Residents of 32 Massachusetts towns can receive free, expert identification of ticks and the disease-causing pathogens they carry, with testing provided by the Laboratory of Medical Zoology (LMZ) at the UMass Amherst. The two-year, free tick-testing program funded by the governor’s Community Innovation Challenge Grant helped to establish the state’s first Tick-Borne Disease Network (TBDN) for surveillance of ticks and tick-borne diseases. The LMZ identifies, tests and reports ticks and associated diseases to residents, local boards of health and the state Department of Public Health. (Republican 4/30/14)
News from the Media
Though acid rain has begun to fade from public consciousness since environmentalists, scientists and even legislators rallied around the issue in the ’80s and ’90s, the problem still persists. One of the longest running volunteer monitoring corps in the country is keeping track of the issue in waterbodies across Massachusetts.
Environmental Monitor April 24, 2014
In 1974, UMass Extension vegetable specialist John Howell visited area farmers to talk them into coming to Gothic Street on Saturday mornings to sell their produce directly to customers at a little thing he was trying to start called a farmers market. Forty years later they are celebrating success as one of the first in the state.
Rick Harper, University of Massachusetts assistant professor of urban forestry, center, with help from High School of Commerce students Breyonno Jones, left, and Kelen Dessources, right, and Alexandra Santiago, behind them at left, plant a tree on Rochelle St. in Springfield Massachusetts Thursday, April 10, 2014. Commerical and school volunteers planted 41 trees here and on Annawon St., part of a regional effort to reforest urban areas.
Sonia Schloemann, fruit specialist, UMass Extension, recently gave an informative talk to the Garden Club of Amherst about growing berries.
Dairy farmers spoke up at public hearing in Springfield about proposed nutrient management regulations, mentioned the statutory connection to UMass Extension Best Management Practices.
As the demand for locally produced food continues to grow, a proposal gaining traction in the Legislature would provide $20 million to help rejuvenate the University of Massachusetts agriculture extension site in Waltham, which has lacked funding for decades. State legislators are in the beginning stages of considering a $1.7 billion environmental bond bill that includes earmarking funds to revitalize the UMass site, which spans 58 acres over two plots along Beaver Street. The project is dubbed the UMass Center for Urban Sustainability.
Eric Decker, UMass Amherst food scientist, comments in a story about why consumers are buying fewer Lean Cuisine frozen dinners. He says people believe the dinners have little nutritional value and they are often put off by a “long and scary” list of ingredients, such as calcium propionate, sodium tripolyphosphate and sorbic acid.
A feature story seed libraries, including one at Hampshire College, includes a mention of Katie Campbell-Nelson, UMass Extension, who says she planted some kale too close to collard greens and the plants cross pollinated, creating a bitter tasting plant.
John Clark, UMass Amherst veterinary and animal sciences, comments in a story about how head lice are developing a resistance to the over-the-counter chemicals used to kill them. He says recent tests show that almost all head lice are now genetically resistant to the medicine.