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Resources for the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency

From UMass Extension and the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE)

We are working hard to make our expertise and resources available to you in this challenging time. While in-person events and some on-campus services are suspended to protect public health, we are continuing with some scouting and farm visits, and many existing and new resources are available online and through virtual delivery.

Table of Contents

For Farmers and Growers

New online educational programs

Production Agriculture:

  • Weekly mini-Twilight Meeting series for Commercial Vegetable Growers
    Wednesdays at 6pm.
    Learn more, register, and view previous meetings
  • Extension Fruit Program Virtual Twilight Meetings
    Fruit Team Twilight Meetings have gone virtual! New Zoom Twilight Meetings will be posted on our Upcoming Events page. Past meetings are posted on the Fruit Team YouTube channel.
  • Invasive Insect Webinars
    See listing below under Commercial Horticulture for this program co-hosted by the Extension Fruit Program.

Commercial Horticulture

  • UMass Extension's GREEN SCHOOL starts October 26!
    Oct. 26 - Dec. 10, 2020, twice weekly
    Green School is going virtual!

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a temporary shift to remote delivery. We have attempted, to the extent possible, to recreate the traditional classroom Green School experience using online technology.

Every two years, UMass Extension offers its popular Green School, a comprehensive 12-day certificate short course for Green Industry professionals taught by UMass Extension specialists, University of Massachusetts faculty, and guest presenters. This course will not be offered again until 2022.
Instruction in 2020 will be 100% virtual, providing attendees with online resources via an online learning management system, including a mixture of pre-recorded lectures, live lectures via Zoom and GoToWebinar, and live guided discussions/Q&A opportunities that complement pre-recorded lecture material via Zoom.
Three Specialty Tracks Are Offered: Landscape Management, Turf Management, Arboriculture

PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED, AS SPACE IS LIMITED. Find the full schedule and registration info at: http://ag.umass.edu/greenschool

  • Invasive Insect Webinars
    FREE series of seven webinars focusing on the impact, monitoring, and management of invasive insects in Massachusetts and the nation! Webinars featuring experts from APHIS, Rutgers, Penn State, UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture, and UMass Extension were held on the following topics:
    • Chemical Management of the Spotted Lanternfly
    • Spotted Wing Drosophila
    • Spotted Lanternfly: Monitoring with Environmental DNA
    • Spotted Lanternfly: Green Industry & Homeowner Response in PA
    • Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
    • Emerald Ash Borer: Biological Control
    • Invasive Insects of Trees & Shrubs in Massachusetts: 2020 Updates

Archived recordings of all of these webinars are available. Hosted by UMass Extension’s Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program and UMass Extension’s Fruit Program with support from a Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through grant AM180100XXXXG025 and provided by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.

Laboratories and services

  • Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory 
    Tracy Allen (soiltest@umass.edu)
    The UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Lab is pleased to announce that we will be accepting new orders for ROUTINE SOIL ANALYSIS and PARTICLE SIZE ANALYSIS orders ONLY beginning July 13. Please do not send orders for other types of analyses at this time. Orders should be sent via USPS, UPS, FedEx or other private carrier. The lab office will remain closed to the general public until further notice and hand-delivered orders will not be accepted at this time. Processing time may be longer than usual since we are operating with reduced staff and staggered shifts. For updates and information about available services, please visit the Lab's website. Current turn-around times and backlog staus of orders sent in from March through June are regularly updated here
  • Plant Diagnostics Laboratory
    Disease Diagnostics of Woody Plants: Nicholas Brazee (nbrazee@umass.edu)
    Disease and Insect Diagnostics of Non-Woody Plants: Angie Madeiras (madeiras@umass.edu)
    The Plant Diagnostics Laboratory re-opened on June 22, 2020, for plant disease, insect pest and invasive plant/weed samples. Mail delivery services and staffing have been altered due to the pandemic, so please allow for some additional time for samples to arrive at the lab and undergo the diagnostic process. Please note that visitors are not allowed inside the building, but clients who would like to hand-deliver samples may do so by leaving them in the bin marked "Diagnostic Lab Samples" near the back door of French Hall. Please refer to our website for instructions on sample submission and to access the submission form.
  • TickReport Laboratory of Medical Zoology
    UMass TickReport is continuing to offer testing of ticks for possible disease during the Coronavirus emergency. Please note that TickReport is not a unit of the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment.
  • Environmental Analysis Laboratory
    The Water Resources Research Center's Environmental Analysis Laboratory is currently closed due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus. We are not accepting samples for analysis at this time nor can we send quality control samples.  To contact the lab, email wrrceal@umass.edu.

Online information resources from our teams


For Families

Online programs and resources for kids and teens

  • The national 4-H program provides activities and curricula around wind energy and biotechnology, as well as a variety of at-home activities and virtual camps.
  • Explore Backpocket Learning to find a variety of projects, crafts and recipes for both home and garden. You may also search the site by age and by time allotment.
  • Visit the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website to find an array of lesson plans, teacher guides and environmental education resources.
  • Learn to handle your dog when you participate in the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine College FREE Conformation for Beginners Course.  This course covers important elements of ring-craft, such as properly putting a lead on your dog, interacting with a judge, and other basic conformation skills.
  • Green Genes: Genetics – A DNA Curriculum
  • Use this multi-media curriculum designed for the non-scientist adult working with a 4-H group or your own children at home! The curriculum has hands-on activities, supplemental Web modules/activities and PowerPoint presentations. Many of the materials are already at hand. This is designed for youth between the ages of 10 and 13. 
  • Design Squad's award winning web video series is available to watch at the Design Squad website or on YouTube. The videos are a great introduction to engineering projects and the design process.
  • PEEP and the Big Wide World, the award–winning series that teaches science and math to an early childhood audience, offers professional development videos hosted by and tailored to family child care educators or parents doing home schooling at this time. You can explore the collection by science topic and learn how to bring these science exploration activities home! Science topics include: Ramps, sounds, lights & shadows, plants, and colors.
  • Massachusetts 4-H Youth Development Program (members only programs) Please visit the 4-H page for additional information and updates on these offerings, and much more!
  • Goat Zooms | Animal Science Zooms | Puppy Pawlooza | Learn about Pets and Pet Therapy
  • Make-It Springfield. The miission of Make-It Springfield is to be a community incubator and workshop space for everyone to make, create & share their skills and tools. Make-It provides a platform for community members of all backgrounds to learn new skills, build relationships, launch businesses & inspire one another. Virtual Make-It Springfield is now starting up.

Gardening information

Home Lawn & Garden Fact sheets, newsletters, and services | Vegetable Fact sheets | Fruit Fact Sheets

Nutrition

Healthy Recipes | Nutrition Bites newsletter

Keeping your food safe

Mass. Food Safety Education Partnership | UMass Food Science Extension | Cape Cod Cooperative Extension

Cleaning and disinfecting

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tick Testing

Tick-Borne Disease Diagnostics
 


For Municipalities, Agencies and Others


Summary of Programming Changes by Program and Unit in CAFE

UMass Cranberry Station

UMass Cranberry team remains committed to serving growers during the pandemic. Although our buildings are physically closed to the public, we are available by email and phone. We can do bog visits, just call us. Please check our website for current information. If you are not on our newsletter list, please sign up (it’s free) and it will continue to be one of our main ways to communicate with you. (September 12, 2020)

UMass Extension 4-H Youth Development Program

The UMass Extension 4-H Youth Development Program is operating virtually, holding virtual club meetings, video conferences, and online activities. Weekly email news blasts are shared with all registered 4-H members and volunteers, and are archived on the UMass 4-H website. The program activities found there are developed through UMass 4-H, other 4-H programs, and curated sites, and have a variety of virtual activities, animal project contests, and educational opportunities. In addition, other news can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Mass4H/. Although our offices remain closed, all 4-H staff members are available through email. Please visit our contact page for information. (April 21, 2020)

UMass Extension Agriculture Program (including Soils and Plant Labs)

Extension Agriculture programs—including Production Agriculture, Commercial Horticulture, Pesticide Education, and Soils and Pathology Labs—are actively serving our constituents by publishing newsletters, providing remote advice, and offering virtual programming and online resources. All staff are available from home. Limited field scouting, on-farm consultations, and work on essential projects at the UMass farms are being conducted under strict safety guidelines. In-person events are canceled through May 15 and registration for later events is suspended until further notice. Our campus-based services, including plant and soil diagnostics, are suspended through at least May 4. (April 17, 2020)

UMass Extension Clean Energy Extension

The UMass Clean Energy Extension is open for business. Projects, initiatives, and collaborations are progressing as closely to normal as possible, with some small adjustments made to accommodate shifting timelines and work patterns. Staff members are working remotely and can be contacted in the typical ways, as provided on our Contacts page. (September 12, 2020)

UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program (including SNAP-Ed)

UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program staff are continuing to provide the “Nutrition Bites” and “Produce Spotlight” newsletters to our program collaborators and participants to share recipes, shopping tips, nutrition/food safety/physical activity tips, and food access information and resources that are especially helpful during this pandemic. We are working with community and school collaborators to offer and provide virtual and online nutrition education lessons for low-income adults, youth, and families.  We are also delivering ‘kits’ of educational materials and reinforcement items to our collaborators for them to provide to participants, to help them implement what they are learning in the nutrition education sessions. (September 12, 2020)

UMass Research and Education Farms

The CAFE farm facilities are open to researchers and other facility users who have an approved Research and Library Operating Plan (RLOP). In order to protect the health and safety of all facility users, CAFE requires all individuals accessing facilities to have prior authorization. Please contact Bob Skalbite, CAFE Farm Manager, at rskalbit@umass.edu to request access to farm facilities. Reading the Covid-19 Farm Facility User Access Protocol is required before going to any CAFE Farm Facility. Reading the Covid-19 Farm Facility User Access Protocol is required before going to any CAFE Farm Facility.  (September 12, 2020)

UMass Water Resources Research Center

The WRRC staff is working remotely except for laboratory analyses, and following regular hours of 8:30-5. We respond to all emails and calls (directly or voice mail). Most work is proceeding unchanged, except for the Acid Rain Monitoring Project, which is not scheduled at this time. Our lab is accepting water samples for the analysis of chlorophyll and total phosphorus, and sending quality assurance. (September 12, 2020)


Updates from UMass Extension and CAFE during Coronavirus pandemic

Extension Programs and Functions Moving Online (News and Media News | September 14, 2020 - 10:17am)

Food Gardening in Massachusetts 2020 Vol. 1:17 (Newsletters | August 24, 2020 - 3:56pm)

Food Gardening in Massachusetts 2020 Vol. 1:19 (Newsletters | August 24, 2020 - 3:55pm)

Food Gardening in Massachusetts 2020 Vol. 1:14 (Newsletters | August 24, 2020 - 3:29pm)

Food Gardening in Massachusetts 2020 Vol. 1:13 (Newsletters | August 24, 2020 - 3:23pm)

Food Gardening in Massachusetts 2020 Vol. 1:15 (Newsletters | August 24, 2020 - 3:01pm)

Food Gardening in Massachusetts 2020 Vol. 1:12 (Newsletters | August 7, 2020 - 4:57pm)

Food Gardening in Massachusetts 2020 Vol. 1:11 (Newsletters | August 5, 2020 - 3:24pm)

Food Gardening in Massachusetts 2020 Vol. 1:9 (Newsletters | July 31, 2020 - 4:30pm)