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News from the Center

Joe Major Selected for National 4-H Award
Joe Major, unidentified woman, Maria Cataldo
May 24, 2017

National 4-H Council announced that Joe Major of Walpole has been selected as the 2017 National 4-H Salute to Excellence 4-H Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer honoree. He is the main leader of the Sunnyrock 4-H Club at Wards Berry Farm in Sharon. 

Gypsy moths bring unwelcome rash for some: UMass Extension entomologist comments
gypsy moth caterpillar-By Materialscientist at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10552862
May 24, 2017

The gypsy moth caterpillar’s hairs are typically not an issue for most individuals. Tawny Simisky, entomologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension, comments. She said, "For the majority of the population, gypsy moth caterpillars do not cause allergic reactions. This can be dependent upon an individual’s amount and duration of exposure, as well as their own sensitivities."

Lexington teens take top honors at 30th annual Mass. Envirothon
Field testing at MA Envirothon
May 22, 2017

LINCOLN, Mass., May 18, 2017 – The message from teenagers who participated in this year’s Massachusetts Envirothon environmental education program was clear: local agriculture is booming in Massachusetts. For the past school year, they’ve been researching farming in their communities – from urban community gardens to rural orchards and pastures, from row crops to working forests – and assessing its benefits and its effects on local land and water resources, ecosystems and biodiversity.

UMass Amherst Campus Awash in Spring Color
lilacs bloom on UMass Amherst campus
May 15, 2017

In mid-May, Professor Amanda Bayer, who specializes in plant materials at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, led a campus tour of over 35 ornamental trees and shrubs. The two-hour tour left attendees surprised and amazed at the botanical treasures and landscape beauty the campus offers.

Award-Winning: Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool Partnership
Mary Ratnaswamy and Melissa Ocana accept 2017 Climate Adaptation Leadership Award
May 9, 2017

The Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool partnership was awarded a 2017 Climate Adaptation Leadership Award at the National Adaptation Forum in St, Paul, Minnesota on May 8. University of Massachusetts project manager, Melissa Ocana, accepted the award on behalf of the partnership.   

This Year’s Gypsy Moths Have Started to Hatch in Massachusetts
Gypsy moth egg hatch has been observed at a location off US-202 in Belchertown, Mass. as of 4/26/17. Tiny, hairy caterpillars may be seen resting on top of egg masses at this time as shown here with arrows. (Simisky, 2017)
Apr 28, 2017

Entomologists at UMass Amherst report that some of the first gypsy moth egg masses to hatch in the state in 2017 have been observed on Wednesday, April 26 in Belchertown, Mass.

Counting Sheep at UMass: Rare Birth at Hadley Farm Equine and Livestock Research and Education Center
Cris Wein and Amanda Reilly assist with delivery of 5 lambs to 1 ewe at Hadley Farm
Apr 11, 2017

Dorset sheep, the type that roam around the UMass Hadley Farm, are known to give birth to one, two or maybe three lambs at once. However, on April 7, one of the farm’s ewes delivered not three or four, but five healthy lambs! Students from the Animal Sciences program in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (VASCI), Cris Wein (‘18) and Amanda Reilly (‘18), both on a pre-vet track, were ready to help deliver the lambs and assist in catching them, but the lambs sorted themselves out and were delivered one at a time.

Keystone Project Honored for Outstanding Environmental Education
Paul Catanzaro teaching Keystone Cooperators in Harvard Forest
Apr 6, 2017

The Massachusetts Keystone Project has been awarded a prestigious Environmental Service Award by the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions.  Led by UMass Extension a 3-day training workshop at Harvard Forest has been held every April since 1988.
The award, given for outstanding environmental education, is well-deserved. Since 1988, Keystone Project leaders David Kittredge and Paul Catanzaro have led 26 training workshops, with over 500 Massachusetts community members participating as Keystone Cooperators.

Non-Native Insect Confirmed in Mass. for First Time
Chilli thrips
Mar 24, 2017

The non-native, exotic chilli thrips (Scirtothrips dorsalis) has been recently confirmed from two samples of damaged Hydrangea spp. foliage from two residential landscapes located in Barnstable County, Mass. submitted to the UMass Plant Diagnostics Laboratory. 

The View from Capitol Hill: March 2017 CARET visits
Congressman Joe Kennedy with Sonia Schloemann and Ken Nicewicz at recent CARET meetings in Washington, DC.
Mar 16, 2017

Representatives of the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) recently returned from a hectic trip to Washington, D.C., where they met with the state’s legislative delegations. CAFE’s volunteer champion Ken Nicewicz along with Extension educator Sonia Schloemann held annual “CARET” meetings with Massachusetts legislators in early March to discuss the work of the Land Grant units at UMass Amherst. 

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