Kicking the habit
On Saturday, May 31, from 10 to 11:30 am, The Polly Hill Arboretum and The Vineyard Conservation Society will welcome Paul Tukey, founder of Safelawns.org, an international coalition promoting environmentally friendly lawn care. He will lead a discussion on organic lawns. Based on his best-selling book, "The Organic Lawn Care Manual," Mr. Tukey will offer great information on how you can kick the chemical habit and turn your lawn into an ecosystem teeming with life. Tickets cost $10. For more information, call 508-693-9426.
Dr. Les Cutler, the former Chancellor of the University of Connecticut Health Center, will present "The Health Care Dilemma: How we got here, Where can we go, How do we get there?" on Wednesday, June 11, at 5:30 pm, at the Chilmark Library. The lecture is sponsored by the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library. Admission is free. For more information, call 508-645-3360.
Going forward with their Farm to School program, the Island Grown Initiative would like volunteers to help install nine raised garden beds at the West Tisbury School this Sunday, June 1. From 9 am to 12 noon, volunteer carpenters are needed to build the beds, and additional help is needed to fill them with soil and compost. From 1 to 3 pm, everyone is welcome to help with chores. Children's activities, refreshments, and garden gloves will be provided. Be sure to wear your gardening clothes. For more information, call Nicole at 508-693-0248.
Owlets to owls
Three weeks ago, they were two tiny balls of fluffy white feathers with small sharp silver beaks protruding between the slits of squinting eyes. That's how they greeted the world two weeks earlier at Gus Ben David's world of Reptiles and Birds Park in Edgartown. The feathers have now turned grey; the eyes are now wide-open and bright orange; the birds' height has doubled to about eight inches; and they stand on large feet adorned with sharp fierce-looking talons.
They are Eurasian eagle owlets, hatched in early May from eggs of the pair of Eurasian eagle owls, Angel and Mystic, introduced on the Vineyard by Mr. Ben David three years ago. They are being hand-raised in a nest-box by Mr. Ben David and his wife, Debbie, initially in the kitchen and now in the basement. The Eurasian eagle owl, as its name implies, hails from parts of two continents and, with a wingspan of five to seven feet, is the largest of the world's owl species.
Also in the basement, the Ben Davids are providing around-the-clock tender-loving natal car for three six-week-old barn owls. Far more familiar to Vineyard residents, the barn owl is making a comeback after the extremely harsh winter of 2005 nearly wiped out its entire Island population.
Both groups of Mr. Ben David's nestlings have good appetites and are thriving on diets of ground and whole mice, as is an orphaned young screech owl found in the wild and brought to Mr. Ben David for rehab care and ultimate release back into the wild.
Photo by Ralph Stewart
Home at last
Last Saturday, May 24, Habitat for Humanity of Martha's Vineyard celebrated the completion of their fifth house built on the Island. Habitat Director Ron D'Orio and board member Jerry Fritz handed the keys over to Chris Rasmussen and her three sons, Connor, Trey, and Taylor. Habitat volunteers, board members, and friends celebrated with a cake donated by the Martha's Vineyard Gourmet Café and Bakery.
Construction began early last fall, and the family plans to move into the house this weekend.
In so many words
The annual Big Used Book Sale at the Chilmark Library continues this Saturday, May 31, from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. In the second week of the sale, get two books for the price of one. Sponsored by the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library, the sale continues, during library hours, through June 7. Books are free from June 4.