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Speaker for the whales: Indigenous artist interprets endangered right whale’s legacy and meaning
03-10-2024 1:43 PM

By NAILA MOREIRA

Two new exhibitions inspired by the life and skeleton of the whale Staccato — a grandmother North Atlantic right whale whose remains came to UMass’ natural history collection after her death in 1999 — are now open to the public.Indigenous artist...

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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...


Hillside Pizza closes Hadley location, but business brisk at other locations
03-03-2024 1:50 PM

By GRACE LEE

HADLEY — Hillside Pizza has closed its 15-year-old location at 173 Russell St., though owners report that the Super Bowl marked a record-breaking year in sales and fundraising efforts for the other two locations in South Deerfield and Bernardston....


Around and About with Richard McCarthy: Turn on, tune in, drop out: Exploring Timothy Leary’s Pioneer Valley roots
03-03-2024 1:46 PM

By RICHARD MCCARTHY

I suspect a fair number of readers are aware who Timothy Leary was, and more still have heard his name as part of the lexicon of popular culture. For those who do not know, he was one of the more famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective)...


Earth Matters: A world where we aren’t at the center?
02-23-2024 9:43 PM

By MONYA RELLES

Over the summer, I read and enjoyed “An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us” by Ed Yong. One of Yong’s central theses is that animal senses are so different from our own that it’s almost impossible to imagine the ways...


From lab to the world: UMass researchers land $5.5M grant to help translate work into products
02-23-2024 9:43 PM

By XINJI YANG

AMHERST — Researchers at the University of Massachusetts will soon get help translating their work conducted in campus laboratories into solutions to real-world problems related to human health and well-being.That’s the broad focus of a new $5.5...


Earth Matters: Queering the outdoors: The Venture Out Project empowers LGBTQIA2S+ people through community and adventure
02-15-2024 8:26 PM

By ALLIE MARTINEAU

Affinity spaces for queer people are essential, to share the things we carry. To meet friends, trade crafts and clothing, talk about our lives, how to find doctors and well-sewn binders, how to come out, change a tire, ask for a raise, or cook for a...


Get Growing with Mickey Rathbun: A garden is a canvas: “Painting the Modern Garden: From Monet to Matisse” comes to Amherst Cinema
02-15-2024 8:26 PM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

As the calendar page flips to the short but cruel month of February, I suspect that many gardeners, like me, are getting tired of the somber palette of gray and brown.Just in time to rescue us from seasonal ennui, a wonderful documentary, “Painting...


Valley Bounty: Micro but mighty: At a new farm in South Hadley, small is beautiful — and delicious
02-15-2024 8:18 PM

By JACOB NELSON

If there’s a lesson to be learned from Love Leaf Farm in South Hadley, it’s this: don’t judge a farm by its size … or the size of their crops, for that matter.In the words of farmer-owner Michael Fredette, “Love Leaf Farm is a very small, indoor...


Best Bites: Where to eat dinner right now: The top 35 Valley spots for dinner and what you should order
02-15-2024 8:16 PM

By ROBIN GOLDSTEIN

If I were writing the Pioneer Valley chapter of a travel guide to New England, this would be its section for “dinner with table service.” I list restaurants first that I feel are most essential to the local dining scene, the ones we can’t live...


Around and About with Richard McCarthy: Plane of dreams: Cheering on young athletes as they gain life experiences
02-08-2024 8:37 PM

By RICHARD MCCARTHY

Recently, I was at an airport and waiting for the same plane was a group of what looked to be about 12-to-14-year-old boys, all wearing the same black sweatsuits, with the same logo on the front of the sweatshirt. You could feel the electricity...

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