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Williamstown Farm Reimagined as Education, Rescue Center
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
07:09AM / Sunday, August 07, 2022
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  WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — As she shows off the potpourri produced from cuttings around her Henderson Road farm, Jane Swift can joke that she has the best smelling barn in the Berkshires.   "We're so lucky to live here," she says. "This is all stuff I just picked. People probably think I'm crazy. I go around sniffing stuff on the farm."   In the near future, Swift hopes to add some new smells to the mix.   She is working to transform the century-old family farm into the Cobble Hill Farm Education and Rescue Center.   And by the late fall, she hopes to start filling that barn with rehabilitating fauna to go along with the

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Williamstown Planners Advise Conservation of Oblong Road Parcel
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
04:30AM / Wednesday, August 03, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Planning Board last week advised the Select Board to assign to a local non-profit the town's option to buy a 10-acre parcel of farmland on Oblong Road.   In a unanimous vote, the planners recommended the town assign its right of first refusal to the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation for a lot currently conserved under Chapter 61 of Massachusetts General Law.   Under Chapter 61, land in agriculture is eligible for property tax relief. Part of the tradeoff for the landowner is that when the land is sold, the municipality has the right of first refusal.   The parcel's current owner, Beth Phelps, has a purchase and sales agreement for

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Williamstown Rural Lands Farm Visit
12:07PM / Monday, July 04, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williamstown Rural Lands (WRL) will tour and learn about micro-scale farming at Bigfoot Farm on Sunday, July 10, at 10 a.m.    Learn how farmer Brian Cole produces a diversity of veggies using sustainable farming techniques. Now in his fifth year on one acre of leased farmland, Cole has made strides in learning what it takes to achieve economic success farming at a micro-scale.   While touring his farm, attendees can ask questions. Cole will discuss soil management, crop sequencing, and pest and weed control using organic methods.    Cole will share his experience as a tenant farmer and discuss what can be done to promote working rural

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Williamstown Seeking Volunteers, Property, Greenhouse Gas Lowering Ideas
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
12:43PM / Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The town is looking for your time, your ideas and, if you can spare it, your land.   Monday's Select Board meeting featured appeals to community members on several different fronts.   The board asked residents to consider service on town boards and committees. A representative from the grassroots Carbon Dioxide Lowering (COOL) Committee invited community members to share thoughts on Wednesday about how the town can meet its net zero greenhouse gas emission goal. And the Select Board's representative on the Affordable Housing Trust publicized that body' effort to acquire a home or buildable lot in town.   "The request for proposals

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Bird Walk at Sheep Hill
08:18AM / Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williamstown Rural Lands is hosting an early morning bird walk on Sunday, May 29.    Join birder Tommy Richey at 7:30 am to identify different birds.    Former Audubon chapter president and local Tommy Richey will guide attendees by sound and sight to meet migratory birds taking up spring residency on the hill such as Indigo Buntings, Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow Warblers, Baltimore Orioles, and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.    Bring water, snacks, and wear sturdy shoes. Bring binoculars if you have them. Loaner pairs will be available.   Heavy rain cancels the event so check the website the evening before. The guided bird walk

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Williamstown Rural Lands To Host Sheep to Shawl
07:59AM / Thursday, May 05, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williamstown Rural Lands (WRL), a non-profit, member-supported land conservation trust, invites members of the community to the return of its Sheep to Shawl event on Saturday, May 7, from 11am to 3pm.   Located at WRL's Sheep Hill headquarters, the festival will celebrate spring and New England heritage with time-honored crafts, local artisans, farm animals, and a focus on the region's historic fleece and fiber industry.    Fred DePaul will spin stories and use traditional tools to shear sheep, while border collies from Tanstaafle Farm and Littlebrook Farm herd sheep in complex maneuvers around the hills.    The Green Mountain

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Williams College Receives STARS Gold Rating for Sustainability
08:00AM / Saturday, April 30, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College has earned a STARS Gold rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).    STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.    Williams' STARS report is publicly available on the STARS website: https://reports.aashe.org/institutions/williams-college-ma/report   "This is an exciting accomplishment," said Tanja Srebotnjak, director of the college's Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives that prepared the report.

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Earth Day Celebration in Merchants Park
04:13PM / Monday, April 18, 2022
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BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Earth Day celebration this spring will take place at Merchants Parks at 3:30 the afternoon of April 22, 2022.     This will be the fifty-second commemoration of Earth Day which began in 1970.    This Earth Day is sponsored by Climate Advocates Bennington, the MAUHS group Climate Change Initiative and Better Bennington Corporation.  The celebration is open to the public and will have speakers, music, and skits with audience participation.   According to a press release, Earth Day in the US, began after several major ecological disasters.  In January of 1969 An oil rig leaked millions of gallons of oil on the coast of Santa

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Williamstown Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Task Force Seeks Community Input
By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires Staff
05:06AM / Monday, April 04, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Select Board last week heard about two initiatives looking to make change on a regional and global scale and one proposal that would shake up the way the town taxes at the local level.   At last year's annual town meeting, members overwhelmingly voted to commit the town to a "net zero greenhouse gas emissions goal" by 2050.   Part of the resolution included a more immediate goal of forming a "comprehensive action plan" by next year.   Last Monday, one of the residents on a 27-person task force working on that plan updated the Select Board on the group's activities.   "What is a net zero community?"

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Williamstown Rural Lands Hires New Executive Director
08:24AM / Thursday, March 31, 2022
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williamstown Rural Lands (WRL) announced that Robin Sears has been selected as its new Executive Director.   Sears is an interdisciplinary scientist whose previous work at the intersections of forests and people, farming and forestry, and science and policy positions her well to lead WRL.    "I am thrilled to join the community of land stewards here at home after focusing for decades on forest management in the tropics," she said. I look forward to working with Williamstown residents, farmers, and community members to steward the rich natural and cultural assets around us for all to enjoy now and in the future.”   Sears has

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