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Almanac Archive for May 16, 2020




The Conservation Almanac
     Nature as Inspiration: A Virtual Film Festival
          The Art of Conservation: Solace & Insight
                Meetinghouse Way Subdivision Returns
          

Nature as Inspiration: A Virtual Film Festival
 
Our annual collaboration with the MV Film Society returns this May as an online "virtual" festival, featuring six documentaries available to stream from home. Beginning in 2015 with the films of Jacques Perrin, over the past 5 years the Nature as Inspiration festival has shared with the Island community dozens of thought-provoking films on humanity's relationship with the natural world. 
 
See the full schedule and purchase your all-access pass at the MV Film Center. Then, join your friends and beat back the shut-in shutdown blues with a little Nature as Inspiration

Photo: Based on an essay by Jonathan Franzen, Emptying the Skies tells the story of European songbird poachers, and the measures activists take to stop them.

Calling All Young Artists! 
     Art of Conservation contest now open to middle school students

The Art of Conservation, our annual art competition for Island high school students, has already seen two big changes this year: the inclusion of creative writing, and, by necessity, that every part of the process will be done online. Now, in an effort to bring more of our Island's talented young artists into the fold, we are opening up the contest to 7th and 8th graders. Our goal for the Art of Conservation has always been to provide a catalyst that would lead kids outside to explore, study, and take refuge in our Island's natural places. This purpose is particularly relevant this year, with students separated from their classmates and teachers; there has truly never been a better time to look to nature for "Solace & Insight."

The deadline for submissions is drawing near (May 22), so check out this year's theme and rules, then get started for your chance at one of the (up to five) $100 first prizes!

 
Triptych photo by Raven McCormack for the 2019 Art of Conservation: Connect 

Meetinghouse Way Subdivision Returns

It's baaaaaaack! Undeterred by a pandemic that has crippled the global economy (and called into question the immediate need for more speculative real estate in general, and luxury rentals in particular), the developers behind "Meetinghouse Place" have returned to the MV Commission with yet another redesign of their proposed subdivision on 54 acres near the Edgartown Great Pond. The MVC's process for evaluation of the new proposal (now named DRI 682B) begins with a meeting of the Land Use Planning Committee on Monday, held remotely via Zoom (link) at 5:30. Public testimony will not be accepted for this meeting; public hearings will be held at a later date if the project proceeds.  

We have not had a chance to thoroughly review the new submission, but it appears that the largest concession this time around is to increase the number of deed-restricted townhouses from 10 to 14, in a further effort to mitigate the project's impact on housing affordability. The general concept for a suburban-style subdivision remains largely intact, so for now we direct readers to our previous story on the proposal, and a related piece on what this development says about the history and future of zoning for affordability.

New Recycling Signage at Transfer Stations

The next time you venture out to the local transfer station, keep an eye out for a new set of signs intended to shed more clarity on the often confusing rules and standards for recycling. The new signage was developed as part of a collaborative effort among VCS, the MV Refuse District, Bruno's, and the six towns. Look for coverage in the local newspapers in coming weeks, and thank you for doing your part to help clean up our recycling stream!
 
The Food Waste Challenge

As an Island, we are on the forefront of climate change impacts, yet it is easy to feel hopeless as we wait for governments and markets to do anything about it. Is there anything we as individuals can really do to mitigate climate change? 
 
Yes! Food that has been grown, transported, processed, packaged, shipped, and sold - but then discarded, rather than eaten - represents almost 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter behind China and the US. The largest single source of this wasted food (43%) occurs in homes - not the agricultural or manufacturing sectors - and that was before Covid-19. 
 
Knowing that a greater proportion of waste than ever is now occurring in homes, the Food Waste Initiative has put together a six-week Food Waste Challenge in hopes of learning more about the numbers, and in the process, changing some behaviors for the better. The first two weeks consist of collecting baseline data, and the last four weeks test different approaches to solving the problem. Read more here, then sign up and get started!


Thanks to Eunice Yeomans, manager of the Food Waste Initiative, for this contribution. VCS sits on a diverse committee of stakeholders guiding the Island-wide Food Waste Project, which seeks to develop solutions to reduce and better manage food waste. Island Grown Initiative is leading the implementation of the project through their Food Waste Initiative.
 
Photo by Maisie Jarrell for the 2016 Art of Conservation: Waste


L O S T   C O U N T R Y

Walking, I begin to notice
how the grass survives
between the houses,
how old the trees are.
The shape of the earth appears.
The hill still slopes down to the lake
despite the houses, poles, wires, roads.
I see how it was
after the glacier melted,
how the stones settled down.
One good look
and all our work is gone.

 
Once I found a deserted street
buried in the woods,
broken by roots.
Virginia creeper and wild onion
pushed out from the cracks.
Branches met down the middle
of “Capitol Avenue.”
It was good to see.
If we leave our footsteps
they don’t have a chance.

                                                -Warren Woessner

Warren is a poet, birder, patent lawyer, chemist, and part-time resident of Edgartown who serves on the VCS Board of Directors. His most recent collection is Exit ~ Sky.
On Monday, a visit from a pair of Rose breasted grosbeaks. Photo by Brendan O'Neill
Copyright © 2020 Vineyard Conservation Society, All rights reserved.


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