News from the Media
Coca-Cola to replenish 100% of water use, Rees commentsAugust 27, 2015
McGovern leads state, federal officials on farm tour of western MassachusettsAugust 25, 2015
SOUTH DEERFIELD — Congressman Jim McGovern, flanked by a dozen federal and state agricultural officials, including representatives from UMass Extension Service and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, rolled into western Massachusetts on August 25 as part of a two-day tour of farms around the Congressional district. Katie Campbell-Nelson, a University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension educator, was present at several of the farms where she teaches pest management practices. (8/25 Republican, 8/25 Hampshire Gazette, 8/25 Recorder)
Certain wildlife species could benefit from pipeline, while others suffer, says UMass professorAugust 11, 2015
NORTHFIELD — The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct project, in some cases, may benefit certain species but could cause significant harm to others.
Scott Jackson, associate professor of wetlands and wildlife conservation at the University of Massachusetts, has developed a Natural Resource Assessment report, outlining core habitats susceptible to harm from the installation of a pipeline and compressor station. (Recorder 8/11/15)
Trans fat replacements an ‘experiment' on public says Head of Food Science at UMassAugust 10, 2015
With trans fats on the way out, Americans can expect to see new shortenings in their snack foods. But will the replacements be any better?
In the future, customers can expect to see monounsaturated or “high oleic” oils in their foods.
“This is going to be the next trend. We’ll see our consumption of monounsaturated fats going way up,” said Eric Decker, head of the Department of Food Science at UMass Amherst. “This is the next big experiment on the United States population.” (The Commercial Appeal 8/7/15)
Orchards expect apple bumper crop, UMass Extension commentsAugust 10, 2015
Jon Clements of UMass Extension, who works at the university’s Cold Spring research orchard in Belchertown said he has every reason to believe that this year’s crop will be above average.
“There hasn’t really been anything that’s had an adverse effect on it,” Clements said. “There was no spring frost, and the bloom was normal. We actually had a heavy bloom, there were lots of flowers. There was just no stress to the trees this year, there’s plenty of fruit out there.” (Recorder 8/7/15)
UMass biochemist, Elizabeth Vierling Secures $682,982 NSF Grant to Study Plants Under StressAugust 6, 2015
AMHERST, Mass. – Biochemist Elizabeth Vierling at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently received a three-year, $682,982 National Science Foundation grant to study how plants respond, at the molecular and cellular level, to stress in their environment and the role of a regulatory protein called S-nitrosoglutathione reductase (GSNOR). (8/5/15 News Release, 8/5/15 4-Traders.com, 8/6/15 Republican)
High school students spend week at UMass exploring world of farming, foodAugust 6, 2015
AMHERST – In recent years, the University of Massachusetts has offered a number of summer programs, but until this year a program in sustainable agriculture was missing. Ten students from around the country came to campus to the one-week program the last week of July. Their only regret was it wasn't two weeks long.
UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture instructor Sarah Berquist taught the program on sustainability and food systems. She said the summer is perfect for a program like this because "harvest is abundant." And she said the program "is a great opportunity to spread the word about our great program." (8/6/15 Mass Live)
Lessons On The Birds And Trees: UMass adjunct professor, David Bloniarz, interviewedJuly 30, 2015
A new program about environmental awareness kicks off in western Massachusetts today. The US Forest Service along with the University of Massachusetts, the city of Springfield, and the nonprofit Regreen Springfield will hold a series of workshops to highlight the importance of trees, birds and water in urban neighborhoods. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with David Bloniarz, a researcher with the U.S. Forest Service. To listen, click here.
Scientists, lawmakers seek solution to honeybee crisis. UMass professor commentsJuly 29, 2015
Massachusetts honeybees are disappearing without a trace. Hives are left barren of bees, save for a small cluster of larvae, nurse bees, and an abandoned queen.The question is: Why?
Tuesday on Beacon Hill, scientists and lawmakers convened to explore the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder and to seek ways to protect decimated bee populations.
“We saw a 40 percent loss in bees this year in Worcester County,” Kenneth Warchol, program director of the Worcester County Beekeepers Association, said in an interview. “Bees are like canaries in a coal mine — they’re sending us a message that something’s wrong here.”
UMass Amherst Food Scientists to Work with Small Farms and Growers on Food SafetyJuly 16, 2015
The USDA recently awarded a five-year, $241,000 grant to a team of food science researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to create a graduate training program that will combine laboratory research and practical application to help producers and processors improve the safety of fresh produce in the food supply.
UMass Agricultural Field Day Showcases ResearchJune 25, 2015
Faculty and graduate students offered presentations on a variety of research topics including growing malt barley, cover crops in potato production, hardwood biochar in agricultural soils, effects of bee disease on hedgerow plantings, dual-purpose cover crops and much more.
The 358-acre agronomy and vegetable farm conducts research on vegetable crops, agronomic and bioenergy crops, organic agriculture and pasture. The farm has both a student-run vegetable project as well as a project that researches cattle, offering students hands-on experience with livestock. Faculty, extension staff and graduate students conduct applied research and are assisted by technicians, field staff and undergraduate students. (6/24/15 WWLP Channel 22)
13 States Catalog Culverts: UMass Amherst hosts new database for regional networkJune 22, 2015
Bridges get a lot of attention when they fail, but scientists are working to eliminate what they say can be an even greater scourge, because of their sheer numbers and their effect on wildlife: culverts.
These passages that carry smaller streams under roads and driveways number in the thousands across the East, and their importance came into sharp focus during storms Irene and Sandy in the past few years, when floodwaters washed many of them out and cut off access for days or weeks. (6/21/15 Burlington Free Press, 6/8/15 News Office)
What makes ticks tick?June 22, 2015
Why send a tick to college?
Because the University of Massachusetts Amherst has a special program for them, under the direction of Stephen Rich, professor of microbiology and director of the laboratory of medical zoology there. Rich is wrapping up a year’s sabbatical on Cape, during which he and his family have been living in Centerville (“within walking distance of Four Seas”). He gave a talk about his tick research June 11 at the Waquoit Bay Reserve Visitor Center in Falmouth.(6/19/15 Barnstable Patriot)
Slovenian professor visits UMass, advocates for a ‘World Bee Day’June 17, 2015
AMHERST — As pollinators across the world — particularly the honey bee — are succumbing to diseases and colony collapses, the government of one bee-loving country is trying to create a day to celebrate their worldwide importance.
Janko Božič, a professor of animal behavior and beekeeping at Ljubljana University in Slovenia, visited the University of Massachusetts on Monday to promote World Bee Day, which he hopes will be established on May 20 starting in 2016. (6/16/15 Hampshire Gazette, Channel 22).
UMass report details impact of Tennessee Gas Pipeline on environmentally sensitive areas in Franklin CountyJune 11, 2015
f the proposed Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline is built across 35 miles of Franklin County, it could affect a greater share of fragile landscape than in other parts of the state.
Here, at least 42 percent of the pipeline’s total Massachusetts length is along environmentally sensitive regions and aquatic buffers, states a report by the University of Massachusetts Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. The report on the permanent effects of the project on protected open space emphasizes lands dedicated to agriculture and conservation, primary habitat for rare species, wetlands, wildlife habitat and communities of biodiversity. (6/11/15 Hampshire Gazette)
UMass Amherst hosts new stream-crossing database for regional networkJune 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 StaffJune 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 FishMay 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 entomologistMay 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 FoodMay 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)