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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.
Upcoming topics:

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!

When: Oct. 26 - Dec. 10, 2020, twice weekly
Where: 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 

Find the full schedule and registration info at:


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.


TickTalk Webinars
Each month, TickTalk Webinars feature Dr. Stephen Rich and his guests, brought to you by the UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology and UMass Extension. Tune in on the second Wednesday of the month. Register for future webinars and see archived ones. TickTalk Webinars

The InsectXaminer short video series hopes to increase the visibility of the beautiful world of insects, even those we consider to be pests in our managed landscapes. InsectXaminer will showcase the complexity of insect life cycles, cataloging as many life stages for each species as possible. View archived episodes here. To receive notification when new episodes are released, subscribe to the Landscape, Nursery, and Urban Forestry Program Email List.

Laboratories and services

Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory
Tracy Allen (
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 (
Disease and Insect Diagnostics of Non-Woody Plants: Angie Madeiras (

The Plant Diagnostics Laboratory re-opened on June 22, 2020, for plant disease, insect pest and invasive plant/weed samples. At this time, we can only accept mail-in samples; walk-in samples cannot be accepted. 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 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

Online information resources from our teams

Extension Crops, Dairy, Livestock and Equine
Masoud Hashemi (
Publications and Resources | Videos and Guides | Fact Sheets


Extension Crop Insurance/Risk Management
Tom Smiarowski (


Extension Fruit
Sonia Schloemann (

Covid-19 Fruit-related Resources: A regularly updated set of resources from state, federal and other sources addressing a range of issues relevant to the Fruit Industry in Massachusetts.

Fact Sheets I Healthy Fruit Newsletter I IPM Berry Blast Newsletter I New England Grape Notes Newsletter I YouTube Channel I IPM Podcasts


Extension Greenhouse Crops & Floriculture
Jason Lanier (
COVID-19 Information and Support for Landscapers, Nurseries, Turf Managers, Garden Centers, Arborists, and Greenhouse Operations.
Fact Sheets | Greenhouse Updates | Publications and Resources | TickTalk Webinars


Extension Landscape, Nursery & Urban Forestry
Tawny Simisky (
Coronavirus Resources and Information for Landscapers, Nurseries, Turf Managers, Garden Centers, Arborists, and Greenhouse Operations.
Landscape Message | Hort Notes: Clippings from the Garden | Publications and Resources | Fact Sheets | TickTalk Webinars | InsectXaminer

Extension Pesticide Education Training
Natalia Clifton: (


Extension Turf
Mary Owen (
COVID-19 Information and Support for Landscapers, Nurseries, Turf Managers, Garden Centers, Arborists, and Greenhouse Operations.
Management Updates | Publications and Resources | TurfTalk mailing list


Extension Vegetable
Sue Scheufele (
Coronavirus Resources and Information for Mass.Vegetable Growers A regularly updated set of resources from state, federal, and other sources addressing a range of issues including small business management and financial relief, food and worker safety, and more.
VegNotes A weekly publication for vegetable growers that contains timely information on vegetable crop production, upcoming meetings and other opportunities. During the pandemic, it will include relevant resources. Subscribe
Guides | Fact Sheets | Resources and Services


Pollinator and Honeybee Resources 
Hannah Whitehead (
What to Know Before Getting a Hive

UMass Cranberry Station
IPM Message for Cranberry Growers | Publications and Resources on Cranberry Production


Water Resources Research Center
Make Sure Water in Your Pipes is Fresh. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some buildings have little or no water running through the pipes, which can results in problems. MassDEP has issued guidance regarding the issue of stagnant water in buildings.

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


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

Online resources on conserving and protecting natural resources

Conservation Assessment and Prioritization System (CAPS)

Family Forest Research Center

Massachusetts Keystone Project

MassWoods Forest Conservation Program

North Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Collaborative

Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool

Fact sheets on environmental and water conservation

Online resources on clean energy

Energy Efficiency Checklist for Municipal Buildings
Overview and checklist of measures to reduce energy use in schools and other municipal buildings.

Selection of Clean Heating and Cooling Equipment
Overview and comparison of air-source heat pump, ground-source heat pump, solar thermal, and wood heating technologies.

Greening Municipal Fleets
Fact sheets and other information for municipalities to cut costs and achieve greater fuel efficiency.

Solar Energy and Agriculture
The fact sheets and information on this website were developed by UMass Clean Energy Extension to help farmers and solar developers navigate the Mass. SMART (Solar Mass. Renewable Target) program.

Additional Resources from Clean Energy Extension

Online resources on climate adaptation

Massachusetts Ecosystem Climate Adaptation Network (Mass ECAN)
A community of practice for climate adaptation practitioners and researchers interested in ecosystem resilience and natural resource conservation in Massachusetts.

Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center (NECASC)
The Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center works with natural and cultural resource managers in the Northeast and Midwest regions to apply future climate scenarios to decision making and co-produce information, and tools for climate change adaptation.

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, we are available by email and phone ( We are holding periodic virtual bogsides to “meet” with you regarding progress on plant growth, pests, and management practices. Please check our web site 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. (April 17, 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 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. (April 17, 2020)

UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program (including SNAP-Ed)
UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program staff are providing a weekly “Nutrition Bites” newsletter to our program collaborators and participants to share recipes, nutrition/food safety/physical activity tips, and food access information and resources that are helpful during this pandemic. We are using Zoom to conduct nutrition education sessions with our low-income participants, in both group and individual settings, and we are currently working with schools and teachers to continue reaching our youth participants with nutrition education programs and materials. (April 17, 2020)

UMass Research and Education Farms
The CAFE farm facilities are open to researchers and other facility users who have an approved Research and Continuity Plan from the VCRE. 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 to request access to farm facilities. Reading the Covid-19 Farm Facility User Access Protocol is required before going to any CAFE Farm Facility.  (May 5, 2020)

UMass Water Resources Research Center
The WRRC staff is working remotely but 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 postponed to October 2020. Our lab is closed and we cannot provide Quality Control samples or accept any water samples until further notice. (April 17, 2020)

Updates from UMass Extension and CAFE during Coronavirus pandemic