, perhaps? Or maybe the turf companies have sprayed enough insecticide to make sure that's not a concern, and we should just be looking out for hitchhiking seeds of invasive plants.

A more attractive, and much more environmentally sustainable alternative to the chemically fed exotic lawn is the native Vineyard Lawn. Native grasses and wildflowers are locally adapted to our soil conditions and look their best without the "chemical enhancement" that wastes time and money, and more important, threatens our coastal ponds. On top of all that, native plants support our native wildlife, a more interesting fauna than the squirrels, robins, and Japanese Beetles that characterize the suburban lawn ecosystem. 

Other News

Hurricane vs. Nor'easter: Do You Know the difference?

Both hurricanes and nor'easters rotate counter-clockwise. The reason the winds of nor'easters tend to come from the north and east has more to do with the size of the storm and the fact that the strongest winds can occur far away from the storm's center.

Hurricane season has just begun, with Nor'easter season lined up to pummel our shores just as the hurricanes take their leave. Did you ever want to learn more about the meteorology of these fearsome marvels of nature? A recent Marine Extension Bulletin, published in cooperation between WHOI's Sea Grant Program and the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, lays out clearly their differences and similarities -- definitely an interesting read!
Submit your conservation news to: almanac@vineyardconservation.org

Copyright (C) *2012* *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.