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Almanac Archive for May 22, 2019

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   The Conservation Almanac
             Environmental news from the Vineyard Conservation Society
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Quote of the Week

“There’s no money in advertising or promoting the reuse of things that you already own. There’s money to be made in selling you a shiny new bento box or S’well bottle. This is America.”
— Jacquie Ottman, chair of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board, quoted in a recent Vox article on how to avoid buying unnecessary stuff while trying to go Zero Waste.

For local information and discussion of Zero Waste living, and tips for reducing your own footprint, check out Plastic Free on MV.
Conservation Calendar

Climate Change Panel Discussion
Friday, May 24, 4:00 pm, Vineyard Haven.
Join us for a free panel discussion on climate change during the weekend's Nature as Inspiration film festival — and bring questions! Our panel will include Statehouse Representative Dylan Fernandes, Zach Zobel, lead project scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, Ben Robinson of the Island Climate Action Network and Sunrise Movement, MV Regional High School junior Owen Favreau, and will be moderated by Jeremy Houser from VCS. We hope you, the audience, will also be an active participant in the discussion!

The climate panel is just one of many great events at this weekend's Nature as Inspiration film festival; for more see story at right.

Fighting to Save a Branch of the Tree of Life

Saturday, May 25, 7:30 pm, Vineyard Haven.
Efforts to save the critically endangered Vaquita from extinction lead to conflict with drug cartels and poachers in the intense documentary thriller Sea of Shadows. Because this tiny porpoise, the world's smallest cetacean, is an evolutionarily distinct species with no close living relatives (just like our favorite species!), its extinction would represent a great loss to Earth's total genetic diversity an entire branch from the Tree of Life.

The screening is just one of many great events at this weekend's Nature as Inspiration film festival; for more see story at right.

Annual Cross-Island Hike
Saturday, June 1, various locations.
Each year since 1993, the Land Bank has observed National Trails Day by conducting a day-long hike across the island to expose people to the network of trails that connect the many conservation lands and public properties. This year's hike will be 16.2 miles in length, beginning at the Blackwater Pond Reservation off Lambert's Cove Rd., winding across the middle of the Island and much of Oak Bluffs, before coming to an end at State Beach. The map of the route and the itinerary for this year's hike, along with other information is at the Land Bank website
The Art of Conservation

Last year, two MVRHS students received Special Distinctions for their interpretations, shown below, of our 2018 contest theme, Habitat.

This Saturday at 3:30 at the Film Center, come see why their follow-up entries for this year's contest, "Connect," earned First Prizes for both young artists. Now how's that for progress!


Coming Attractions: Nature as Inspiration!

This Memorial Day weekend, our annual environmental film festival – Nature as Inspiration – returns with eight new screenings sure to inspire, enlighten, and entertain. This marks the fifth year of a collaborative effort by VCS and the MV Film Society to share with the Island community thought-provoking films on humanity's relationship with the natural world. Across four days we will combine film screenings, music, and art, along with panel discussions and Q&As with filmmakers, guest experts, and community members.
This year we have lined up a great set of perks and discounts for VCS members (thank you, MVFS!) including:
  • $3 discount on all tickets throughout the festival for all members (current and new)
  • A choice of free gifts for new and renewing members
  • One free voucher to any film at the festival for new members
  • Half off membership at VCS when also joining the Film Society (See MVFS staff at their register)
If you're not already a member, we will have a sign-up table in the lobby – there's no better time to join both organizations!

Make sure to join us for two special events: Thursdays night’s opening reception at 6:30, featuring live music with David Hannon, and the 2019 Art of Conservation opening show, Saturday at 3:30 (see story below). For the full schedule, tickets, directions, and more, please visit the Martha's Vineyard Film Society.
The Art of Conservation: "Connect"
Opening Show & Awards Presentation

Winners of the 2018 contest ("Habitat") honored on stage during the film festival. Join us Saturday afternoon to celebrate this year's crop of winners (Hint: there are two repeat winners this year - see if you recognize their work at left).
This weekend, join us in honoring our Island’s talented young artists at the opening showing of the Art of Conservation high school art contest. Artists will be presented their awards in a brief ceremony following an opening reception at 3:30 on Saturday the 25th, during the Nature as Inspiration film festival at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center (directions). The reception and awards show are free and open to the public. Immediately following the awards presentation, the Film Center will be screening Artifishal, a dive into the world of wild fish and the environment that supports them (please see MVFS for tickets or an all-access festival pass).
Winning works from the 2019 Art of Conservation will be on display in the Feldman Family Artspace at the Film Center from May 24th – June 24th.

Grace Under Fire: Aquinnah Backs Plastic Bottle Ban

The students of Plastic Free MV face a full house, and real opposition, at Annual Town Meeting in Aquinnah (photo by Mark Lovewell for the Vineyard Gazette)

In this spring’s series of Annual Town Meetings, a group of fifth and sixth grade students approached the voters in three towns with a bold proposal: to ban a large portion of the single-use plastic bottles currently on the shelves in their town’s businesses. Last week, as they headed into the Old Town Hall in Aquinnah, the students were as prepared as they could be. They had spent months doing research, perfecting talking points, and campaigning. On top of that, they now had the experience of having presented at Town Meeting in West Tisbury and Chilmark – and the confidence earned from winning those votes handily. (In Chilmark, they won without even making their case, the moderator having called the vote prior to introducing the students.) While the kids themselves were understandably nervous (who wouldn’t be?), many of us – adults who had cheered them on, and helped where we could – were confident this last vote was going to be another shoe-in.  

This did not turn out to be the case.

As the students of Plastic Free MV distributed flyers on the steps of the Old Town Hall, there was a nervous ripple in the air: the kids could feel that there would be real opposition here. Once inside, they met a capacity audience, and they were not afraid to debate. Their proposed bylaw was asking businesses to shoulder a significant change: it may be broadly accepted that we must take steps to move away from disposable plastics, but when those steps harm a community member’s business it can be difficult to accept.

In the end, when the vote was called it was yet again nearly unanimous – the students had pulled off the hat trick, taking plastic bottles off store shelves across the western half of the Island. We are obviously proud of their success, but also truly happy than in this town meeting season – especially in Aquinnah, where they faced real adversity and handled it with grace – our students got an important lesson in civics and the power of perseverance.

Read the rest of our story here, continued in second column
The Vineyard Conservation Society is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to preserving the environment of Martha’s Vineyard through advocacy, education and the protection of the Island’s land and water.
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Copyright (C) 2019 *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.
Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.