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News from the Center

UMass Extension Symposium: Pollinator Health for Agriculture and Landscapes
bee with pollen USGS image
Mar 16, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015, an exciting full-day educational program of research-based information about native bees, honey bees and protecting pollinator health is on tap. Experts from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Maine, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station will share their expertise and latest scientific research on pollinator health, designing pollinator support plantings, neonicotinoids in agriculture and landscapes, and bee-friendly landscapes.

For the full agenda and registration form, go to: http://extension.umass.edu/landscape/events/pollinator15

UMass Heads to the Hills (Capitol Hill)
UMass representatives visit Congressman McGovern in Washington DC
Mar 10, 2015

Volunteer Ken Nicewicz and Linda Horn (Extension 4-H) held annual “CARET” meetings with Massachusetts legislators on Capitol Hill in early March.  The Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET), is an organization of volunteer grass-roots supporters of the Land Grant University system that meet every year in Washington, D.C.

Senator Elizabeth Warren told Nicewicz and Horn that upcoming legislation regarding nutrition would include issues of food security. Senator Edward Markey, Congressman James McGovern and Congressman Richard Neal and their legislative aides each spent time talking with our  delegates about key issues within The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE).


 

Community Tree Conference: Preserving Trees and Landscapes in a Changing Environment
Co-chairs,Rick Harper and Dave Bloniarz and joined by presenter, Mary Owens
Mar 10, 2015

Massachusetts tree aficionados gathered at Stockbridge Hall on the UMass Amherst campus on March 10. Over 200 tree wardens, urban foresters, landscapers, arborists, teachers and others arrived from across the state to learn about urban forestry, tree conservation and the environment.

Montessori teacher Germaine Koomer attended with Jeff Esche from the Northeastern Urban Forestry Advocacy (NUFA). Esche, NUFA Executive Director, has snagged two DCR grants which are allowing them to create a tree inventory, a process of tree identification, recording locations, site and tree conditions for the purposes of managing the health of trees and property in Newburyport.

UMass Extension Fruit and Vegetable Program Holds Annual Advisory Group Meeting
UMass Fruit and Vegetable Team
Mar 5, 2015

Mentor Farm growers across the state met on March 4 with the UMass Extension Fruit and Vegetable team to evaluate successes and challenges to their collaborative work in 2014 with Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Members of the UMass team met with 10 farms at the beginning of the 2014 growing season to identify pests and problems and to set IPM goals.
 

State Planning Process Draws Crowd to UMass Amherst for Food Systems Discussion
Alex-Risley Schroeder leads group discussion
Feb 5, 2015

Markers flew across flipcharts as a highly-engaged audience of about 110 people came together during a Listening Session for the Massachusetts Food System Plan held on Tuesday, February 3 at UMass Amherst. The purpose was to provide the official planning team a wide variety of perspectives regarding ways to improve the state’s food system.  A statewide plan, incorporating input from stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth, has been in the works since July, 2014 and a draft is scheduled to be ready for review by policymakers in December.
 

Massachusetts Food System Planners Want YOU!
Mass Food System Plan logo
Jan 29, 2015

The public is invited to share ideas during a Listening Session for the Massachusetts Food System Plan on Tuesday, February 3 from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. in the Campus Center at UMass Amherst. The purpose is to provide the planning team a wide variety of perspectives regarding ways to improve our food system.  A statewide plan, incorporating input from stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth, has been in the works since July, 2014 and is scheduled to be ready for review in December 2015.

Pat Vittum Received 2015 USGA Green Section Award
Pat Vittum receives USGA Award
Mar 4, 2015

FAR HILLS, N.J. – Dr. Patricia Vittum received the Green Section Award on Feb. 7, 2015, at the USGA’s Annual Meeting and Service Awards in New York City. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the game of golf through his or her work with turfgrass. Vittum, a professor at the University of Massachusetts’ Stockbridge School of Agriculture, has conducted significant research on the biology and management of turfgrass insects and the effectiveness of biological-control methods. A recognized industry leader, she is a widely sought-after resource for practical information about turfgrass pests.

Soil Health Workshops Help Growers Learn How to Farm With Nature
UMass Extension educators teach attendees about soil health
Nov 18, 2014

More than 200 vegetable farmers, agriculture students, and other members of the Bay State’s agriculture community attended two free workshops designed to help improve the soil’s capacity to function as a vital living system that sustains plant, animal and human health. Farming with Nature: Improving Soil Health on Vegetable Farms was offered twice: on Wednesday, Nov. 5th in Amherst and on Thursday, Nov. 6th in Dighton.

Envirothon 2015: High School Students and Coaches Gather at UMass Amherst for Workshops
Forester Joe Perry runs tree identification workshop
Nov 12, 2014

There was a buzz in the air as they arrived from Cape Cod, the North Shore, Central and Western Massachusetts.  Planning for the 26th year of Massachusetts Envirothon was well under way, as over 200 students from 23 high school teams across the Commonwealth gathered at UMass Amherst on November 5th for a jam-packed day of education and preparation. Will Snyder, UMass Extension Educator and Chair of Mass Envirothon, said, “The enthusiasm is high this year.  We have more teams than ever before and greater numbers of student participation. High school students and their coaches along with several veteran Envirothon team members (now UMass students), statewide presenters and Mass Envirothon Steering Committee members learned about topics related to chosen natural resources. 

UMass Extension Commemorates 100th Anniversary at September Celebration
Former and current Extension Faculty and staff gather
Sep 26, 2014

A century of community education, outreach and service through UMass Extension was marked at a celebratory gathering on September 26, 2014 on the UMass Amherst campus. Retired and current faculty and staff, students, government officials, community partners and regional farmers gathered for what was truly a “once in a lifetime“ event at the University’s flagship campus, site of Extension’s founding back when UMass was known as Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC).

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