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Down on the farm: With outsize stresses for farmers fueling a mental health crisis, program seeks to lend a helping hand
07-05-2024 7:32 PM

By LEAH VERESS

Alice Colman recalls the day a routine fennel harvest turned into a wake-up call. As she stood in her field, carefully examining a plant’s feathery leaves, she felt herself growing increasingly frustrated with the crop’s appearance. When she kneeled...

Displaying articles 1 to 20 out of 82 total.
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A trip down memory lane: A memory of visiting the Leverett Sawmill, in honor of the town 250th anniversary
07-17-2024 9:24 PM

By ALICE CARMICHAEL HARRIS

I fastened my helmet and threw my leg over the back of my boyfriend’s big BMW motorcycle. We had a perfect sunny day as we rode out of Amherst, past neat houses and farms, past acres of serene woodlands. It was July 4, 1974, and when Russ had read the...


Around and About with Richard McCarthy: Handling our devices: Or, are our devices handling us?
07-11-2024 8:53 PM

By RICHARD MCCARTHY

When I was a teenager, among the last things in the world I thought would render me uncool and out-of-it when I got older was technology. In fact, I don’t remember ever using, or even coming across the word “technology,” except my knowing MIT stood...


Meet the dinosaurs of western Mass: The Rock Fossil and Dinosaur Shop makes the prehistoric accessible for kids and adults
07-11-2024 8:49 PM

By PAIGE HANSON

Driving down the road on Route 5 in South Deerfield, commuters are met with a prehistoric surprise: a giant volcano with a huge dinosaur statue smack in front of a bright-green shack. Most find themselves asking, “What in the world is this...


Valley Bounty: Fibers for farmers: Western Massachusetts Fibershed turns local ‘throw away’ wool into fertilizer pellets
06-20-2024 3:35 PM

By JACOB NELSON

Local wool for your wardrobe … and for your garden?That’s the idea behind a new project from Western Massachusetts Fibershed, an organization working to strengthen our local fiber economy, right alongside our local food economy.Peggy Hart is a core...


Earth Matters: Swamps, stewardship and conservation: What does it mean to care for a forest?
06-13-2024 7:59 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;...


Around and About with Richard McCarthy: ‘You’re a strong man to do that’: Observations from this side of the shuffleboard court
06-06-2024 7:32 PM

By RICHARD MCCARTHY

When I was 18 years old, I hitchhiked alone from western Massachusetts to St. Petersburg, Florida and back. Hitchhiking was fairly common among young people then, although not typically for such a long distance. I had some trials along the way, not...


Valley Bounty: A farm stand in good hands: Wanczyk Produce in Hadley delivers quality, care, and has big dreams for the future
06-06-2024 7:30 PM

By JACOB NELSON

Jackie Pliska, owner of Wanczyk Produce in Hadley, has dreams of keeping the farm stand business open year-round instead of just even months each year. But first, she has to finish college.Pliska started working at the family business when she was 11....


Kayaker’s delight: Best day-paddles along the Connecticut River in Massachusetts
06-06-2024 7:22 PM

By ANNA LAIRD BARTO

Last summer, I chronicled my 68-mile paddle of the Connecticut River through Massachusetts. Along the way, I became very well acquainted with the river, its bends and currents, dams and bridges, trees and wildlife — even its sewage overflows! Here are...


Earth Matters: Biodiversity crisis in our backyard: The science behind saving habitat for wildlife
05-30-2024 5:38 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...


Get Growing with Mickey Rathbun: Venture beyond your garden walls: Plant sales and noteworthy gardens to visit this season
05-20-2024 10:09 AM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

After long weeks of yearning for gardening weather, we’re suddenly inundated by spring. Endless outdoor chores beg for our attention — composting, mulching, edging, scrubbing birdbaths and, at least in my garden beds, pulling out multitudes of maple...


Around and About with Richard McCarthy: Coffee at the pearly gates: The importance of a moment of connection, even with a stranger
05-10-2024 9:20 PM

By RICHARD MCCARTHY

About a mile from where I live, there is a convenience store and a doughnut shop. For a period of a few years, a woman of perhaps 60 years of age could be found standing outside one of these establishments on most days. She would be shuffling her...


Earth Matters: Honoring a local hero: After 40 years, Hitchcock Center bids farewell to educator and creative leader, Colleen Kelley
05-10-2024 9:15 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...


Get Growing with Mickey Rathbun: What good is an herbarium? Herbariums, like Emily Dickinson’s, are an essential resource for scientists
04-29-2024 8:35 PM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

The word “herbarium” sounds a bit quaint, even antiquated. We may think of Emily Dickinson’s herbarium, which she created during her year at Mount Holyoke in 1847-48. Although she had begun studying plants at age 9 and was helping her mother in the...


Earth Matters: Why opposites attract: The magnetism between two things isn’t always fully explicable; sometimes it just feels right
04-18-2024 7:18 PM

By RACHEL QUIMBY

One of my favorite books from childhood is P.D. Eastman’s “Big Dog, Little Dog,” the story of two bipedal 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...


A time for every purpose under heaven: Free sing-a-long Pete Seeger Fest returns to Ashfield, April 6
04-04-2024 6:25 PM

By SHERYL HUNTER

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Pete Seeger’s death. The legendary folk musician, political activist, and environmentalist touched lives around the world with his songs, which were rich in hope and history and exhibited a strong sense of...


Libraries turning the page: They’re still in the business of books, but embracing new role as community ‘third space’
04-01-2024 11:50 AM

By MADDIE FABIAN

On a typical day at Forbes Library, people can be found lying on the lawn, participating in book clubs and other programs, checking out books or perhaps a ukulele, and chatting with friends and strangers.It’s not the traditional image of a library...


Earth Matters: Living in a recycled material world: Hitchcock Center inspires a fossil free future
04-01-2024 11:48 AM

By MARGAUX PAINE

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


Get Growing with Mickey Rathbun: Become an educated gardener: Three upcoming symposia will answer all your gardening questions
03-14-2024 3:07 PM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

Most of us humans assume that other creatures experience the world through their senses of sound, taste, smell and touch, the same way we do. But we couldn’t be more wrong, as science writer Ed Yong explains in his fascinating new book, “An Immense...


Earth Matters: In awe of the evolution of seeds: Seeds have lives and ecosystem roles far beyond their use to humans
03-14-2024 3:02 PM

By LAWRENCE WINSHIP

February in New England brings longer days, uncertain weather … and seed catalogs! We gardeners pore 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...


Sweet spot: Area sugarhouses start tapping season early after warm winter days
03-10-2024 1:47 PM

By DIANE BRONCACCIO

The groundhog predicted an early end to winter: did that also mean an earlier start to maple sugaring? Apparently so, according to several maple sugarers in the region.“This is the earliest we’ve ever started,” remarked Chip Williams of the...

Displaying articles 1 to 20 out of 82 total.
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