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State Declares 'Green Friday' in Support of Local Xmas Tree Farms
03:29PM / Friday, November 27, 2020
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UXBRIDGE, Mass. — The Baker-Polito administration has declared Friday, Nov. 27, as "Green Friday" to encourage people across the commonwealth to visit their local farms and nurseries for Christmas trees, holiday plants, and holiday decorating needs.   To celebrate, state Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux participated in a Christmas tree-cutting ceremony at Arrowhead Acres in Uxbridge. In an effort to support the commonwealth's Christmas tree industry, the declaration of Green Friday encourages people throughout the state to visit their local Christmas tree farms to purchase their trees, holiday plants, ornamental swags, and wreaths to

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Greenagers Offers Youth Nature-Based Work Amidst Pandemic
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
07:11AM / Thursday, November 26, 2020
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A local youth environment community group has not let COVID-19 halt its stride.

Greenagers has continued its commitment to outdoor programming amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic to offer teenagers and young adults nature-based work and socially distant connections.

Executive Director Will Conklin and Conservation Director Elia Del Molino felt it was appropriate to extend this programming into the fall and winter this year so that members will continue to have meaningful and safe work and connections.

"We are so grateful for companies and organizations that utilize our services and give us work to teach and learn about the importance of our natural

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Williamstown Planners Developing Plan to Link Pot Grow Area to Setbacks
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:50AM / Monday, November 16, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Planning Board last week began filling in some of the blanks in a new cannabis production bylaw it hopes to send to town meeting in the spring.   And it agreed to try to set up a panel discussion with outside experts for early December.   The board has been working on the marijuana question almost exclusively since the failure of its proposed bylaw at August's annual town meeting. The planners are conscious of two concerns raised in the run-up to and in the wake of that meeting: confusion over contradictory proposals from the Planning Board and the town's farming community and criticism that the 2019-20 Planning Board process did not engage

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Transportation & Climate Initiative Touted for Benefits to Rural Communities
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
06:04AM / Sunday, November 15, 2020
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State  WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A multi-state plan to reduce carbon emissions and invest in more sustainable transportation could be in action as soon as 2022, advocates said last week.   And local leaders are working to make sure that rural areas don't get left behind.   The Transportation and Climate Initiative, which looks to replicate the model of the 2007's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, seeks to cap greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, create a market for distributors of fossil fuels to buy allowances and invest the proceeds of those sales into cleaner transportation.   By the end of this year, the 12 states and District of

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Butterflies Like it Hot at Mountain Meadow
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
02:26PM / Sunday, October 25, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Adventuresome butterflies highlight the widespread nectar oases in a special habitat teaming with nectar to meet their spurious flight demands.    Thanks to lucid awareness of the ecological value of so many concurrent species — upwards to 30 — the Trustees of Reservations has saved these 20 acres called Mountain Meadow Preserve. Although seldom seen altogether since they have different flight periods, and separate nectar preferences, a surprising assortment of butterflies can be seen imbibing at the same plant.    What a potpourri! Hardly a dull moment in July.   Milkweed reached peak bloom by July 1 with signs of

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Williamstown Planning Board, Ag Commission Work on Cannabis Production Bylaw
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
11:12AM / Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Two town committees are working on parallel paths to bring next year's annual town meeting a cannabis cultivation bylaw on which voters can agree.   Specifically, the Planning Board and Agricultural Commission hope to find language that two-thirds of the meeting participants can support in order to replace an outdated bylaw put on the books in May 2017 mostly as a "placeholder" to respond to the November 2016 passage of a public question that decriminalized marijuana in the commonwealth.   Since that time, the state's Cannabis Control Commission has defined ground rules for production in Massachusetts, and the town has seen one

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Williamstown Farmers Market Winds Down Successful Virtual Season
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:07AM / Wednesday, October 14, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Farmers Market wraps up its season on Saturday, but Wednesday is the last day to order baked goods, dairy, fruits, produce or any of the items produced by a dozen local farmers.   When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in full force in March, the farmers market was faced with a choice: ride out the storm and see if conditions would allow the kind of face-to-face market that people have grown to love on Spring Street or overhaul the system and go virtual.   After a lot of hard work in a relatively short period of time, the market stood up an online ordering system that enabled the nearly 40-year institution to continue without missing a

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Williamstown Planners Prioritize Pot, Seek More Community Input
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
02:27AM / Wednesday, September 09, 2020
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Planning Board on Tuesday discussed the conditions that led to a protracted town meeting debate with no resolution on a marijuana production bylaw and how the board can help produce a different outcome this time around.   The planners agreed that a redo of the pot bylaw proposal is a priority in the next half year leading up to May's annual town meeting.   And there was consensus that more engagement is needed with the town's Agricultural Commission, which ended up bringing a competing and contradictory bylaw to last month's pandemic-delayed annual town meeting.   Chair Stephanie Boyd argued that the result of that meeting, while

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Northern Berkshire Students Garden Virtually
04:00AM / Saturday, September 05, 2020
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire 2020 Summer Youth Works program went virtual this year with a seven-week virtual gardening Program.   The Northern Berkshire Summer Youth program typically places students in paid internships with local companies but, like most things this year, COVID-19 forced the Berkshire Workforce Board (BWB) to adapt.   Through funding from the First Congregational Church of Williamstown and MountainOne, the BWB converted programming to a seven-week virtual gardening program.   The Berkshire Workforce Board partnered with Greenagers, a youth environment group, who supplied each student with a container garden. Greenagers provided lessons

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Chilling Snow Storm Draws Apprehensive Avian Migrants
By Tor Hansen, iBerkshires columnist
08:00PM / Sunday, August 30, 2020
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — If ever there was a snow storm to remember it was that of early May in our Berkshires.   Forewarned by the aggressive weather watchers to inform us of the approaching tempest, one may wonder how our birds reacted to atmospheric signs that animals first perceive. Flocking birds of assorted genera appeared stunned by the daunting freeze that enveloped both the world of people and the spring migrating birds eager to resume nesting and procreation of their progeny.   All night the swirling snow fell in the valleys and foothills, and I felt concern for our cheerful charmers that must outlast the shivering cold swept upon them as they would take shelter

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