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Save the Date:
Horseshoe Crabs: A Story of Beach Trysts and Blue Bloods
Tuesday, March 25, 7:00 pm, Vineyard Haven Library
THE 22nd ANNUAL
Saturday, April 19
Join VCS for a great
family event and annual tradition. This year we expect to clean over 20
of our beaches -- look for a complete list on our website soon!
If you would like to volunteer, please give us a call at the office (508-693-9588), or email.
Horseshoe crabs have found themselves in high demand, traditionally as
bait fish but now also from the pharmaceutical and medical device
industry. But this ancient creature, at once familiar and somehow
obscure, is an important part of our natural world as well. Join Susie
Bowman and Fred Hotchkiss for a slideshow and discussion of these
fascinating animals. Free. Also April 9th at 5:00 pm, at the Chilmark
Library. (Image: embroidered mola from Panama, courtesy John Pearse)
Seaside Saturdays at Long Point
Saturday, March 29 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, West Tisbury.
The last Seaside Saturday of the season! The Long Point Visitor Center
opens their doors for a variety of free self-guided educational programs
for kids and families. A TTOR educator will be available to answer
questions and help your family get started. See flyer
for details, or email
for more info on the program.
Spring Walks with the Trustees
Sunday, March 30, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, Signal Hill in Chilmark.
Join The Trustees of Reservations for a guided hike at one of their
conservation-restricted properties between Menemsha Pond and Squibnocket
Pond. $10 (free for members), reservations are required. Call (508)
693-7662 to register and for more info.
Sunday, April 6, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, Wasque (Chappy).
TTOR hosts a presentation and educational walk at Wasque, focusing on
the history and science of the breach and the rapid erosion at the
cliffs. $10 ($5 for members), call (508) 693-7662 or see website
for more info.
In Season Recipe
Sea Turtle Steaks
A special Almanac dinner plan, for sharing next Tuesday, April 1st
With five of the seven existing species of sea turtle now listed as
endangered or critically endangered (and the other two not doing much
better), one might presume that short supply would make this delicacy
unaffordable for a family on a budget. Or, perhaps just something
reserved for special occasions.
In fact, in recent decades demand for sea turtle
meat has also collapsed, thanks to legions of sanctimonious reptile
huggers and their fellow travelers. (Why, the VCS has even used their
threatened status to promote, of all things, a beach clean-up!
) Clearly, basic economics argues that sea turtle steaks remain as reasonable a choice as ever.
Proper preparation of a sea turtle steak, as with most endangered
species, has become a lost art. Thankfully, we have the Doubleday
Cookbook (Complete Contemporary Cooking, Vol. 1) when we need a classic recipe
Also, for those seeking a fun family outing (or just wish to economize),
you can try harvesting your own sea turtle. Here too, the Doubleday Cookbook comes to the rescue
! (Warning, not for the faint of heart.) But remember, they are endangered, so you'll need to look carefully.
Ed Note: The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, providing
legal protection for sea turtles. The Doubleday Cookbook, copyright
1975, states that the "choicest" and "most readily available" species is
the green sea turtle. It would appear this cookbook was already a bit
“old-fashioned” at printing. I wonder what other endangered species we
might find in there!
|Monday, March 24, 2014
(Graphics by MVRHS student Jack Yuen, click for full poster)
What are the elements of the Vineyard—whether natural, cultural or constructed—that you most cherish?
beloved animal, plant or place—or treasured activity, occupation or
institution—is so integral to the character of the Vineyard that it must
What if that piece of the Vineyard wasn’t there anymore or was drastically changed?
Island high school students are invited to share their thoughts about
these questions through their paintings, drawings, photographs or
sculptures. Selected submissions will be exhibited at Island venues, and
. . .
Prizes will be awarded!
Entries are due May 1, 2014.
Registrations must be received by April 25, 2014.
for the contest is easy! All you need to know right now is which
category you wish to enter: Drawing, Painting, Photography, or
Sculpture. Or, you can enter more than one! (Just submit a separate form
Many Hands Make Light Work of Invasive Species
breviligulata (left) is an important part of the native beach
ecosystem, helping to stabilize dunes. The invasive spotted
knapweed, Centaurea maculosa (right) is similarly a pioneer species,
readily colonizing newly created growing sites. But the similarity ends
there; where beachgrass pioneers to support a native ecosystem, spotted
knapweed arrives to conquer.
The Dukes County and Friends of Sengekontacket Barrier Beach Task Force
is seeking volunteers for a project aimed at improving the plant life at
Joseph Sylvia State Beach. On Saturday,
March 29 (rain date March 30) they will be working to remove spotted
knapweed, a persistent invasive species, and plant new beach grass.
Volunteers please meet at 10:00 am
on the beach at the path closest to the Big Bridge on the Oak Bluffs
side (Pathway 22). Bring work gloves, a trowel or garden spade, and sun
protection. For additional information, contact Greg Palermo by email or at (908) 403-0721.
Fertilizer Regulations are Coming:
A Crucial Public Hearing
The MV Commission hosts a public hearing
this Thursday, March 27 at 7:00 pm to hear testimony regarding new
fertilizer regulations. In a effort to reduce nutrient pollution in our
waterways, a recent state law will enact new restrictions on the sale
and use of fertilizers. However, due to our unique coastal ecology, the
Cape and Islands have been given a narrow window to create our own
rules, locally tailored to more closely match our environmental
concerns. One of the most important of these concerns is that the
primary nutrient problem in our coastal waters is nitrogen, but the
emphasis of the state law is phosphorus.
This Thursday's hearing is crucial because time is short: to avoid
defaulting to the state regulations, and therefore miss an excellent
opportunity to improve the water quality in our estuaries, our local
regulations must approved at this April's town meetings. Come share your
voice and help fight for strong protection of Island waters!
Was 2013 Warmer than 2012?
It Depends on Where You Were
After a harsh (and seemingly endless) winter, complete with snow in the
forecast for Wednesday, it may be hard to believe that, globally, 2013
was in fact the 6th warmest year on record. That's the announcement
today from the World Meteorological Organization, as reported by Climate Central. Clearly, there can be large differences in yearly weather across regions of the globe: for example, 2012 was the
warmest year on record in the 48 contiguous U.S. states, but only the
10th warmest globally. Given that 2013 featured extreme heat throughout
much of the southern hemisphere (especially Australia), and a bitterly
cold winter in much of the U.S., we might expect something of a reversal
in the rankings.
Unfortunately, the graph (above) that Climate Central created to
accompany their story is somewhat similar to that used in their 2012
story, a confusing mess that prompted last year's "Worst Almanac Entry on Record." Where the 2012 graph seems deliberately misleading, though, this year's is mostly just confusing.
In contrast, this image
(from NOAA) gets the point across clearly, with the years in order from
left-to-right and no funny business with optical illusions. Looking
across decades, the planet is clearly warming, and there is no evidence
of a slowdown. When the facts are on your side, you don't need to
confuse or exaggerate!