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News from the Center

Jackson Named Conservationist of the Year by The Nature Conservancy
Scott Jackson
Dec 16, 2013

Scott Jackson, Extension associate professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation, has been named the 2013 Conservationist of the Year by The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts to recognize his efforts in conserving the Bay State’s lands and waters.

The award was presented Dec. 12 at the organization’s Boston office.

“Scott Jackson has been a tireless advocate for science-based conservation for more than 20 years,” said Wayne Klockner, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. “Honoring him as our 2013 Conservationist of the Year provides just a small portion of the recognition he deserves for his countless contributions to the health of Massachusetts’ natural environment.”

Flame Cultivation promising as weed control method for cranberry
Weeds on a cranberry farm being treated by Katherine Ghantous with the type of open flame cultivation tool used in the study.

Cranberries are important agricultural commodities in states such as Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Washington, and Oregon. But cranberry-growing operations are challenged by weeds, which compete for precious resources and often decrease fruit yields and revenues. Producers currently rely on weed management strategies such as flooding and sanding cranberry beds, hand-weeding, or applications of pre- and postemergence herbicides.

Harvesting Hope
Kathleen Draper addresses Biochar Conference

For four days in October, the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts became the hub of the biochar universe, as 300 researchers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers from across North America and the world met for the 2013 USBI North American Biochar Symposium. Focused on the Symposium’s theme – Harvesting Hope: The Science and Synergies of Biochar – participants from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Korea, France, Mexico, Cameroon, Wales, and Germany attended plenaries, workshops, keynote addresses, a Tech Field Day, videos, and a Biochar Banquet.

Research Profile: Simi Hoque’s Urban Modeling
Simi Hoque, PhD, Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Dr. Simi Hoque is passionate about improving the ways in which buildings use the earth’s resources.  She teaches environmental systems and sustainable design principles in the Department of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst. Her research, partially funded by the Center’s Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, is focused around the application and development of energy-efficient buildings. Dr. Hoque specializes in energy modeling, resource efficiency, and systems design. She is co-author of a recent online publication (October 2013) intended to provide a quantitative approach to assessing sustainability indicators in a city.

Tasty Ways to Support Agricultural Research
Kristen Hanley makes jams and jellies at Cold Spring Orchard

Jams and Jellies and Fruit, Oh My!

Kristen Hanley has always loved to preserve fresh food. She now parlays that love into delicious ways to extend the season for the fruits of UMass Amherst’s Cold Spring Orchard Horticultural Research Center in Belchertown, Mass., about 15 miles from the Amherst campus. If you visit the orchard, you can buy one of the 1,500 jars of mouth-watering jams and jellies that she has made this season; beware though, wait too long and they will be sold out, they always are. 

First Tour of On-Campus Student Gardens a Success
UMass Students Neev Blume and Cole Lanier lead tour of SFE

UMass Amherst held its first Student Garden Tour on September 28, 2013 under brilliant skies.  Five unique gardens right on campus were hosted by the students who manage them.  One of our main goals was to make students aware of myriad opportunities for growing food without leaving campus. 

Information on Nutrient Best Management Practices
Soccer field
Sep 5, 2013

UMass Extension has recently taken the opportunity to collect and update information about Nutrient Best Management Practices.

UMass Amherst: Our Not So Secret Gardens
UMass Amherst Demonstration Gardens
Aug 27, 2013

A stunning floral display is ready for your viewing pleasure: the UMass Amherst Demonstration Gardens in front of Durfee Conservatory. This garden features several new annual plant cultivars recently introduced by plant breeders. The gardens are intended for observation of new plants under local growing conditions followed by reporting back to the breeders.

Master Plan Update for UMass Amherst Agricultural Learning Center
View of ALC from North Pleasant Street
Aug 14, 2013

Master Plan Update for UMass Amherst Agricultural Learning Center

It all starts with a vision.

Several years ago, Dr. Stephen Herbert, Director of the UMass Amherst Center for Agriculture, began considering how to create a place for students interested in agriculture to “learn by doing” in a living outdoor laboratory. As the new ALC gains momentum, the university’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP) has contributed by developing a Master Plan for the Learning Center.

Hero of the Bogs Retires
Frank Caruso with Ocean Spray actors
Jul 11, 2013

For the last thirty years or so, Frank Caruso has been the “go-to” guy for disease problems with the plants in your bogs, if you are one of those who farm the state berry of the Commonwealth. Last week, Dr. Caruso retired as Plant Pathologist with the UMass Cranberry Station in East Wareham. As late as his final days on the job, he was out in the bogs, looking at...

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