Vineyard Conservation Society will hold its annual meeting

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The Vineyard Conservation Society (VCS) will hold its annual meeting on Tuesday, June 23, from 5 to 7 pm at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury. It is free for VCS members, and $10 for nonmembers.

This is the 50th anniversary of VCS, and the focus of the meeting, according to a press release, will be to look ahead: What will be the issues, challenges, and opportunities of the next half-century? John Abrams and Marc Rosenbaum will lead an informal conversation about sustainability for the coming decades. Mr. Abrams founded and runs design/build firm South Mountain Co. (SMC). He is the author of The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, and Place. Mr. Rosenbaum is a systems engineer and director of engineering at SMC, specializing in designing high-performance, energy-efficient buildings. They will address topics such as: How do we balance the challenges facing the Island (threatened rare habitats and water quality, a housing shortage, climate change, a seasonal economy, declining fish stocks, an aging population, etc,), and what is VCS’s role as an environmental organization?

For 50 years, VCS has worked to protect the land, water, and natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard. In the 1960s, the nature of the mission was conceptually simple: Protect the remaining special places and critical natural habitats on the Island from unfettered development. In a time before the Land Bank or Martha’s Vineyard Commission, with no local zoning regulations or town Conservation Commissions, the pressing need was to provide tools and motivation for private landowners to conserve natural areas instead of developing them.

As new environmental issues have emerged over the decades, VCS has adapted its mission to include protection of family farms and promotion of sustainable agriculture, advocating for recycling and better solid-waste disposal, energy conservation, water quality protection, and much more, all while maintaining an active focus on land protection through facilitating purchases and conservation restrictions.