Martha’s Vineyard Community Notes

— Photo courtesy of Island Alpaca

NAACP celebrates Juneteenth

The Martha’s Vineyard branch of the NAACP will hold a “Juneteenth” celebration from 3 to 6 pm at the First Baptist Church on Spring Street in Vineyard Haven on Saturday, June 22.

Juneteenth celebrates and commemorates June 19, 1865, the date when slaves in Texas first learned of their freedom two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

This year’s guest speaker is Dr. Jorge Rios, American Red Cross New England Division medical director who will speak about the importance of blood donations, particularly among communities of color.

James “Jim” Thomas will lead the U.S. Slave Song Project Spirituals Choir. A potluck dinner will follow in the parish hall. Participants are asked to bring a dish or contribute $5

The NAACP this year celebrates 50 years of service to the Island community. This year’s program is dedicated to former president Natalie Ellen Dickerson, who died in April.

For more information, call chairman Barbara Ann Linton at 508-627-8850.

Church group lends a hand

Members of the Martha’s Vineyard Ecumenical Youth Group will travel to New Jersey during the last week in June to assist in Superstorm Sandy relief efforts. The mission trip is organized through “A Future of HOPE,” a program of the United Methodist Church. The program serves vulnerable and marginalized populations who otherwise may not receive assistance, according to a press release.

This month, the MV Ecumenical Youth Group will be working with a local church to help rebuild homes destroyed last October by the devastating storm. Donations to support the efforts of this group may be sent to the MV Ecumenical Youth Group, c/o The Federated Church, 45 South Summer Street, P.O. Box 249, Edgartown, MA 02539. Call 508-627-4421 for more information.

Tisbury School recognition day

The Tisbury School held its Recognition Day for the 5th – 8th grades on Tuesday, June 11. The school recognized all students for their individual contributions towards a positive school environment. The following special awards were also given out: Jeffrey T. Goodale Memorial Award to Skyla Harthcock (grade 5); Dorothy Larkosh Roberts Award to Julia Kane (grade 6); Rose Anthony Award for Achievement in Literary Arts to Margaret Burke and Elizabeth Williamson (grade 7);

8th Grade Awards: Kerry Alley Humanitarian Award to Barbara de Paula; Eugene W. Baer Creative Arts Award to Ashley Wood; James Norton Technology Award to Colbeck Leuenberger; Maurice Bresnahan School Service Award to Robson Borges; Fred Glodis Science Award to Justine Cassel; Micheal Ovios Golden Hammer Award to Patricia Oliveira.

Thirty-two students graduated from the Tisbury School on Wednesday, June 12. During graduation the Principal’s Award was given to two outstanding 8th graders, Amanda Bernard and Cody Chalifoux.

Also recognized at this year’s graduation were five retirees: Jeanne Dowling, Greg Coogan, Judy Giegler, Cathy Weiss, and Kate Grillo.

Polly Hill program preview

Fifteen years ago the Polly Hill Arboretum opened to the public with a mission to share plant knowledge with students of all ages. Both Polly Hill and Arboretum founder David Smith were advocates of lifetime learning.

Since 1998 the Arboretum has offered myriad learning opportunities to the Vineyard community through informative and enjoyable lectures, classes, and workshops taught by experts from across the country. This year is no exception, according to a press release.

Speakers this summer include Guy Sternberg, director of the Starhill Forest Arboretum in Petersburg, Illinois, who will present the annual Lisina and Frank H. Hoch lecture. His talk, “Trees in a Changing Climate,” focuses on predicted climate change and its profound effect on our landscapes.

The annual David H. Smith memorial lecture features Stephen Kellert, professor emeritus at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He will explore the need for human connection with nature for our own well-being as well as the health of the planet as he discusses his book, “Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World.”

Monticello gardens director Peter J. Hatch rediscovers the past in his book talk, “A Rich Spot of Earth: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello.” Mr. Hatch meticulously restored Thomas Jefferson’s vegetable garden and along the way discovered how Jefferson’s gardening legacy continues to influence the culinary, garden, and landscape history of the United States.

Sheila Brady, a principal at the landscape architecture firm Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, will present a talk on her recent design project, the Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden. Ms. Brady will discuss the garden’s design and its mission to inspire home gardeners to plant sustainable native plants in their gardens.

This theme continues with Theresa Sprague of BlueFlax Design and her presentation on meadowscaping and Chanticleer horticulturist Dan Benarcik’s exploration of groundcovers as sustainable lawn alternatives. Other classes offered this season include drawing classes, plant propagation, an introduction to ferns, and the botany of beer.

For more information, visit