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)
News from the Media
UMass researcher finds way to fight cheatgrass, a western scourgeOctober 7, 2015
Local farms reflect changes in pumpkin productionOctober 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 reportsSeptember 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 problemSeptember 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 creamerySeptember 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 changeSeptember 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 advisesSeptember 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 AssessmentSeptember 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 Protection, Storm Water Solutions, 9/15/15; Waterbucket.ca, 9/19/15; News Office release)
Downtown Temporary Parks Educate Pedestrians: UMass students participateSeptember 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 projectSeptember 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 commentsSeptember 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 listSeptember 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! (boston.com 9/3/15)
Jody L. Jellison Named Director of Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment at UMass AmherstSeptember 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 InAugust 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)
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)