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Almanac Archive for November 29, 2012

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This Holiday Season
Un-Stuff Your Stocking

with VCS
This year, VCS wants to help you avoid all that unnecessary junk by giving the gift of Vineyard Conservation. Whether you're joining for the first time or treating a friend to a gift membership, until New Year's all new members will receive their choice of one of four books and will be entered in a drawing to win a great basket of books on local environmental and sustainability issues, hand-selected by the VCS Board. For more info on the books and how to join, see our website.
Quote of the Week

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
-- Theodore Roosevelt

Conservation Calendar

Full Moon Owl Prowl

Friday, Nov 30, 6:00 to 7:30 pm, at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.
Hoo's out there? Owls silently fly through our island woods and fields. Join Felix Neck for a full moon walk to look, listen, and learn about these nocturnal birds. Observe the resident barn owls via owl-cam and perhaps out on the trails, then warm up with hot chocolate and tea at the Nature Center. Free for Mass Audubon members, $5 for non-members. For more info, call (508) 627-4850.

Winter Farmers Market
Saturday, Dec 1, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury.
The winter market takes place every other weekend inside the Ag Hall. Check website for more information.

Land Bank Walk

Sunday, Dec 2, 1:00 pm, Chilmark.
Land Bank staff lead a guided walk at Great Rock Bight Preserve in Chilmark. The walk will last approximately 1-2 hours. Rain or shine, so dress for the weather. For more information call the land bank office at (508) 627-7141 or see the property website.

Sassafras Nature Program: Outdoor Families

Sunday Dec 2, 1:00 to 3:00 pm.
Outdoor experiences for families with children of all ages. Games, outdoor cooking, survival skills, nature observation & tracking and more! $25 per family. For more information on this or any of their other many programs, see website or call (508) 645-2008.

Help Our Ponds
50 Gallons at a Time

The Lagoon Pond Association is currently offering a holiday special price of $75 for their rain barrel program. Collecting rainwater from your rooftop helps protect our water supply from runoff while supplying a convenient source for watering plants around the house.

Pick up and installation demo will be on April 20, 2013 at the VCS Beach Clean-Up after party (time and location TBA). For more information and ordering, see the Lagoon Pond Assoc. website.

Almanac Schedule Change
So, Why Thursday? We've found that our traditional release day of Monday was not working out well for our Winter Walks series, which are held on the second Sunday of each month. We want everyone to know all about each upcoming walk before it occurs, so, at least for the winter, we're moving the Almanac to Thursdays. Sorry for any confusion!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Local News

Next Winter Walk: Sunday, Dec. 9 at Eastville Beach

Tucked between two bustling Vineyard towns, development and open space collide at Eastville Beach. (Photo by Kaysea Hart; click for full-size)

VCS will continue its guided Winter Walks program at 1:00 pm, Sunday, Dec 9 at Eastville Point, located adjacent to the drawbridge. This year’s theme of “Historic land usage crossroads,” featuring conservation properties where potential crises were averted with the help of VCS, fits Eastville Point well. Though it is now protected public open space, the process to prevent development of this waterfront site was long and arduous.

We began efforts to conserve the Eastville jetties beach in 1975, and two years later the Convery and Young families gifted to us their two-thirds interest in the promontory. VCS transferred this interest (consisting of 5.25 acres with 900 feet of beach) to the County of Dukes County. The County then applied for and secured a grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund for the project, including funding to acquire an additional, abutting one-acre parcel owned by another member of the Convery family. This phase of the project was five years in the making.

VCS then returned to Oak Bluffs (having been rebuffed earlier) to partner on a grant request from the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs Self-Help Program to conserve the one-acre parcel. The town agreed to participate in the grant, with VCS agreeing to supply 20% of the funding with the state providing the rest. The outcome was successful, with Oak Bluffs left owning the small parcel, and VCS privately raising the required matching funds. The formal dedication took place a full ten years after the launch of the project; today the Eastville Beach Recreational Area consists of a total of 6 acres, with 1,700 feet of beach conserved, managed jointly by the County and the Town of Oak Bluffs.

Participants should park in the public lot and meet at the new informational kiosk. Dave Nash and Brendan O’Neill will serve as walk co-leaders. For more information, call VCS at 508 693-9588.

Public Hearing Tonight To Discuss Addition of High Impact Development to M.V. Commission's DRI Checklist

At 7:15 pm tonight at the Stone Building in Oak Bluffs, the MV Commission is accepting public feedback on its periodic update of the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) checklist. This checklist is used to determine what development projects get reviewed by the MVC. The overall goal of the current DRI checklist update is to bring it into conformity with the goals of the Island Plan.
The latest draft is considering enhanced plan review for high impact residential development – big houses – and has sparked a vocal response from those who build houses.

Let the MVC know what you think. The written testimony record is open until this Friday (Nov. 30).

Global Warming Spreads Seeds of Change

In the 12th installment of her series on local climate change impacts, Liz Durkee writes about the changes we may start seeing in food production, both in what gets grown locally (and how), but also to the global food supply:

“On the Vineyard we need to plot our economic and environmental future now. Local food production, despite climate change challenges – but also because of them – should be a priority.”

State News

Massachusetts Towns Present New Challenges to the Disposable Lifestyle

It may not technically be "Styrofoam," but we still don't want to see it on the beach (with or without an off-road vehicle permit). Photo by Andrew Junge.

Local bans on disposable bags and food containers, aimed at reducing environmental impact (or, more broadly, trying to reverse the trend in “throw-away” culture) have been picking up steam lately. On November 13, the town of Brookline voted to ban polystyrene foam cups and food containers (commonly misidentified as Styrofoam, a trademarked product not actually used for food containers), and one day later voted to ban plastic grocery bags. A week after these votes, the city of Cambridge began the process of preparing language for a similar ban.
There’s a reasonable argument to be had whether disposable paper or plastic grocery bags are ultimately more harmful, but the case against polystyrene foam is more clear-cut. Compared to plastic and paper, it is very difficult to recycle, both at the industrial level where it requires extra steps, and for individuals, who typically must make a special trip to a specific recycling center, or wait for a designated yearly collection day. As a result, an even larger portion of it ends up in landfills or as litter, where, apart from its tendency to blow around in the wind, it behaves mostly like other plastics. So while fifty years ago there may have been little reason to ban polystyrene foam, given the relative ease of recycling today, replacing foam food containers with paper and/or plastic is a helpful incremental step.
From our Island-centric viewpoint, one little point stuck out from the follow-up piece on complaints about the ban: a Brookline Selectwoman’s claim that “one person had already told her he would never shop in Brookline again.” Apart from the fact that this comes off as overwrought pearl-clutching from a possibly apocryphal patron of Brookline businesses, it raises an important distinction between a Boston suburb and the Vineyard. If a similar ban were ever to come to pass here, no one is taking their business elsewhere because of it; a polystyrene cup may keep your coffee hot a bit longer than a paper one, but not long enough for the ferry ride back from Woods Hole.
Submit your conservation news to: almanac@vineyardconservation.org

Copyright (C) *2012* *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.