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News from the Media

  • UMass Extension's Green School offered in 2016

    June 29, 2016

    Every two years, UMass Extension offers it's popular Green School, a comprehensive 12-day certificate short course for Green Industry professionals taught by UMass Extension specialists and University of Massachusetts faculty.

    This year, Green School runs Oct. 24–Dec. 12, twice weekly from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, 11 Beaver St, Milford, Massachusetts. This course will not be offered again until 2018. Pre-registration is required, as space is limited. (Lawn and Landscape 6/29/16)

  • Gypsy Moth Damage to Trees

    June 29, 2016

    Welcome to the year of the gypsy moth caterpillar. The tiny critters are feasting on leaves and wreaking havoc on trees, mostly oak, but not exclusively. “I would say almost surely this is the largest outbreak we’ve seen since 1981,” said Joe Elkinton, professor of entomology in UMass Amherst’s department of environmental conservation. “This is unprecedented. It’s been 35 years." (Enterprise News 6/28/16)

  • UMass Opens New State Apiary

    June 24, 2016

    Gov. Charlie Baker declared June 20–26 as “Massachusetts Pollinator Week.” In support of this declaration, a celebration was held at UMass Amherst’s Agricultural Learning Center to open the first state apiary.

    John Lebeaux, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources; Daniel Sieger, Massachusetts assistant secretary for the environment; and Kim Skyrm, state apiary inspector, examined full Langstroth bee frames. (Lancaster Farming News 6/24/16, Republican 6/24/16)

  • The West Chop pitch pine and CAFE report

    June 12, 2016

    An article examining the factors that make the West Chop pitch pine tree perfectly suited for Atlantic islands mentions a recent report from the UMass Amherst Center for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment that found last year the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation had found southern pine beetles in traps on Martha’s Vineyard. The department had not, however, observed any signs of infestation or any trees killed by the beetle, the only serious threat facing pitch pines on Martha’s Vineyard. (Martha’s Vineyard Times, 6/8/16)

  • UMass Amherst research tackles major highbush blueberry disease

    June 6, 2016

    AMHERST, Mass. – As New England's blueberry season approaches, University of Massachusetts Amherst doctoral candidate Matt Boyer says a fungal pathogen of highbush blueberries known as mummy berry is a common threat to growers, and if left untreated can destroy up to 50 percent of a crop. It is so named because it produces dead-looking, berry-shaped lumps instead of healthy berries. (Scienmag 6/2/16)

  • UMass Landscape Ecology Lab Develops New Interactive Mapping Tool

    June 9, 2016

    A new interactive mapping tool developed by Kevin McGarigal and his graduate students at the UMass Landscape Ecology Lab is available to land trusts as they make strategic decisions about a major conservation vision for the Connecticut River watershed. “Connect the Connecticut” will help conservation groups in four New England states prioritize and coordinate land acquisition efforts within the 11,250 square-mile watershed, with an eye toward habitat resiliency in the face of climate change. (Republican 6/7/16)

  • Gypsy Moth Invasion

    June 28, 2016

    Gypsy moths are defoliating trees on Cape Cod and across southern New England, increasing fire risk. Tawny Simisky, UMass Amherst entomology specialist, comments. (fox25boston 6/27/16)

  • Making it in Downtown Springfield

    June 27, 2016

    The lights are finally on in a small storefront on Worthington Street in downtown Springfield, just in time for the official June 8 kick-off gala for Make-It Springfield, the “pop-up makerspace” that’s aimed not just at refurbishing the empty storefront it moved into, but also providing opportunities for residents that they might not otherwise get.

    Michael DiPasquale, the director of the UMass Amherst Design Center in Springfield and one of the people responsible for making the project a reality, has been making the rounds. (Valley Advocate 6/16)

  • Gypsy moth caterpillar populations surging, chewing up local leaves

    June 20, 2016

    “I would say almost surely this is the largest outbreak we’ve seen since 1981,” said Joe Elkinton, professor of entomology in UMass Amherst’s department of environmental conservation. “This is unprecedented. It’s been 35 years. I don’t think it’s anywhere as bad as it was in 1981, but it’s more widespread than in recent years.”  (Taunton Daily Gazette 06/18/16)

  • UMass lab to offer reduced-cost testing of ticks for disease

    June 20, 2016

    AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – UMass Amherst is home to a laboratory that tests ticks from around the country, but a local program called Tick Report partners with cities and towns to subsidize the costs of tick testing. The town pays $1,500 and up to 100 residents can pay just $15 to get a tick tested. Normally it’s a $50 fee.

    Stephen Rich, Director of the Laboratory of Medical Zoology, told 22News, “More deer means more ticks and more ticks mean more disease. You have basically up to 24 hours in the case of Lyme disease to pull the tick off and prevent exposure. ( 06/16/16)

  • Make-It Springfield opens downtown 'makerspace' with do-it-yourself bike clinic

    June 2, 2016

    "Make it Springfield started as an idea of how to revitalize vacant space," said Michael DiPasquale, an assistant professor in the University of Massachusetts  Extension and Program Director of the UMass Design Center in Springfield. "We wanted to have a presence on the street. This is the first time we've had a chance to take over a storefront on the street. We are piloting some ideas here." (MassLive 6/1/16)

  • Smartphone apps help growers fight fruit crop pests

    May 31, 2016

    Erika Saalau Rojas, an Extension plant pathologist at the University of Massachusetts Cranberry Station, said a mobile-diagnostic tool for growers had not been available in her state before MyIPM.

    “What’s amazing about this app is that it’s very user-friendly,” she said. ( 5/30/16)

  • Peak Season for Ticks is Now

    May 31, 2016

    Stephen Rich, director of the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Laboratory of Medical Zoology, says this is peak season for ticks and offers advice for protecting against the pests. (Recorder, 5/30/16)

  • What's bugging cranberry growers this month

    May 31, 2016

    Thresholds for determining when a pest insect in a cranberry bog requires a treatment response have been set by the UMass Cranberry Station in East Wareham, according to a monthly column for growers. (Wicked Local Carver, 5/30/16)

  • UMass lab steps up tick testing efforts

    May 26, 2016

    BOSTON — A University of Massachusetts laboratory that tests ticks that people find on themselves or their pets for diseases that could possibly be passed on is stepping up its efforts as tick season kicks into high gear.

    The Laboratory of Medical Zoology in Amherst is partnering with about two dozen towns in the state to offer discounted tick testing that lab director Steve Rich said can help treatment of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.  (Globe 5/22/16, Herald 5/22/16,  Republican, Recorder 5/22/16, Berkshire Eagle 5/22/16, CBS Boston, WFXT-TV (Fox 25) Boston 5/22/16)

  • Make-It Springfield pop-up community 'makerspace' workshop coming to downtown

    May 26, 2016

    SPRINGFIELD — Amateur crafters and do-it-yourselfers will soon be able to "make it" in downtown Springfield.

    The University of Massachusetts Design Center in Springfield, MassDevelopment and the Springfield Business Improvement District plan to open Make-It Springfield in a vacant storefront at 168 Worthington St. next month. (MassLive 5/20/16)

  • Local peach crop is the pits this year

    May 16, 2016

     "We haven't seen any blossoms yet, but I think a lot of our peach blossoms are dead... It doesn't look like we'll have much of a crop this year," said Peter Morton, manager of Autumn Hill Orchards in Groton. Because there are many farms that grow peaches in Massachusetts, the extent of the loss is hard to track, but for Jon Clements, a tree fruit specialist working for UMass Amherst's Extension Fruit Program, the damage could affect the entire state, as well as Connecticut and Rhode Island. (Nashoba Valley Voice 5/16/16)


  • Can a Pan Add Iron to Your Diet?

    May 9, 2016

    Wall Street Journal article on use of cast-iron cookware and "fish" to add iron to diet quotes Fergus Clydesdale, food science. Wall Street Journal, 5/9/16

  • Plymoutheans named Keystone cooperators

    May 2, 2016

    The Keystone Project holds an annual training for volunteer champions for conservation in their communities, held in April at the Harvard Forest in Petersham. It is sponsored by UMass Extension and the UMass Department of Environmental Conservation. Plymouth Wicked Local, 5/2/16

  • 'Grass' is here: Fresh asparagus appearing

    April 29, 2016

    Katie Campbell-Nelson, UMass Extension Vegetable Program and Tom Waskiewicz, UMass Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, comment on this year’s asparagus crop. Campbell-Nelson says during the recent cold weather that farmers were irrigating their asparagus at night to keep it from freezing, but she expects there will be a bountiful supply in the next few weeks. Republican, 4/29/16