Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation summer benefit provides a healthy view

The Sheriff's Meadow Foundation 2014 summer benefit was held on the Vose family property overlooking Edgartown Harbor and the Vose boathouse. — Photo by Sara Piazza

Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation welcomed its supporters Tuesday night to its annual summer fundraiser held under a spacious tent set up on top of Tower Hill in Edgartown that provided spectacular views of Edgartown Harbor, courtesy of the Vose family trust, which lent its grounds for the occasion.

In his welcoming remarks to the sold-out dinner crowd, Adam Moore, Sheriff’s Meadow executive director, provided an equally pleasing view of the the land conservation organization’s financial health and programs, which include a new educational initiative to introduce Island school children to the natural world through field trips to Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary in West Tisbury.

The evening also provided an opportunity for newly elected Foundation president, Chris Alley of Oak Bluffs, an engineer with Schofield, Barbini and Hoehn, to display his wit and thank the many people who support the Island’s home-grown conservation organization. Mr. Moore provided the nuts and bolts. Mr. Alley pointed out that the organization’s newest acquisition, Bittersweet Hill on Chappaquiddick, was visible across the harbor. The property is open to the public and provides stunning views of Cape Poge and beyond, he said.

“We are a nonprofit, charitable organization whose mission is to conserve the natural, beautiful, rural landscape and character of Martha’s Vineyard for present and future generations,” Mr. Moore, a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry, told the dinner guests. “We own 2,003 acres of land across the Island, and protect an additional 853 acres with conservation restrictions.”

As guests chatted and munched on a delicate salad of Island greens in the comfort of a light, cool sea breeze, Mr. Moore described the accomplishments and goals of the nonprofit.

“We purchased Bittersweet Hill from Mrs. Virginia Mattern for the bargain price of $100,000,” he said. “We still have about $80,000 left to go to raise back the money we spent and help fund our next purchase. At Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary, we have just $36,000 left to go to meet our goal of raising half a million dollars. And for the repair and restoration of the Mayhew-Hancock-Mitchell House at Quansoo Farm, I am pleased to report that a generous, anonymous donor has offered to match, dollar for dollar, all gifts for the house, made in memory of Donnie Mitchell, up to $100,000.”

Mr. Moore also spoke of the foundation organization’s responsibility to maintain and defend its properties. He acknowledged criticism of a lack of stewardship in the past. “I want you to know that we take our role as stewards very, very seriously, and we have been doing our level best to improve and increase our stewardship,” he said. “Over the past four years, we have quadrupled the amount of field time that we devote to maintenance.”

And he added, “We pledge to you that we will look after these lands. We will care for the rare plants and the endangered wildlife. We will deal with the forest fire risks. We will mark the bounds. We will support our farms. We will blaze trails and tend paths. We will offer peaceful natural places for study and research and observation and reflection and mourning and reverence. And when these lands are threatened — and at some point, they will all be threatened — when these lands are threatened, Sheriff’s Meadow will defend them.”

Mr. Moore said that Monday’s event raised about $300,000, a record and far ahead of past benefits

For more information about Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, go to