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Quote of the Week
This cliff is an extensive field of study for the geologist, and is full
of interest for the intelligent visitor. "A section across Gay Head,"
says Prof. Hitchcock, "four fifths of a mile long, displays twenty-three
bright-colored bands of clay, sand and conglomerate, lignite and iron
ore. The clays are white, blood-red, dull-red, yellow and green. The
conglomerates contain fragments of bones and of teeth, cemented to the
stones." Cut into innumerable forms by the incessant action of the sea,
this beetling headland, belted with rainbow colors, awakens the
admiration of all who approach the coast, and presents a lesson of
profound significance to the scientist.
--Nason and Varney, 1890: A Gazetteer of the State of Massachusetts
Biological Control and Winter Moth
Thursday, Nov. 7, 5:00 pm, Polly Hill Arboretum
hosts a free talk by entomologist Joe Elkinton on his research into
controlling winter moths (a major tree defoliator) with a species of
parasitoid fly. Parasitoids are animals that feed on a living host (in
this case the winter moth), eventually killing it.
Thursday, Nov. 14, 10:30 to 11:30 am, Oak Bluffs Library
Learn about the Island's four native turtle species at this educational
program co-hosted by.Felix Neck and the O.B. Library. For more info call
(508) 693-9433 or see website
Winter Farmers' Market
Saturday, Nov. 16, 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.
In Season Recipe
In the brief season between Halloween and Thanksgiving, we turn to Ginny Jones' cookbook Fresh from the Vineyard
for a recipe
that could work for either. Odds are if you make anything this season
with fresh pumpkin you'll have a bit leftover that won't fit in the
recipe: this flan, which uses just one cup, would make for a delicious
Fresh from the Vineyard
is available at many Island stores and
farms, including Bunch of Grapes, Cronig's, Larsen's Fish Market, Allen
Farm, Morning Glory Farm, Mermaid Farm, Nip N' Tuck Farm, and Fiddlehead
|Monday, November 4, 2013
A Fresh Look at the Gay Head Cliffs
rapidly eroding cliffs of Gay Head live both at sea level and many feet
above, all at the same time. (Photo by Brendan O'Neill, click to
Please join us Sunday, November 10th from 1:00 to 3:00 pm as VCS kicks
off its annual program of guided winter walks with an interpretative
hike to see some of the Vineyard’s most ancient geological deposits, the
Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah. Ecologist and amateur geologist Bob
Woodruff will lead the walk with VCS Executive Director Brendan O’Neill.
Participants will learn about the complex geology of the cliffs and
current influences like erosion and slumping.
Building on the VCS climate change awareness work of recent years, the
theme of this year’s walks is “Living at Sea Level.” Each month we hope
to combine an exploration of issues impacting our island with an
invigorating walk at (or near) sea level. Check out the complete schedule at our website:
this year's itinerary presents a strong collection of old favorites
(the Frances Woods Preserve), new traditions (a kids' event at Sense of
Wonder Creations), and little-known Island history (the lost Bass Creek
of Vineyard Haven).
Parking is at the large lot below the circle at the cliffs, marked with VCS signs. Cider and cookies will be served afterward.
Waste-to-Energy: An Eco-Friendly Future for an Old-Fashioned Practice
We can all agree on the primary
goal illustrated here: bring our landfill % closer to Denmark's. The
question is how much of the shift comes from increasing recycling,
combustion, or other methods. (From the NY Times, click for background
Despite the fact that no one enjoys trash day or a trip to the town
transfer station, it is at least conceivable that solid waste could
become a resource rather than a burden. A described in the NY Times,
a new type of trash incineration plant will soon be online in Poland,
converting over 100 tons of waste daily into 7 megawatts of electricity.
That waste-to-energy system is being developed by a Canadian company,
which has projects already operating in several countries, including
the U.S. There are actually many players in this rapidly developing tech
field, and the various approaches to generating energy come with their
own environmental benefits and harms. It is a complicated issue to be
sure, but in most cases waste-to-energy comes out looking relatively
green compared to the alternatives. For example, some methods involve a
large release of CO2, a serious problem, but still preferable
to the massive release of methane (a much more potent greenhouse gas)
that results from conventional landfills.
Could such a plan be possible here? We currently export our garbage,
accepting the expense in freight hauling and greenhouse gas emissions,
and import our electricity, paying higher rates, presumably due to the
challenges of underwater transmission. The incineration plant in Poland
described in the Times story would be a good bit too large for our uses, and it seems unlikely that the Vineyard could export
electricity at a competitive price. The article does briefly mention
smaller, modular waste-to-energy systems that are made to be transported
in standard shipping containers.
Maybe a large-scale plant is necessary to achieve an acceptable level of
efficiency or return on investment, but it certainly seems worth
looking into before saying it can’t happen here. After all, we already
have a mobile slaughterhouse for poultry, with a larger facility for
four-legged animals hopefully on the way,
and both are clear improvements – for the environment, economy, and
quality of (animal) life – over the old way of doing things.