Wildlife ecologist Curt Griffin at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been awarded a three-year, $469,513 grant from the Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) to study the mechanisms by which species respond to climate change. “Changes in climate are causing animals to either adapt, move or die,” says Griffin, an expert in biodiversity and endangered species management who is chair of the environmental conservation department and head of the campus’ new School of Earth and Sustainability. (UMass News Office 7/18/16)
News from the Media
Make-It Springfield, Springfield's downtown community makerspace, is establishing more permanent roots in the City. Make-It Springfield began as a temporary pop-up project on June 1, 2016, a collaboration between MassDevelopment, the University of Massachusetts Design Center in Springfield, and the Springfield Business Improvement District. "We are excited to see a broad array of UMass faculty and students participate in Make-It Springfield next semester." said Michael DiPasquale, an assistant professor in the University of Massachusetts Extension and Program Director of the UMass Design Center in Springfield. facebook.com/MakeItSpringfield/
Maple Valley Creamery in Hadley, Massachusetts, has joined forces with University of Massachusetts Amherst to have a contest every April for inventing a new ice cream flavor. This year's winning flavor was brown-butter, salted caramel with chocolate flakes. (BizBash 7/11/16)
Massachusetts is in the midst of the worst plague of gypsy moth caterpillars since 1981, said Joseph Elkinton, an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “It’s everywhere,” Elkinton said. “You can hear the frass falling,” he added, using the scientific term for caterpillar droppings. “And you can hear the chewing; it’s quite a dramatic phenomenon.” (Boston Globe 6/30/16)
Every two years, UMass Extension offers it's popular Green School, a comprehensive 12-day certificate short course for Green Industry professionals taught by UMass Extension specialists and University of Massachusetts faculty.
This year, Green School runs Oct. 24–Dec. 12, twice weekly from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, 11 Beaver St, Milford, Massachusetts. This course will not be offered again until 2018. Pre-registration is required, as space is limited. (Lawn and Landscape 6/29/16)
Welcome to the year of the gypsy moth caterpillar. The tiny critters are feasting on leaves and wreaking havoc on trees, mostly oak, but not exclusively. “I would say almost surely this is the largest outbreak we’ve seen since 1981,” said Joe Elkinton, professor of entomology in UMass Amherst’s department of environmental conservation. “This is unprecedented. It’s been 35 years." (Enterprise News 6/28/16)
Gov. Charlie Baker declared June 20–26 as “Massachusetts Pollinator Week.” In support of this declaration, a celebration was held at UMass Amherst’s Agricultural Learning Center to open the first state apiary.
John Lebeaux, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources; Daniel Sieger, Massachusetts assistant secretary for the environment; and Kim Skyrm, state apiary inspector, examined full Langstroth bee frames. (Lancaster Farming News 6/24/16, Republican 6/24/16)
An article examining the factors that make the West Chop pitch pine tree perfectly suited for Atlantic islands mentions a recent report from the UMass Amherst Center for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment that found last year the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation had found southern pine beetles in traps on Martha’s Vineyard. The department had not, however, observed any signs of infestation or any trees killed by the beetle, the only serious threat facing pitch pines on Martha’s Vineyard. (Martha’s Vineyard Times, 6/8/16)
AMHERST, Mass. – As New England's blueberry season approaches, University of Massachusetts Amherst doctoral candidate Matt Boyer says a fungal pathogen of highbush blueberries known as mummy berry is a common threat to growers, and if left untreated can destroy up to 50 percent of a crop. It is so named because it produces dead-looking, berry-shaped lumps instead of healthy berries. (Scienmag 6/2/16)
A new interactive mapping tool developed by Kevin McGarigal and his graduate students at the UMass Landscape Ecology Lab is available to land trusts as they make strategic decisions about a major conservation vision for the Connecticut River watershed. “Connect the Connecticut” will help conservation groups in four New England states prioritize and coordinate land acquisition efforts within the 11,250 square-mile watershed, with an eye toward habitat resiliency in the face of climate change. (Republican 6/7/16)