Creating a culture of consciousness: ConserFest

Fri, 04/17/2020 - 6:15pm

ConserFest, the annual celebration of music and art that helps raise funds to protect the island’s natural resources. Founded by Cameron Greenlee and Justin Lewis, the event is entering its 14th year. The Block Island Times asked the current members to write an occasional column to inform readers about ConserFest’s mission and which events and organizations it has supported over the years.

Here is the first report from the Board:

When Rob Lewis brought to fruition the preservation of Rodman’s Hollow on the south side of Block Island in 1972, he sparked a flame that, in many ways, comes to define much of how Block Island is as a community. Environmental consciousness, and reverence for the land and the sea, are essential parts of many islanders’ daily lives.

Out of this, ConserFest was born in 2007. In 2008, Block Island Conservancy agreed to sponsor the first grassroots event, under the concept of a celebration of the conservation movement on Block Island through an outdoor music and arts festival. Though the event is focused on engaging all generations, fostering awareness and stewardship for local environmental concerns, ConserFest has been fortunate to act as a fundraiser for many conservation-minded projects as well.

The Mitchell Farm campaign, the legal fight against the Champlin’s Marina expansion, the acquisition of the Solviken property, the establishment and funding of annual Block Island School scholarships, planting endeavors with the Oceanview Foundation, the Town of New Shoreham dune-grass initiative, and the Mary D. Fund have all been focuses of ConserFest’s fundraising efforts over the last 12 years- some of which continue to this day.

Hopefully, we as a community can continue to be stewards for land conservation and environmental protection for generations to come, and events like ConserFest can continue to be vehicles through which we celebrate this culture of consciousness.

ConserFest was founded by Justin Lewis and Cameron Greenlee. The original team consisted of Danielle Duffy, Travis Greenlee, Laura Michel Breunig and John Breunig.

The current board consists of Kelly Walsh, Alice Ely Inacker, Tracy Finn, Sierra Smith, Scott Michel, Travis Greenlee and Cameron Greenlee.

Although the date for this year’s event has been set for Sunday, July 19, Greenlee said that may change. “We have not made any official decisions. A big part of it all has been waiting to see what’s going to happen. But without speaking with the board on this yet, it’s my belief we will try to move forward with the planning of the festival.”