When Joe Elkinton worries about gypsy moths, it is time everyone else in Massachusetts does, too. Elkinton is a professor of environmental conservation at UMass Amherst and an expert on this pest. Recently he observed, “I would say almost surely this is the largest outbreak we’ve seen since 1981. This is unprecedented. It’s been 35 years. Defoliation caused by gypsy moth Lymantria dispar has occurred over this summer, in many parts of Massachusetts and the rest of New England.”
A winter of extreme warmth and cold, combined with recent roller-coaster conditions, could reduce this year’s apple crop, and will more than likely result in a much smaller peach crop, according to fruit growers looking out this week on snow-covered orchards. UMass tree fruit experts offer observations. Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 4/5/2016, WFCR/NEPR, 4/5/2016
The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment has released “A Natural Resources Assessment of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s Proposed Northeast Energy Direct Project’s Pipeline Route Within Massachusetts.” The assessment was conducted by a team from UMass Amherst’s Department of Environmental Conservation, including Scott Jackson, Extension Associate Professor, Bethany Bradley, Assistant Professor, and Thomas Cairns, MS Candidate.
Massachusetts 4-H has yet another reason to be proud. The Green Stormgears from Westford, MA, took first place in the Champions Award Category as the best in judging and robot categories in the state. This afforded them the privilege of representing the Commonwealth in the Championship at the 2014 World Festival in St Louis Missouri on April 28.
Two recent natural disasters—an invasive pest infestation in Worcester and last year’s tornado touchdown in Springfield—were devastating for the citizens of Massachusetts. For researchers at UMass Amherst’s Center for Agriculture, though, they created a perfect storm that may help them come up with ways to reduce energy use and carbon emissions far into the future.
At their August meeting, the Green Giants 4-H club munched on corn chips, corn chips with a difference. The difference? These chips were covered with homemade salsa—tomatoes, garlic, green peppers, cilantro and onions—made much more satisfying by the fact that this bounty was harvested from their own garden.
Worcester’s Asian longhorned beetle crisis has unfolded like the screenplay for a thriller. That script will keep developing for some time to come, with tense new twists, continued threats and a rare flash of humor. Like any good thriller, its complex cast includes one major villain and some true heroes.