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Almanac Archive for November 3, 2014

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Quote of the Week

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
--unknown source proverb
Conservation Calendar

Public Hearing for Hickory Cove Preserve

Thursday, Nov. 6, 4:30 pm, Edgartown

A discussion of the draft management plan for the Land Bank's Hickory Cove Preserve will be held at the MVLB building in Edgartown. Click here to view the plan.

Walk at Felix Neck
Tuesday, Nov. 11, 10:00 to 11:00 am
Visit Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary for a stroll and celebrate the changing of the seasons. $5, free for members. Call (508) 627-4850 for more info.

Winter Farmers' Market
Saturdays from 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.

Saturday Kids Programs

Saturdays from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, Aquinnah
Outdoor education for kids 6-13 at Sassafras, includes scouting and exploring, fire and other outdoor skills, wild harvests and cooking, and much more. Held Nov. 1, 8, 15, 22; Dec. 6 & 13, $150 for five sessions. For more info on this or other programs, call (508) 645-2008 or email.
In Season Recipe
Cranberry Relish

If you have a food processor this one is super-easy. If not, you could always try the blender; what's the worst that could happen? (Answer: a very tart smoothie)

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 cup honey

Preparation: Pulse the cranberries a few times until well-chopped, but not blended. Add a finely diced apple (peeled first, if desired) and the honey and stir well. Then just let sit for a few hours for the flavors to combine.

Local organic cranberries from the Vineyard Open Land Foundation's Cranberry Acres bog are available at Cronig's, Tisbury Farm Market, Morning Glory Farm, and Alley's General Store. This recipe was taken almost exactly from Island Grown Schools' Harvest of the Month Program. See their recipe card for serving suggestions.

One more serving idea that's especially healthy is to use the relish as a dressing/topping for a very simple wilted kale salad:
  • Combine the juice of half a lemon with a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper
  • Remove mid-ribs from a small bunch of kale and cut into salad-size bites
  • Mix the kale with the juice mixture for a couple minutes, massaging it firmly for curly/frilly kale, just lightly tossing for the Italian-style broadleaf kale.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Local News

Winter Walks 2014-2015
Conservation Through the Decades

The view from below (Photo by Brendan O'Neill from a previous walk; click for full size)

In recognition of our 50th anniversary, VCS’s 2014-2015 Winter Walks program will take a decade-by-decade approach to highlighting the history of conservation on our Island. We will visit five important and iconic spots conserved with VCS help.
The season kicks off with a visit to the Gay Head Cliffs on Saturday, Nov. 22, where VCS and the Town of Aquinnah won a National Natural Landmark designation in 1965. In January we will visit Katama Farm (today the home of the Farm Institute), which was preserved in the 1970s as a town treasure. The 1980s brought protection at Morning Glory Farm, and in succeeding decades, Allen Sheep Farm and Mermaid Farm – locations that have come to define the Vineyard’s commitment to sustainability for the future.
All Winter Walks start at 1:00 and are about 1.5 to 2 hours long, followed by cider and cookies. After November’s trip to the Cliffs, walks resume their regular schedule of the second Sunday of the month. Watch the Almanac for details on the walks as they approach!
2014-2015 Winter Walks
November 22: Gay Head Cliffs, Aquinnah
December 14: Morning Glory Farm, Edgartown
January 11: Katama Farm, Edgartown
February 8: Allen Farm, Chilmark
March 8: Mermaid Farm, Chilmark

Has Earth Reached Peak Farmland?

Along with increasing yields per acre, reducing or eliminating the use of ethanol in automobile fuel would allow more land to be taken out of corn production and returned to the wild. Click to enlarge; data from USDA, as presented in link below.

This summer, long-time VCS Science Adviser Jesse Ausubel delivered a fascinating lecture for our colleagues at the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation. Titled Meat and Potatoes and the American Landscape, it’s a boldly optimistic take on past, present, and future trends in consumption of energy and materials, in support of an argument that the future will see not less, but more land available for forests and other natural habitats. A print version is now available online – definitely worth checking out!
Other News

A Peek Behind the Curtain

Traitor or hero, valuable insight or frivolous entertainment? Opinions will vary on the bombshell of insider information dropped by one offended oil and gas industry executive following a closed-door presentation from a pair of political consultants. Even the importance of the message – delivered as an audio recording (transcript) to the NY Times – is debatable. It’s a bit shocking to hear the tactics of political operatives spoken out loud, and could be a PR nightmare for the oil and gas industry, but it’s also the sort of stuff many people already suspected.
In short, as the Times reports, the annual meeting of the Western Energy Alliance (a trade group for oil and gas companies) featured a presentation from political consultants Berman & Company, who made the case for embracing some less-than-savory practices for swaying public opinion. “You can either win ugly or lose pretty,” argued founder Rick Berman, in reference both to his general tactics and to his company’s current anti-environmentalist campaign “Big Green Radicals.”  
A central bailiwick of Berman & Co.’s product is the creation of sophomoric and generally un-funny political parodies, often lampooning celebrities who support causes harmful to their clients’ business interests. Or, in the words of Berman: “Use humor to minimize or marginalize the people on the other side.” But, be warned, as it would appear the marginalization machine is gearing up for a new target. During the same presentation, vice president Jack Hubbard described his own “research” efforts: the essential work of digging up embarrassing personal details about board members of the Sierra Club and other environmental non-profits for use in future campaigns. So, for all you current and past VCS board members – keep an eye out for someone in a sharp suit rummaging through your garbage!
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Copyright (C) *2014* *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.