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Environment

PHOTO BY REBECCA REID

Close-up of dodder on shoreline plants at Lake Warner in Hadley. An example of a "right-handed" twining of the dodder around the host plant can be seen in the lower left of the picture.

earth matters An encounter with a doddering old friend

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A river, where not constrained by cliffs, tends to wander. Small irregularities in a bank eroded by river water are the beginnings of meanders in the river. Loops cut off from the river become oxbow lakes, and as these lakes fill in they become oxbow marshes. I also wander, and the oxbow lakes and marshes of the Connecticut River, rich …

‘Disruption’ documentary about climate change will be screened Tuesday; more than 1,000 people from Valley expected at People’s Climate March

Monday, September 15, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A documentary that traces the history of climate change and profiles the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday will be shown in Northampton Tuesday night. “Disruption” is being screened at 7 p.m. at Stoddard Hall auditorium on Elm Street across from the Art Museum on the Smith College campus. The film is being presented by the Smith College …

Connecticut River Watershed Council raises concerns about water discharge permit for Vermont Yankee

Saturday, September 13, 2014

VERNON, Vt. — The state’s Agency of Natural Resources is scheduled to issue a new water discharge permit later this month for the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, even though the plant will be a few months away from permanently shutting down by then. Still, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, which had fought in the courts for years to protect migrating fish and other …

Crocodile attacks swimmers in Coral Gables canal

Monday, August 25, 2014

MIAMI — Coral Gables, Fla., authorities on Monday were combing a canal for a crocodile that went on the attack over the weekend. They’re also handing out warnings to area residents. Two people were bitten by the croc while swimming in a Coral Gables canal around 2 a.m. …

Hilltown Voices: Solar signups deemed success

Saturday, August 23, 2014

In the latest round of Solarize Massachusetts, Chesterfield and Williamsburg added a total of 58 households that will install solar electricity systems. Solar coaches in both communities said that the number of households to sign up to install solar panels on their homes far exceeded their expectations. “We …

Valley Views Local photographers aim their cameras outdoors

Friday, August 22, 2014

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER Route 9, Belchertown Photograph and text by Anne E. Ely of South Hadley With a flat tray feeder most birds usually dive right in, hopping around and picking out the choicest morsels. But not the red-bellied …

Fuel cell cars, facing hurdles, slow to catch on

Friday, August 22, 2014

EarthTalk: Is it true that fuel cell cars aren’t really any greener than conventional gas-powered internal combustion cars? — Michelle Adamo, Portland, Oregon A decade ago cars powered by fuel cells seemed like the future of green automotive …

Bird Sightings

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. Two great egrets, a Virginia rail, two black vultures and a dickcissel were seen in Longmeadow. A little blue heron, a cliff swallow, a …

Local organizers encourage participation in People’s Climate March in New York City

Thursday, August 21, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Local organizers of the People’s Climate March in New York City are holding a meeting Monday seeking to spark interest in the Sept. 21 event. Susan Theberge, with the groups Climate Action NOW/350MA, said the main focus of the meeting will be on how social justice …

Study: Toothless ‘dragon’ pterosaurs once ruled skies

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ancient winged reptiles called pterosaurs were so successful that they ruled Earth’s skies for tens of millions of years, according to a study published in the journal ZooKeys. The fearsome fliers, part of a family of pterosaurs named Azhdarchidae, get their name from azdarha, the Persian word for …

‘Severe’ drought in 99.8% of California

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

LOS ANGELES — Drought conditions may have leveled off across California, but nearly 100 percent of the state remains in the third-harshest category for dryness, according to the latest measurements. For the past two weeks, California’s drought picture has remained the same, halting a steady march toward worse. …

Fire near Yosemite that 1,000 fled doesn’t grow

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

OAKHURST, Calif. — A wildfire that forced about 1,000 people from their homes in the foothills near Yosemite National Park held steady Tuesday as humidity and calmer winds aided the fight against the second blaze around the park …

MAP:E. coli bacteria levels high in Connecticut, Mill rivers; Health officials warn against swimming, boating following storm

Monday, August 18, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The deluge of rain last Wednesday has elevated levels of E. coli bacteria at select spots on the Connecticut and Mill rivers, prompting health officials to warn people not to swim or boat there. Water samples …