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Hilltown Voices: Hilltown Land Trust to host oxen logging demonstration and sustainable forest expo

Friday, February 27, 2015

As concerns grow over fossil fuel consumption, there’s greater interest in alternative low-energy production systems. On March 7, the Hilltown Land Trust will offer an event to teach about low-impact sustainable forestry. It will include a walk through a hardwood upland forest and a demonstration by local forester Tom Jenkins and his oxen team. For hundreds of years, draft animals such as oxen, horses, and mules have been used in both farming and forestry. Modern-day draft animals can be used in small-scale forestry operations to benefit the health of the forest and contribute to a local wood economy. For many landowners today, generating income from their forest enables them to keep their land forested, instead …

Earth Matters: The changing face of environmental education

Friday, February 27, 2015

How do we equip ourselves and our children with the tools needed to sustain the Earth? This is a challenging time for the field of environmental education. It’s no longer enough for environmental centers to help people learn about the natural world and the ecological systems that support life. The potentially devastating consequences …

Local bird sightings

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. A northern shrike continues to be seen in Windsor, and a Bohemian waxwing was also found. A rough-legged hawk continues in Lee, and five black vultures were seen in Sheffield. A clay-colored sparrow continues to come to a feeder …

Valley Views: Northern Shrike, Arcadia

Friday, February 6, 2015

Northern Shrike, Arcadia Coombs Road, Arcadia Wildlife Refuge, Easthampton Photograph and text by Jeff Pilger, Easthampton While walking down a dirt road in November at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, this not-so-common northern shrike perched on a vine …

UMass Football Performance Center, US Fish and Wildlife headquarters in Hadley win LEED certification

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The football training facility at McGuirk Alumni Stadium at the University of Massachusetts and improvements to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife headquarters on Westgate Center Drive in Hadley are two of 99 projects across the state that have pushed Massachusetts to near the top of a national ranking …

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to answer questions in Greenfield Thursday about Northeast Energy Direct project

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

GREENFIELD — The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. will host an open house at Greenfield Community College at 6 p.m. Thursday to answer questions about its proposed Northeast Energy Direct project. The meeting in the college’s commons is one of a series of such events that the company is …

Deerfield to file claim against US government over proposed gas pipeline

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

DEERFIELD — The Town of Deerfield plans to file a negligence claim against the United States government Wednesday as it continues to battle the planned natural gas pipeline through Franklin County. The tort action claims that a 2005 change in the federal Natural Gas Act that gave the …

UN weather agency says 2014 hottest year

Monday, February 2, 2015

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The U.N. weather agency says 2014 was the warmest year on record, though the temperature difference with 2010 and 2005 is so small that it’s impossible to say for sure which of the three years was the hottest. The World Meteorological Organization’s analysis Monday mirrored …

Toboggan Championships offer a swift, snowy thrill ride

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Seventy feet up, tobogganing newbies suddenly appreciate the gravity of their situation: They’re about to approach 40 mph on something that looks like it belongs on an old fashioned postcard. Hundreds of teams will fill up the Maine …

Balloon pilots back in NM after historic flight

Sunday, February 1, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two pilots who completed a record-breaking flight across the Pacific Ocean in a helium-filled balloon returned to New Mexico on Sunday to the sounds of mariachi music and an enthusiastic and emotional welcome A large …

Shrinking California snowpack a harbinger?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

LOS ANGELES — State workers performed a California winter ritual last week, poking hollow aluminum tubes into Sierra Nevada meadows to measure the snowpack. In what scientists see as a harbinger, they didn’t find much. “We will conceivably see more years like this in the future,” said geologist …

Now-closed Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant maintains emergency plan, security measures

Saturday, January 31, 2015

VERNON, VT. — Although the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant shut down permanently in December and later laid off one-third of its employees, emergency plans and security measures remain in place. The plant shut down Dec. 29, after about 40 years operation. Last month, its workforce was cut …

Valley Views: Nonotuck Park Winter

Friday, January 30, 2015

Nonotuck Park Pond, Winter Bill Halford Way, Easthampton Photograph and text by Bob Solosko, Easthampton Several months ago, while walking through the woods at Nonotuck Park in Easthampton, I came across a small pond that I thought would …