Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
Visit our Website

Support Vineyard Conservation

Find us on Facebook

Quotes of the Week:
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
- Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama

"All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking."
- Friedrich Nietzsche
And, finally:
"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time."
- Steven Wright

Conservation Calendar

Felix Neck Fall Festival:

Friday, Nov 25
This year, Felix Neck's annual Fall Festival (as always, the day after Thanksgiving) features live bird demonstrations, horse drawn hay rides, music by the Flying Elbows, food, crafts, and more. Many volunteers are needed for both morning and afternoon shifts, in a variety of roles, from craft making to serving food, to assiting with hay rides (and more). If you are interested in helping sustain this great community event, please contact the sanctuary at 508-627-4850 or

Polly Hill Winter Walk

Saturday, Nov 12 at 10:00 am.

Guided tours will be held the second Saturday of every month through the winter. Observe back patterns, tree architecture, and winter flowers and fruits in the ever-changing "off season." Walks begin at the visitor's center. FREE.

Winter Farmers Market
Saturday, Nov 19, 10 am to 1 pm at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury.

From the website: "The summer may be over but the West Tisbury Farmers Market continues through December. The Winter Market is an off season favorite, held indoors at the New Ag Hall with over 25 vendors, great food and live music!"

Fresh, Local Cranberries

Fresh, certified organic cranberries for sale, locally grown by the Vineyard Open Land Foundation at at their historic Cranberry Acres bog. Proceeds support the continuing renovation of the bog (which will be familiar to those who frequently travel Lambert's Cove Rd). Fresh VOLF cranberries are $10 lb, $5 1/2 lb. Organic sweetened dried cranberries are also available for $14 lb. To order, e-mail Carol Magee at or call 508-639-3280.

In Season Recipe
Kale Soup

The days grow short, but the kale will be just fine.

It’s not surprising, in a place with such a strong, but diverse (by both era and location of emigration) Portuguese influence, that on our island, opinions abound as to what makes for a good Kale soup. Some stick close to traditional Caldo Verde, while others may defend their family’s creative derivation as if the recipe predated Columbus. Not feeling particularly bound by tradition, I’m perfectly happy with all of the variations: simplicity is wonderful, but so is the potential for more exciting flavors and/or a heartier meal on those nights when kale may be the only thing left standing in the garden.
Fresh from the Vineyard author Virginia Jones’ version is in this more creative, heartier spirit. It’s not too challenging, and is an excellent choice when you have time to plan for the next day. Or try the very quick recipe posted below, from Food Network’s Rachel Ray, which won’t have the depth of flavor that comes with setting up and chilling overnight, but is quite good in its own right. And “Soup Guaranteed in 30 Minutes or Less!” is a compelling sales pitch when the alternative is frequently unhealthy (and infrequently available, up-island) take-out.

  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium white waxy potatoes, like yukon golds, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • 1 pound kale, coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzos (chick peas), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound diced chourico, casing removed
  • 1 quart chicken broth
Heat oil in a deep pot over medium high heat. Add potatoes and onions, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic, bay leaves, and kale to the pot. Cover pot and wilt greens 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add beans, tomatoes, chourico, and broth to the pot and bring soup to a full boil. Reduce heat back to medium and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

Serve soup with hunks of crusty bread and butter.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Local News

VCS Winter Walks Begin this Week!

Moshup Trail: A globally unique habitat, defined by dunes, heathland, fens, and beach all in close proximity. (Photo by Brendan O'Neill -- click to enlarge)

VCS kicks off its program of guided winter walks this Sunday, November 13 starting at 1:30 pm with an interpretative hike around the moors, beaches and heathlands of Aquinnah’s Moshup Trail.

VCS and partners have been working for years to protect land in this area through donations of conservation restrictions (CRs), gifts of land, and outright purchase. The habitat at Moshup Trail is considered globally rare, with more than 90% of these coastal heathlands lost due largely to land development.

Proceed down Moshup Trail from the down-island side and look for VCS signs on the left. The walk will last approximately 2 hours. For more information on Sunday's walk, call the office (508 693-9588) or see our website.

The rest of this year's Winter Walks schedule (check back later for details):
  • December 11: Chilmark Pond
  • January 8: Cranberry Acres and Connecting Trails, Lambert’s Cove
  • February 12: Featherstone, Oak Bluffs
  • March 11:Woods Preserve, West Tisbury

Mystery Photo Recap
Thanks to all those who submitted guesses, thoughts, and comments about our mystery photo. Most thought that it was some sort of ship (most likely very old), with one suggestion that it could be part of an old pier. The most detailed description came from VCS board member Virginia Jones, who guessed it could have been a coasting schooner that had spent a good while buried out in Vineyard Sound.

To those who requested the real answer: it wasn’t a trick, we really didn’t know! Our guesses here at the VCS office were similar to those above – most likely a sailing vessel of some sort, quite possibly a schooner, but without ruling out the possibility that it could be most anything, from part of a dock to a chunk of some old mainland bulkhead. Thanks for all the contributions!
Other News

National Geographic: 2011's Top Environmental Photos

Kingfisher, from the fish's-eye-view

In their list of the best environmental photos for 2011, National Geographic has certainly covered a wide range of beauty. It's no exaggeration to say they've captured magical (natural world finalist), majestic (underwater world finalist), eery (climate change finalist), and horrifyingly poignant beauty (the overall winner). Throw in some humorous anthropomorphism and the documentary (the only photo that's not really aesthetically interesting) and you have an excellent, diverse collection. To see the rest, and the stories behind these photos, see the slideshow.
California Set to Implement Cap-and-Trade

Where gas mileage standards tackle non-point-source carbon pollution, cap-and-trade programs aim directly at the big targets. (Photo from L.A. Times)

California has recently adopted the nation’s first cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions. Enforcement of the new regulations, approved in late October, will begin in 2013, and gradually stiffen such that emissions in 2020 will be reduced to 1990 levels. From the L.A. Times:
“The complex market system for the first time puts a price on heat-trapping pollution by allowing California's dirtiest industries to trade carbon credits. The rules have been years in the making, overcoming legal challenges and an aggressive oil industry-sponsored ballot initiative.”
The Times article is a good read for those interested in the mechanics of how a cap-and-trade plan works; in the second half, they go beyond the politics to explain what the plan actually does. Outside of California, the important question is whether this program can serve as a model for the nation. It is unfortunately true that it may lead to little immediate or direct effect on greenhouse gas emissions. To some extent, critics are right that some of the relatively mobile industries may just pack up and move out of state. But once the rest of the U.S. and the developed world adopt similar programs, it is hard to see why industries that haven’t already moved to China (for the benefits that already exist, like low costs and virtually non-existent pollution and labor standards) would do so now, just to avoid purchasing carbon credits.  
If we are ever going to achieve some sort of realistic pricing of carbon (instead of hiding the cost in oil-spill clean-ups, FEMA disaster responses, and armoring our coasts as the water rises), it will probably be only after California, with the world’s 8th largest economy and plenty of carbon-intensive industry, demonstrates that such a system can be implemented without crippling their economy. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary (even photovoltaic power, long derided as impractical, is suddenly achieving rapid progress in affordability), too many simply assume that efforts to reduce carbon emissions “kill jobs,” to use the language of the moment. California has been the nation’s test kitchen for environmental initiatives before, and we’re likely going to need them again.

Submit your conservation news to:

Copyright (C) *2011* *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.