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Dont miss the VCS
Annual Meeting!

Tuesday, June 28, 5:30 pm
at the Wakeman Conservation Center off of Lambert's Cove Road
At this year's meeting, Jeremy Houser will be giving a presentation on his research about the local effects of global climate change. Appetizers and wine will be served. All are welcome. FREE

Quote of the Week
“95% of Vineyarders surveyed said protecting the Vineyard’s environment
and character is a HIGH PRIORITY.” -Island Plan

Conservation Calendar

Seashore Discovery

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Edgartown.
Meet creatures of the sea including crabs, whelks and scallops. Cost is $9 or $6 for MassAudubon members; free for kids under three.

Native Plants and Invasive Species on Martha's Vineyard

Garden Club Monthly Meeting, Tuesday, June 21, at  1:00 p.m. at the Old Mill in West Tisbury.

Members are free, guests $5. For more information, call 508-693-5334.

Otters at the Chilmark Library

Wednesday, June 22, at 5:30 p.m.
Luanne Johnson, wildlife biologist, presents Otters! at the Chilmark Library  Free.

State Beach Exploration
Thursday, June 23, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the Polly Hill Arboretum.

Naturalist Dick Johnson leads an exploration of State Beach and Sengekontaket Pond. $20 general admission, and $10 for PHA members. For registration and carpool information, call 508 693 9426.

Used Book Drop-off Day
Oak Bluffs Public Library,
Thursday, July 7, 4:00 pm - 7:00pm.

Drop off your used books for the Library Friends Annual Book Sale.  Help by donating your slightly used books, DVDs, & CDs.  This is the FINAL drop-off day before the big sale,
July 21 - 23.

In Season Recipe

Local Strawberry Shortcake

  • 1 quart of Whipporwill Farm strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar

    Cake Batter
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup Mermaid Farm milk
  • 2 local eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    Sweetened Whip Cream
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar


Early in the day, prepare the strawberries. Wash and cut or pull tops off of strawberries. Make at least two slices from from top to bottom of each strawberry. Put in a covered container. Pour sugar over top, cover and put in the refrigerator. During the day, shake the container occasionally.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour 9" square pan. In small mixer bowl combine all cake ingredients. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed, about 2 minutes. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Just prior to serving whip cream and sugar.

Cut cake into nine squares. Slice each square horizontally. Place both halves on serving plate. Spoon strawberries on cake. Dollop whipped cream on top and then ladle clear strawberry juice over cream.

February 28, 2011

Local News

Lagoon Pond Study Results are in!

Lagoon Pond seen from the Sailing Camp during the VCS “Ponds in Peril” forum last summer

Due to the declining health of Lagoon Pond, the towns of Oak Bluffs and Tisbury jointly sponsored a wastewater/nitrogen study of the pond conducted by Mike Giggey of Wright Pierce Engineering through the Martha’s Vineyard Commission. Giggey has will be on the Island to present his findings on Wednesday March 2nd at 2:00 PM in the Oak Bluffs Selectmen’s Conference room located in the Oak Bluffs Library on Pacific Avenue. The report should help both towns move forward with plans for improving the water quality of this important pond.

Click HERE for information on the VCS “Ponds in Peril” advocacy program and the next steps needed to save our Great Ponds!
What makes a Great Pond great?

Tisbury Great Pond

Martha's Vineyard is fortunate to have 27 beautifully diverse coastal salt ponds that occupy nearly 9,000 acres of surface area. However, beauty alone does not a Great Pond make.

In order to hold the classification “Great”, a pond must be over ten acres in size and, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, "Ponds that once measured 10 or more acres in their natural state, but which are now smaller, are still considered Great Ponds." There are sixteen Great Ponds on the Vineyard and every town is able to boast at least one within its borders.  Where are they?

Blackpoint Pond
Chilmark Pond
Squibnocket Pond (Gay Head)
Tisbury Great Pond (West Tisbury)
Herring/Edgartown Great Pond
Jobs Neck Pond
Oyster Pond
Paqua Pond
Trapps Pond
Gay Head:
Squibnocket Pond (Chilmark)
Oak Bluffs:
Crystal Lake
Farm Pond
Lake Anthony/Oak Bluffs Harbor
West Tisbury:
Homer Pond
James Pond
Long Pond/Long Cove
Tisbury Great Pond (Chilmark)
Watcha Pond

How do we measure up to Nantucket? They have two; Quicks Hole Pond and Westend Pond.

Push Back on Land Based Wind
By Mark Robinson

Serious, far-along proposals by town governments for wind turbines on the Cape have now been defeated or withdrawn in Eastham, Wellfleet, Orleans, Harwich and Brewster.  Other large-turbine proposals have been rejected in Barnstable and Dennis by the Old Kings Highway Historic District Commission, the latter on a barrier beach. The Cape and Vineyard Energy Collaborative (CVEC) has stopped subsidizing new planning efforts (up to $500,000 for studies and permits), expecting towns to share in the upfront costs.
 The Brewster Planning Board voted 3-3-1 last week, failing to provide the minimum five votes needed for twin 400-foot turbines on Town industrial park land to be leased to CVEC, a county-sponsored collaborative. Even though the turbines would have been more than 1800 feet from the nearest home, the neighborhoods rose up to encourage the Planning Board to defeat them.  The Selectmen and Town Manager fully supported turbines as a revenue producer for town.  An appeal is unclear as yet.

Biodiversity, Food Safety and Genetically Modified Food

A critical aspect of “sustainable” living on Martha’s Vineyard and elsewhere involves awareness of food safety and how food production impacts biodiversity.

In 2010, 86 percent of US maize and 93 percent of soybeans were genetically modified. On January 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the deregulation of a GM alfalfa variety resistant to the widely-used herbicide Roundup. Food safety advocates are deeply concerned that “Roundup Ready Alfalfa” (RRA) will become invasive in natural environments and, among other things, have negative effects on biodiversity.

More biodiversity means more species, more complex interactions among different species, leading to a more stable and healthy ecosystem. Protecting this stability will be an increasingly important adaptation response to climate change.

One of the concerns about genetically modified (GM) plant varieties is that they pass their new traits on to wild relatives, changing their role in the ecosystem by, for example, enabling them to out-compete other species, resulting in reduced biodiversity.

In the agriculture industry, weeds are a costly threat, so GM plants that tolerate weed-killing herbicides are viewed as desirable. This tends to cause the loss of cultivar biodiversity through the use of only a handful of varieties, leading to the unintended consequence of more vulnerability to pest and disease outbreaks.

The powerful seed industry promoting RRA using the slogan, “grow the feed, not the weeds” argued: “in these difficult economic times, America’s farmers need every advantage to stay competitive and help provide a reliable, affordable food supply for the U.S.” Rejecting that argument, Maria Rodale, author and CEO of Rodale, Inc. wrote, “Every once in a while an issue comes along that is so shockingly wrong, that people seem to spontaneously unite in opposition. This is one of those times.”

Read more about “What’s Wrong With GE Alfalfa” HERE
and HERE.
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