Appreciation for Earth Day helpers


To the Editor:

On behalf of the staff and board at the Vineyard Conservation Society, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Island community for making this year one of our best Earth Day Beach Clean-Ups ever. An event of this scale, covering over 30 beaches across all the Island’s towns, is simply not possible without community support. Through the 32 years that VCS has been organizing this day in service to the environment, we have seen participation grow and support deepen, bringing in more and more businesses, faith groups, scouting groups, colleague nonprofits, and other community organizations.

Without that kind of support, the task could be seen as a bit overwhelming. Given the rate that our modern world creates waste, the ocean is constantly delivering ever more trash to our shores. Hundreds of bags, and thousands of pounds, of trash were collected from the beaches during this year’s Clean-Up, but we’re very happy to share that the feedback from our long-time volunteers was pretty consistent in saying that it was substantially less than usual. (Could that be thanks to the year-round cleanups by community members, organizations, and the now one-year-old VCS Beach BeFrienders groups? We think so!)

Special recognition is due to all the generous businesses who donated food and drinks (and even a raw bar!) for the after-party, to the MV Museum for hosting yet again, and to MV Bank Charitable Foundation for sponsorship. Thanks also to all the many helping hands, including the beach volunteer leaders, the Town DPWs, Bruno’s, and MV Refuse District for hauling the trash, the VTA for offering free rides to beach cleaners, and all the amazing MVRHS students who quickly assembled into a great volunteer brigade.

Of course, at its very core, the day is a success because of the hundreds of community members of all ages who head to their beach of choice and spend the morning cleaning up what storms, boats, and beachgoers have left behind. As our former board president Mait Edey once said, a young person who spends the morning picking up trash on the beach is not going to leave their own trash there in the future.

Thank you all for coming together to create a wonderful community event, and all that you do to protect our Island’s beaches and oceans. Your enthusiasm and contagious smiles were a perfect compliment to the gorgeous weather – we hope to see you again next Earth Day!


Signe Benjamin

VCS Director of Membership & Resource Development