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Almanac Archive for March 4, 2013

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Quote of the Week
"Unfortunately, modern society has become adversarial in its relationship to nature. This antagonism has engendered an array of profound environmental and social challenges . . . These challenges have been spawned by a contemporary society that has lost its bearings in relation to the world beyond itself."
-- Stephen Kellert, Birthright

Conservation Calendar

Farmers in Training: After-School Program at the FARM Institute
Fridays, 3:30 to 5:30 pm, Edgartown.
Come help with afternoon chores and special projects at the FARM Institute. Call 508 627-7007 ext.109 or email  to register. $15/session.

Nature's Nest: Sassafras Program for the Little Ones
Fridays, 10:00 am, Aquinnah.
Outdoor home preschool for newborns through 6 years old (accompanied by parent). $75 for parent/child pair. For directions and more info, see Sassafras.

Winter Walk at Polly Hill

Saturday, March 9, 10:00 am, at the Polly Hill Arboretum.
Tours run for a little over an hour. Meet at the Visitor Center and dress for the weather. Free. For details, see website or call 508-693-9426.

In Season Recipe
Kale, Sausage, and Feta Frittata

Regardless of season, there are a few local foods that can almost always be found here on our island – meats and cheeses from local farms, and, of course, seafood. But in many ways, the simple chicken egg is the most essential of our local foods. There are good ethical and economic reasons to favor local eggs, but there is also a greater difference in flavor and nutrition between local and factory eggs than there is in many other foods.
Chickens that eat a varied diet (like unsalable produce from the fields, or simply table scraps) produce more flavorful eggs. Even better, if they spend enough time outdoors foraging for insects their eggs will be especially rich, full of extra protein and omega-3 fats (why a “vegetarian” diet isn’t exactly the best for chickens – bugs are a good meat!). So don’t be afraid to ask your farmer where their gals are spending their days, and what they’ve been eating.

Some “extra-buggy” eggs that come from free-range omnivorous chickens can be almost orange in color when you scramble them. It’s a totally different food that works great in egg dishes, but might be too much for those rare situations where you want leavening power, but not so much flavor. (Bah! that's what baking powder is for!)

For this great frittata recipe (adapted from Bon Appetit magazine) you’ll need some sausage, feta cheese, and of course, a whole lot of eggs. To get a bit more healthy and local, you can substitute yogurt for the whipping cream. Right now, sausage is available at the FARM Institute and you can always get feta and yogurt at Mermaid Farm in Chilmark. Eggs are everywhere – see this wonderful map for locations, as well as alternative locations for sausage.
Monday, March 4, 2013

Local News

Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life

Join VCS and the MV Film Society for a highlight of our "Green on Screen" collaboration: Executive Producer Stephen Kellert presents his new film Biophilic Design, followed by a short Q&A session, on March 9 at 4:00 at the new Film Center (in Tisbury Marketplace). The film is a study of architecture and design in the context of our connection to, and need for, the natural world.

Professor Kellert is the co-originator (along with E.O. Wilson) and a primary developer of the Biophilia Hypothesis, a broader theory that describes the interactions between humans and nature, drawing on biology, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and other disciplines. In an effort to dig a little deeper into the world of biophilia, we recently conducted an interview with Dr. Kellert.

We hope to see all of you at the film, and please, bring questions. As our interview shows, the more you ask of Dr. Kellert, the more interesting biophilia becomes!

Unique Winter Walk this Sunday: Kids, Crafts, and West Chop Beaches

Art on display and in creation at the Sense of Wonder Studio

This Sunday, VCS teams up with Sense of Wonder Creations for a combination Winter Walk and Craft Day. We will start off our adventure near West Chop in Vineyard Haven with a short walk on the shore and through the woods to collect supplies for creating nature-inspired crafts back at the Sense of Wonder studio. Director Pam Benjamin will supply materials for fun projects and VCS will supply cookies and cider.
This special program is free and open to children of all ages, and will last about two hours. Meet in front of Benjamin Studio (2nd house on right on Grove Ave.) at 1 pm. Please park along cemetery on Main Street right before Grove Ave. For more information, call VCS at 508 693-9588.
Sea Vegetable Farming in our Coastal Ponds

This winter, Director Scott Lindell from the Scientific Aquaculture Program at MBL gave a presentation at the Chilmark Library describing recent progress in seaweed farming and its potential benefits to water quality. If you missed it, the complete video, produced by Martha's Vineyard Productions, is now available online.

Other News

New Energy Ideas on Display

If we're going to keep on growing it, then someone - or something - might as well be using it (photo by Gavin Hudson, Flickr)

What if tobacco could be used as a biofuel? Like many other crops, it grows extremely fast and we have a long history of expertise in its cultivation in this country. But unlike other source crops for biofuels, it wouldn’t be coming out of the general food supply, driving up prices and causing shortages. In fact, with no healthy use for the product and declining demand due to reduced smoking, it’s almost perfect.
Except for the fact that it doesn’t currently work as a fuel . . . It’s not an easy matter of selective breeding, but turning tobacco into a useful biofuel is what the research consortium Folium is trying to accomplish. Projects underway include introducing genes from the bacteria and algae currently used in modern biofuels into their tobacco plants, and also efforts to reduce the chlorophyll content of the plant, which is naturally so high that its dark green leaves shade out the sun, making the huge monoculture crops needed for biofuel production impractical.  
As described in a recent post at the N.Y. Times site, this project and two other slightly futuristic research ideas were recently presented at the annual meeting of ARPA-E, a agency that funds high-risk, high-reward energy projects. The Times link above also includes an interesting short video about the tobacco project.
Submit your conservation news to: almanac@vineyardconservation.org

Copyright (C) *2013* *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.