Conservation Tax Law Has Few Takers on the Vineyard

About 130 acres of land on the Vineyard was permanently protected from development under new conservation restrictions in 2007, according to state government figures.

The relatively disappointing result was in spite of generous tax incentives — which expired at year’s end — and in sharp contrast to figures for the state as a whole.

Statewide, 266 new conservation restrictions, covering a total area of 11,200 acres were signed off by the secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Ian Bowles.

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Land Bank Monies Fall Slightly as Market Slows

In a clear sign of a cooling real estate market here, revenues at the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank fell in 2007 for the second straight calendar year. The total number of real estate transactions also was down last year, for the third year in a row.

The land bank collected $10.9 million in revenues in 2007, compared with $11.6 million in 2006, a drop of seven per cent.

And the land bank recorded 1,403 real estate transactions in 2007, a drop of five per cent from the previous year, when 1,474 transactions were recorded.

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Thimble Farm Tour Begins Guided Farmland Walks

The Vineyard Conservation Society Winter Walks Program will feature a guided walk at Thimble Farm in Tisbury on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 1:30 pm. Andrew Woodruff, an Island farmer with 25 years’ experience, will lead the walk.

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Sheriff’s Meadow to Name New Executive Director

Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation plans to appoint Adam Moore, a former land superintendent at the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, as its new executive director.

Mr. Moore is currently executive director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, a position he has held since 2001. He oversees 800 miles of trails. During his tenure, Mr. Moore doubled the size of the staff, greatly increased annual giving, and became a national and statewide advocate for conservation.

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Island Land Bank Grows Sepiessa Point Holdings

The purchase of an 18.9-acre conservation restriction last week will expand the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank’s holdings at Sepiessa Point Reservation on the Tisbury Great Pond.

The land bank commission announced that it paid $654,500 for the restriction. The seller is Elizabeth Brown Bayer.

The property includes 2,180 feet of frontage on Tiah’s Cove, and is surrounded by the land bank’s 164-acre Sepiessa Point Reservation. Development on the property will be limited to a single building envelope around an existing home.

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Fishing Concerns Dominate Cape Wind Hearing

A few things became quite clear at Wednesday night’s public hearing on the draft environmental impact statement on the Cape Wind project.

The first was that about twice as many Vineyarders, assuming those who attended are broadly representative of Island opinion, oppose the project as support it.

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Martha Stewart Tunes in to Vineyard CSA

Martha Stewart Living radio will feature Elizabeth Germain today discussing Community Supported Agriculture. The broadcast is Friday, March 14, from 2:30 to 3 p.m. on Sirius Satellite radio, the Living Today Show. Tune in to learn about the history of CSA programs, the benefits of being a shareholder, and the similarities and differences between projects around our country.

Ms. Germain will discuss her experiences in founding the CSA at Stearns Farm in Framingham as well as her experiences as a shareholder of the Whippoorwill Farm CSA here on Martha’s Vineyard.

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IGI Organizes Summer Institute for Teachers

Island Grown Initiative has scheduled its first Summer Institute for Teachers, a three-day workshop for educators on the Vineyard interested in incorporating curriculum tied to farms and gardens into their classes.

The institute will run from August 11 to 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a number of Island locations. Admission is free for Vineyard teachers, for whom professional development points will be available.

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Edey Foundation Award Conservation Grants

At its annual meeting last month, the Edey Foundation awarded $82,250 in grants for 2008 to organizations working for conservation on the Vineyard.

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Clearing on Sheriff’s Meadow Land Began Two Years Ago

The removal of plants and trees from conservation land owned by the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation for use in a large private landscaping job began some two years ago, according to documents detailing the extent of the damage done by the operation.

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