National Geographic hosts “Water is Life” this weekend


This weekend Martha’s Vineyard will host a series of water conservation-related events to help celebrate the launch of “Written in Water: Messages of Hope for Earth’s Most Precious Resource,” published by the National Geographic Society and the Island premiere of Chilmark filmmaker Adam Geiger’s film, “Shark Eden.” National Geographic and World Waterway, a nonprofit water research group led by William Marks of Edgartown, are the sponsors.

On Saturday afternoon, a panel will discuss the importance of water as a natural resource from 12:30 to 2 pm at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven. Bob Woodruff, former executive director of the Vineyard Conservation Society and chairman of the Martha’s Vineyard Water Alliance, will moderate a panel of local water experts that includes Bill Wilcox, Martha’s Vineyard Commission water planner; Joe Alosso, Edgartown and Oak Bluffs wastewater treatment facilities manager; William “Buddy” Vanderhoop, well known charter boat captain and member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head; and regional high school student Caitlyn Francis, winner of the Martha’s Vineyard Science Fair World Waterway Award.

A discussion with several of the authors included in the “Written in Water” anthology will follow from 2:30 to 4 pm at the Katharine Cornell Theatre. They include Alexandra Cousteau, founder of Blue Legacy, an international initiative on water resources, and granddaughter of renowned oceanologist Jacques-Yves Cousteau; Irena Salina, director of the award-winning film “FLOW”; Ellsworth Havens, president of Rotary International’s Water and Sanitation Action Group; Lynne Cherry, children’s author and environmental filmmaker; and Mr. Marks. Admission is free to both panel discussions.

That evening The Bunch of Grapes Bookstore on Main Street in Vineyard Haven will host a book-signing party at 6 pm followed by a showing of “Shark Eden,” written and filmed by Mr. Geiger and produced by his wife Colette Beaudry, and four short films by Ms. Cherry at 8 pm in the Katharine Cornell Theatre. Tickets cost $20 and are available at, Alley’s General Store, Jim’s Package Store, Menemsha Texaco, Edgartown Books, and Bunch of Grapes Bookstore.The film event is co-sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society and World Waterway.

Sunday’s events include a reception and book signing at 5 pm at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown with Ms. Cousteau. At 7 pm, Ms. Cousteau will speak about water conservation and West Tisbury Poet Laureate Fan Ogilvie will read her water poetry. Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School seniors Katie Mayhew and Maggie Howard, along with the Martha’s Vineyard Minnesingers, will provide muscal entertainment.

The evening’s musical festivities culminate with an hour-long concert by celebrated Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai. Tickets for Sunday night’s events are $30 or $20 for entrance only to Mr. Nakai’s concert. They are available in advance through All proceeds will benefit MVRHS’s Science Fair World Waterway Awards and water research.