Ecology

Christopher White has written numerous books, including "Skipjack: The Story of America’s Last Sailing Oystermen" and "The Melting World: A Journey Across America’s Vanishing Glaciers." His articles have appeared in Audubon, The Baltimore Sun, The New Mexican, National Geographic, and Exploration.

In his new book, "The Last Lobster: Boom or Bust for Maine's Greatest Fishery?" he follows three lobster captains: Frank, Jason, and Julie (one the few female skippers in Maine), as they haul and set thousands of traps.

For the past five years, the lobster population along the coast of Maine has boomed, resulting in a lobster harvest six times the size of the record catch from the 1980s an event unheard of in fisheries. In a detective story, scientists and fishermen explore various theories for the glut. Leading contenders are a sudden lack of predators and a recent wedge of warming waters, which may disrupt the reproductive cycle, a consequence of climate change. Unexpectedly, boom may turn to bust, as the captains must fight a warming ocean, volatile prices, and rough weather to keep their livelihood afloat.

In his new book, "Eager," environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America's lakes and rivers.

The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of "Beaver Believers," including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens, recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them.

Ben Goldfarb’s new book is "Eager: The Surprising Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter."

Today in our Ideas Matter segment we check in with Mass Humanities and learn about the Earthcare Festival at the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, Massachusetts. The Festival—on September 9th, 10th, and 11th—marks the beginning of the newly created Hilltown Chautauqua of Western Massachusetts.

Events during the Festival weekend will explore the human relationship to nature and will feature a series of in-depth talks by nationally known figures in forest ecology, sustainability, and environmental writing, as well as poetry readings, music, and a one-woman play.

We are joined by David Perkins, founder of the Hilltown Chautaqua, and by Lauret Savoy, Professor of Environmental Studies, who will be participating in the Earthcare Festival.

  You can discover how the lives of humans, red knots, and horseshoe crabs are intertwined when Deborah Cramer - environmental writer and visiting scholar at MIT - will discuss her new book The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook on Friday night at 7 p.m.

In the book, and in her presentation, Cramer depicts an inspiring portrait of loss and resilience, the tenacity of birds, and the courage of the many people who keep red knots flying.

A new rule is in effect to prevent invasive insects from entering Vermont's forests on untreated firewood.

Five Rivers Environmental Education Center

A $7 million overhaul is getting started after a groundbreaking Thursday at the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar.


  For a long time, veteran environmental journalist Fred Pearce thought in stark terms about invasive species: they were the evil interlopers spoiling pristine “natural” ecosystems. Most conservationists and environmentalists share this view. But what if the traditional view of ecology is wrong—what if true environmentalists should be applauding the invaders?

In The New Wild, Pearce goes on a journey across six continents to rediscover what conservation in the twenty-first century should be about. The case for keeping out alien species, he finds, looks increasingly flawed. As Pearce argues, mainstream environmentalists are right that we need a rewilding of the earth, but they are wrong if they imagine that we can achieve that by reengineering ecosystems.

It's no secret that the presence of humans has a great effect on the environment.

Elizabeth Borer, associate professor in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Department at the University of Minnesota, is conducting global experiments to better understand how plants grow.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

A group of visitors from Sweden, students from Maine, and state workers from Massachusetts traveled to the Berkshires to get a first-hand look at some of the cooperative efforts underway to study and restore stream crossings in Western Massachusetts.

At a stream crossing in a wooded area on the outskirts of Pittsfield, Jane Winn, of the Berkshire Environmental Action Team shows a small crowd of students from the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, and a group of Swedish visitors, a culvert running underneath a rural road…

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

A group of grassroots volunteers in Western Massachusetts is working to identify where animals are more likely to be struck by passing vehicles.

As the weather warms, wildlife becomes more active, and you might be more likely to spot more animals by the side of the road. But before an animal can detect an approaching car, it might be too late. So a group of volunteers recently organized to help pinpoint roadkill hotspots across Western Massachusetts and the Berkshires.

USGS

An invasive forest pest commonly found in New York and Southern New England was recently discovered in New Hampshire, and now it’s prompting state officials there to clear hundreds of acres of forest land to prevent the spread of the insect. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Housatonic River Walk

Director of the Greenagers program Will Conklin puts it this way…

A program of the Berkshires-based Center for Peace Through Culture, Greenagers is a youth program based in environmental stewardship and service to community.

On Saturday, April 21st, Greenagers will begin its season by providing volunteer hours to clean up and pull weeds on the Housatonic River Walk in Great Barrington. Director Will Conklin…

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (WAMC) - Congresswoman Nan Hayworth was in Dutchess County Monday afternoon, where she met with coalition of environmental groups to discuss a host of environmental issues important to the Region. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.