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State Awards $11.1 Million in Climate Change Funding To Cities And Towns
09:17AM / Thursday, September 17, 2020
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FITCHBURG, Mass. — Continuing investment in climate change resiliency, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $11.1 million in grants to cities and towns through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program.   This announcement brings total state investment in climate change resilience through the MVP program to over $44 million since 2017. The popular grant and designation program provides communities with funding and technical support to identify climate hazards, develop strategies to improve resilience, and implement priority actions to adapt to climate change. The grants were announced by Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito in Fitchburg as

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State Awards Grants to Support Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership
02:06PM / Wednesday, September 16, 2020
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ROWE, Mass. — The Baker-Polito Administration announced $225,000 in grant funding to eight municipalities and a regional economic development organization to support forest stewardship and conservation, trail improvements, and nature-based tourism in the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership region.     The funding builds upon the Commonwealth's Shared Stewardship Agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, which established a framework for partnerships between local governments and stakeholders to advance the goals of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership (MTWP) to conserve forests and enhance regional economic

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Chilling Snow Storm Draws Apprehensive Avian Migrants
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
08:00PM / Sunday, August 30, 2020
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — If ever there was a snow storm to remember it was that of early May in our Berkshires.   Forewarned by the aggressive weather watchers to inform us of the approaching tempest, one may wonder how our birds reacted to atmospheric signs that animals first perceive. Flocking birds of assorted genera appeared stunned by the daunting freeze that enveloped both the world of people and the spring migrating birds eager to resume nesting and procreation of their progeny.   All night the swirling snow fell in the valleys and foothills, and I felt concern for our cheerful charmers that must outlast the shivering cold swept upon them as they would take shelter

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Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary Nearing Fundraising Goal
09:41AM / Monday, August 24, 2020
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LENOX, Mass. — Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is nearing its Opening Doors to Nature capital campaign goal of $1.2 million to address the sanctuary's aging facilities   Through donations, Mass Audubon's Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is now within $200,000 of its $1.12 million goal to fund the program barn expansion project.   The capital campaign was created to help ensure the sanctuary's aging facilities are brought up to date, with a focus on accessibility and related amenities.   The centerpiece will be an energy-efficient addition to the 18th-century program barn that includes modern restrooms, expanded lobby area, expansive decking,

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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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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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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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