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News from the Center

  • lilacs bloom on UMass Amherst campus

    UMass Amherst Campus Awash in Spring Color

    May 15, 2017
    In mid-May, Professor Amanda Bayer, who specializes in plant materials at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, led a campus tour of over 35 ornamental trees and shrubs. The two-hour tour left attendees surprised and amazed at the botanical treasures and landscape beauty the campus offers.
  • Mary Ratnaswamy and Melissa Ocana accept 2017 Climate Adaptation Leadership Award

    Award-Winning: Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool Partnership

    May 9, 2017
    The Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool partnership was awarded a 2017 Climate Adaptation Leadership Award at the National Adaptation Forum in St, Paul, Minnesota on May 8. University of Massachusetts project manager, Melissa Ocana, accepted the award on behalf of the partnership.   
  • Gypsy moth egg hatch has been observed at a location off US-202 in Belchertown, Mass. as of 4/26/17. Tiny, hairy caterpillars may be seen resting on top of egg masses at this time as shown here with arrows. (Simisky, 2017)

    This Year’s Gypsy Moths Have Started to Hatch in Massachusetts

    April 28, 2017
    Entomologists at UMass Amherst report that some of the first gypsy moth egg masses to hatch in the state in 2017 have been observed on Wednesday, April 26 in Belchertown, Mass.
  • Cris Wein and Amanda Reilly assist with delivery of 5 lambs to 1 ewe at Hadley Farm

    Counting Sheep at UMass: Rare Birth at Hadley Farm Equine and Livestock Research and Education Center

    April 11, 2017
    Dorset sheep, the type that roam around the UMass Hadley Farm, are known to give birth to one, two or maybe three lambs at once. However, on April 7, one of the farm’s ewes delivered not three or four, but five healthy lambs! Students from the Animal Sciences program in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (VASCI), Cris Wein (‘18) and Amanda Reilly (‘18), both on a pre-vet track, were ready to help deliver the lambs and assist in catching them, but the lambs sorted themselves out and were delivered one at a time.
  • Paul Catanzaro teaching Keystone Cooperators in Harvard Forest

    Keystone Project Honored for Outstanding Environmental Education

    April 6, 2017
    The Massachusetts Keystone Project has been awarded a prestigious Environmental Service Award by the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions.  Led by UMass Extension a 3-day training workshop at Harvard Forest has been held every April since 1988. The award, given for outstanding environmental education, is well-deserved. Since 1988, Keystone Project leaders David Kittredge and Paul Catanzaro have led 26 training workshops, with over 500 Massachusetts community members participating as Keystone Cooperators.
  • Chilli thrips

    Non-Native Insect Confirmed in Mass. for First Time

    March 24, 2017
    The non-native, exotic chilli thrips (Scirtothrips dorsalis) has been recently confirmed from two samples of damaged Hydrangea spp. foliage from two residential landscapes located in Barnstable County, Mass. submitted to the UMass Plant Diagnostics Laboratory. 
  • Congressman Joe Kennedy with Sonia Schloemann and Ken Nicewicz at recent CARET meetings in Washington, DC.

    The View from Capitol Hill: March 2017 CARET visits

    March 16, 2017
    Representatives of the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) recently returned from a hectic trip to Washington, D.C., where they met with the state’s legislative delegations. CAFE’s volunteer champion Ken Nicewicz along with Extension educator Sonia Schloemann held annual “CARET” meetings with Massachusetts legislators in early March to discuss the work of the Land Grant units at UMass Amherst. 
  • Stockbridge Hall, UMass Amherst campus

    Utilities, Communities and Urban Trees: Tree Conference 2017

    March 13, 2017
    Nearly 200 arborists, professors, town officials, utility employees and students attended this year’s tree conference held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on March 7. While they came to learn about current tree issues of importance to communities (such as pests and diseases), the main emphasis of the day was on partnerships between communities and utilities.  This topic was chosen as a result of last year’s survey requesting input from arborists on their preferred focus.
  • NEP Farmers' Market Demonstration

    SNAP–Ed and EFNEP: Helping Tens of Thousands of People Learn About Good Nutrition

    February 2, 2017
    The annual report for fiscal year 2016 from the University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program (NEP) is full of impressive statistics.  Through the power of numbers, one quickly gets a rundown of how many people are making healthier choices through direct work within communities. Bottom line: we are helping a whole lot of people in need find their way to healthier nutrition.
  • Blueberry pruning

    Mass Aggie Seminars: Spring Gardening Series

    February 13, 2017
    Each year the UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture and the UMass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment offers a workshop series for homeowners and small scale farmers. All workshops have a hands-on component that will help participants gain new skills that they can use in their own gardens or landscapes. Locations and registration fees vary.
  • Dr. Rakesh Chandran, NEWSS Past-President presents award to Dr. Hilary Sandler

    UMass Amherst Cranberry Expert Wins Lifetime Achievement Honor

    February 15, 2017
    Dr. Hilary Sander, extension associate professor at the UMass Cranberry Station, has received the Northeastern Weed Science Society’s (NEWSS) highest award on January 4, 2017 at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Plant, Pest, and Soils Conference in Philadelphia. She was elected “Fellow,” the highest honor that can be conferred upon a member. This life-time achievement award recognizes her steadfast dedication to research in the field of weed science.
  • Eve Vogel and Christine Hatch at Deerfield River for release of River Smart Report

    Confronting New England's Legacy of Devastating Floods: River-Smart Recommendations

    December 5, 2016
    On a quiet Friday afternoon in early December, two UMass Amherst professors, authors of the just-released booklet Supporting Communities to Become River-Smart, discussed their policy recommendations with a gathering of planners, state officials from Massachusetts and Vermont, community members and others. Celebrating the new publication at a location alongside the Deerfield River in Shelburne Falls, site of significant flood damage during Hurricane Irene in 2011, seemed particularly appropriate. Eve Vogel, UMass associate professor of geography and lead researcher, along with Christine Hatch, extension assistant professor of geology, shared five target policies from the new 90-page report, “Supporting Communities to Become River-Smart.”
  • UMass Amherst Turfgrass Expert Wins National Honor

    December 1, 2016
    The Golf Course Superintendent Association of America (GCSAA) has named Patricia Vittum, associate director of the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment and professor in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a 2017 recipient of its Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award, the first woman to receive it in the organization’s history. It recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding and significant contribution in both substance and duration to the advancement of the golf course superintendent’s profession. Vittum and two other honorees will be formally recognized at the 2017 Golf Industry Show (GIS) in Orlando in February.
  • Joe Perry's workshop about tree identification

    Teens Kick-Off Year of Envirothon on UMass Campus

    November 21, 2016
    On a warm morning in November, coaches and teams of students from 18 Massachusetts high schools arrived on the UMass Amherst campus to get started on this year’s “Envirothon.” The 210 students came from across the state to attend a full day of environmental workshops to prepare for the 2017 Massachusetts Envirothon competition. Students participating in the Envirothon process across North America focus on one current issue for the year; for 2017 the topic is agricultural soil and water conservation. Considering our severe drought this year--connected to the ability of soil to retain limited water-- this issue is certainly timely here in Massachusetts.
  •  onions drying in greenhouse

    UMass Vegetable Winter School: A New Workshop Series

    November 15, 2016
    The University of Massachusetts is rolling out a new workshop series designed specifically for vegetable farm owners, managers and employees. UMass Vegetable Winter School kicks off on January 10, 2017, with two main goals:  to provide education that will help farmers with regulatory compliance and to improve efficiency and overall farm management. This ‘one-stop shopping’ option will allow farmers to learn about and begin to implement many of their regulatory needs at once. 
  • Dr. John Spargo, Director, Agricultural Analytical Services Lab, Penn State University answers a question during the Q&A session at the conference

    Managing Phosphorous (P) in Organic Residuals Applied to Soils

    November 7, 2016
    Responding to the increased need for education on the science behind soil phosphorus, how phosphorus works with organic residuals applied to soils, and the protection of precious water resources, UMass Amherst Extension Agriculture and Commercial Horticulture Program organized and presented a full-day symposium in Marlborough on November 2. Over 140 regulatory officials, scientists, agricultural producers, turf and grounds management professionals, industry experts, and organic residuals distributors participated. 
  • Linda MacIntosh variety

    How About Them Apples?

    September 21, 2016
    Location, location, location. Apparently, this factor for success applies to both real estate and apple trees. Considering the many challenges that fruit tree growers faced during the summer of 2016 with a decimated peach crop and extended drought, at least there is good news for apple aficionados. Jon Clements, UMass Extension educator and fruit specialist, keeps a close watch on orchards across the state. He said, “The overall crop in Massachusetts is down about 20% from average, but it varies widely from orchard to orchard.
  • Drought resistant cultivar lower right corner

    Worried About Watering Your Lawn in the Drought?

    September 1, 2016
    At UMass’s Joseph Troll Turf Research Center in South Deerfield, the researchers are doing some of the worrying for you. When most people they drive by the Research Center, what they see is a lush green lawn. What they may not realize is that these 20 green acres are home to an extensive field of research that many of us benefit from without even knowing it. The primary focus of UMass research at the Research Center is the conservation and protection of one of our most precious natural resources: water.
  • Clubroot gall in Nepal

    Curbing the Spread of Clubroot Disease in Nepal

    August 23, 2016
    Rob Wick, professor of plant pathology and nematology in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, was invited by USAID and Winrock (a leader in U.S. and international development with a focus on agricultural issues) to help farmers curb clubroot disease of brassica crops in Nepal. Clubroot is a serious soil-borne disease that affects brassica crops. Farmers cannot easily eliminate this disease, but they can learn methods for controlling the spread of infested plants and soil. This is a serious growing issue that needs systematic intervention and Wick was tapped to help them.
  • Your Future Starts Now Team

    “Your Future Starts Now": A New 4-H Collaboration

    July 14, 2016
    A new collaboration has formed to offer a positive path for a group of young men currently in detention. Called, “Your Future Starts Now,” this four-week program is organized in partnership with UMass' Extension 4-H program, Center for Human Development (CHD),  the Department of Youth Services, and the UMass Student Bridges organization.  4-H Extension Educator Lauren DuBois, along with Stacy Tchouanguem, Alisha Ross and Khalif Nunnally-Rivera of Student Bridges will facilitate this program.

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