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Almanac Archive for June 3, 2020

The Conservation Almanac
     The Art of Conservation Winners Announced
          Meetinghouse Way Subdivision Hearing Tomorrow
                Conservation Edibles: Garlic Mustard and Environ-mint

The Art of Conservation: Solace & Insight 
     Winners Announced, Show Online

"I walk on this one trail and at this one bench you can see the ocean. Sometimes it looks so bright and beautiful. Almost comforting. Other times it looks gray and unruly. The ocean is beautiful and scary to me. But I’ve always liked the idea that these alien like creatures roam the same planet as me but in the deep cracks of the ocean, instead of on some weirdly named fictional planet."
Morgan Scanlon describing "Cold Comfort," First Place winner in this year's Art of Conservation

First launched by VCS in 2014, the Art of Conservation contest encourages local students to reflect on what nature means to them, and then express themselves through the medium of their choice. We see this as an vital opportunity to deepen the sense of place among our young people and connect them to local – and global – environmental issues.

Titled “Solace & Insight,” the 2020 edition of the contest elicited an amazing collection of art: forty-eight total works, spanning photography, painting, sculpture, poetry and short stories, and even a short guitar composition. Now, with all the entries in and the judging done, we are excited to announce the winners. Drum roll please . . .

In the high school division (including students from MV Regional High School, MV Public Charter School, and Falmouth Academy), First Place prizes were awarded to Maddie Chronister and Mya O’Neill for photography, Morgan Scanlon for painting, and Spencer Pogue for poetry. Special Distinctions were also awarded to Olivia Schroeder and Isa Merriam for photography, and Crystal Zheng for digital composition. For the first time, the contest was open to middle school students as well, which brought in some excellent submissions, including First Place winners by Sylvi Carroll and Tasman Strom (photography), and Special Distinction winners by Emily MacMillan (drawing), Tayla BenDavid and Isabella Silva (painting), Cameron Johnson (painting/photography), Jenna Hathaway (photography), Lulu White (poetry), and Elliot Stead (music). The full show (including Elliot’s “Corona Blues”) can be found at our website: go take a look!

More than anything, we wish to express how truly uplifting if was that, despite the substantial challenges our students have been facing, this year's contest saw nearly as much participation as usual. Thank you to all of our young artists for sharing their creativity and inspiration with us all, bringing a small bit of light to these dark times. And thanks as well to all the volunteers without whom the contest couldn’t happen: MVRHS and Charter teachers Chris Baer, Juliann Brand, Emily Cavanagh, Brendan Coogan, Christine Ferrone, Donna Hopson, Jessica Johns, Lisa Magnarelli, Jeffrey Majkowski, Annemarie Ralph, Scott Schofield, Nichole Shank, Tiffiney Shoquist, Kenneth Vincent; our 2020 judges Posie Haeger, Arnie Reisman, and Jack Yuen; the VCS volunteer team of Susan Feller, Joan Malkin, and Susie White; and the folks at the MV Film Center and Featherstone Center for the Arts for bringing the show to life.

Hearing Tomorrow: Meetinghouse Way Subdivision 

The first public hearing of the MV Commission's review of the newest iteration of "Meetinghouse Place" (a proposed subdivision near the Edgartown Great Pond) as a Development of Regional Impact will take place tomorrow afternoon via Zoom at 5:35. VCS has sent updated testimony (view here), which is largely unchanged in spirit, as is the applicant's proposal. (See also previous commentary from last month, last fall, and a short essay on how historic zoning for affordability may today become zoning for luxury rentals)

We encourage everyone who is concerned about overly rapid development, dwindling open space, impacts on natural resources, or the effect this proposal could have on housing affordability to make their voices heard. Please see the meeting notice for details on how to participate online or to submit written testimony.

Garlic Mustard: Invasive and In-Season

Looking for an outdoor project that can make a real difference for our Island’s environment? Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a 1-3 foot tall herb from Europe that has become highly invasive in both open fields and woodlands across much of the Northeast, including Martha’s Vineyard. Attributes that make it particularly successful here include its relatively low palatability for whitetail deer (leading it to become even more dominant when deer browse their preferred vegetation), and its ability to produce a powerful toxin that inhibits root growth of competing plants – but only here, as competitors in its native range are immune to it!

The good news is that at this time of year, when it is flowering, it is extremely easy to pull from the soil. Without a terribly large amount of exertion, you can take action to stop a particularly pernicious invasive plant from overwhelming our native habitats. Garlic mustard can still set seed even after being pulled up, so please dispose of it in the trash when you’re done (click here for more removal tips). Whether as a satisfying outdoor activity, or just a needed distraction, in an hour or so you can prevent the dispersal of thousands of seeds, and the further spread of this noxious invader.

p.s. Garlic mustard was originally introduced to America for its culinary value. So why not take advantage of its one redeeming quality? It is most commonly used to make a foraged pesto, but I'm particularly interested in trying out this chimichurri

E N V I R O N - M I N T

It’s the flavor of the month
The one you swish around
The one that slips your mind
It’s the flavor of the month
Like ignoring climate change
And living with gun violence
You act like humans are responsible
Some things are just meant to be
We all have to eat candy & die some time
First you grow, then you mutate
It’s nature’s way of doing business
How can climate change if we don’t?
Let’s just sleep on it for a while
When we wake up, things may change
After all, our eyes will be forced open
Chew on it, it’s called environ-mint
I found it on the pillow where you slept
When the flavor goes away, so do we
Swish it all around -- and savor it
It sweetens the only breath we have
It’s not a matter of taste, it’s survival

                                                -Arnie Reisman

Arnie serves on the VCS board of directors, and is also board chair of the MV Playhouse, the author of three books of poetry, a panelist on NPR's comedy quiz show "Says You," and served as MV Poet Laureate from 2014-2016.

"The reflection of the posts in the water is parallel to the reflection the world is doing. The calmness of and in the water is parallel to the calmness of and in the world's environment and climate. The unpredictable sky is parallel to our unpredictable future."

-First Place winning photograph "Reflection in Time" by Mya O'Neill 

Solace & Insight: See the whole show

Copyright © 2020 Vineyard Conservation Society, All rights reserved.

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