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Winter Walks 2018-2019

November 11
Wakeman Center Area Trails
Tisbury/West Tisbury

December 2 
Waskosims Rock (with MV Land Bank)
Chilmark/West Tisbury

January 13
Thimble Farm (with Island Grown Initiative)

February 10
Spring Point

March 10
Featherstone (with FCA)
Oak Bluffs

Join your friends at VCS this winter for the always fun and informative Winter Walks series. Get outdoors, take in the Island's scenic beauty, and learn the interesting conservation history of some of our local ecological treasures! 

Winter Walks usually begin at 10 am, but please check newspapers or our website for times and directions. (The December 2nd walk will likely begin at 1:00 to accommodate the Land Bank's schedule.) All walks are free -- usually even better than free, with cider and cookies afterward!

* * * Past Events * * * 

Collaboration at Waskosims Rock

VCS involvement at Waskosims, an area located in the heart of the Mill Brook Watershed in Chilmark and West Tisbury, began over 40 years ago with the sponsorship of a study to test the feasibility of permanently protecting the land. Over the years, VCS advocacy fended off various subdivision plans, and established a protected Special Place designation for 22 acres, including Waskosims Rock itself. In 1990 the Land Bank stepped in, purchasing 145 acres of the property for $3.5M, conserving the land in perpetuity. Since then, MVLB acquisitions have expanded the Waskosims Reservation to nearly 185 acres.

Read more on the ecological features and land use history of the property, as well as how it came to be saved from a much different fate than what we see today.
The MV Land Bank is a public governmental entity created for the purpose of acquiring, holding, and managing protected lands. The Vineyard Conservation Society is a private non-profit membership organization pursuing its environmental protection mission through advocacy, education, and land preservation.

Winter Walking Through History: Chickemoo/Chickamaug

For our first Winter Walk of the 2018-2019 season, we set out from the VCS home base at the Wakeman Conservation Center to explore the network of trails around the fields, woods, cranberry ponds and bogs surrounding the Center, as well Duarte Pond and The Nature Conservancy's Hoft Farm. 

A Revolutionary History: The 240th Anniversary of Grey’s Raid

The earliest known inhabitants of the area called this place Chickamaug or Chickemoo, an Algonquain reference to the weir fish trapping that once thrived at Onkokemmy Bay -- today known as Lambert's Cove. 

However, later inhabitants -- European settlers and their descendants -- coined the name "Red Coat Hill Road" in response to an unwelcome visit from the Old World. In September of 1778, British General Sir Charles Grey anchored 47 warships containing 4,333 troops off Vineyard Haven harbor. After bringing the troops ashore, and marching his men along an old way running past the residence of local Selectman Shubael Weeks, General Grey seized this high ground west of Tashmoo. All told, 315 head of cattle and 10,574 sheep were expropriated from the island in what would be later known as Grey's Raid.

This year marks the 240th anniversary of Grey’s Raid.

Conservation Outlook 20/20: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

The Polly Hill Arboretum hosted VCS Executive Director Brendan O'Neill for their August 2018 David H. Smith memorial lecture. Brendan reflected on decades of conservation successes and setbacks on Martha’s Vineyard, and spoke to the challenges we face in the next half-century. During more than 50 years of conservation work, VCS has helped preserve some of the island’s most beautiful and iconic places—including Polly Hill’s arboretum.

Microplastics in the Ocean Environment

Annual Meeting of the Board & Membership

The 2018 Annual Meeting of the VCS Board & Membership featured special guest Jessica Donahue, research assistant at Sea Education Association (SEA). Drawing on SEA's 30 years of data on marine plastic debris (the largest such dataset regarding the North Atlantic in the world), Jessica discussed the global problem of plastic pollution in the marine environment, in particular the microplastics floating on the surface. Topics covered included where microplastics accumulate, what the sources and inputs are, and how data are collected. Her talk focused on the unanswered questions, common misconceptions, and possible solutions – including local initiatives to reduce our plastic footprint.

Jessica Donohue holds a B.S. in environmental geology from Binghamton University, a M.S. from the University of Rhode Island in environmental science/hydrogeology and has a background in science education outreach. Her current research is focused on how various polymers behave and degrade in the marine environment, and variability in the composition of microplastics in time and by region.

Nature as Inspiration

The 4th Annual Environmental Film Festival

May 24 - 27, 2018

The "Nature as Inspiration" environmental film festival returns this Memorial Day weekend, marking the fourth year of the collaborative effort by VCS and the MV Film Society to share 
with the Island community 
inspirational and thought-provoking films on humanity's relationship with the natural world. 

For four days, we will combine environmental film screenings, discussions, and art created by Island high school students for the VCS art contest, The Art of Conservation. Each film will be followed by a Q&A and discussion with experts, community members, and special guests. A special opening reception is planned for Thursday night at 6:30. 

The festival is also the opening show for the winning works of the 2018 Art of Conservation. There will be a special awards ceremony for the students at 3:30 on Saturday afternoon, and the artwork will be displayed throughout the festival in the Film Center's Feldman Family Artspace.

For the full schedule, tickets, and more, visit the the MV Film Society!

The Art of Conservation

Opening Show and Awards Presentation

May 26, 3:30 pm

Join us at 
3:30 on Saturday, May 26 at 
the MV Film Center for a special event honoring our Island’s talented young artists
: the awards ceremony and opening presentation of The Art of Conservation. The annual art contest, first launched by VCS in 2014, encourages local high school students to reflect on the value of nature, what it means to them, and to express themselves through a variety of media, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and digital design. We see this as an opportunity to deepen the sense of place among our young adults and connect them to local environmental issues.

Follow the links below to view the amazing artworks from previous years 
and learn more about the Art of Conservation!

Financial support for the Art of Conservation comes from the Martha's Vineyard Cultural Council

Break Free from Plastic

Join VCS and Plastic Free on MV at these monthly gatherings to learn all sorts of creative new ways to reduce the amount of plastic packaging and harsh chemicals in everyday life. At the Island Cohousing Common House, from 6 - 7 pm, kids are welcome!


Check out the photos from our most recent Earth Day Beach Clean-Up!

Break Free from Plastic

Past workshops from our Breaking Free from Plastic series. See top for what is up next!

Homemade Food Hacks
Make it yourself and skip the packaging

We’ve become so accustomed to grabbing what we need from the supermarket shelves that we’ve forgotten that many packaged foods, such as bread, tortillas, crackers, pasta, granola bars, yogurt and hummus, are all quite easy to make! Along with great taste, when you do it yourself you avoid the plastic packaging – as well as the processing and preservatives.

DIY Natural Cleaning Supplies
Chemical-free cleaning

In supermarkets and drugstores there are aisles and aisles full of highly specialized cleaners, decorated with chemical warnings on their labels . . . and all packed in plastic. Learn about inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives which can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Leave with product recipes and your own glass spray bottle of natural all-purpose cleaner!

Zero-Waste Wardrobe
Selecting, thrifting, minimizing, mending, and recycling

Natural fabrics—such as cotton, silk and wool—are made of animal or plant-based materials, while synthetics like polyester, rayon, acrylic and others are produced entirely from chemicals. The demand for polyester fabric, which is essentially a form of plastic, has increased by over half since 1980, making it the single most used textile. The average American disposes of 82 pounds of textiles each year, mostly polyester, which will not biodegrade in a landfill. By selling/donating clothing and buying secondhand, you help the environment by not adding to the waste heading to the landfill. 

Exploring Your Sense of Wonder

In January, VCS teamed up with Sense of Wonder Creations for a combination Winter Walk and Craft Day. We started our adventure near West Chop in Vineyard Haven with a short walk on the shore, collecting supplies for creating nature-inspired crafts back at the Sense of Wonder studio. See more photos!

Family Fun at Featherstone 

December's Winter Walk was a family-friendly collaboration with Featherstone Center for the Arts. After a hike through the nearby conservation lands (including a visit to the historic waterworks) we returned to Featherstone for a crafting activity. Coral from FCA guided kids in a print-making project, using seasonal plants to make nature-inspired cards.

Featherstone Center for the Arts was founded in 1980 to develop community through the arts. Their 6.5-acre facility is adjacent to more than 200 acres of Land Bank holdings at the Southern Woodlands (conserved in 2004), one of the last large undeveloped pieces of land in Oak Bluffs.

Quenames & Quansoo Winter Walk

A hardy band of walkers kicked off the 2017-18 Winter Walks series with a morning walk through the landscape surrounding Quenames Cove and Black Point Pond. The walk was led by naturalist and birder Soo Whiting, whose family has continuously occupied the Quenames farm for more than 200 years.  

If you missed it, check out the photos from the walk!

Breaking Up with Plastics
at the
Living Local Harvest Festival

The annual Living Local Harvest Festival was founded by four Island organizations — VCS, the M.V. 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.

This year's festival featured another event in our ongoing plastics reduction campaign. "Breaking Up with Plastics," with guests Tyson Bottenus (editor, Ocean Watch Magazine) and Clint Richmond (Mass. Sierra Club), our own Samantha Look and Nina Carter Hitchen, and moderator Heather Goldstone of WCAI, discussed plastic pollution and what you can do to help.

Global Environmental Threats:

How Medical Models Can Help us Understand Them

On July 26, 2017, Dr. Eric Chivian, founder and former director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, presented a talk on recognizing and addressing global environmental threats. His lecture touched on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, a topic of great importance to the Island community.

In 1980, Dr. Chivian co-founded the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. During the past 26 years, he has worked to involve physicians in the United States and abroad in efforts to increase public understanding of the potential human health consequences of global environmental change, and in 2008 was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Dr. Chivian is the senior editor and author of Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, named "Best Biology Book of 2008" by Library Journal. He currently directs a new nonprofit, the Program for Preserving the Natural World.

Annual Meeting of the Board & Membership

The Annual Meeting of the VCS Board and Membership was held Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at the West Tisbury Library. This year's meeting will feature a very special treat, a presentation by Jesse Ausubel, Director of Rockefeller University’s Program for the Human Environment (and long-time VCS science advisor), on the potential for environmental DNA (aka eDNA, or "naked DNA") to radically transform the way we understand the wildlife in our water.

Naked DNA in My Sea Water

. . . including results from Tisbury Great Pond and Look Pond

by Jesse H. Ausubel

Have you ever wondered who else has been swimming in your favorite body of water? Thanks to a new sampling technique, the collection and analysis of environmental DNA, we can now narrow that question down to species -- without having to take a single fish out of the water.

Environmental DNA (eDNA), also known as loose, extracellular, or naked DNA, results from the break-up of cells. It is continually cast off, yet doesn't persist long before breaking down, so the recent presence of many aquatic organisms can be reliably detected by looking for these DNA fragments. Monitoring  eDNA could supplement -- or even someday supplant -- traditional sampling methods, many of which can be time-consuming, expensive, and destructive to the very wildlife we seek to better understand.

The 25th Anniversary Earth Day Beach Clean-Up
April 22, 2017

See the photos from last year's clean-up!

Protect Wildlife, Beautify Your Island, Celebrate Earth Day, and Kick-Off Spring — All in One Great Family-Friendly Event

Read more about this community tradition at the Beach Clean-Up page!

This year's beaches:

Aquinnah: Lobsterville, Philbin, Tribal Beaches
Squibnocket, Menemsha, Lucy Vincent
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 | Dippin' Donuts | Lucky Hank’s

Scottish Bakehouse | Sharky's | The Trustees | Tyson Foods | Vineyard Grocer

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, MVY Radio, Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, Squibnocket Association, Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, 
Tisbury Waterways,
 Town of Chilmark, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), Brian and Caroline Giles, Bruce Golden, Bill Randol

Postponed: Winter Walk at Frances Newhall Woods Preserve

Update: following postponement due to weather, we are looking into rescheduling if possible. Stay tuned!

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

Our first winter walk of the 2016-17 season was 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. 

The second walk was a wintry stroll through the farm fields of Morning Glory and the conservation lands beyond. The walk was led by long-time owner and operator of the farm (and new VCS president) Jim Athearn. The relationship between VCS and the Athearns dates to the early 1980s partnership (also including the town, the state, the Land Bank, and the previous owners) that succeeded in preserving the land on which the farm now sits, guaranteeing its farming future in perpetuity. Click here to read more about the conservation history of this iconic Island farm. 

VCS has been sponsoring free guided walks for thirty years; they are traditionally from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on the second Sunday of the month from November through March. 

Photos and stories from our past Winter Walks!

October 1: Living Local Harvest Festival

In support of this year’s theme of “Reduce—Reuse—Recycle,” and in anticipation of this winter’s implementation of the new plastic bag reduction bylaw, the VCS table at the Living Local Harvest Festival featured activities and information on how we can reduce our Island’s reliance on these disposable shopping bags. 

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 c
elebration 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.

Conservator Appreciation Event

In 2016, our annual summer “Thank You” event for VCS Conservators was held 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.

At right: Peaches ripen on the trees of Jesse Ausubel's home orchard, the site of a previous Conservator Event.

VCS Annual Meeting 
Capacity Campaign Launched, and the Photography of Neal Rantoul

The 2016 annual meeting of the board and membership of the Vineyard Conservation Society was held at the West Tisbury Library. After three years at the helm, outgoing Board President Richard Toole impressed upon the group the importance of community action in the face of modern environmental and economic challenges. After Richard's introduction, and a short video recounting the historic and present role of VCS,
Linda Jones and Larry Hohlt announced the launch of a major fundraising campaign. To learn more about our Capacity Campaign, please contact our office.  

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.”

Nature as Inspiration
The 2nd Annual Environmental Film Festival

The second edition of our collaboration with the Martha's Vineyard Film Society combined
environmental films, discussions, and art across four days at the MV Film Center. The films were followed by Q&A sessions with experts, community members, and special guests. In addition, the winning works from our 3rd annual high-school art contest, the Art of Conservation, were on display in the Feldman Family Art Space. 

The Earth Day Beach Clean-Up 

Read more about this community tradition at the Beach Clean-Up page!

Winter Walks: Scenes from the Edgartown Harbor

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.

Read more about our other walks, or just check out the photos!

Living Local with the Vineyard Conservation Society

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.
The broader purpose of this year’s VCS Living Local program was to engage the community, especially our young people, in thinking about our consumption habits and resource conservation. If you missed it -- and your chance to decorate your own reusable canvas tote -- check out the photos above (or click here).  

Fresh Paint: The VCS 50th Birthday Celebration

In honor of the 50th anniversary of VCS, thirteen Island artists (see list below) c
reated works in support of, and inspired by, the conservation efforts of the Vineyard's only local environmental advocacy and land protection organization.

Many thanks to all who attended our 50th Birthday Party 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!

Valentine Estabrook • Lowely Finnerty • Nancy Kingsley •  Kanta Lipsky
Thaw Malin • Marjorie Mason •  Harry Seymour • Tiffiney Shoquist
Jeanne Staples • Liz Taft • Wendy Weldon • Allen Whiting •  Rez Williams

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,

Thank You!
VCS Annual Meeting: Envisioning the Next Half Century
A special 50th anniversary annual meeting was held at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury (a community treasure VCS had a hand in preserving). We briefly recognized the fifty years of work to protect the land, water, and quality of life on our Island, but spent most of the evening dedicated to a broader discussion about what it means to live sustainably for the next fifty years. Special thanks to speakers John Abrams and Marc Rosenbaum who helped facilitate an engaging conservation discussion.

Nature as Inspiration: The Films of Jacques Perrin

an environmental film festival

The first annual VCS environmental film festival was a rousing success! Hosted and co-sponsored by the MV Film Society, the event featured six screenings of the amazing nature films of Jacques Perrin. Many thanks to event organizer Jesse Ausubel for bringing Jacques and his team to the Vineyard, and to Richard Paradise, whose expertise and hospitality made the festival a joy for all. Special recognition also goes to Jesse for his adept moderation of the excellent Q&A sessions with the filmmakers and local naturalists, artists, and scientists that followed the films.

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.

Film Screening: The Island President

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 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.

VCS Annual Meeting Double Feature:

Beyond Bees with Paul Goldstein
At the 2013 Annual Meeting of the VCS Board and Membership, guest speaker Paul Goldstein of the Smithsonian Institution presented “Beyond bees: What insect and pollinator diversity tells us about conservation on the Cape and Islands,” a discussion of some of the Island’s unique creatures and habitats. For anyone who missed the meeting, check out the video of Dr. Goldstein’s here.

Rising Seas, Raising Awareness
As a bonus, prior to the meeting former VCS board member Phil Henderson gave an encore of his “Rising Seas” presentation, a look at local impacts of rising sea levels (video here). Phil discussed a variety of issues relating to climate change and sea level rise, but the most attention grabbing element was a series of maps specifically outlining what areas of our island will be submerged in the future. So attention grabbing, in fact, that the Gazette’s coverage of the meeting included small reproductions of the maps on their website.

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.

Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life
How can humankind manage to balance our needs for basic shelter and the experience of living in a natural, biotic world? Can it even be done in an urban area, with high population density, or in a rapidly developing rural area such as our island?
In March of 2013, VCS and the M.V. Film Society presented the new film Biophilic Design, which seeks to answer these questions and more.

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.

n 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.
Green on Screen Film Series

Our collaboration with the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society -- Green on Screen -- has truly taken flight over the past year. Screenings of films examining a variety of important environmental issues have become regular events at the new M.V. Film Center, recently opened to great acclaim by MVFS founder Richard Paradise.

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.