Oak Bluffs: Our return to the Moon

— Shelby Regan

Saturday last was a beautiful day that makes us all realize how lucky we are to live here on this Island. My family and I headed to the Native Earth Teaching Farm in Chilmark at noon with four adults and four children. We experienced the gracious hospitality of owners Randy BenDavid and Rebecca Gilbert as we explored the many areas of the farm. This included the chickens, geese, ducks, newborn pygmy goats, sheep, piglets, gardens and much more, including a gigantic boar. The two oldest children were familiar with the farm and did not hesitate to start their chores of gathering eggs from the hen coop, walking the goats, tending the fire for a cookout, and letting all the animals get familiar with people. Sixteen-month-old Aiyanna did not hesitate to go into the chicken yard and before she could be stopped, crawled into the narrow entrance to the coop itself, scaring a rooster out who then decided to go after 2-and-a-half-year-old Noah, chasing him out of the pen. Lana BenDavid and Abby Leighton were the two teachers who taught the children how to complete all the tasks and to be patient, soft spoken, and responsible. The children all behaved so well knowing that improper behavior would mean a loss of their weekly visit. This is such a marvelous teaching farm. As the season warms up, the chores will also include the necessary tasks at a farm of weeding, cleaning out the bird pens, and some not-so-fun things, but the children do it without complaint. For more information about the farm, look at their page on Facebook.

Remember that today is the election day for Oak Bluffs voters. The polls are open at the Oak Bluffs library from 10 am to 7 pm.

A friendly reminder that April vacation for Island students starts on Monday, April 19, through April 23, with all classes resuming on Monday, April 26.

A warm welcome to our new Oak Bluffs fire chief, W.F. Nelson Wirtz. A captain in the Chatham Fire Department, our new chief worked his way up from call firefighter and EMT, and has been a career firefighter in the Chatham department since 1996. Congratulations Chief Wirtz.

The Vineyard Conservation Society announces the 29th annual Earth Day Beach Clean Up on Saturday, April 17, from 10 am to noon. Wear a mask and keep your distance from non-pod members. There will not be an afterparty this year, but it will be great to have everyone out at the beaches. Join your family and friends at your favorite beach. Volunteers will be there with bags and gloves, or you may bring your own. The Oak Bluffs beaches to be cleaned are State Beach from Little Bridge to Big Bridge, Eastville Point town beach, SSA to Pay Beach and Inkwell, North Bluff (Pier) Beach. So come out and enjoy the day and do a good deed at the same time.

We seemed to have relaxed our COVID protection measures a bit too much as test results show the highest spike in positive cases over the past two weeks since any previous period. There is also concern because the Island has seen tests resulting in a more contagious variant of the virus, the one originating in the United Kingdom. This one spreads much more easily so please, continue to wear masks, socially distance, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use sanitizer.  The recommended precautions do not take much time and will keep you and others healthy and safe. And do continue to be helpful, kind, and appreciative of all who do their best to help in these dangerous times.

On April 17 from 10 am to 1 pm, stop by our library for an Earth Week Activities Board. You will receive a paper game board with earth friendly activities in each square. Complete each activity during the week, then bring the finished game board to the library on Saturday, April 24, to receive a prize. Game board is also available to print from the library’s website. Curbside Crafts continue on April 21 from noon to 4 pm, and this week’s craft is a paper bag kite. You may join Patricia Moore for an exciting look inside NASA’s Artemis Program: Our Return to the Moon, on April 22 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024, and for the first time establish sustainable exploration by the end of the decade. Contact the library for information on how to participate in this program.

On April 8, I was the recipient of the biggest 85th birthday celebration thanks to the planning, hard work, and imagination of my daughter Mary. My three children along with their spouses, children, and my great-grandchildren, came by for birthday cake and fun on the front porch and yard, wearing masks of course, and the evening ended with a surprise parade of cars. I am blessed as all of my children and family take good care of me all of the time.

We send birthday smiles to Mark Baird on April 19, Matt Leonard on the 20th, Viviane Destefani on the 21st, and Shelby Ponte on the 22nd.

Enjoy your week. Peace.

If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Megan Alley, meganislandmegan@comcast.net.