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Mohawk Trail Woodlands, Forest Service Team Up on Conservation
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:33PM / Thursday, November 21, 2019
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BRPC's Tom Matuszko asks advisory board members to raise their hands as FRCOG's Executive Director Linda Dunlavy waits to speak. CHARLEMONT, Mass. — A shared stewardship agreement signed Thursday will bring U.S. Forest Service expertise to the state while keeping hundreds of thousands of acres of forestland in state and private hands.    The Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership encompasses 361,941 acres of state and private land across 21 communities in the northwestern corner of the state. About 28 percent of that land is permanently protected. The partnership will enhance conservation and forest research and provide technical support for businesses that depend

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Windsor Receives $165k in Funding for Ecological Repairs
05:50PM / Tuesday, August 27, 2019
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The secretary also met with local officials during her trip to Western Mass, including a roundtable on Friday in Pittsfield.  WINDSOR, Mass. — The town of Windsor has been awarded $165,000 to replace a culvert on the East Branch of the Westfield River. Windsor's grant is largest of 16 awards targeting culvert replacement and river health and totaling $932,000.    Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides announced the grants at an event last week at Windsor State Forest, then visited the sites of two culvert projects in Windsor and Cummington that received grants. Also receiving funds were Clarksburg and

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Microcosm Holds Surprising Pollinators' Diversity
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
04:51PM / Sunday, August 25, 2019
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — During May and June at various sites in the Berkshires, close examination of the floral bloom reveals some welcome surprises regarding pollinating insects.   Just pretend to drop down in scale until you are a tiny person, like in "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift, walking among the mushrooms and fleabanes in bold bloom towering above. What a dynamic environment is the microcosm surrounding you with its assorted insect fauna.   Before long you may encounter one of our smallest butterflies, a spring azure (Celastrina ladon) imbibing at red clover, appearing gigantic in reduced scale. Pause for awhile as you may become mesmerized

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Northern Berkshire Solarize Program Holds 'Meet the Installer' Night
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
01:17AM / Friday, August 02, 2019
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North County residents and businesses have some time to enroll in the Solarize Plus program.   But if they want to take full advantage of all the economic incentives, they don't have much time.   "The [Solarize Plus] program runs through the end of the year," said Garrett Colvin of SolarFlair, the installer selected for the program in Northern Berkshire County. "Next year, the [federal] 30 percent investment tax credit drops to 26 percent.   "There's a 60- to 90-day period from signing up to installation. So to get the 30 percent, it's in your interest to meet with us sooner rather than

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Something New Under the Sun: Solarize Project Begins in North Adams, Williamstown
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
05:24PM / Monday, June 24, 2019
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Six years ago, the Solarize Williamstown initiative helped 79 homeowners add solar photo-voltaic panels to their properties.   Six years later, Solarize Plus looks to replicate and expand on that model thanks to more options, a wider pool of property owners, new technology and a greater need than ever to reduce the use of fossil fuels.   It seems like weekly new evidence is released about the threat of climate change, which the scientific community overwhelmingly agreed is fueled in part by human activity.   Just last week, a study by the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development found that in the next 20 years, U.S. coastal communities

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Farley-Bouvier, Hinds Chat Environmental Issues At Pittsfield Forum
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:22AM / Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state hopes to see more renewable energy from solar so it's incentivizing development.   However, the way the programs are currently established, solar often comes at the expense of cutting trees.   "We have perverse incentives for solar. It is cheaper for a  developer to come in and cut down a whole bunch of trees to do something for the environment," state Rep. Farley-Bouvier said.   The Pittsfield Democrat would like to see a shift in the way the projects are located. She said there are acres of rooftops available without solar but yet large scale projects go into wooded areas. Even in her neighborhood, there is a large

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Center for EcoTechnology Honors Williamstown's Penner
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:32PM / Thursday, April 25, 2019
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — With passion, persistence and patience, Wendy Penner long has been one of the leading environmental advocates in the town.   On Monday, Earth Day, she was publicly recognized for her engagement in the uphill battle to stem the tide of climate change.   "To me, leadership is the ability to engage people, to race a problematic reality and do some work," said Laura Dubester, a co-director of the Pittsfield-based Center for EcoTechnology for 30 years. "In this case, the problematic reality is climate change and its impact on people, businesses, communities and the planet.   "Wendy understands the science and why people want

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MassWildlife Offers Tips for Dealing With Aggressive Turkeys
Staff Reports,
11:53AM / Thursday, April 18, 2019
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BOSTON — The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is offering some tips for dealing with aggressive wild turkeys.    A woman in Cambridge was recently injured when a flock of turkeys began pecking at her legs; aggressive turkeys have also been reported and recorded in in Foxboro and Brookline.    There's more room for humans and turkeys to co-exist in the Berkshires but residents should still be aware of turkey behavior if there's an encounter.    MassWildlife says:   March through May is breeding season for wild turkeys and as a result, there is an increase in turkey activity all across the commonwealth. Some turkeys may be seen acting

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Pittsfield City Council Passes Plastic Bag Ban
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
04:03AM / Wednesday, March 27, 2019
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Rinaldo Del Gallo first petitioned for the ban in 2013. PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After close to six years of debate, the city finally passed a ban on single-use plastic bags Tuesday night.   The ban had been proposed in 2013 and has been working its way through the City Council process since. It was first coupled with a ban on Styrofoam, which was later passed in 2015 separate from the bag ban and restricted polystyrene food containers.   The bag ban went before the Green Commission and to City Council subcommittee meetings, the latter of which had left it unaddressed for a time. Earlier this year, it made its way to the full council will a full

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Williamstown Con Comm OKs Marijuana Farm
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:54PM / Tuesday, February 19, 2019
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Conservation Commission on Thursday approved plans for an outdoor marijuana plantation near the Green River.   But one member of the panel abstained from the decision, citing a potential conflict between the production and sale of the drug and federal law.   Unlike the recreational retail facility in the works on Main Street, the proposed pot plantation at 295 Blair Road is the first operation to come before the Con Comm. Member Philip McKnight, an attorney, questioned whether the town should play any role in permitting cannabis-related businesses.   Even though Massachusetts voters decided in 2016 to decriminalize the drug, marijuana remains a

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