The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) has written Governor Charlie Baker to ask him to drop his support for new natural gas pipelines until the state and federal agencies conduct comprehensive analyses to measure their effect on the climate and human health. The Commission’s letter comes as the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards (MAHB) is also calling on Governor Baker to consider the documented hazards and potential risks of the production, transmission and burning of fracked natural gas. The MAHB says that such studies are especially important since Attorney General Maura Healey has determined that the Commonwealth does not need new pipelines and should focus instead on cleaner and healthier forms of renewable energy. Press Release from the Massachusetts Sierra Club, May 23, 2017 <more>
The BEAT News
Two U.S. lawmakers representing Massachusetts have once again slammed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for not listening to citizens and groups who have challenged various aspects of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.’s project, currently underway here. “FERC is clearly wrong,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren in an email. “As pipeline construction moves forward, irreparable harm is being done to Otis State Forest. The Commission continues to ignore the voices of Western Massachusetts, which is wrong as a matter of policy and goes against FERC’s own guiding principles.” By Heather Bellow, The Berkshire Eagle, May 24, 2017 <more>
Boston Public Health Commission Calls on Governor Baker to Undertake Comprehensive Health Impact Study of Natural Gas Pipelines
Last night, the House Rules Committee passed a controversial and dangerous piece of legislation that will now move to the floor of House of Representatives for a vote. H.R. 953, better understood as the “Poison Our Waters Act,” would amend the federal Clean Water Act to exempt pesticide applicators from the requirement that they first obtain coverage under a Clean Water Act discharge permit before spraying poisons over and into our waters. From Waterkeeper Alliance, May 23, 2017 <more>
Crows can’t read, but the signs have still apparently curbed their habit of stealing insulation material from a university building in Japan. Crows are incredibly clever birds. Some species use tools, for example. Some also recognize human faces, even “gossiping” about who’s a threat and who’s cool. Crows can hold long-term grudges against people they deem dangerous, or shower their allies with gifts. Oh, and they can solve puzzles on par with a 7-year-old human. With wits like this, it’s little wonder crows have adapted to live in human cities around the world. Yet despite all their uncanny displays of intelligence, a recent example from Japan is eyebrow-raising even for these famously brainy birds. By Russell McLendon, Mother Nature Network, May 24, 2017 <more>
Poison In Our Waters
From Waterkeeper Alliance
May 23, 2017
Last night, the House Rules Committee passed a controversial and dangerous piece of legislation that will now move to the floor of House of Representatives for a vote. H.R. 953, better understood as the “Poison Our Waters Act,” would amend the federal Clean Water Act to exempt pesticide applicators from the requirement that they first obtain coverage under a Clean Water Act discharge permit before spraying poisons over and into our waters.
The “Pesticide General Permit” targeted in H.R. 953 requires common sense application practices for spraying pesticides directly over and into waters. It provides necessary protection to U.S. waterways, nearly 2,000 of which are impaired by pesticide contamination.
H.R. 953 is nothing more than a giveaway to the pesticide industry, with its true intent being to increase chemical sales for corporations like Monsanto at the expense of public health and the environment. This is not the first time the pesticide industry and its cronies in Washington D.C. have attempted to avoid compliance with federal law. In 2006, chemical industry lobbyists convinced the Bush EPA to give it a regulatory exemption from the Clean Water Act permit requirement. Waterkeeper Alliance and its partners sued to challenge this dangerous industry give-away of vital protections of our health and environment, and we won!
Since then, spraying pesticides into waters has required permit coverage, which requires pesticide applicators to use the smallest amounts of these poisons necessary to kill target pests and provides the public access to information about the types and amounts of pesticides being discharged into their local ponds, lakes, and rivers. All across the country, pesticide applicators have been complying with this permit for many years, helping to protect water quality while also allowing the government to appropriately address disease vectors such as mosquitoes.
Waterkeeper Alliance remains vigilant tracking bills like H.R. 953 and other legislation that undermines Clean Water Act safeguards that protect our waterways and communities from excessive pollution.
Wild crows seem to obey ‘do not enter’ signs
Mother Nature Network
May 24, 2017
Crows can’t read, but the signs have still apparently curbed their habit of stealing insulation material from a university building in Japan.
Crows are incredibly clever birds. Some species use tools, for example. Some also recognize human faces, even “gossiping” about who’s a threat and who’s cool. Crows can hold long-term grudges against people they deem dangerous, or shower their allies with gifts. Oh, and they can solve puzzles on par with a 7-year-old human.
With wits like this, it’s little wonder crows have adapted to live in human cities around the world. Yet despite all their uncanny displays of intelligence, a recent example from Japan is eyebrow-raising even for these famously brainy birds.
Wild crows had learned to raid a research building in Iwate Prefecture, stealing insulation to use as nest material. But as the Asahi Shimbun reports, they abruptly quit after a professor began hanging paper signs that read “crows do not enter.”
The building in question is the International Coastal Research Center (ICRC), part of the University of Tokyo’s Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute in Otsuchi. The ICRC was founded in 1973 to promote marine research around the biodiverse Sanriku Coast, but its building was heavily damaged by the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, which flooded all three stories. Nearby houses were all destroyed, the Asahi Shimbun reports, and many residents have moved elsewhere.
Repairs later allowed temporary use of the third floor, but the first and second floors were cleared for warehouse space. While the University of Tokyo is working to rebuild the center and restart its research, that “is expected to cost a substantial amount of money and several years of time,” according to the ICRC website.
The crows began their raids on the damaged building in spring 2015, according to Katsufumi Sato, a behavioral ecologist and ethology professor at the University of Tokyo. Once inside, they would find insulated pipes, tear off chunks of insulation and then fly away, leaving behind feathers and droppings as clues of their crime.
“Crows take it for their nests,” Sato tells Shimbun staff writer Yusuke Hoshino.
Hoping for a simple solution, ICRC staff sought advice from Sato, who in turn asked his friend Tsutomu Takeda, an environmental scientist and crow expert at Utsunomiya University’s Center for Weed and Wildlife Management. When Takeda suggested making signs that tell crows to stay out, Sato says he thought it was a joke. But he gave it a try, and crows quit raiding the ICRC “in no time at all,” Hoshino writes.
Sato remained skeptical, assuming this was a temporary coincidence, but the crows stayed away throughout 2015, even though the building still had openings and still had insulation inside. He put up the paper signs again in 2016, and after another year without crow attacks, he kept up the tradition this spring. Crows can still be seen flying around nearby, Hoshino points out, but their raids seem to have ended.
8 natural & homemade insecticides to save your garden
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Outdoor Educator – The Manice Education Center (MEC) – Florida, MA
The Manice Education Center (MEC) is intentionally located in a unique outdoor setting within the heart of the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. MEC operates several distinctly different seasonal programs that are experientially focused in high-quality environmental education, wilderness camping, and leadership training.
Summer Outdoor educators will lead wilderness expeditions for campers & can expect to guide an average of 6 backpacking and/or canoeing trips, ranging from 2 to 5 days in length. Expedition locations inlude the Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, Savoy Mountain State Forest, Taconic Trail, Battenkill River, Deerfield River, & Connecticut River. Educators receive training in backpacking and wilderness navigation, participate in a 2 day professional canoe clinic, & can earn free certifications in Wildernes First Aid and/or Waterfront Lifeguarding.
APPLY TODAY – SEND US A COVER LETTER AND RESUME TO [email protected]
Summer Outdoor Educator positions Start on June 9th! For more details please visit our Jobs page (click here).
Please share this opportunity with your friends and colleagues! If you have any questions about employment in Christodora programs, please contact Matthew Scholl, Programs Director at 413.663.8463 or email us at [email protected]
Visitor Greeter – Becket Land Trust – Becket, MA
The Becket Land Trust is looking to fill the position of a Visitor Greeter (VG) for the summer season of 2017. This person will have the responsibility of collecting parking fees or confirming membership of all visitors wishing to park at the Historic Quarry and Forest parking area. The VG will record the plate number of parked cars and keep record of the number of visitors. Additionally, the VG will provide information to visitors about the appropriate use of the property, its historic and natural significance and remind visitors that they must leave behind only footprints. The VG will give interested visitors hiking maps, highlight our Historic Quarry Walk, the Oak Regeneration and NE Cottontail Management Areas and how to find them along the hiking trails. The VG will also maintain the neatness around our new trash receptacle and Porta-Potty shed and the parking area. During slow periods the VG may also be asked to do light trail maintenance and also lead informal informational hikes for interested visitors. The VG is responsible for informing visitors of the rules and may remind visitors that they are responsible to obey them. This is in no way a position of security guard and the VG is not to attempt to enforce the rules. At the first sign of potential conflict, the VG is to cease communication with the visitor and call the Becket Police Department for assistance.
The candidate must be punctual for work, have good people skills, be able to resolve conflict, be able to mulit-task and deal with all age groups.
The position is for the summer season staring immediately and running until September. The hours are 40 hours a week and coverage will be Friday through Sunday and flexible days Monday through Thursday. The wage for this position is $12 per hour.
Housatonic Valley Association – River Stewards of Tomorrow
2017 Internship Positions Available
The Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) is seeking applications for our River Stewards of Tomorrow Environmental Internship positions, available for summer 2017. The River Stewards will work on a variety of projects related to water quality and habitat conservation. River Stewards will either be assigned to our Berkshire field office in South Lee, MA and work primarily in the Massachusetts portion of the watershed; or to our main office in Cornwall Bridge, CT and work primarily in the Connecticut and New York portions of the watershed. Each River Steward will be expected to complete at least 280 hours of work from June – August (at least 35 hours/week over 8 weeks). There is the potential to extend the internship to 12 weeks- with a proportional increase in stipend- depending on available funding.
Internship Overview: While working out of the Cornwall Bridge office, the 2016 River Stewards will be supervised by HVA’s Conservation Projects Manager, but may also be asked to work with other staff as needed. In the Berkshire Office, River Stewards will be supervised by HVA’s Berkshire Director. Work will include a mix of office and field-based activities. Projects that the intern may be involved with include:
Environmental Monitoring: The River Stewards will assist HVA staff in the field with water quality monitoring and habitat assessment activities including collecting water samples for chemical analysis, macroinvertebrate sampling and conducting visual surveys along important stream reaches to document threats and identify restoration opportunities.
Restoration project monitoring and maintenance: River Stewards will monitor the success of restoration plantings and conduct maintenance activities like weeding and watering.
Data Compilation, Document Analysis and Mapping: River Stewards will assist with gathering and summarizing environmental data and planning documents from a variety of local, state and federal sources. This work will support a number of ongoing HVA efforts, including watershedbased planning.
Road/Stream Crossing Assessment: River Stewards will visit and assess bridges and culverts throughout the Housatonic watershed to identify barriers to fish and wildlife passage, and assist with post-assessment data processing and report writing.
Websites and Social Media: HVA maintains a website for the organization as well as websites focused on the Naugatuck River and the Still River, both important tributaries of the Housatonic in CT. The intern will be involved in producing materials for the websites and Facebook pages that HVA manages. Related tasks might include identifying and summarizing relevant news items, sharing photos of HVA events and field work, and writing project updates.
Opportunities may be available for the intern to assist with other organization work including conservation easement monitoring, GIS analysis of land and water resources and outreach activities such as guided paddle trips, community events, and school field trips.
Qualifications: Candidates must be highly-motivated, passionate about watershed conservation, and able to succeed both independently and as part of a team. In addition, the ideal candidate will possess:
Enthusiasm for outdoor field work, including working in remote areas under potentially inclement environmental conditions; Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to represent HVA in a professional manner; Excellent writing skills; Familiarity with basic website administration and social media; Experience using GPS and GIS; Willingness to work the occasional evening or weekend. 2016 River Stewards of Tomorrow Summer
Requirements: Daily access to a personal vehicle is a requirement of the position. The intern must also be physically able to participate in potentially strenuous field work (i.e. physically active work outside for several hours at a time during the summer). Housing is not provided. HVA will assist successful applicants in finding summer lodging convenient to their assigned office.
Compensation: The intern will be provided with a $2,400 stipend for the course of the internship. Work related travel will be compensated at a rate of $0.48/mile.
Application Procedure: Interested candidates should submit the following materials via email: 1. COVER LETTER explaining your interest and qualifications 2. RESUME 3. TWO (2) PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES 4. (Optional but encouraged) Examples of past projects relevant to HVA’s mission (please limit to 1-2 pages/project, max of three projects) Incomplete applications will not be considered. Deadline: We expect to make hiring decisions no later than April 15th. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Questions and applications should be directed to: Michael S. Jastremski, Watershed Conservation Director Housatonic Valley Association Mail: PO Box 28, Cornwall Bridge, CT 06754 E-mail: [email protected] Phone: (860) 672-6678
Sierra Club – Boston Organizer
Context: As the biggest city in Massachusetts and even New England, Boston carries disproportionate impact. The chapter is more likely to achieve its clean energy and environmental goals if Boston has taken steps to do so first. One example is Ready for 100 – if Boston joins this campaign it makes it easier to get other communities to do so.
Scope: The Boston Organizer creates and carries out clean energy and/or environmental campaigns within the City of Boston.
Job Activities: Plans, develops and implements campaign strategies for clean energy and/or environmental campaigns within the City of Boston. Recruits and trains volunteers to facilitate grassroots involvement to achieve campaign ends. Builds and maintains relationships with Sierra Club Boston members and supporters, Boston local and state level elected officials, other advocacy groups, and relevant stakeholders. Makes presentations to community, political, and governmental bodies regarding clean energy and environmental campaign efforts. Writes press releases, newsletters, flyers, etc. to keep Club membership and the general public informed. Advocates the Sierra Club position on proposed legislation involving clean energy programs; informs and communicates with elected officials, business leaders, governmental agencies, and other non‑profit organizations. Participates in task forces, committees, coalitions, etc. representing the Club’s objective or mission. Produces written reports for funders as needed. Performs miscellaneous duties as assigned.
Knowledge & Skills: BA/BS degree in Environmental Studies, Political Science or a closely related field. 1-2 years’ experience organizing campaigns – environmental experience a plus. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Proficient computer skills Demonstrated ability and effectiveness working with volunteers.
Visit website to apply.
The Sierra Club offers competitive salary package commensurate with skills and experience plus excellent benefits that include medical, dental, and vision coverage, and a retirement savings 401(k) plan. This is a category 5 exempt position.
Sierra Club is a 501(c)(4) organization. Sierra Club does not sponsor H1B visas.
Sierra Club is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to a diverse workforce.
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet. Visit website to apply.
Volunteer Opportunities in the Berkshires w/The Trustees
“Time travel” with The Trustees, and take our visitors on the voyage with you! Become a National Historic Landmark Greeter at Mission House (Stockbridge) or Tour Guide at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead (Cummington) and share the stories and magic of these special places. No experience necessary. Training provided. Fridays through Sundays. Flexible. Fun. Social. Rewarding.
Mass Audubon – Berkshire Nature Camp Counselor – Lenox
Location: Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Lenox, MA
- Plan, develop and implement a variety of outdoor activities utilizing Pleasant Valley’s 1300+ acres of forests, fields, streams and ponds
- Are responsible for supervising the health and safety of campers
- Maintain communication with parents and other staff
- Must be able to work and learn together, have outstanding communication skills, and be willing and able to share their interests and talents with children aged 5-14
- Provide leadership and mentor Leaders in Training (LITs)
- Must be at least 18 years old
- College experience preferred
- Should have knowledge and interest in the nature of the Berkshire region
- Applicants with a background in Environmental fields, education, or the arts preferred
- Experience working with children
- Willingness to obtain certification in CPR/First Aid are required-training is provided
- Lifeguard/water safety certifications or Wilderness First Aid desirable
- Must pass a background records check (CORI and SORI)
- And…of course, flexibility and a sense of humor is a must!
Compensation and Benefits Rate of Pay: $11.00- $12.50 per hour (depending on experience and position).
Additional Information Camp Session: June 12 – August 19, 2017 Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 3:30 pm or 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Must work at least two camp late nights during the summer.
How to Apply Please send (email preferred) your cover letter and resume to: Gayle Tardif-Raser – Education Coordinator, [email protected], 413-637-0320, or Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox, MA. 01240
Executive Director – Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) – Belmont, MA
The Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions (MACC) seeks an Executive Director. MACC is a small membership-based non-profit, established in 1961, that protects Massachusetts’ wetlands, open space, and biological diversity through environmental education, advocacy, and support of Massachusetts conservation commissions. The Executive Director is the Chief Executive Officer, reports to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for achievement of MACC’s mission and financial objectives; program planning, development and oversight; board and community relations; finances and fundraising; legislative and regulatory advocacy; and staff supervision. The Executive Director supervises two full-time and one part-time staff.
The successful candidate will have an understanding of relevant Massachusetts environmental laws, regulations, and policy; successful experience in non-profit management and fundraising; a passion for natural resources, and excellent presentation and writing skills. Compensation is commensurate with experience and MACC’s budget.
For a full description of the position, please visit MACC’s website jobs page and download the position description: http://www.maccweb.org/page/ResJobsVolunteering
To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume by May 15, 2017, to [email protected].
Bird Research Technicians – Aton Forest – Norfolk, CT
Aton Forest, Inc. has been awarded an Audubon Connecticut Important Bird Area Grant for 2017 to conduct Breeding Bird Surveys and Breeding Territory Studies in northwestern Connecticut. Two experienced birders will be hired in 2017 as Research Technicians to conduct and report on this project.
Brief Description of Project: This grant will continue and expand the breeding bird research conducted at Aton Forest by hiring two experienced birders to complete breeding bird surveys along three established survey lines and determine breeding territories within selected managed shrub land and meadow habitats at Aton Forest, Norfolk, CT. Data from such study will go into the eBird database and contribute to the understanding of the distribution, populations, behavior and habitat use of Connecticut’s birds.
Aton Forest (AF) is an ecological research field station in the Northwest Hills of Connecticut in the northeast corner of the Town of Norfolk. The Forest was designated an Audubon Important Bird Area in 2015. Because of its location the Forest falls within a rather unique geographical area of Connecticut, part of the Berkshire Plateau, with many plants and animals more common further north. The elevation, topography, terrain, weather, climate, and flora all contribute to its special nature. This uniqueness is also reflected in the variety of forest birds that breed there each year. Breeding forest birds include: cerulean warbler, black-throated blue warbler, black-throated green warbler, least flycatcher, magnolia warbler, wood thrush, eastern towhee, American woodcock, and ruffed grouse to name just a few. The AF breeding bird surveys were begun in 2002 and have been conducted continuously to the present day. All breeding bird survey data has been entered into the citizen science database eBird, as well as records maintained at Aton Forest.
Specific Goals and Objectives of Project: There are two goals of the project: one, to organize two breeding bird surveys on each of the three interior survey lines and, two, to determine bird breeding territories within selected managed shrub land and meadow habitats at Aton Forest. The breeding bird line surveys will be conducted between June 1 and 15, 2017; the breeding territory study will be accomplished between June 1 and 31, 2017. It is estimated that the project will require 72 hours per technician and wages will be $15 per hour. Aton Forest, Inc. will also make sleeping quarters, office space and a computer available for the researchers. Orientation, coordination and supervision will be provided by the Executive Director of Aton Forest, Inc.
There may also be an opportunity for student interns to work on this project, to assist the Research Technicians, to learn research techniques, to better their knowledge of northern Connecticut birds, and to further develop their birding skills.
Anyone interested please contact:
John Anderson, Executive Director, Aton Forest, Inc.
Email: [email protected]
Aton Forest, Inc.
P.O. Box 509
270 N. Colebrook Rd.
Norfolk, CT 06058
Great Summer Jobs with Greenagers!
Greenagers employs 50 youth each year for work on local trails and farms, through our trail crews (3 in Berkshire County and 2 in Columbia County) and our Farm Apprenticeships.
Our new and improved Farm Apprenticeships program is the result of an exciting collaboration with Jen Salinetti of Woven Roots Farm in Tyringham, MA. Jen is the new Farm Apprenticeship Coordinator and she has designed a thorough farm/soil/food curriculum to bolster the paid apprenticeship experience. The program runs from April through November. Apprentices are matched with area farms and are expected to work a minimum of four hours per week on that farm. Apprentices will also participate in the Young Farmer Education Series, bi-monthly farm education workshops and farm tours led by Jen on the first and third Wednesday of every month. Workshops are held at Woven Roots Farm, Tyringham, MA and Greenagers, Housatonic, MA. Farm visits will take place throughout Central and South County.
Participant Requirements: 15-22 years old • Able to manage own transportation • Prepared to work outdoors for a minimum of 4 hours/week • Willing to commit to workshop and farm visit schedule • Ready to engage in community dialogue and discovery
Workshop Topics Include • The Soil Food Web • Food Systems • Food Literacy • Food Diversity • Food Justice • Sustainability • Wholesome Food Preparation
If you have any questions about the program, please contact Jen Salinetti, Program Coordinator.
Trail Crews consist of 6-8 youth aged 15-24 and one skilled leader with a minimum of 3 years field experience. Our 2017 Trail Crew options are:
~ Appalachian Trail Crew – runs for 4 weeks in July, Mondays to Fridays. This crew camps on-site during the week, returning home for weekends.
~ Community Crews (2 in Berkshire County) run 6 weeks in July and August, Mondays to Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Community Crews build and maintain trails for local land trusts and organizations and begin and end each workday at the Greenagers office in Great Barrington.
~ Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC) Trail Crews – 2 crews based in Columbia County that build and maintain trails on CLC-owned land.
For more information, please contact Elia Del Molino, Trails Coordinator.