The Vineyard Conservation Society is a community effort.

This was a central theme at the society’s 51st annual meeting held last week, which included a photo exhibit, a change in board leadership and the announcement of a $2 million capital campaign.

Outgoing president Richard Toole said a community effort for environmental protection is even more necessary on the Vineyard than other places. “The economic pressures are daunting, making it hard to protect the natural environment,” he said. “The other big challenge is acknowledging and planning for climate change and sea level rise. That is kind of important on an Island.”

He said proof of climate change is all around. Chilmark is making plans to protect its beach, caterpillars are defoliating trees around the Island, Oak Bluffs is working to strengthen its seawall against the rising water level, and anyone who gardens notices that each season brings either too much rain or too little.

“There are no easy solutions to the many issues facing our future. However, VCS is one of the few organizations that has the experience, the knowledge, and the passion to anticipate and plan,” Mr. Toole said.

The meeting was held at the West Tisbury Library, just a stone’s throw away from Howes House, the site of the first VCS annual meeting, when Richard Pough founded it in 1965. The nonprofit was originally formed to fight against the sudden onslaught of development in the 1960s, but has since grown into a legal protector, educational tool and hub for environmental activism on the Island.

Just this past year, VCS had two major victories: winning a key legal battle in the long-running effort to protect Moshup Trail in Aquinnah and seeing five towns approve a bylaw that bans single use plastic bags in stores. The proposal for the bylaw was written with the help of VCS’s Samantha Look, board members, and even regional high school students last year. Oak Bluffs is the only Island town that has not yet passed the bylaw.

The Moshup Trail project has been ongoing for some 20 years.

“The expanded development would have had consequences for Aquinnah in terms of expanded development of that town. I am so pleased with this year and its milestone successes, and I am grateful to all of you who really fuel our efforts,” longtime executive director Brendan O’Neill said.

Mr. Toole’s son Taylor showed a video that he produced that captured VCS’s mission, history and spirit, and featured shots of the Vineyard from a drone.

VCS welcomed former vice president James Athearn as the new president, Joan Malkin as vice president, and Bruce Golden as treasurer. The society also announced a $2 million capital initiative aimed at “increasing the bandwidth” of VCS by adding more staff. The expansion “will free us to advocate on a broader range of issues,” a press release issued in advance of the meeting said in part. Roughly half the goal is already in hand.

Meanwhile, at every VCS meeting, the board invites an artist to exhibit his or her work that captures the Island’s environment. This year, Neal Rantoul presented aerial photographs of the Vineyard. “I came to appreciate how art becomes quite a powerful way to communicate the importance of Vineyard conservation,” he said. “Concerns natural habitat but can spark creative efforts.”

Neal Rantoul’s shots included landlocked, oceanic and shoreline scenes, showing both untouched beauty and the consequences of the human footprint. In one series of photographs, he captured Moshup Trail from both from the ground and from the air. The trail spiraled through the trees in Aquinnah to a winding set of old stairs that went down the cliffs to the water. It was a scene that VCS had recently helped save.