Earth Day on Martha’s Vineyard: Volunteer Beach Clean Up

earth day on martha's vineyard

Are you wondering how to spend Earth Day on Martha’s Vineyard this year? Each year, Martha’s Vineyard Conservation Society hosts the VCS Beach Clean and the “Art of Conservation” Contest. The local student competition helps foster an awareness of the importance of conservation to protect nature and the area’s beauty.

Vineyard Conservation Society’s Focus

earth day on martha's vineyard: vcs beach clean up & 'art of conservation' contest

As the name denotes, the Vineyard Conservation Society (VCS) focuses on conserving Martha’s Vineyard’s natural beauty. The VCS was formed in 1965 to save the region’s natural habitats. They achieve their goals through the promotion of advocacy, education, and protection. The VCS champion’s the environmental issues that Martha’s Vineyard is facing from the ever-changing climatic conditions in the world and the natural harshness of Mother Nature. The group uses a combination of legal defense, public education, outreach, and political advocacy. The goal is always to create a sustainable future so generations can enjoy the area’s natural beauty.

Importance of Martha’s Vineyard Conservation Society

The VCS protects the open vistas of Martha’s Vineyard. They develop conservation restrictions and purchase property through both a land trust and a public agency through a combination of legal advocacy, public outreach, and fundraising.

VCS is dedicated to saving the many open spaces of Martha’s Vineyard. They currently oversee the following:

earth day on martha's vineyard: vcs beach clean up & 'art of conservation' contest


  • Lobster Moors
  • Native Earth Teaching Farm
  • Gay Head Cliffs
  • Eastville Beach
  • Flat Point Farm
  • Allen Sheep Farm
  • Katama Farm
  • Edgartown Harbor Wetlands & Lighthouse Beach
  • Eastville Beach
  • Mermaid Farm
  • Southern Woodlands
  • Nip ‘n’ Tuck Farm
  • Lobsterville Moors
  • Moshup Trail Heathlands
  • Native Earth Teaching Farm
  • Frances Newhall Woods Preserve
  • Mill Brook Watershed

Earth Day on Martha’s Vineyard

earth day on martha's vineyard: vcs beach clean up & 'art of conservation' contest

Earth Day takes place every April 22. The iconic day is the anniversary of the environmental movement that took place in 1970. Prior to 1940, Americans extensively used leaded gas to fuel the operation of inefficient automobiles. Manufacturing industries consistently released sludge and smoke into the atmosphere, waterways, and soil. Air pollution quickly started to impact the environment.

In 1962, Rachel Carson released the book, “Silent Spring” which was a watershed moment. It quickly sold over half a million copies globally. The book helped to increase awareness and fostered concern for the environment by showing the dramatic links between public health and pollution.

In January 1969, an oil spill took place in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Gaylord Nelson was horrified over the spill and its impact. He wanted to create public awareness about the dangers of water and air pollution. Senator Nelson decided that a teach-in at campuses would push awareness.

April 22 was picked for the teach-ins spearheaded by activist Denis Hayes. The date was chosen because it was the weekday that fell between Spring Break and Final Exams. They believed that the date would ensure large student participation. Hayes quickly saw that the day could inspire all Americans and Earth Day became a reality.
Earth Day has inspired millions of Americans and in 1990, Denis Hayes again focused on mobilizing Earth Day globally with 200 million participants in 141 countries.

Nowadays, Earth Day is recognized around the world with over a billion people taking action to change global, national, and local policies, altering human behavior, and focusing on improving the planet. A renewed urgency exists to create a clean environment and try to reverse or slow climate change. Civil society mobilization has grown by leaps and bounds. The VCS Beach Clean and the “Art of Conservation” Contest are dedicated each year to the goals of Earth Day.

earth day on martha's vineyard: vcs beach clean up & 'art of conservation' contestImportance of VCS Beach Clean and the “Art of Conservation” Contest

VCS Beach Clean and the “Art of Conservation” Contest spurs the locals and tourists to clean up their own lovely beachline by removing trash. The content also inspires local youth to highlight their best artwork coupled with the importance of conservation. VCS has been celebrating Earth Day on Martha’s Vineyard for over 30 years.

Volunteers are needed before the event on April 12th from 9am–2pm to make beach kits for the clean up. On Earth Day April 22nd they will need an army of volunteers for the ambitious clean up over 20 beaches.

This year the beach clean up will be followed by the first annual Earth Day Festival at the MV Museum. The event will be from 12-4pm and will replace the traditional Beach Clean-up after party. Over 15 local conservation organizations will be there with fun activities and educational presentations for the whole family. All beach volunteers are encouraged to come and enjoy hot soup, bread, and other goodies. As a bonus, entry to the Museum is free! (MV Museum will also have food available for purchase in their cafe for those who did NOT clean a beach.)

This year, why not participate in the VCS Beach Clean while celebrating Earth Day on Martha’s Vineyard? Contact VCS to learn more.




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