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Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa. Photo by Kris Henricksen, click to enlarge.
Annual Meeting 2012
Nurture the Natives with VCS
Tuesday, June 26, 5:00 pm at the Wakeman Center.
Join us for our 47th Annual Meeting of the Board and Membership.
year's meeting features a presentation by landscape designer and native
plant specialist Kristin Henriksen. Kris will address lawn and
landscape care that nurtures native plant species and protects natural
resources like our coastal ponds. All are welcome. FREE. For more
information, see our events page
Quote of the Week
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to
front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn
what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had
-- Henry David Thoreau, as quoted in a recent conversation with
Willam Moomaw, in regard to the Moomaw's approach to conservation and
The Tree Tour
Tuesday, June 26, 10:00 am to noon.
Join collections and grounds manager Tom Clark for this informative and
fun walking tour of the many glorious mature trees of Edgartown. In the
midst of the mantle of green that envelops downtown Edgartown, the
hydrangeas and picket fences, many unique and fine specimen trees await
discovery. Expect the famous Pagoda Tree and so much more. Call
508-693-9426 to pre-register and for carpool and meeting location. $20,
or $10 for PHA members.
Wednesdays, 10:00 am to noon, Native Earth Teaching Farm, Chilmark.
Wednesday mornings at Native Earth are Toddler Time, where toddlers and
their adults can meet and play in a fun and unfettered environment. For
more info call 508-645-3304 or see website
The Essential Herbal
Wednesday, June 27, 5:30 pm, at the Chilmark Library.
From tinctures to ease tummy aches to elixirs
to enhance energy, making your own remedies from easy-to-find herbs can
be a satisfying and pleasurable way to connect with nature and your
family's health. Join herbalist Holly
Bellebuono for a discussion of her new book (pictured above). Free.
Please call 508-645-3360 for more information.
Flounder Stock Enhancement
Thursday, June 28, 5:00 pm, at the Chilmark Library.
Aquaculture experts Dr. Elizabeth Fairchild, Brett
Stearns, and Warren Doty will provide an update on the flounder stock
enhancement program. The New England
winter flounder population has declined 91% in the past 20 years. Dr.
Fairchild's research is looking at reasons for the decline and possible
programs for restoration. Free. Please call 508-645-3360 for more information.
The Farmer's Market is Back!
Saturday, Jun 30, 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. After this Saturday,
is open both Wednesdays and Saturdays through August (Sat. only afterward).
FARM Institute Summer Programs
Starting June 25
Reserve your space now for the seventh year of summer programs at Katama Farm. Programs for kids of all ages, 2 - 17. Sign up online
or call 508-627-7007.
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 10:00 to 11:30 am, Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Edgartown.
Meet amazing creatures of the sea including crabs, whelks and scallops!
Take a short walk through the forest to a protected beach,where you will
explore shallow waters with dip nets and use a large seine net. Wear
clothes and shoes that can get wet, and don't forget your hat,
sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. All ages, $9 ($6 for Mass Audubon
members). For more info, call (508) 627-4850 or see website
Guided Birding Tours
Saturdays, 9:00 to 11:30 am, starting at MV Reg. High School.
Visit birding hot spots with your guide Robert Culbert. Carpool will
depart from the high school faculty parking lot at 9:00. Cost is $30 per
adult, $15 for under 18. For more details, call 508-693-4908.
In Season Recipe
Fresh from the Vineyard
Fish (or Quahog) Chowder
This week we return to Ginny Jones' cookbook, Fresh from the Vineyard
, for an Island staple, New England-style chowder
Pick up some fresh milk from Mermaid Farm or the Grey Barn and a white,
firm (but not oily) fish from your local fish market, and enjoy making
your own version of this classic, all-purpose dish.
Fresh from the Vineyard, by Virginia Jones, features recipes
that take advantage of our bounty of local produce, meats, and seafood.
You can find the book at many Island stores and farms, including Bunch
of Grapes, Cronig's, Larsen's Fish Market, Allen Farm, Morning Glory
Farm, Mermaid Farm, Nip N' Tuck Farm, and Fiddlehead Farm Stand. Proceeds from sales of the book will benefit both VCS and the Island Grown Initiative.
|Monday, June 25, 2012
Calling on Members, Longstanding and New
The annual VCS membership renewal drive is not over yet! Please help us meet our membership goal for the next fiscal year by renewing today!
And if you’re not yet a member, there’s no better time to join! Back in stock after a year's absence, new members can choose to receive a free copy of Edible Wild Plants of Martha's Vineyard
by Linsey Lee. This beautifully illustrated guide to our wild bounty of
edible plants includes descriptions of plants and their habitats, with
fascinating information about traditional medicinal and folklore uses.
Membership at VCS also brings our print newsletter, Vineyard Conservation to your mailbox twice a year. If you’d like a preview, past issues are viewable at our website, or come by our office at the Wakeman Center to pick up a copy.
Thank You for Your Support!
Climate Change Awareness:
Developing an Island Understanding
Willam and Margot Moomaw speak on climate change and green living at The Grange on July 9.
For the last several years, VCS has made climate change awareness and
education an organizational priority. This summer, we are proud to host
renowned environmentalists William and Margot Moomaw for a very special
presentation. The Moomaws will offer insight into both the global
context of one of the most pressing issues of our time and the
possibilities and benefits of taking action locally to live deliberately
and live better. Please join us on Monday, July 9 at 5:00 pm at the
Grange Hall for this free event. The Moomaws are hoping for an
interactive, community forum style of presentation, so bring questions
and speak up!
William Moomaw is Professor of International Environmental Policy
at Tufts University, and the founding Director of the Tufts Climate
Initiative. He has authored work for the Nobel Peace Prize-winning
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Margot Moomaw is a graduate of the Harvard School of Public
Health and has worked in the healthcare field for more than twenty-five
years. She is now a green design consultant, offering expertise on
actions homeowners can take to live better, more sustainable lives.
Another Assault on Island Oaks: The Gall!
The common "oak apples" are the result of a gall wasp. (Photo by James Solomon, USDA Forest Service)
As if our oak trees didn’t have enough already to worry about: Following
the wave of caterpillar booms that caused massive defoliation in recent
years (especially Up-Island), a new insect pest has recently arrived to
further aggrieve one oak species. The gall wasp Bassettia ceropteroides selectively
attacks black oaks, and has begun to cause significant damage to Island
trees. The outbreak is particularly worrisome because of the wasp’s
role in the decline in black oaks on Long Island in the 1990s. From Tim
Bolland, Executive Director of the Polly Hill Arboretum:
“The similarities of the MV tree canopy
and Long Island are close in terms of natural tree composition and soil
conditions. It appears to favor stressed trees, often impacted by
drought, creating a predisposition to attack. It is also accompanied by a
fungus as a secondary pathological problem.”
At the risk of being accused of sympathizing with the enemy, it is hard
not to marvel at the ingenuity of these tree parasites. Female gall
wasps lay their eggs inside the tree, whereupon hatching the larvae
takes control of the tree’s growth, turning its resources to the growing
wasp’s benefit. The tree builds a hard shell around the wasp, which not
only protects it from predators (though not all predators: other equally dastardly wasps
have adaptations just for piercing galls and injecting their own eggs
into the bodies of the gall wasp larvae living inside), but also serves
as the food source for the growing larvae.
Further, the diversity is amazing. There appears to be at least one wasp
species to parasitize nearly every species of oak, and most of their
body parts as well, with different specialists for leaves, stems, buds,
and roots, all creating distinct galls.
More Frequent Flooding a Serious Concern
There is no doubt that increased flooding represents one of the most
significant local impacts of global climate change, at least as measured
by costs and threats to the human population. As Liz Durkee makes clear
in the third installment of her series on climate change (originally published in the Vineyard Gazette), it is wise, in the face of rising waters, to be mindful of the power of nature:
“Flooding is not a natural disaster. It
is a natural event that becomes a disaster for people and other
obstacles in its path – the floodplain.”
Falmouth Proposes Solomon-esque Compromise
Small-scale wind turbines for private electricity production are gaining
in popularity, and for good reason. Windmills on residential and
agricultural land offer a source of clean, renewable energy and
substantial cost savings, especially as carbon-based energy prices rise
in the future. Further, in a world where most actions to combat climate
change involve national and international politics, for which the odds
of affecting change can at times seem dismayingly long, it is something
individuals can do (along with efficiency improvements and conservation)
to lower their personal carbon footprint.
However, a recent proposal
in Falmouth would mandate that this be the only form of wind power
allowed in town, which seems misguided. Under the new bylaw, turbines
would be limited by their power output, not to exceed 200 kilowatts.
Rather than focus on the noise, or visual impact (i.e. height) of
turbines, things that are actual downsides to wind power, by directly
limiting the power output this measure penalizes more efficient
production of clean energy. Isn’t that the whole point of a wind turbine
in the first place? And on the other hand, a big, loud, and ugly
windmill would be acceptable, so long as it doesn't actually generate
Another condition of the proposed bylaw, much the same spirit, is that
the primary purpose of a turbine must be to provide power for the
property on which it sits, not to sell to the general grid. It’s nice to
imagine a little windmill for every home in America providing total
energy self-reliance; further, this approach might even work in rural
communities (like our Up-Island towns and Chappy). However, it’s
unrealistic even at the modest population density of Falmouth, and an
obviously unworkable approach to solving the global energy crisis, in
light of the fact that the vast majority of electricity is consumed by
heavy industry and in cities. That would take one large windmill atop a
500-unit Bronx apartment building!
You don’t have to take a position for or against wind power in general
to know when a certain proposed compromise is nonsensical. If Falmouth
residents don’t want to look at (or hear) large turbines, then ban wind
altogether and institute significant conservation and efficiency
programs. Further, install photovoltaic panels on the roof of every
municipal building in town, and offer incentives to homeowners to do the
same. That would do more to reduce energy usage than a sprinkling of
quaint little windmills.