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Quote of the Week
"There is simply zero justification for manufacturing (plastic bags) anymore, anywhere."
--Achim Steiner, United Nations Environment Programme
Calendar: Plastic Bags
Oak Bluffs Selectmen Hearing
Tuesday, March 8, 4:30 pm.
Following up on our public info session in Oak Bluffs last month, town
Selectmen have scheduled a public hearing to take comments related to
the proposed single-use plastic bag bylaw
We expect significant opposition at this meeting, so if you would like
to see an end to disposable plastic bags in Oak Bluffs, now is the time
to come out to support the cause. The hearing will be at the Oak Bluffs
Library, in the downstairs meeting room.
Wednesday, March 9, 6:00 to 7:00 pm, Chilmark; also March 30, Edgartown.
With support from Selectmen, Boards of Health, and Conservation
Commissions in each Island town, VCS has put an article on the 2016 Town
Meeting warrants proposing an Island-wide ban of single-use plastic
checkout bags. Please come hear more about why VCS believes
this is an important action for our community to take, learn how it
would affect you, and voice your questions or concerns. The March 9 session will be at 6:00 pm at the Chilmark Library
. We have also tentatively scheduled a session at the Edgartown Library on March 30 at 6:00 pm.
Blue Economy Roundtable
Wednesday, March 9, 6:00 to 8:30 pm, VH.
The MV Donors Collaborative hosts a roundtable discussion about
fostering a Blue Economy initiative on the Vineyard. There will be
presentations by leaders of similar initiatives on Cape Cod, followed by
a brainstorming session. At the Tisbury Senior Center, space is limited
so RSVP via email
or call (508) 645-3690. See press release
for more info.
Winter at Polly Hill Arboretum
Saturday, March 12, 10:00 am, West Tisbury.
Join Polly Hill staff to explore the Arboretum grounds in the
off-season. Winter is when bark patterns and architectural structure
become evident as deciduous trees lose their leaves, the conifers stand
out with their many textures and shades of green, and even some fruits
and flowers appear. Tours run for a little over an hour. Meet at the
Visitor Center and dress for the weather. Free. More info at website
or call (508) 693-9426.
Seed Starting Workshop
Saturday, March 19, 9:30 to 11:30 am, Katama.
Learn how to start your own seeds and plan your garden for the coming
season, and each participant will take home four six packs of seedlings.
Activities include: planning the garden, choosing varieties, creating a
seed plan (& how to plan for seed saving), transplanting and
hardening off, and companion planting and crop rotation. At the FARM
Institute, $10, registration required, email
or call (508) 627-7007.
Sassafras Youth Programs
Saturdays, March 12, 19, 26, and April 2, Aquinnah.
Mixing up the Sassafras standard
curriculum with the happenings of late winter through early spring.
Learn about poison ivy and ticks and wander the land and beach, check
out pools and streams, see the first catkins and wild flowers and watch
returning flocks of birds.
From 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, $38 per session, more pricing info at website
, or call (508) 645-2008
Walk the Native Earth
Don't miss it, ma-a-a-a-a-an
Join us Sunday, March 13 at 1:00 for our final Winter Walk of the
season: a family-friendly visit to Native Earth Teaching Farm in
Chilmark. The farm, relatively unpublicized but beloved by many, is a
priceless educational resource involving children and teachers in a
range of programs sharing the knowledge and spirit of sustainable
agriculture. It is home to organic farm fields, community garden plots,
and rare and heritage animal breeds, all surrounded by woodlands and
wetlands. The land is part of the headwaters for two Island watersheds,
and includes the historic George Fred Tilton homestead.
Directions: The farm is 4 1/2 miles up North Road from the triangle
in North Tisbury (the intersection with State Road). Watch for the round
blue sign on the left – if you reach Tea Lane, you've gone too far.
Dress for the weather and be prepared for a lot of mud thanks to this
week's warm-up. Please leave your dogs at home – well-behaved dogs, even those attached to a leash or kept in the car can still frighten the animals!
The walk is part of the VCS 50th anniversary celebration
focusing on landmark land conservation successes. A little over ten
years ago, VCS worked with Rebecca Gilbert and Randy Ben David to bring conservation protection to the 34-acre property, resulting in a 2005 conservation restriction held by Sheriff's Meadow.
Art Contest Winners Announced
The winners of our third annual high school art competition, The Art of
Conservation, have been announced. This year’s contest asked students to
express their thoughts on a subject that has been a prime focus for VCS
this winter: waste
. Three first place prizes were
awarded to Jamilyn Joseph, Lucy Thompson, and Astrid Tilton. Six others,
Monica Carroll, Isabel Crawford, Gus Hoy, Maisie Jarrell, Adelaide
Keene, and Angela Mello received special distinctions for their work.
On Saturday, March 19 we will hold a short ceremony at the Chilmark
School (during the MV Film Festival) to honor the winners and
participants. It will begin promptly at 5:30 and be followed by the film
(ticket info at TMVFF
If you arrive early, head across the field to the Chilmark Library
where the winning artwork will be on display from that afternoon through
Sunday the 20th
One of this year’s winners was Astrid Tilton, who is playing a leading role in the VCS effort
to eliminate single-use plastic bags on our Island. Take a sneak peek at her photo triptych
Island Pushes Back Against Washington Plastic Bag Lobby
It took several months, but the Washington lobbyists for the plastic bag
industry finally weighed in on our effort to eliminate single-use
plastic bags. With much of the VCS office on vacation during the school
break, we were a little concerned when we came home to find a letter to the editor
from the American Progressive* Bag Alliance – but the response from bag ban supporters was overwhelmingly positive.
Many thanks to the efforts of folks on the bag ban working group, and
especially to those two community members who independently sent their
own letters in response:
* Progressive, apparently, because while they vigorously defend
the right to bear plastic, they do think it would be nice if it were
easier to recycle it.
New Report Outlines Threats to Pollinators
Honeybees are the world’s best-known pollinators – and perhaps
deservedly so, with their fascinating social biology and highly-visible
importance to large-scale agriculture. Throughout the growing season,
entire trucks loaded with hives travel from south to north, with bees
blazing a trail that will be followed a few months later by migrating
humans. However, outside of those carefully orchestrated systematic
pollinations, it is a collection of thousands of native species,
including not just other insects but birds and bats as well, that do
much of the work – pollinating smaller farms, gardens, and the
ecosystems of the natural world.
Unfortunately, just as the well-known honeybee is facing the well-known
(if not well-understood) threat of Colony Collapse Disorder, that
diverse set of pollinator species faces a diverse set of threats,
according to a new synthesis report
from a United Nations-affiliated science team. The report discusses the
impact of factors such as habitat loss, climate change, pesticides,
parasites, and pathogens, and provides suggestions for practices that
could better protect pollinators.