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Massachusetts Residents Asked to Report Receipt of Unsolicited Seeds
Staff Reports,
05:45PM / Tuesday, July 28, 2020
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These seeds arrived in Washington State apparently from China. BOSTON — Random packages of seeds that appear to be from China and other countries have been appearing in mailboxes across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and numerous agricultural agencies across the nation are warning  people not to plant what could be an invasive species.    The state Department of Agricultural Resources has been notified that several Massachusetts residents have received these unsolicited packages that appear to have originated in a foreign country and contain seeds.    While the exact types of seeds in the packages are unknown, the seeds are thought to be

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Pittsfield City Council Recognizes Environmentalist
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
01:20PM / Wednesday, July 15, 2020
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council honored local environmentalist Jane Winn as one of the commonwealth's Unsung Heroines   Before breaking into the evening's business Tuesday, the council took a moment to recognize the executive director of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team.   "In regular times, before the world has turned upside down ... I would be with you probably with a full audience to celebrate as we do every year," said state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, who nominated Winn. "I am really pleased to present to you Pittsfield's 2020 Unsung Heroine Jane Winn."   The Massachusetts Commission of the Status of Women annually

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Lanesborough's 'King Elmer' Inoculated Against Dutch Elm Disease
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:06PM / Thursday, June 18, 2020
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LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The king may have been dethroned, but the local tree committee is making sure he doesn't lose his crown.   "King Elmer," the American elm tree that towers above Summer Street near the junction with Route 7, once held the title for the largest such specimen in the commonwealth.   It since has been supplanted by a slightly larger tree in Old Deerfield Village, but with a height of 110 feet and an average crown measuring just more than 99 feet across, the tree named by Lanesborough Elementary School pupils in 2010 remains a regal presence.   Like elm trees across North America, Elmer's biggest threat is Dutch elm disease,

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State Grant Program Should Help Local Food Producers
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:27AM / Sunday, June 07, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — As a member of a town committee, an officer with the advocacy group Berkshire Grown and a documentary filmmaker, Sarah Gardner has spent years pushing for a stronger local food supply.   So she was glad last month when Beacon Hill followed suit.   As part of its overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker recently announced $36 million in grants to build up the commonwealth's "food security infrastructure."    "The grants will fund investments in technology, equipment, increased capacity and other infrastructure to help producers distribute food, especially to food insecure

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Bald Eagle Population Soaring in Massachusetts
By MassWildlife,
12:58PM / Wednesday, May 27, 2020
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A bald eagle above the Eclipse dam on the Hoosic River last year.  WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has documented more than 70 active bald eagle nests throughout Massachusetts this spring, indicators that the population continues to grow.   MassWildlife has seen a dramatic uptick in newly documented eagle nests and has confirmed nine new nests in Fitchburg, Wenham, Concord, Rutland, Wareham, Medford, Northampton, Hudson, and Barnstable.    The new Barnstable nest marks the first nest with eggs on Cape Cod in 115 years; the last was in Sandwich in 1905.   Eagles have been sighted along the Hoosic River and nesting pairs

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Area's Garden Centers Ready for Bump in Demand
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:47AM / Friday, April 24, 2020
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Customers can't go into Whitney's farm store but can order and pick it up outside. 

CHESHIRE, Mass. — When the commonwealth shut down non-essential businesses last month, nurseries and garden centers were classified as essential.

That could be an understatement. If anything, they're more important than ever.   "I've taken, I'd say, 10 times the phone calls about people wanting to start vegetable gardens this year," said Martha Tanner, the greenhouse manager at Whitney's Farm Market and Garden Center. "People are really interested in growing their own food and starting their own gardens.   "I totally encourage people to grow

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Internet Seen as Helping Save Planet, but Many in Mass Still Miss Out
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
11:33AM / Wednesday, April 22, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — When the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires last week hosted a virtual town hall with Berkshire County's legislative delegation, the area's elected officials got a little face time with their constituents to talk about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.   All but one.   State Rep. Paul Mark, of  Peru, was an audio-only participant in the hourlong webinar.   "It's good to see my colleagues," Mark said at one point. "I haven't seen any of you for at least a month now."   "And we still don't see you," quipped state Rep. John Barrett III of North Adams.   That is because Mark is

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Earth Day 2020: 'Learning Experience' for Activists
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
03:43AM / Wednesday, April 22, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — For activists committed to saving the planet, the climate change crisis is top of mind, every day.   But there is one day each year when they can plan to rally together with like-minded citizens and engage the apathetic and unaware.   In a normal year, that day would be Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.   As it is with so many so many other things, normal is not part of the conversation.   "It's definitely been a change," said Jane Winn, the executive director of the Pittsfield-based Berkshire Environmental Action Team. "One of the things that hurts the most is we had student interns, who were absolutely

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Mount Greylock Building Project Achieves LEED Certification
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:02AM / Friday, March 13, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School this week learned that the $64 million adddition/renovation project at the middle-high school achieved LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.   The council's approval of the project's sustainable elements ensures the district 2 percentage points on its reimbursement from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.   That should translate to about $1 million of the total share the state authority will contribute to the project when all is said and done, said Hugh Daley, a Williamstown Select Board member and part of the finance working group of the district's School Building

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Becket Installs First of Its Kind EV-Charging Stations
By Jeff Snoonian, Special to iBerkshires
02:37AM / Thursday, February 13, 2020
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BECKET, Mass. — A crowd of about 25 people showed up to a grand opening Wednesday at Town Hall to celebrate Becket becoming the first community in Berkshire County to offer municipally-owned electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.    The town and its utility provider, Eversource Energy, have been working in lockstep for a year to achieve the goal of giving residents, especially the small yet loyal number of EV owners, an alternative to traditional fossil fuels.   Selectman Michael Lavery was a driving force behind the project and is an EV owner himself.    "When I brought the idea for the EV charging stations to the select board last year. We were

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