Oak Bluffs: Tree Stewards, P.A. Club, Chicken Alley, Wampanoag Powwow, and Memorial Race

— MV Times

“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.“ Joyce Kilmer

As we have crossed into September, with the season of leaves changing colors upon us, I thought of this poem, written in 1913 but so timeless. Trees are really such a touchstone in our lives, maybe especially on an island. We look to the trees for information about the wind and weather, for shade and respite, for beauty and even for delicious fruit! They don’t demand too much of us, though we must pay attention to signals that they give us — of aging or disease.

The Oak Bluffs Tree Stewards is a new group of residents who are committed to the sustainability of our community. In partnership with the Oak Bluffs Parks Commission, they have studied the viability of our Oak Bluffs tree population. Muriel O’Rourke is a committee member, she shared with me the results of the study, which showed that only 1/3 of the trees inventoried were rated in good condition and healthy. Too large a percentage of our trees are in poor condition and in need of replacement, and we need more shade trees to offer canopy cover for a thriving ecosystem.

Trees serve to clean the air we breathe, reduce erosion, improve water quality, lower surface temperatures, and they provide habitat for birds and other creatures. The goal of the O.B. Tree Stewards is to purchase, plant and care for new trees in our parks and green spaces. They will be fundraising for this effort, and are also looking for volunteers to join the initiative. You can get more information about how to help at OBTreeStewards@gmail.com.

ESP is playing at the P.A. Club on Sept. 9. Great tunes played by Pat Law, Merrily Fenner, Chris Seidel, and Christine McLean will get you dancing. Bring your friends, music starts at 6 pm.

Why did the chicken cross the road? To volunteer at Chicken Alley! There will be an open house for the community at Chicken Alley on Sept. 11 from 5 to 6:30 pm. There will be refreshments and door prizes, you can meet the staff and find out how to volunteer. The proceeds from the thrift shop benefit the programs of M.V. Community Services, so there is one reason to volunteer. Another reason is that you get to see all the amazing items that are donated!

The Aquinnah Wampanoag Powwow 2023 will take place on Sept. 9 and 10 at the Aquinnah Circle. There will be music, dancing, food, and Indigenous vendors with crafts. Gates open at 11 am, the grand entry is at 12:30. This annual event celebrates the Wampanoag culture and traditions, on their homeland on the Island they settled more than 10,000 years ago called Noepe. We all live on their land and we must remember that and acknowledge it in our daily lives.

Save the date for the 21st Annual George V. Tankard Jr. Memorial 5K Road Race on Saturday, Sept. 16. This fun and beautiful race around East Chop benefits the scholarship programs of the NAACP in honor of Mr. Tankard, who was an active member of the NAACP and the Oak Bluffs community.

You can register in person either on Sept. 15 at the Summercamp Hotel from 5 to 7 pm, or on Saturday (day of race) from 7 to 10 am. The One-Mile Fun Run for children 12 and under starts at 10:30 am in front of Summercamp. The 5K starts at Ocean Park at 11 am sharp. You’ll get a cool T-shirt when you register, and lots of applause when you cross the finish line, whether you run or walk! For more info, contact Carrie Tankard at 508-693-2797 or tankard@comcast.net.

Happy September Birthdays!

Susan Phillips celebrates on Sept. 7, along with Holly Hawks. I hope someone makes master baker Gina Patti her own cake for Sept. 9! Scott Anglin celebrates on the 10th and he shares the day with Heather Goff. On Sept. 11 we remember and celebrate Linda Ben David. Happy Anniversary to Teri Mello and Sean Conley on Sept. 12. Happy Birthday to Mark Crossland on Sept. 14, along with many thanks for keeping our town beautiful. The flowers in Ocean Park were especially delightful this summer!

Send me your news!

If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Joanne Lambert, joannelamber@gmail.com.