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News from the Center

Community Tree Conference: Preserving Trees and Landscapes in a Changing Environment
Arboriculturist in tree
Mar 3, 2015

If you are interested in urban forestry, tree conservation and the environment, plan to attend an annual one-day conference at UMass Amherst in Bowker Auditorium (Stockbridge Hall) on Tuesday, March 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This conference is designed to provide the latest practice and research-based information to those who care for community trees: arborists, urban foresters/planners, tree wardens, municipal managers/employees, foresters, landscape architects and shade tree committee volunteers.

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
Dec 8, 2014

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).

The Agricultural Census for Massachusetts, Demystified?
Screen shot of census web page
Oct 16, 2014

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) conducts a census of farming, working to document the facts about every farm in the country, down to the state and county level. The results of the Agricultural Census provide the most complete picture we have of the directions agriculture is moving and the trends that are emerging. Now there’s an alternative way to sample the results. With the help of our colleagues in UMass Amherst’s Department of Resource Economics, we’ve posted our own tables, charts and some interpretation of the results on our website.

New 4-H Club Plants Many a Smile in Newton
Newton 4-H club: Visual Presentation Awards: Jennifer Buras, Katharine Axon, Daisy Proskauer, Elena Morris Kelly
Sep 8, 2014

It is not hard to hear the enthusiasm for 4-H in Michael Buras’s voice as it spills out of the telephone. Early in 2013, he helped to start a new club that young members have named, “Plant a Smile.”  Just as most good efforts get started, this one began with a great 4-H experience. Buras’ youngest daughter attended a summer camp and encouraged the formation of a permanent 4-H club in her hometown.

In a very short time, this club has grown to involve eight girls, 12 year olds, who are dedicated to the projects they undertake. Initially, they planted a lot of flowers, vegetables, and shrubs, quickly growing into their chosen name.
 

Crop Research Showcased at UMass Farm in South Deerfield
Mass Ag Field Day research updates
Jul 29, 2014

Enjoy watching pigs run alongside foraging crops? Bumble bees being examined for disease-transmission effects from flowers? Examples of energy-efficient food storage? If so, you would have enjoyed UMass Agricultural Field Day on July 29th. Held under clear skies just twelve hours after an impressive thunderstorm, about 80 farmers, organizational representatives, researchers and others gathered in South Deerfield at the Crop and Animal Research Farm on North River Road from 10:00 to 4:00.

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