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This Holiday Season
Un-Stuff Your Stocking
This year, VCS wants to help you avoid all that unnecessary junk by giving the gift of Vineyard Conservation.
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
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
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
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
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
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.