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Quotes of the Week
--George W. Bush (Will Ferrell) and Al Gore (Darrell Hammond), sum up their candidacy in a single word.
Saturday Night Live debate
, Oct. 7, 2000
Sunday, Oct. 2, 1:00 to 3:00 pm, Chilmark.
An educational walk to discover the world of mushrooms at TTOR's
Menemsha Hills Reservation, led by Wesley Price, founder of the Cape Cod
Mycological Society. $15 ($10 for Trustees members, $5 for children),
for more info call (508) 693-7662, see website
, or email
Fall Wee Farmers
Saturday, Oct. 8, 9:30 to 11:00 am, Katama.
Visit animal friends and help with the fall harvest at the FARM
Institute's long-running off-season program for ages 2-5. $15 per
session ($9 for Trustees members), must be accompanied by adult. For
more info see website
or call (508) 627-7007.
Native Earth Popcorn Fest
Sunday, Oct. 9, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Chilmark.
A fun and free gathering at Native Earth Teaching Farm (North Road, near
Tea Lane) to celebrate the end of the season. Local food, games, and
fiber activities for humans of all ages, abundant popcorn for everyone
else, especially the ducks and pygmy goats. More at website
National Fossil Day
Thursday, Oct. 13, 4:00 to 7:45 pm, Oak Bluffs.
Celebrate National Fossil Day and explore the world of marine and
paleobiological research. Presenters will be displaying fossil finds and
be available for discussion. Bring your own fossils if you have them!
Free, all ages. At the O.B. Library, call (508) 693-9433 for more info.
Presenters include paleobiologist Fred Hotchkiss, Ann DuCharme of
the MV Museum, Meg Tivey and Ann McNichol from WHOI, prehistorian and
artist Duncan Caldwell, zoologists Scott Smyers and Kyle Cormier, divers
Heidi Raihofer and Joe Leonardo, artist and swimming instructor Michael
Wooley, archaeologist Bill Moody, marine ecologist Wendy Culbert,
students Jacob and Sam Gurney, and others.
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
Guided Birding Tours
Saturdays, 9:00 to 11:30 am, 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 or email
Living Local this Weekend!
(click for full poster)
Join VCS this Saturday for the Living Local Harvest Festival, an annual
celebration of sustainable living and Island community spirit! In
support of this year’s festival theme of “Reduce—Reuse—Recycle,” and in
anticipation of this winter’s implementation of the new plastic bag
reduction bylaw, the VCS table will feature activities and information
on how we can reduce our Island’s reliance on these disposable shopping
As always, the festival’s main event (Oct. 1st, 10 am - 4 pm)
brings together great local food, music, animals, games and activities
for kids of all ages. Educational presentations and demos this year
include local recycling and “The Life of Trash,” renewable energy, and a
composting workshop roundtable hosted by Heather Goldstone of WCAI and
featuring 6 local experts. In addition, Cape Light Compact will offer an
opportunity to turn in old dehumidifiers and room air conditioners
(including a rebate of $30 for dehumidifiers!). All of that is preceded
by Friday’s opening story night from 6 to 8 pm, and followed by a
community supper Saturday night from 5 to 9 pm. The festival is free,
but the supper is $15 per person ($5 for children), see website for more details.
The annual Living Local Harvest Festival was founded by four Island
organizations — VCS, the MV Agricultural Society, 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.
Solar Farms: Yes In My Back Yard, but Not In Our Ancient Woodland
Making smart use of an
already degraded environment, solar panels create a canopy over a bike
lane running down the middle of this highway in South Korea (still image
from YouTube video; see Treehugger for commentary)
VCS has long supported the increased use of solar energy as an important
part of the transition to cleaner and carbon-free energy. Today, as the
efficiency and cost of photovoltaic solar panels reach new highs and
lows, respectively, solar power represents a better value than ever –
both for the environment and the economy. That’s why our first
impression of the plan by the Oak Bluffs Water District to build a solar
farm on land under their jurisdiction was positive. The proposed 1.46
MW solar array (much larger than what a homeowner or business might put
on their roof, but on the small side for a public utility) would provide
carbon-free electricity for the Water District and bring in revenue, to the potential benefit of the Town’s ratepayers.
The problem with the project, and the reason that VCS must oppose it
despite our general support of solar energy, is the proposed location,
which would require the clear-cutting of over 10 acres of ancient
woodland sitting atop the recharge area for the Town’s public water
supply. Unlike the majority of forest land on the Vineyard, our ancient
woodlands were never completely cleared, providing a rare bit of
ecologically intact habitat that predates European settlement. (Read
more about the ecology, history, and importance of these forests in the letter submitted to the MV Commission by Harvard Forest Director David Foster.) As Dr. Foster, as well as our own supporting letter, argue, the clearing of healthy, ecologically productive forest in the name of reducing carbon emissions is counterproductive.
Unfortunately, it turns out that this proposal is part of a larger
pattern of inappropriate siting of solar farms on protected open space,
including productive forests and farmland. As we describe in our letter,
this is the product of complex collaborations between solar developers
and private equity firms to take advantage of state financial incentives
called Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). Currently, these credits
are available for projects sited in ecologically sensitive areas,
although the amount is proportionally smaller than that awarded for
solar arrays in more sensible locations, such as rooftops, parking
canopies, and already degraded open space. Our statewide environmental
colleagues (Mass. Audubon, The Mass. Land Trust Coalition, The Nature
Conservancy, and The Trustees) are currently advocating for the state
Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to update their standards for
SRECs to better reflect the DOER’s own stated siting guidelines for
solar farms (see page 5 of the attachment to the VCS letter):
"DOER strongly discourages locations
that result in significant loss of land and natural resources, including
farm and forest land, and encourages rooftop siting, as well as
locations in industrial and commercial districts, or on vacant,
disturbed land. Significant tree cutting is problematic because of the
important water management, cooling, and climate benefits trees
“Strongly discourage” to the tune of a reduced, but still substantial, financial incentive!