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News from the Media

UMass Amherst hosts new stream-crossing database for regional network
June 6, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – A partnership of federal and state agencies, plus nonprofit conservation groups today launched a new, uniform protocol for citizen scientist volunteers and professional fish and wildlife managers to use in assessing the state of stream-crossing culverts in 13 Northeast states. The assessments will help identify culverts, for instance, that block turtles, trout, salamanders and other wildlife from moving up and down streams.

Scott Jackson, professor of environmental conservation at UMass Amherst, which will host a database, says, “We know that these ecosystems must be reconnected to be healthy. As climate change alters habitat conditions, some vulnerable species like Eastern brook trout and Blanding’s turtles really need to be able to move freely. This new aquatic connectivity collaborative will bring people together in a unified network to address the issue in a coordinated, collaborative and systematic way.” (6/9/15 Red Lake Nation News, News Office Release)

Growth Opportunities: Attitudinal Shift in Food Movement says UMass Faculty and Staff
June 3, 2015

Joe Shoenfeld calls it “an attitudinal shift.”

That’s how he chose to describe a movement, for lack of a better term, that has made terms like ‘fresh,’ ‘healthy,’ ‘organic,’ ‘sustainable,’ and especially ‘local’ not just adjectives that dominate the lexicon — and also the marketing materials — of those who grow, sell, and prepare food, but also part of this region’s culture.

“I think we’ve definitely moved beyond something that could be called a fad or a trend regarding local purchasing and local food,” Shoenfeld, associate director for the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment in the College of Natural Sciences at UMass Amherst, told BusinessWest. 6/2/15 (Business West)

Protecting South America’s Iconic Golden Dorado Fish
May 27, 2015

A new study launched this month by University of Massachusetts Amherst fisheries biologist Andy J. Danylchuk, in collaboration with Argentina's Ministry of Environment and regional partners including Juramento Fly Fishing, Tigres del Rio, Fish Simply, and Patagonia Inc., is the first to assess the impact of catch-and-release fishing and other human and environmental pressures on the golden dorado, a fish of high economic and recreational value across South America. (5/27/15 phys.org)

Caterpillars of winter moths threaten region’s trees, says UMass entomologist
May 27, 2015

It’s the annual attack of the tiny, very hungry winter moth caterpillars. Over the past few days, the green inchworm caterpillars have begun ballooning down out of trees by the thousands, dangling on a wisp of thread and leaving behind a tattered, frayed canopy of leaves.

“There’s a tattering of the leaves. A lot of this comes from the caterpillars feeding on the buds before they open,” said Joseph Elkinton, a professor of entomology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who has for a decade been releasing a parasitic fly that has begun to have success in controlling the population of hungry caterpillars. (5/27/15 Globe)

UMass Amherst Food Scientist Wins International Award for Rapid Pathogen Detection in Food
May 27, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Amherst food science researcher Sam Nugen is one of two winners of the 2015 Future Leaders Award from the International Life Sciences Institute’s (ILSI) North America division, for developing methods of engineering viruses to rapidly detect and separate microbial contaminants from food. (5/27/15 UMass Press Release)

Editorial: Buzz Surrounding Pollinators in Peril: UMass Researchers Referenced
May 26, 2015

There’s a growing threat across the agricultural spectrum that has the area’s farmers, orchardists, beekeepers, scientists and researchers at such places like the University of Massachusetts Amherst worried: The loss of pollinators, like the honey bee. (5/23/15 Recorder, Hampshire Gazette 5/23/15)

Complex roles of dietary fats and oils in health and innovation explored by Eric Decker, UMass, Professor
May 20, 2015

Are dietary fats and oils really good for us after all? And if so, what types and how much should we consume to achieve a health benefit? How realistic is the dietary advice about fats and oils? These questions and more are discussed in a scientific supplement published in the peer-reviewed journal, Advances in Nutrition. (5/18/15 Medical News Today)

Lone star tick the new pest in town, UMass microbiologist discovers
May 18, 2015

BARNSTABLE — Imagine a tick that travels three times as fast as the black-legged deer tick, has excellent vision and hatches in stinging swarms that can put fire ants to shame. The arthropod in question is the lone star tick, which scientists say has meandered northward and established a foothold at Sandy Neck Beach Park in Barnstable and Cuttyhunk in the Elizabeth Islands chain.

“It’s pretty clear that the lone star ticks are established (at Sandy Neck) now,” said Stephen Rich, a microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who is finishing a year’s sabbatical on the Cape. (5/8/15 Cape Cod Times)

Massachusetts students join the fight to save the planet
May 18, 2015

BELCHERTOWN – A cloudless sky, light breeze and the distinctive “teacher, teacher, teacher” song of the ovenbird welcomed some 260 students from 31 high schools across the state to Quabbin Reservoir last Friday morning for the 2015 Massachusetts Envirothon.
The picture perfect day for the environmental competition in no way diminished the fervor with which teams from Springfield to Sandwich tackled this year’s current issue: climate change, its impact on local cities and towns, and measures to counter it.
In opening remarks, Will Snyder, UMass Extension and chairman of the Mass. Envirothon Steering Committee, cited climate change as the greatest environmental challenge ever to face humanity, and one where results are measured a step at a time rather than an overall solution. 5/18/15 Worcester Telegram)

Massachusetts Envirothon Takes on Issue of Climate Change
May 13, 2015

Some 250 high school students from across the state will gather at the Quabbin Reservoir Thursday, May 14, to participate in a unique competition that will test their environmental knowledge, field work, problem-solving abilities and communication skills, as they take part in the 28th annual Massachusetts Envirothon. (Hampshire Gazette 5/13/15)

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