Seven Vineyarders have received a 2012 Martha’s Vineyard Vision Fellowship with this year’s fellows receiving funding to study and work on projects ranging from shellfish recycling to wastewater management issues.
The Vision fellowship was established in 2006 by the Kohlberg family’s Philip Evans Scholarship Foundation, and the awards go to individuals who “demonstrate a commitment to the Island and to the ideals of sustainability.” The recipients must be residents of Martha’s Vineyard and demonstrate a commitment to remain on or return to Martha’s Vineyard after the fellowship ends.
This year’s fellows are Camron Adibi, who will work on wastewater management issues on the Island; Kristen Fauteux, director of stewardship for Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation; high school senior Emma HallBilsback, who is involved in the FARM Institute and wants to study sustainable agriculture; Philippe Jordi, the executive director of Island Housing Trust; Jessie Kanozak, who launched the Shellfish Recovery Partnership; high school senior Antone Lima, who will work with South Mountain Company to recycle construction and demolition waste, and Zoe Turcotte, who will work on environmental education efforts at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.
The foundation received a record number of high-quality applications. The winners “show the most promise for short-and long-term impact in areas that are a high priority for the program, according to the foundation.
Jerome and Nancy Kohlberg own The Vineyard Gazette.
The biographies of this year’s fellowship recipients, provided by the foundation, are listed below.
Camron Adibi has a Master of Science in Sustainable Design from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Restoration and Waste Management from Mesa State College, and is interested in taking on some of the wastewater management issues confronting Martha’s Vineyard; he has also recently been appointed by the Board of Selectmen to the Town of Tisbury’s Wastewater Planning Committee. Through the Vision Fellowship he intends to enhance his professional training in water quality analysis, grant writing, alternative stormwater management and wastewater systems. Over the summer he’ll work with Tisbury Waterways, Inc., under the mentorship of President Melinda Loberg, to learn water analysis. He’ll also work with Fred LaPiana at the Department of Public Works on stormwater management designs and implementation.
Kristen Fauteux began as an intern in 2002 at Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and currently serves as Director of Stewardship, overseeing the management of all 2,000 acres owned by the Foundation and monitoring its 41 conservation restrictions. She is also active in the community through her roles as a Supervisor for the Dukes County Conservation District, Plant Conservation Volunteer for the New England Wildflower Society, and member of the Martha’s Vineyard Prescribed Fire Partnership. A native of Martha’s Vineyard, Kristen holds a B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, and plans to pursue a Master of Science degree in Resource Management and Conservation at Antioch University New England. She’ll continue in her position at Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and will pursue her professional and educational development under the mentorship of Executive Director Adam Moore.
Emma HallBilsback is a senior at MVRHS and has been involved in one way or another with the FARM Institute since the second grade. She is equally passionate about improving her farming skills and learning about the policies that drive local agriculture outcomes. She is currently doing her senior high school project at the FARM Institute, learning all aspects of running a farm as well as helping with the development of education and tourist programs under the supervision of Education Director Sidney Morris, who will also serve as her Vision Fellowship mentor. Emma participated in the Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Summit in 2010 and 2011, and has served on the Massachusetts Governor’s Statewide Youth Council since January 2011. Emma is delaying her freshman year in college to participate in an immersion year program in New Zealand focused on sustainable agriculture through the Communicating for Agriculture Education Program (CAEP). She’ll begin college in 2013 and will major in Sustainable Agriculture Management and minor in Political Science.
Philippe Jordi is Executive Director of Island Housing Trust, a nonprofit aimed at increasing the availability of ecologically and socially responsible affordable housing on Martha’s Vineyard. As head of IHT for the past six years, Philippe has been responsible for developing and/or selling more than 45 affordably priced houses to working families in five island towns, using a nationally recognized community land trust model that ensures permanent affordability and a relationship with the homeowners for as long as they own the property. Philippe is applying to an 18-month professional training program entitled Achieving Excellence in Community Development sponsored by NeighborWorks and offered through the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The program explores issues facing community development organizations with a close look at strategic analysis and planning, performance measurement, community building, alliances and partnerships, and leadership and organizational alignment, among others. Richard Leonard, President of Island Housing Trust, will be Philippe’s on-island mentor.
Jessie Kanozak graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Aquaculture and Fishery Technology. A native of Maine, she worked as a Hatchery Assistant at Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group during the summers between academic years and moved to the Island permanently upon graduating, eventually making her way to a job at the Offshore Ale Company. Moving between the restaurant and aquaculture worlds, Jessie began to notice that while the Hatchery was purchasing shell from off Island to provide optimal growing environments for burgeoning oysters, Vineyard restaurants were discarding thousands of pounds of shell on a weekly basis. She devised an idea to recycle discarded shell and, together with the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, launched the Shellfish Recovery Partnership in 2011. Last summer Jessie garnered the participation of eight Island restaurants. Her goal through the Vision Fellowship is to expand participation to include many more restaurants, increase public awareness and involvement, and contribute significantly to the improvement of oyster habitat and reduction of ocean acidification, another benefit of shell recycling. Rick Karney, Executive Director of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group will serve as her mentor.
Antone Lima is a native of Martha’s Vineyard with a vision to restore the health of the Island by finding ways to convert waste to energy. Currently a senior in high school, he sees waste disposal, wastewater and energy as the three most pressing challenges facing the Island. In 2009 he began building what he calls his “small-scale sustainable complex,” experimenting with a home-built methane digester, developing a small production garden and raising chickens and ducks. He chose South Mountain Company both as the site of his high school senior project and his Vision Fellowship sponsor, and is currently working with them to develop a mechanism for recycling construction and demolition waste. As part of his Vision Fellowship internship with South Mountain, he’ll learn about all aspects of the company’s Energy Department, including solar installations and energy analysis, and will have a chance to work on a larger model methane digester. Marc Rosenbaum and John Abrams will serve as mentors. Antone plans to major in Environmental Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.
Zoe Turcotte earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from Unity College in Maine, where she focused her studies on public speaking, writing, leadership and science education. Her love of science increased during her four years of college, and she came to realize that great science teachers could be instrumental in fostering a love of learning as well as stewardship of the environment among young people. She began working with Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, her sponsoring organization, upon relocating to the Island in 2009, first conducting wildlife surveys and later as an environmental educator with their Fern and Feather Camp. She is currently completing her second year as a teacher’s assistant at the West Tisbury School. Zoe sees an opportunity to teach problem solving skills to middle school students through environmental education. She recently started a Master of Education program at Lesley University, with a focus on Middle School General Science. Zoe plans to establish a Sustainability Club for middle and high school students and to engage teachers, island nonprofits and the public in the learning process. She will integrate her environmental education efforts with those at Felix Neck, under the mentorship of Sanctuary Director Suzan Bellincampi.
Last updated on Monday, March 19, 2012