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Almanac Archive for Sept. 22, 2014

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Quote of the Week

Secretary of State John Kerry, yesterday at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change:

"Today, we can see climate refugees. We see people fighting over water in some places. There are huge challenges to food security and challenges to the ecosystem, our fisheries and otherwise. The acidification of the ocean is a challenge for all of us.

And when you accrue all of this, while we are confronting ISIL and we are confronting terrorism and we are confronting Ebola and other things, those are immediate. This also has an immediacy that people need to come to understand, but it has even greater longer-term consequences that can cost hundreds of billions, trillions of dollars, lives, and the security of the world."

Conservation Calendar

Arboretum Volunteer Day

Thursday, Oct. 2, 9:00 am to noon, West Tisbury.
The Polly Hill Arboretum holds their last grounds volunteer day of the season. Interested volunteers can learn about the Arboretum and lend a helping hand. Dress appropriately and bring gloves; necessary tools will be provided. Please call ahead if planning to attend, (508) 693-9426. For directions and more info, see website.

Film Screening: Open Sesame

Friday, Oct. 3, 7:30 pm, Vineyard Haven.
Free screening at the MV Film Society's theater in Tisbury Marketplace serves as the opening event of the 2014 Living Local Harvest Festival. Co-hosted by Living Local MV, the FARM Institute, Island Grown Schools, the West Tisbury Library, and MV Community Seed Library. For details, see MVFS website.

Guided Birding Tours
Saturdays, 9:00 to 11:30 am, starting at MV Reg. High School.
Visit birding hot spots with your guide Robert Culbert. Carpool will depart from the high school faculty parking lot at 9:00. Cost is $30 per adult, $15 for under 18. For more details, call (508) 693-4908.

West Tisbury Farmers' Market

Saturdays, 9:00 to noon, West Tisbury.
Fresh picked produce from local farms, flowers, delicious baked goods and prepared foods from Island kitchens and more. Outside of the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. For more info, see website.

FARM Institute Fall Programs

Saturdays at Katama Farm in Edgartown.
Kids programs at the FARM Institute are every Saturday in Sept. and Oct. Wee Farmers (age 2-5) from 9:30 to 11:00, $15 per session, must be accompanied by adult. For older kids, it's "Farmer for a Day" from 1:00 to 3:00, $35, may be accompanied or not. For more info, call (508) 627-7007.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Local News

Join VCS for the Living Local Harvest Festival

Pumpkin time!

The annual Living Local Harvest Festival was founded by four Island organizations -- VCS, the MV Agricultural Society, the Vineyard Energy Project, and Island Grown Initiative -- to promote sustainable living on our island by encouraging local food production and the local economy, renewable energy, and resource conservation.

Saturday, Oct. 4, the festival returns to the Ag Hall with an all-day event featuring live music, activities and games for kids, educational demos and panel presentations, a wide variety of food vendors (some with free tastings!), nonprofit informational booths, and much, much more. Check out the poster for more info, or see the complete schedule.

To kick off the festival in style, at 7:30 on Oct. 3rd, the MV Film Society will be hosting the opening event, a free screening of the documentary Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds. And following Saturday's festival, there will be a community supper and dance beginning at 5:00 featuring Island-raised pork and local veggies ($15 per person). Living Local is a Zero Waste event, so please bring your own place setting for the dinner.
Plum Island Study Reveals Excess Nutrients Can Lead to Physical Destruction of Salt Marsh 

Protecting our fragile coastal ponds has been a VCS priority for many years. We have long known that eutrophication – the pollution* of waterways through excess nutrient inputs – is a significant problem. Most eutrophication processes are well-understood: typically, the first effect is rapid algae growth, followed by a variety of negative consequences. The suddenly abundant algae reduce water clarity and light availability while causing wide swings in oxygen content. During the daytime, oxygen levels rise as the algae is photosynthesizing, but then fall at night as the other organisms that eat the algae are busily respiring. At the most extreme (typically following a sudden die-off of an algal bloom) oxygen can crash to levels that kill fish and shellfish. If anaerobic bacteria (some of which produce toxic byproducts) then become dominant, the resulting “dead zone” can be difficult to ever reverse.
As if that wasn't reason enough to curb our nitrogen and phosphorus use, a study led by scientists from the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole has added a new dimension to the threat posed by these nutrients: that in addition to lowering the quality and diversity of estuaries, it could actually cause salt marshes to disappear altogether. Or, more precisely, for salt marshes to be converted to something more like a mud flat, and in surprisingly short order. Read more about the study in this article for the MBL website, or watch this short video interview where the study’s lead author Linda Deegan explains the process (original paper here, journal sub. req’d.).
* It does feel strange to call simple elements like nitrogen and phosphorus “pollution,” as they are essential building blocks of all life on Earth. But in a world where humans have the ability to greatly alter the chemical makeup of our own environment, that is exactly what they have become (see also “carbon pollution” for another impressive example of fouling one’s own nest with common, necessary elements).
Other News

Record-Setting, Globe-Spanning Climate March

On Fifth Avenue, a 3,000-pound ice sculpture makes an effective, if unsubtle, point (photo by Joshua Bright for NY Times)

An estimated 311,000 people took to the streets of New York City Sunday, joining hundreds of thousands more in cities around world in what organizer Avaaz has called the biggest climate march ever. The Manhattan march was actually halted at one point because the entire 2.2 miles of planned route was already stuffed with people. As described by the Times article, the march was not only impressive in scale but well-timed, leading into a series of high-level diplomatic meetings being held in the city this week regarding international cooperation on climate change mitigation measures (also see story in the Guardian).
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Copyright (C) *2014* *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.