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Conservation News

A list of news items relating to Conservation

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conservation_news

Tom Wessels to Speak at Annual Meeting

Photo of Tom Wessels

On Saturday, November 7, at 5:30pm, the Berkshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club will hold it’s annual dinner meeting at the Summit View House in Holyoke.

We are excited to announce that the speaker will be Tom Wessels, ecologist, educator and author. His books include: Reading the Forested Landscape, The Granite Landscape, Untamed Vermont, The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future, and Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to reading the Forested Landscape. His focus will be on Reading the Forested Landscape. His books will be available for purchase and signing.

The evening will also include the annual business meeting. More information on the dinner price and where to RSVP will be forthcoming.

Please save the date and plan to attend!

Warner Pond

Warner Pond, just a few yards off Route 47 and bordered by Warner Hill and North Hadley farmlands, was a relaxing two-plus hour paddle last Saturday under a sun and puffy cloud blue sky. Swans with their cygnets, painted turtles, and a maze of blossoming Pond and Swamp Dock Lilies greeted us as we slowly meandered past a shoreline teaming with the signs and sounds of plant and animal life.

On our arrival, the Friends of Mt. Warner were launching their Annual Invasive Species Water Chestnut Pull. A couple of us joined in but it was a challenge to do from a kayak. Want to lend a hand? Contact Cynthia at cynthia_boethner@fws.gov or call 413-548-8002.

Great news about Warner’s dam restoration: Kestrel Land trust of Amherst announced that a generous donor is offering $25,000 dollars in support for Warner's dam restoration – if $25,000 dollars in matching donations can be raised. This is a wonderful opportunity to double your contribution. For more information please contact Kristin DeBoer, Executive Director, Kestrel Land Trust, 413-549-1097. ( Excerpts for the last two paragraphs from The Friends Facebook Site. )

We topped off our morning with noon hour freshly made sandwiches at the North Hadley Sugar Shack, just down the road. Their Maple Soft Serve is whipped up with maple syrup. Having shared a large, I was tempted to have another for the road home.

-Elbert Bowler

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CRWC Annual River Celebration

AMC is partnering with the Connecticut River Watershed Council for their Annual River Celebration on Saturday, June 21 at Gillette Castle State Park in CT. This year they are celebrating the expansion of the CT River Paddlers’ Trail, a major initiative that the AMC has been hard working on.

The event will feature speakers Steve Grant and special guest Jim Dina.
· Pulitzer-prize nominated journalist Steve Grant delighted readers of The Hartford Courant with his widely-acclaimed 17-part series detailing his 5-week paddle down the 410-mile-long Connecticut River.
· Jim Dina began his upstream adventure by carving a birchbark canoe using Native American tools and technology. Jim’s book, Voyage of the Ant, shares the story of this spirit-filled trip. Weather permitting, Jim plans to bring his boat, The Ant, and some of the tools he used to craft it.

The celebration begins at 11am. Lunch will be provided and we’ll wrap up with a Summer Solstice Paddle, launching at 1:30pm. For more information & to RSVP (preferred but not required),

http://www.ctriver.org/news-events/annual-meeting/

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Soak up the Rain; Be Part of the Solution

Join your neighbors around New England who are taking action to soak up the rain. They're planting trees, rain gardens and green roofs; disconnecting and redirecting their downspouts; using rain barrels and drywells; and replacing their driveways and parking lots with permeable pavement. They're helping to soak up the rain and reduce the polluted runoff that flows to our streams, lakes, rivers and coastlines.

You can help soak up the rain.

Soak up the rain to help:

Prevent pollution of local waterways
Reduce flooding
Protect water resources
Beautify neighborhoods

A Call to Action

In collaboration with state agencies, universities, watershed groups, and other organizations, EPA New England has launched Soak up the Rain as a call to action to citizens, businesses, and communities. It's a call to all of us who care about clean water, who want to reduce flooding, who want to create healthier and more beautiful communities.

Take action to help soak up the rain in your yard, at your place of business, in your community.
Share photos and stories of what you have done.
Working together we can protect New England waters and leave a lasting legacy of clean, safe and plentiful water for future generations. We're counting on you.

How will you help soak up the rain?

Rain barrels collect water from a roof downspout and hold it for later use.

Downspouts are disconnected and/or redirected so water flows to where it will soak into the ground.

Rain gardens are shallow landscaped areas that collect and filter rain water.

Trees use water and make soils better able to soak up water.

Permeable pavements allow water to soak into the ground.

Dry wells collect runoff and allow it to gradually soak into the soil.

Green roofs have a layer of plant material that captures rain water.

Go to http://www.epa.gov/region1/soakuptherain/index.html for more information on how to do each of these actions yourself.

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Plant a Chestnut Orchard!

As you may know, the American Chestnut tree used to be a prolific provider of nourishment over the winter months, and the tree was found all over the Eastern seaboard. However, in 1904 a bark blight was introduced from Asia, which spread and destroyed almost all the trees. Now, once the tree grows enough to develop bark, the fungus girdles and topples it. The tree still lives with sprouts coming from around the trunk. For many years, dedicated organizations have been trying to breed blight-resistant trees.

The Mass/RI Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation and The CIty of Pittsfield plans to establish a chestnut seed orchard in Springside Park in Pittsfield. Pittsfield is the first municipality in MA to sign such an agreement with the American Chestnut Foundation (ACF). The city is looking for organizations who can bring volunteers to the initial effort, which will be on Sat., May 24th, 9AM to 4PM, lunch provided. The plan is to plant 12 of what will eventually be 20 plots with four rows of 40 chestnut nuts in each plot; so around 2000 nuts to be planted. The nuts to be planted are what they call B3F2, meaning that they are the 2nd intercross between chestnuts that are genetically 15/16ths american. They expect two or three of the resulting trees in each plot will be highly blight resistant. After about 10 years, one tree from each plot will be selected as the "pick of the litter" and the remaining 39 trees in each plot will be cut down. The remaining 20 trees (one from each plot) will be allowed to grow to maturity and the nuts will be harvested and used to reestablish the American Chestnut in our forests.

The goal of the American Chestnut Foundation is to restore the American chestnut tree to our eastern woodlands to benefit our environment, our wildlife, and our society. The American Chestnut Foundation is restoring a species - and in the process, creating a template for restoration of other tree and plant species.

In 2005, they harvested their first potentially blight-resistant chestnuts. They are now in a phase of rigorous testing and trial, in both forest and orchard settings. It is their confident expectation that they will one day restore the chestnut to our eastern forests. The return of the American chestnut to its former niche in the Appalachian hardwood forest ecosystem is a major restoration project that requires a multi-faceted effort involving 6,000 members & volunteers, research, sustained funding and most important, a sense of the past and a hope for the future.

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