The 25th Annual Earth Day Beach Clean-Up
April 22, 2017: Rain or Shine!
It's easy to go green this Earth Day: join your friends and neighbors in the Earth Day Beach Clean-Up! Just head out to your favorite beach at 10:00 - volunteers will be there with everything you need. Afterward, join VCS at the Harbor View Hotel for great food, a free raffle, and to compare your treasure hunting stories.
This year's beaches include:
Aquinnah: Lobsterville, Philbin, Tribal Beaches
Chilmark: Squibnocket, Menemsha, Lucy Vincent
Edgartown: Fuller Street, Lighthouse Beach, South Beach (Left & Right Fork), State Beach (Bend in the Road)
Oak Bluffs: Eastville Point, State Beach (Little Bridge), Town Beach (SSA to Inkwell)
Tisbury: Meet at Owen Park or the town landing on the Lagoon; volunteer leaders will then send people on to the nearby beaches, including Grove Ave Beach, Hines Point, the Lake Street landing, Tashmoo opening, Owen Little Way, and the VH harbor.
West Tisbury: Cedar Tree Neck, Lambert’s Cove
Special thanks to our sponsors:
M.V. Savings Bank | Harbor View Hotel
Josh and Angela Aronie | Cronig’s Market | Lucky Hank’s
Offshore Ale | SBS | Scottish Bakehouse | Sharky's | Tyson Foods
and our volunteer group leaders:
Church of Latter Day Saints, Cub Scout Packs 90 & 93, Friends of Sengekontacket, Girl Scout Jrs. Troop 69246 and Brownie Troop 66207, Harbor View Hotel, Lagoon Pond Association, MV Savings Bank, MV Surfcasters, Oak Bluffs School, Tisbury School, Tisbury Waterways Inc., Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, Squibnocket Association, Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, Tisbury School, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), West Tisbury School
* * * Past Events * * *
Join VCS for a return to the ever-changingFrances Newhall Woods Preserve. Located across the towns of West Tisbury and Chilmark, the 512-acre property provides one of the largest intact ecosystems on our island, including at least eight distinct natural communities, ten different soil types, and more than 200 plant and animal species.
Tough footing: Walks at the Woods Preserve often traverse areas where shrubby vegetation, mowed or burned, stiffly pokes up from the ground. So wear strong-soled shoes or boots, and we suggest leaving dogs at home – in previous years, sore paws have led some to be carried out by their human companions!
VCS has offered guided walks on the Woods Preserve since its protection in 1991, when the owners, Edwin Newhall Woods and Jeanne Woods donated a permanent Conservation Restriction (CR) to the Nature Conservancy (TNC). Upon the Woods’ death, the land was bequeathed to TNC and the CR was conveyed to VCS.
The walk will last one to two hours, followed by cider and cookies. Please dress for the weather, and keep any dogs on leashes. Parking is off North Rd. about one mile from the West Tisbury end; look for VCS signs and flags on the south side of the road. For additional info, please contact our office.
Winter Walks Return with Trips to Flat Point Farm & Morning Glory Farm
October 1: Living Local Harvest Festival
As always, the festival brought together great local food, music, animals, games and activities for kids of all ages, and educational presentations and demos on a variety of sustainability issues, this year including local recycling and “The Life of Trash,” renewable energy, and a composting workshop roundtable. In addition Cape Light Compact offered an opportunity to turn in old dehumidifiers and room air conditioners.The Living Local Harvest Festival, an annual celebration of Island community spirit that has now grown into a major event and community treasure, was originally founded by four Island non-profits, the MV Ag. Society, Vineyard Energy Project, Island Grown Initiative, and VCS, to promote sustainable living on our island by encouraging local food production and the local economy, renewable energy, and resource conservation.
August 4: Conservator Appreciation Event
Our annual summer “Thank You” event for VCS Conservators was held this year at the Chilmark home of Dave and Karen Davis. The Davis home is a beautiful example of smart design that fits into the surrounding landscape rather than dominating it, and features modern technology to maximize energy efficiency.
VCS Conservators are donors who give $1,000 or more per year, as well as those who have donated land and conservation restrictions.
June 29: VCS Annual Meeting
The business portion of the meeting was followed by a presentation of Island photography by Neal Rantoul. Recently retired (following 30 years as head of the Northeastern University Photo Program), Neal is a life-long Vineyard resident who now devotes his efforts full-time to making new work and bringing earlier work to a national and international audience.
Neal’s photography boldly illustrates how the Island is continually changing – due to both the unpredictable power of nature, as seen in our dynamic shoreline, and the rapid pace of development and other human impacts. In describing his work earlier this spring, Neal draws an analogy to photographer Eugene Atget’s work documenting the industrialization of Paris at the turn of the 20th century: “I felt in the late 80s and early 90s a sense of urgency about the Vineyard. Such rapid growth and building. I felt that areas unbuilt should be photographed so there would be a record.”
Memorial Day Weekend: Nature as Inspiration
Winter Walks: Preserving Local Farming at the Allen Sheep Farm
The second walk of the season was a visit to the iconic Allen Farm on South Road in Chilmark. The view from the farm out over the south shore is one of the most spectacular on the Island.
Allen farm has seen animal grazing and human habitation for hundreds of years, all under Allen family stewardship; today, owners Clarissa Allen and Mitchell Posin carry on that tradition. Twenty-five years ago, 22.5 acres were preserved through an agreement among the owners, VCS, the Town of Chilmark, Mass DPW, and the Land Bank. Twenty years ago, VCS facilitated an additional gift of a Conservation Restriction (CR) on an abutting parcel of 5.3 acres. In recent years, the farm installed a wind turbine on the north side of the property under a state program where green energy projects are fast-tracked for farms and schools.
At this year’s Living Local Harvest Festival, VCS unveiled a bold plan to pursue the passage of a plastic bag ban in all six Island towns. Our goal is to put the new bylaw before voters at the 2016 Town Meetings. This would not mean an end to all plastic bags (the ban targets only those thin bags with integrated handles typically given out at the point-of-sale), but it is a meaningful step toward less land and marine pollution, and will help reduce the amount of plastic in our waste stream. Read more about what VCS is proposing and why.
Many thanks to all who attended our 50th Birthday Party on August 5th, and everyone who helped make it happen, including our wonderful auctioneers, musicians, volunteers, staff, and sponsors.
An extra special thank you goes out to our participating artists. They not only donated their art to support VCS, but many also invited the public to view them at work!
Artists Painting en Plein Air to Support VCS
Seven of our Fresh Paint artists – Valentine Estabrook, Kanta Lipsky, Marjorie
Mason, Tiffiney Shoquist, Jeanne Staples, Liz Taft, and Allen Whiting – invited the public to come watch them create
their newest work live, on location. Their technique, known in
the artistic community as painting en
plein air, can be used to capture the immediacy and power of the natural
world where things are constantly changing, or alternately, to communicate the
peace and serenity in a particular moment. To all of our wonderful artists,
Nature as Inspiration: The Films of Jacques Perrin
an environmental film
The Nature as Inspiration festival is part of a broader initiative from VCS called “Connect, Reflect, Protect.” In our 50th anniversary year, VCS is seeking to spark environmental awareness and reflection on the importance of connecting our Island community to the natural world that supports us. With several sellouts and packed houses all weekend – many times packed largely with young folks – there is no doubt that we are one big step further along the path of the Connect – Reflect – Protect outreach initiative.
Thanks to the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, whose grant made this festival possible.
On Wednesday, Aug. 13, VCS in collaboration with the Center for Biological Diversity and the MV Film Society co-hosted a screening of the Oscar- and Emmy-winning documentary film The Island President, the story of Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed’s efforts to raise awareness around climate change issues and protect his island nation from the rising seas. Frostpaw the polar bear, CBD’s climate change mascot, spoke with guests as a special treat!
The screening was part of CBD’s effort to draw President Obama’s attention toward climate change issues during his visit to the Island, and part of their broader campaign in opposition to Federal approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Conservator Appreciation Event
"In the Orchard"
The annual appreciation event for our most generous donors was held last year at the home of Jesse Ausubel, Director of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University. (Jesse is also a VCS Board alum and currently our Science Advisor.)For more information on becoming a Conservator, please contact Signe Benjamin at (508) 693-9588 or via email.
The original high-res versions can be found at our climate change page. Depicting areas inundated at both 1 meter (yellow) and 2 meters (red) of sea level rise, the maps paint a stark picture of valuable land and critical infrastructure lost outright in the not-too-distant future. What the maps do not reveal is the much broader area subject to flooding due to storm surges and the ongoing effects of coastal erosion.
Special thanks to Chris Seidel at the MVC for creating the map projections, and to Dan Martino of MV Productions for producing both videos.
We were joined at the screening by Executive Producer Stephen Kellert, who is the co-originator (along with E.O. Wilson) and a primary developer of the Biophilia Hypothesis, a broader theory describing the interactions between humans and nature that draws on biology, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and other disciplines. The concepts of biophilia form the underpinnings of Professor Kellert's study of architecture and design presented in the film.
In an effort to dig a little deeper into the world of biophilia, VCS staffer Jeremy Houser recently conducted an interview with Dr. Kellert. Check out the interview to learn more about biophilia in general, Dr. Kellert's efforts to develop a code of ethics drawing on biophilic theory, and even why we are (perhaps unreasonably) afraid of spiders.
Climate Change: Building and Island Understanding
For the last several years, VCS has made climate change awareness and education an organizational priority. This summer, we hosted renowned environmentalists William and Margot Moomaw for a very special presentation at the Grange Hall. The Moomaws shared their insight into both the global context of one of the most pressing issues of our time and the possibilities and benefits of taking action locally to live deliberately and live better.
Video of the presentation is available from Martha's Vineyard Productions.
William Moomaw is Professor of International Environmental Policy at Tufts University, and the founding Director of the Tufts Climate Initiative. He has authored work for the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Margot Moomaw is a graduate of the Harvard School of Public Health and has worked in the healthcare field for more than twenty-five years. She is now a green design consultant, offering expertise on actions homeowners can take to live better, more sustainable lives.
Where possible, experts with inside knowledge of the film have been in attendance to lead informal discussion sessions after the showing, most notably Jesse Ausubel, who served as a science consultant on Switch, a film about the diverse methods of global energy production, and Stephen Kellert who presented his own film Biophilic Design. Other films, including Green Fire (the story of the great environmentalist Aldo Leopold), Dive (an exploration of food waste and “dumpster diving”), and Last Call at the Oasis (an expose of the global water crisis), featured discussions facilitated by VCS board and staff. Our screening of Chasing Ice, the story of a photographer’s effort to document the disappearance of the Earth’s glaciers, brought a third partner into the collaboration, the local chapter of the global climate advocacy organization 350.org.
Watch for announcements of new Green on Screen films at the VCS website, in our Conservation Almanac, and in the local papers' events calendars.