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News from the Center

Dean Goodwin receives Paris Award
Dean Goodwin receives Paris Award

Dean Steve Goodwin, of the College of Natural Sciences at UMass Amherst, received the Guy L. Paris Award from Jim Ward, President of the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers’ Association and owner of Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, Mass. This prestigious award was presented at the 2013 New England Vegetable and Fruit Conference in December, 2013 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Reflections on 36 Years of Extension Work
Gretchen May, retired from Extension Service

 While much has changed since Gretchen May first started coming to work in the courthouse in Greenfield for the Franklin County Extension Service in 1977, a lot has stayed the same. While the geography and the subject areas of May’s work have changed over the years, her overall goals and style of work have remained consistent. “My work has always been centered on responding to people’s needs. We learned what was needed and then went out and helped people. With newspaper columns and radio shows, newsletters, workshops, and more, we brought information on how to respond to family issues to people in whatever way we could.”

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.

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