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Environment

Developers eye propane as natural gas ban hits

Friday, May 29, 2015

The owners of a new downtown Amherst restaurant specializing in Italian cuisine got an unexpected surprise in March when they discovered that they could not tap into the natural gas supply. Faced with uncertainty over how he would power the kitchen at Fratelli’s Ristorante now that Berkshire Gas has imposed a moratorium on natural gas connections in Amherst, Hadley and Hatfield, owner Joseph Bowman turned to propane. He now intends …

Moose that prowled Amherst streets, school grounds darted for move to rural area

Friday, May 29, 2015

AMHERST — Though taming a moose is not part of her job description, Superintendent Maria Geryk was among the first on the scene Friday morning assisting Carol Hepburn, the town’s animal welfare officer, in shepherding a 350- to 400-pound female moose into an area where the animal could be tranquilized and removed by …

Heat kills 1,100 in India

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

HYDERABAD, India (AP) — Soaring summer temperatures in India have left over 1,100 people dead over the past month, officials said Wednesday. Most of the deaths have been reported in the southeastern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana. More than 852 people have died from the stifling heat in Andhra Pradesh since May …

Late spring complicates amphibian migration

Monday, April 27, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. — Northern New England’s annual amphibian migration is always perilous, but critters that cross roads to breed are facing an additional challenge this year: a delayed start after the long winter. Every spring, several species of salamanders and frogs travel to vernal pools — temporary bodies …

Berkshire Gas Co. spokesman tells Franklin County Chamber of Commerce of ‘critical need’ for Tennessee Gas Pipeline

Saturday, April 25, 2015

DEERFIELD — Berkshire Gas Co. spokesman Christopher Farrell made a case last week with the region’s business leaders for what he called the “critical need” for the Northeast Energy Direct project proposed by Tennessee Gas Pipeline. Farrell said it is needed not only to grow the economy, but …

Earth Matters: Birdwatching for a cause — but mostly for fun

Friday, April 24, 2015

There are many reasons to watch birds. Developing identification skills, appreciating ecological and evolutionary relationships, appreciating the beauty of birds, visiting interesting places, building lists of species one has seen and enjoying good company are among them. Once …

Valley Views: Green Heron, Juvenile

Friday, April 24, 2015

Green Heron, Juvenile University of Massachusetts Campus Pond, Amherst Photograph and text by Georgette deFriesse, Belchertown Last summer, I wandered around the pond at the University of Massachusetts watching the antics of a juvenile green heron. The young …

Bird sightings

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Audubon Society has reported a variety of recent bird sightings in western Massachusetts. An unprecedented spring fallout of ruddy ducks occurred at many locations over the weekend. A common tern and a long-tailed duck were found at …

Popular pesticide hurts wild bees in major field study

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WASHINGTON — A common type of pesticide is dramatically harming wild bees, according to a new in-the-field study that outside experts say may help shift the way the U.S. government looks at a controversial class of chemicals. But …

Clean-water advocate swims at Superfund site

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — A clean-water advocate took an Earth Day swim in the polluted Gowanus Canal, a federal Superfund site. “I’m going in!” yelled Christopher Swain, wearing a yellow-and-black protective suit and a green swim cap as …

Construction of new Hitchcock Center for Environment building will begin with groundbreaking May 1

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

AMHERST — Construction of the $5.8 million building that will house the Hitchcock Center for the Environment will begin with a ceremonial groundbreaking May 1 on the Hampshire College campus on West Street. The 9,000-square-foot building is expected to be New England’s first public environmental education facility to …

Earth Day’s 45th anniversary comes at a time when environmental consciousness heightened year-round

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Events throughout the region this week are commemorating the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, though organizers say that environmental consciousness is now heightened year-round. Officially taking place on Wednesday, Earth Day began in 1970 at a time when …

US agency wants to lift protection for humpbacks

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

HONOLULU — The federal government on Monday proposed removing most of the world’s humpback whales from the endangered species list, saying the massive mammals have rebounded after 45 years of protection and restoration efforts. National Oceanic and Atmospheric …