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Gleanings from Headline News – July 2020

NOFA Moves Classes Online

Northeast Organic Farming Association will offer its professional accreditation course in organic land care online in August. As demand for organic practices grows, find out how you can transition to organic practices, or learn the latest in chemical-free options. Learn more from NOFA.

Black Farmers Fight Against Racism

Black farmers have ancestral ties to the land – to caring for it, nurturing it, loving it, and allowing it to heal individuals and communities – but they have faced immeasurable discriminatory practices and policies. While community urban farms might seem like the new trendy thing, Black farmers have been tied to and fighting for the right to farm for decades. Read more in Environmental Health News.

The Protective Value of Nature

The National Wildlife Federation just produced a report on the effectiveness of natural infrastructure to lower risk to communities facing damaging weather and climate-changing events. Both models and empirical evidence gathered during weather events point to the fact that having natural infrastructures such as wetlands, reefs, etc have a huge positive impact helping humans mitigate negative effects of weather and climate natural disasters. Find more information and download the report at

More Than Pretty Flowers

Lovely blooming plants are pleasing to the human eye while also providing essential nutrients for pollinators, but pollinators need more than just another pretty flower. Pollinators need nesting spots and messy gardens to live and thrive. Unfortunately, the manicured lawns of suburbia provide little in the way of habitat for our native pollinators. Read more at Xerces.

Easing Shoreline Erosion

Working with The Nature Conservatory and several other local nonprofits, the Coastal Resources Management Council is testing an experimental “living shoreline” to lessen coastal destruction from rising seas due to climate change. Learn more at ecoRI News.

Let the Crafts Begin

While we are all doing staycations this year, it might be a great time to do some arts and crafts with your kids or just for fun. Check out this fun upcycle use of an old tire and let the creative juices flow. Read more in Birds and Blooms.

How to Water Lawns During the Summer

Here’s a hint: less is more and timing is critical. Remember we need to move away from the goal of a perfect English Country Manor lawn and embrace a more natural faded look of grass during the hot summer months. Learn more at Green Newton.

Plants Love Music Too!

The Liceu, one of the most important opera houses in the world, hosts its prelude of the 2020/2021 season with this creative and unique concert to an audience filled with plants. The concert is intended to explore our close and essential relationship with nature at this very painful time in the world’s history. Read and listen to EcoWatch.

The Sounds of Silence

Scientific studies show having a quiet place to retreat from the noise of everyday life is essential to good health. Quiet Parks International is a nonprofit working to establish certification for quiet parks to raise awareness of the need to preserve the world’s quiet places. Read more at YaleEnvironment360.

Become a Citizen Scientist

Xerces Society offers you a chance to contribute to science by contributing meaningful data to further the scientific understanding of key issues. By engaging community members, scientists can collect large amounts of data over diverse areas to help them better understand what is happening in the environment around them. Do your part at Community Science.

Firefly Watch Citizen Science Project

Join Mass Audubon in helping track numbers of fireflies in your own backyard and enjoy a peaceful summer ritual all at the same time. With your help scientist hope to be able to track whether firefly numbers are increasing or decreasing. Find out more at Firefly Watch Citizen Science Project.

Love That Dirty Water

Can microorganisms that eat algae bloom make the Charles swimmable again? Charles River Conservancy has worked to maintain the Charles River and its parks for decades and has visions of people swimming in the water or fishing with friends from the bank on sweltering summer days. Their dream is to restore the river to pre-development days, and they’ve created a floating island of native plants to help with the effort. Find out more in the Boston Globe.

UMASS to Reopen Plant Diagnostics Lab

Diagnosing plant problems is the first step to economically treating pests and diseases. The University of Massachusetts has set up new protocols and is ready to help farmers, greenhouses, and other greens professionals with pest diagnosis problems. Read more at

Healthy Soils Forums with HSAP

The Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan (HSAP) hopes to provide evidence-based recommendations that help people better manage soils of five major land types: Forests, Wetlands, Agriculture, Turf and Ornamental Landscapes (developed open space), and Impervious and Urbanized Lands. Through targeted conservation, soil-smart development, and better soil management, the recommendations of the HSAP will propose a coordinated approach to protecting the productivity of working lands and diverse wildlands while assisting cities and towns to improve resilience and reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change.

A virtual public meeting will be held July 29, 6:00-7:30 pm. This meeting will focus on land management practice recommendations and is intended for land managers and homeowners. Join via Zoom:

Mass Pollinator Resource Guide

NOFA/Mass (the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Mass Chapter) is part of a statewide ecosystem of groups and individuals working together to create healthy landscapes that feed our communities and restore our environment. When asked the question, “What are the different ways Mass residents can help pollinators?” NOFA was cast on a journey to create a guide to connect different resources to protect all pollinators. Find the Guide here.

Call for Presentations

Southeast New York Stormwater Conference 2020

The Lower Hudson Coalition of Conservation Districts is accepting proposals for presentations through July 31. The associated trade show gives attendees a chance to check out the latest and greatest trends in stormwater management technology and professional services. Read more at Stormwater Conference.