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Almanac Archive for November 8, 2016

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Quotes of the Week
Excerpts from a writing assignment in Elaine Cawley Weintraub’s global history class at MVRHS, as reported in the Vineyard Gazette:
"I care about preserving our national forests, the extinction of wildlife, taking care of each other and our children."
-Olivia Wolff
"I hope that in the near future I can play college baseball, get an education in biology and help to bring an end to deforestation, poaching, extinction of species caused by humans, and try to make the world a better place."
-James Sashin
"Innovative societies are key to progress in our world: socially, economically, technologically and medically. We must not fear change."
-Daniel Gaines
"My dream for the future is to live in a simpler and more peaceful place."
-Patty Oliveira

Conservation Calendar

Polly Hill Winter Tours

Saturday, Nov. 12, 10:00 am, West Tisbury.

Join the PHA staff for a winter walk and look at the plants in a whole new way. At this time of year bark and tree structure stand out, along with fruits and berries. Tours are free with the $5 general admission to the arboretum (free for members and children 12 and under). For more info see website or call (508) 693-9426.

Benefit Concert for Standing Rock Sioux
Saturday, Nov. 12, 6:00 pm, Chilmark.

"Water is Life" benefit show featuring local musicians, in support of the Standing Rock Tribe's campaign against the Dakota Access oil pipeline. At the Chilmark Community Center, $20 suggested donation. 

Offshore Wind Public Info Sessions

Monday, Nov. 14, 5:00 to 7:00 pm, Vineyard Haven.

An important informational meeting at the Tisbury Senior Center (see map). Representatives from the state Coastal Zone Management office and the Mass. Clean Energy Center will present, answer questions, and discuss recent and upcoming planning and assessment activities related to future offshore wind projects. Topics include an overview of the new energy diversity law and updates on marine mammal and bird studies, Metocean data collection, geological surveys, and transmission planning. Representatives of the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will be in attendance. For more information on the offshore wind activities for Massachusetts, see the EEA website.

Island Wildlife: Myths and Misconceptions
Tuesday, Nov. 15, 5:30 to 7:00 pm, Edgartown.

Island naturalist Gus Ben David leads an engaging conversation challenging misconceptions about the Vineyard's wildlife. At the Vineyard Gazette newsroom, free, but preregistration is required.

Guided Walk: Menemsha Hills

Sunday, Nov. 20, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, Chilmark.

Trustees staff lead a moderate-to-strenuous hike along Menemsha Hills to the 2nd highest point on Martha's Vineyard. Learn about the geology of the area and enjoy the fall colors and a view of the historic Chilmark Brickyard. The route will include walking on rocky beach & some moderately steep trails. Free, but donations accepted; for more info see website or call (339) 927-8778.
Local News

Winter Walks Return with a Visit to Flat Point Farm
Photo from Flat Point Farm website

Please join us this Sunday (Nov. 13) at 1:00 for the first VCS Winter Walk of the 2016-17 season, a visit to Flat Point Farm. This beautiful piece of farmland, located directly on the Tisbury Great Pond, was saved from residential development just a few years ago through the combined efforts of the landowner, neighbors, the Land Bank, and VCS.

Today, the farm raises beef and lamb, egg-laying chickens, and dairy goats, who provide milk for making cheese and artisanal soaps. Sunday's walk will include a tour of the farm studio, where we will learn how their goat's milk soap is created.

Directions: From the Edgartown Rd in West Tisbury (near the village), turn onto New Lane. After 0.4 mi, just as New Lane bears to the left there will be a dirt road straight in front of you
take this road (Road to Great Neck) all the way to its end at Flat Point Farm. It's easy to confuse the side driveways with the main road, so watch for the VCS signs and flags.

Students Bring Enthusiasm and Creativity to BYOB Initiative

Oak Bluffs 4th graders show off their new creations (Photo by Holly Thomas, click for full-size)

As shown by our “quotes of the week” above, often the best spokespeople for our natural environment are those young enough to see – and care – further into the future. After decorating their own reusable canvas bags in class, Holly Thomas’ fourth graders led the weekly Oak Bluffs School community meeting, sharing what they had learned about plastic bags and ocean pollution. To help keep the audience engaged, the kids decided to present their information in a Q&A format, quizzing the assembled students and parents on statistics like “How many plastic bags are used on Martha’s Vineyard each year?” That question caused a ripple to move through the crowd, as the guesses climbed ever higher before the correct answer was revealed. It was an incredible experience, with one parent even commenting, “I got chills when the audience – including the parents I was sitting with – would gasp at the facts as the kids presented them.”
The Life of Trash, Visualized

It's like a subway map for our Island's waste stream! (Click to see the full map – Image and research by Max King)

The "Life of Trash" project, a large informational map created by Max King for this year's Living Local Harvest Festival, is a great way to visualize and better contemplate the complexities of our waste management system.

You probably already knew that all of our waste – regular trash, recycling, and everything else – is trucked off-Island, but you might be surprised just how complicated the big picture is. For example, did you know that, at the moment, seven different companies process our recycling? Or that garbage from Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven is sent to a landfill in New Bedford, while the rest of the Island ships it off to Rochester (just west of Wareham), where it’s burned to produce electricity? It’s strange to think that the same sorts of stuff gets on the same boats at the same docks only to head to two very different fates located just 30 miles apart.
To the extent that we must choose between incineration vs. landfilling, there are environmental costs to both. It would probably be safe to conclude that a modern, efficient waste-to-energy facility is better than an old-fashioned landfill (but also vice-versa – modern, safer landfills can be less harmful than older incinerators). On our Island, though, the more important consideration is the wasted energy and pollution involved in trucking tons of garbage long distances just to get it to either of these sub-optimal destinations. Until we can open an efficient waste-to-energy facility here on the Vineyard, the best option remains, as always: Reduce – Reuse – Recycle!
Submit your conservation news to: almanac@vineyardconservation.org

Copyright (C) 2016 *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.