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Earth Matters: Honoring a local hero: After 40 years, Hitchcock Center bids farewell to educator and creative leader, Colleen Kelley
05-03-2024 1:51 PM

By TED WATT and HELEN ANN SEPHTON

This column honors Colleen Kelley, the education director at the Hitchcock Center, who will soon be leaving her post after 40 years.In the fall of 1984, Colleen walked into the Hitchcock Center — young, bright, idealistic, and fresh off a position as...

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Earth Matters: A brief history of our soil: Why the Valley land produces such amazing crop
06-13-2024 1:59 PM

By TOM LITWIN

There is a stretch of road that runs north along the Connecticut River from the Whately/Hatfield line to the foot of Sugarloaf. It is no surprise its name is River Road. Leaving Northampton I often take “the river road,” the long way home. Over the...


Earth Matters: Swamps, stewardship and conservation: What does it mean to care for a forest?
06-06-2024 3:32 PM

By CHRISTINE HATCH

Swamps are great story villains. They are notoriously difficult to navigate due to their sinking sticky mud, spiked vines and dense vegetation; they are neither fully land nor water, negating boats and footwear as helpful vessels for traversing them;...


Earth Matters: Biodiversity crisis in our backyard: The science behind saving habitat for wildlife
05-23-2024 2:36 PM

By KARI BLOOD

One of the reasons many of us love living in the Valley is being able to see wildlife around us. But those sightings will become increasingly rare if humans don’t take bold steps to slow the loss of species around the world. Scientists are sounding...


Earth Matters: From Big Sits to Birdathons: Birding competitions far and near
04-18-2024 1:46 PM

By JOSHUA ROSE

A few months ago, headlines flared that Peter Kaestner had seen his 10,000th bird species. This could have been anticlimactic, as Kaestner has been renowned for years among birders for traveling worldwide and seeing more species than anyone.However,...


Earth Matters: Why opposites attract: The magnetism between two things isn’t always fully explicable; sometimes it just feels right
04-05-2024 2:01 PM

By RACHEL QUIMBY

One of my favorite books from childhood is P.D. Eastman’s “Big Dog, Little Dog,” the story of two bi-pedal pooches who are best friends. But Fred is tall, and Ted is short; Fred drives slowly and Ted drives fast; Ted plays the tuba, and Fred plays the...


Earth Matters: Living in a recycled material world: Hitchcock Center inspires a fossil free future
03-14-2024 10:22 AM

By MARGAUX PAINE

As the world grapples with environmental challenges, the Fossil Free Zones initiative, championed by Leave it in the Ground Initiative (LINGO), takes inspiration from the transformative work at The Hitchcock Center for the Environment. The Center...


Earth Matters: In awe of the evolution of seeds: Seeds have lives and ecosystem roles far beyond their use to humans
03-07-2024 1:10 PM

By LAWRENCE WINSHIP

February in New England brings longer days, uncertain weather … and seed catalogs! We gardeners pour over highly anticipated pages of glossy photos offering the promise of gorgeous fruits and flowers, all for the small price of a seed packet.Seed...


Earth Matter: Unlike any other vertebrate: Exploring the strangeness of seahorses
03-01-2024 11:50 AM

By DAVID SPECTOR

Most vertebrates — the large group of animals that includes humans — have many features in common, but some oddball groups have lost some of those characteristics. For example, snakes have lost their limbs, but they retain most of the other features...


Earth Matters: Queering the outdoors: The Venture Out Project empowers LGBTQIA2S+ people through community and adventure
02-01-2024 3:07 PM

By ALLIE MARTINEAU

Affinity spaces for queer people are essential, to share the things we carry. To meet friends, trade craft and clothing, talk about our lives, how to find doctors and well-sewn binders, how to come out, change a tire, ask for a raise, or cook for a...


Earth Matters: Facing the ‘age of humans’: Should a new epoch, the Anthropocene, be initiated to reflect human impact on Earth?
01-26-2024 12:35 PM

By TOM LITWIN

As I concentrated on the computer screen, the news played in the background. A story about the environment got my attention, causing me to sit back and listen more carefully. I played the piece again to be sure I heard it correctly.In summer 2023, the...


More than ‘The Scream’: New exhibit at Clark Art Institute considers the artwork of Norway’s Edvard Munch
07-24-2023 8:57 AM

By STEVE PFARRER

Even if you don’t know much about art, at some point you’ve almost certainly seen Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” one of the most iconic artworks of the modern era: a strange, skeletal figure clutching its agonized face, its mouth an oval of horror,...


Easthampton volunteers tackling Nashawannuck Pond health on two fronts
04-20-2023 7:10 PM

By EMILY THURLOW

EASTHAMPTON — The cleanliness and health of Nashawannuck Pond will be on the minds of two groups of volunteers on Saturday.While members of Easthampton High School’s National Honor Society will be picking up trash littered along the edges and in the...


Taking back the earth through the arts: Easthampton’s Earth & Fire Arts Fest tackles environmental issues
04-14-2023 5:48 PM

By STEVE PFARRER

The climate news seems relentlessly bleak: rising seas and melting glaciers; growing drought and firestorms; increasingly violent storms that destroy everything in their path and unleash terrible flooding.Oh, and let’s not forget more longstanding...


Earth Talk: The footprint of solar panels
02-17-2023 8:29 PM

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: How are we going to deal with all the waste when the solar panels everyone is putting up now wear out in 20-30 years? – Paul B., Chevy Chase, Md. When purchasing green alternatives for home power generation, there are many features...


Earth Matters: Bird joy as resistance in a troubled world
02-03-2023 2:31 PM

By MEGHADEEPA MAITY

When I look at the news, I’m far more likely to see a Black victim of police brutality than to see a Black birder like Dexter Patterson (a.k.a. The Wisco Birder) singing and laughing in the woods. Today’s mainstream media have shown a necessary,...


Earth Matters: Mistletoe: It’s not just about kissing
01-20-2023 10:34 AM

By JOSHUA ROSE

’Tis the season of mistletoe, sort of. Mistletoe is evergreen, meaning it’s present year-round. However, winter is the season when we think about mistletoe most often.In the southeastern U.S., where I am writing this piece, mistletoe is hidden among...


Young Easthampton climate activist scores royal audience at Celtics game
12-07-2022 10:11 AM

By EMILY THURLOW

BOSTON — When 15-year-old Ollie Perrault found herself on the basketball court at the TD Garden, she seized an opportunity she’d never thought she’d have, and she took her shot.And though the Easthampton climate activist wasn’t trying to score any...


Earth Matters: everything you wanted to know about fungi
08-19-2022 4:13 PM

By JOSHUA ROSE

Fungi — bane or blessing? Nuisance or nourishing? Delicious or deadly? Answer: Yes, and more.On the plus side, as I explain below, many of Earth’s plant and animal species depend on fungi. On the minus side, fungi have been implicated in widespread...


EarthTalk: The debate over capturing methane from livestock manure
04-05-2022 3:47 PM

E — The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is encouraging dairy farmers and cattle ranchers to capture methane gas from their livestock’s manure good or bad for the planet? — Phil Onorato, Pittsburgh, PA Methane capture, the process of using the decomposition of livestock...


Earth Matters: A natural case of apparent conflict of interest
08-03-2019 12:05 AM

By DAVID SPECTOR

If you sit on a city park bench you’re likely to see birds, especially house sparrows. This species, native to Europe and Asia, was first introduced into North America in 1851 and is now common where farms or cities provide both grain on the ground...

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