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News from the Media

  • Climate change: Heat may drive cranberry industry north

    October 26, 2015

    University of Massachusetts Cranberry Station director Carolyn DeMoranville said there hasn’t been much change in annual rainfall totals in the past 20 years, but the station has noted one significant change in the past six or seven years: The rain comes in big rain events with long dry periods in between. Those torrential rains tend to run off the land instead of soaking in and replenishing diminished groundwater supplies, making irrigation costly. (Cape Cod Times 10/26/15)

  • Massachusetts Writes Plan to Boost Local Food and Farmers

    October 26, 2015

    Massachusetts state officials released a plan for boosting locally grown food – the first such plan since 1974.

    "We have brought together an incredibly diverse and broad range of people involved in the food system, everyone from anti-hunger advocates to farmers to truckers to policy advocates, to try to figure out how we can build on the strength of the state's food system and collaborate in ways we haven't collaborated before," said Winton Pitcoff, the project manager overseeing the plan and a Plainfield resident. (Masslive 10/25/15)

  • Physical Activity Has Greater Impact on Body Composition in Postmenopausal Women

    October 20, 2015

    CLEVELAND, Ohio--Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, regardless of your age. But a new study coming out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst shows that some types of physical activity have a greater impact on body composition in postmenopausal compared to premenopausal women. (Science Newsline, 10/20/15; Science Codex, 10/19/15)

  • New England Foliage Season Delayed, but Spectacular, UMass professor comments

    October 19, 2015

    BOSTON (AP) — New England residents and visitors to the six-state region hoping to catch a glimpse of its celebrated fall foliage may have been a little disappointed so far in seeing more green than blazing orange, scarlet and gold. This year's foliage season was delayed slightly because of weather conditions but is likely to end up being just as spectacular. Paul Catanzaro, an extension assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts explains. (Hawaii Tribune 10/18/15; New York Times, ABC News, Houston Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Daily Mail [U.K.], Yahoo Singapore [all from AP], 10/14/15)

  • Apple's DNA determines crispness says Wesley Autio, UMass professor

    October 7, 2015

    Whether the apples in your pie bake into tender, well-defined slices or turn shapeless and mushy is built into the fruit’s DNA.  What gives apples a firm texture is the structure and thickness of the fruit cell walls, says Wesley Autio, professor of pomology and directorof the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. (Boston Globe 10/7/15)

  • UMass researcher finds way to fight cheatgrass, a western scourge

    October 7, 2015

    Cheatgrass could vie for the title of the most successful invasive species in North America. The weed lives in every state, and is the dominant plant on more than 154,000 square miles of the West, by one estimate. When it turns green in the spring, “you can actually see it from space,” said Bethany Bradley, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who studies biogeography, the spatial distribution of species. (New York Times 10/5/15)

  • Local farms reflect changes in pumpkin production

    October 5, 2015

    BRIDGEWATER - At Peterson’s Farm Greenhouse on South Street in Bridgewater, the farm stand is lit up by a display of blazing orange due to the dozens of pumpkins for sale at the stand.

    “In a lot of ways, it was an ideal growing year,” said Katie Campbell-Nelson, a vegetable specialist for the UMass Extension School’s Center or Agriculture, Food and the Environment. The dry weather meant certain diseases were less prevalent in pumpkin plants. (Enterprise News 10/5/15)

  • Thre's a New Tick in Town: UMass professor reports

    September 27, 2015

    Stephen M. Rich, UMass microbiologist and director of the Laboratory of Medical Zoology, comments in a story about lone star ticks on Martha’s Vineyard. He says the insects have been present for a couple of years and now are well established on at least part of the island.

  • Flies released to combat winter moth problem

    September 27, 2015

    University of Massachusetts Amherst professor and entomologist Joseph Elkinton is working to curb the high numbers of winter moths in New England with a very specific fly called Cyzenis albicans.

    “If you had them in your yard, you would never even notice them,” said Elkinton, and you definitely want them in your yard. “They only attack winter moths, which is a real advantage. We don’t want them on our native moths or butterflies.” (Sippican Week, 9/27/15)


  • UMass Amherst students create ice cream flavor for Hadley creamery

    September 23, 2015

    There may not be a sweeter college graduation assignment than making ice cream. That was the challenge this spring for 26 seniors in the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students who developed the winning flavor saw it produced and sold by neighboring Maple Valley Creamery. (Boston Globe 9/22/15)

  • UMass participates in discussion on Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change

    September 22, 2015

    Craig Nicolson, environmental conservation, took part in a panel discussion of Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change held Sept. 21 in Northampton. “No matter who you are and where you come from, this is an encyclical that is for you,” he said, noting that the pope directed the message to every person on the planet. (Gazette, 9/22/15)

  • Cranberry Country: The A, Bee, C's of pollination, Anne Averill advises

    September 21, 2015

    UMass Amherst and the UMass Cranberry Station are studying the decline of bees that pollinate cranberry crops. Anne Averill, environmental conservation, is examining bumblebee colony growth in pesticide-free unmanaged conservation sites versus managed bogs.

  • UMass Amherst Faculty among "World's Leading Scientific Minds"

    September 21, 2015

    AMHERST, Mass. – Seven University of Massachusetts Amherst faculty members are among “the world’s leading scientific minds,” whose publications are again among the most influential in their fields, according to a survey by leading multinational media and information firm Thomson Reuters.

    The Thomson Reuters compilers, who set out to identify “some of the best and brightest scientific minds of our time,” recognized UMass Amherst food scientists Eric Decker and David Julian McClements, and soil chemist Baoshan Xing of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, among others.   (News Release 9/18/15)

  • UMass Watershed Scientists Offer National Flood and Runoff Assessment

    September 19, 2015

    The first continent-wide, multi-factor analysis of climate and land cover effects on watersheds in the United States, provides a broad new assessment of runoff, flooding and storm water management options for use by such professionals as land use and town planners and water quality managers. (Environmental ProtectionStorm Water Solutions, 9/15/15;, 9/19/15; News Office release)

  • Downtown Temporary Parks Educate Pedestrians: UMass students participate

    September 18, 2015

    Students from landscape architecture and regional planning created a small park in downtown Amherst on Sept. 16 as part of Park(ing) Day, an international event when people transform parking spaces into parks. As part of their project, they built a demonstration bioswale that they say could send cleaner water into the Campus Pond. (Gazette, 9/18/15)

  • UMass receives $1 million to continue Holyoke G&E energy saving project

    September 14, 2015

    The National Science Foundation’s Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity program has announced a three-year, $1 million grant to three UMass Amherst researchers and others to work with Holyoke Gas & Electric Co. (HG&E) to develop smart energy services. Preshant Shenoy, Simi Hoque and David Irwin are co-principal investigators.  (Republican, 9/14/15; News Office release)

  • Pick-your-own apples above average: Extension comments

    September 5, 2015

    This weekend officially kicks off apple picking season throughout the region and orchard explorers are expected to find an above average selection.
    According to Jon Clements, a member of the University of Massachusetts extension team, the major threat to the apple crop as the season opens would be a hurricane or hail - both could damage the fruit and dampen picking enthusiasm. (Milford Daily News, 9/5/15)

  • Ten weird majors: UMass Amherst's Stockbridge School of Agriculture makes list

    September 4, 2015

    Turfgrass science and management, UMass Amherst: Amherst's Stockbridge School of Agriculture offers both bachelor of science and associate of science degrees in the production and maintenance of grassed areas. The best part? Students can concentrate on either the business or science aspects of the industry. Talk about choice! ( 9/3/15)

  • Jody L. Jellison Named Director of Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at UMass Amherst

    September 3, 2015

    AMHERST, Mass. – Jody L. Jellison, a plant biologist and pathologist and longtime leader of agricultural research and Extension programs, has been named director of the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. (Republican, 9/03/15,  Boston Business Journal,8/31/15; News Office Release)

  • Native-Seeds Strategy for Damaged Landscapes: UMass Weighs In

    August 30, 2015

    Bethany A. Bradley, environmental conservation, says fires in the Great Basin of the West are often not caused by drought but by wet weather that encourages the growth of invasive weeds such as cheatgrass. Her comments are in a story about how federal officials are trying to replant burned areas with native plants before the invasive species can take over. (Summit Daily 8/31/15)