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Almanac Archive for November 18, 2013

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Quote of the Week
"The colors of the beds here are strikingly brilliant. Beds of Cretaceous clay may be seen in a section over a mile long. Upon the Upper Cretaceous clay lie the Miocene greensand and some Pliocene sand, which is in turn overlain by Pleistocene deposits."
--Woodward and Wigglesworth, 1934: Geography and Geology of the Region Including Cape Cod, the Elizabeth Islands, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, No Mans Land and Block Island
Conservation Calendar

Winter Farmers' Market
Saturday, Nov. 23, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, West Tisbury
The winter market is indoors at the Ag Hall on Panhandle Rd. Twenty vendors, live music, and lunch available.

Felix Neck Fall Festival

Friday, Nov. 29, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, Edgartown
Felix Neck's Fall Festival is a tradition held annually the day after Thanksgiving. Now in it's 23rd year, the festival this year features hayrides, face painting, wreath making, crafts for kids, live music by The Flying Elbows, and live birds of prey from New England Reptile and Raptor. For more info, see website or call 508-627-4850. Felix Neck is also seeking volunteers to help with the festival.

Farm Programs for Little Ones
Learn about farm animals, food and farming at these two great educational resources.
Wednesdays, 10:00 am to noon: Farm visits at Native Earth Teaching Farm.
For toddlers with an adult, call (508) 645-3304 for more info or to arrange to come by at a different time. North Road, Chilmark.
Saturdays, 9:30 - 11:00 am: Wee Farmers at the FARM Institute.
For ages 2 - 4 with an adult, $15/session. Call (508) 627-7007 ext. 104 to register. Katama Farm, Edgartown.
In Season Recipe
Coconut Butternut Squash
This is a wonderfully simple and versatile recipe. Among its many virtues, it’s a good way to use butternut squash (super abundant at local farms this time of year) without having to peel them! Spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg it’s a festive fall dish for the holidays. Alternately, without the spices it makes for a fine baby food (or, for the intrepid baby, leave the spices in). Canned coconut milk will give the richest flavor, but with a substantial amount of fat for those concerned. You can also find a relatively new product in the milk case of the grocery store that uses real coconut milk, but lightened up (and calcium fortified) to match the nutritional specs of 2% cow’s milk.  

Cut a butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the halves face down in a baking dish with about ½ inch of water and bake at 350F for about an hour (it may be done in as little as 40 minutes if you want to check).
When soft, scoop out the flesh. If you have a blender or food processor, drop it in there; otherwise a big slotted spoon or potato ricer will work fine.
Add the coconut milk, a dash of salt and pepper, and any or all of:
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
Mix until smooth. That’s it!
Monday, November 18, 2013

Local News

Living at Sea Level, Walking Through History

Bob Woodruff presents our glacial past for the gathered walkers. (Photo by Brendan O'Neill, click here for the slideshow)

VCS kicked off its annual program of guided winter walks in November with an interpretative hike to some of the Vineyard’s most ancient geological deposits, the Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah. More than 100 participants learned about the complex geology of the cliffs and current influences like erosion and slumping.

Ecologist and amateur geologist Bob Woodruff led the walk with VCS Executive Director Brendan O’Neill. Both had lots of great information to share, but given the sounds of surf and gusting wind, we know that not all of the large crowd could always hear. So, extra thanks to Brendan, who has prepared this distillation of the program from his notes:

At the Gay Head Cliffs, one sees the deforming and dislocating effects that the most recent ice age sheet had on pre-glacial sediments as the glacier advanced to its southern terminus some 20,000 years ago. The pre-glacial deposits in the Gay Head Cliffs consist of ancient continental shelves, river deltas and beach sediments as much as 135 million years old. Continued at VCS site

We are also thankful for a very nice recap of the walk itself, penned by Albert Fischer and contributed to the Vineyard Gazette. His story includes more history of the VCS walks program, the human use of clay at the cliffs, and the Wampanoag Tribe's efforts to protect this beautiful natural resource.

Other News

Climate Change and Super Typhoon Haiyan

Following last year’s Superstorm Sandy, it was quite common to hear questions about climate change and causation: Was this hugely damaging storm caused by climate change? Should we expect more such storms in a warmer future? Could it simply be evidence of the reality and importance of the problem, an ugly and tragic “I-told-you-so” for global warming skeptics? We took on these questions last year in a piece for the Vineyard Gazette, though the most important conclusion was that those aren’t really the correct questions to be asking.

As with Sandy, the most important connection between climate change and Super Typhoon Haiyan is that the damage ­– to property, ecosystems, and human life – is magnified by the other effects of global climate change. With higher sea levels, for any given storm the storm surge is larger. The frequency of heavy precipitation events is expected to increase; if a heavy rain comes just before the tropical storm (as was the case in Haiyan), flooding will be exacerbated due to the saturation of the soil. On the Vineyard, the coastal erosion and wetland loss due to sea level rise will only contribute to more of the same during major storms. In less financially secure locations, climate impacts on the food and water supply will worsen the human tragedy of devastating storms.

At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poland, lead negotiator for the Philippines Naderev Saño evoked these impacts on the developing world with an appropriately forceful dare:

“It was so strong that if there was a Category 6, it would have fallen squarely in that box … To anyone outside who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare them, I dare them to get off their ivory towers and away from the comfort of their armchairs. I dare them to go to the islands of the Pacific, the Caribbean, the Indian ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling sea ice caps, to the large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon, the Nile where lives and livelihoods are drowned, to the hills of Central America that confronts similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannas of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water become scarce.”
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Copyright (C) *2013* *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.