Biochar: What it is and what it is not ~ July 13, 2021
Rachel Smolker is co-director of Biofuelwatch. Her work has spanned local grassroots organizing to participation in international processes, including the United Nations conventions on climate and biodiversity. She has researched, written, and organized on the impacts of biofuels, bioenergy and biochar on land use, forests, biodiversity, food, people, and the climate. She has a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Michigan and worked previously as a field biologist. She lives in Vermont.
Praise the Dead: The role of dead trees and fire in forest ecosystems ~ July 28, 2020
George Wuerthner is an ecologist and has published 38 books, including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy, Protecting the Wild: Parks and Wilderness Foundation for Conservation and Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of the Earth..
He discusses his experience in the West and talks about planned forest fires on Massachusetts state lands for habitat restoration and fire suppression. He addresses the Montague Plains, Muddy Brook Wildlife Management Area, and Myles Standish State Forest as examples of restoring pine barrens, the cultural and ecological histories of these areas, and the benefits of letting nature take its course in forest ecosystems.
Forests and Brain Health: Emerging Research ~ June 16, 2020
Susan A. Masino, Ph.D. is the Vernon Roosa Professor of Applied Science at Trinity College and a recent Bullard Fellow in Forest Research at Harvard University. Her research focuses on links among metabolism, brain activity and behavior and she is dedicated to educational, environmental and public policy issues affecting brain health.
The link between forests and brain health is a public policy imperative: we face increasing costs for disorders ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to addiction, and forests offer exercise, mindfulness and stress reduction. We are still discovering new species, and forests are a former and a likely future source of new medicines. Research on cardiovascular, immune and neurological systems is expanding worldwide. In people of all ages a forest can increase kindness, altruism, and generosity by provoking awe – the sense of wonder you feel in the presence of something beyond your understanding. For these and many other reasons, natural forests should be protected and accessible to citizens across the state.
Mary S. Booth, Ph.D., Founder and Director of the Partnership for Policy Integrity, directs PFPI’s science and advocacy work on greenhouse gases, air pollution, and forest impacts of biomass energy Biomass energy is growing rapidly worldwide due to its inclusion in renewable energy programs that make it eligible for financial incentives, including in Massachusetts. However, despite being treated as “green” and carbon neutral, burning forest wood for energy actually emits more climate and air pollution per unit energy than most fossil fuels. And harvesting for biomass creates negative impacts on our forests.
Rich Holschuh is a resident of Wantastegok (Brattleboro, VT) and an independent historic and cultural researcher. He has served on the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs and is a public liaison and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Elnu Abenaki, members of the contemporary Indigenous community. Rich is founder and director of the Atowi Project, an Elnu community initiative to affirm Native relationships to the Land and its inhabitants, raise Indigenous voices, and foster inclusion with understanding. His work draws upon indigenous history, linguistics, geography, and culture to share beneficial ways of seeing and being in relationship with place.
Michael Kellett is executive director of the New England nonprofit organization, RESTORE: The North Woods, which he co-founded in 1992. He developed the proposal for a 3.2-million-acre Maine Woods National Park, which laid the groundwork for the 2016 designation by President Obama of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. In Massachusetts, he has worked to protect Walden Woods, the Thoreau birthplace, and Mount Wachusett old-growth forests. In 2009, he served as a member of the citizen advisory committee to DCR’s Forest Futures Visioning Process, which led to a modest expansion of protected areas. He helped to develop legislation to protect Massachusetts’ publicly owned land which was introduced in January 2019.
Bill Stubblefield holds a Doctorate in Biology from Harvard University and has published on the evolutionary biology of sex and the behavioral ecology of solitary wasps. He now devotes his time to saving as much of the living world as possible from the assaults of industrial civilization and extending social justice to all the people of planet Earth.
Dr. William R. Moomaw, Professor Emeritus, Center for International Environment & Resource Policy at Tufts University, lead author of five reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, former director of the Climate & Energy Program at the World Resources Institute.
Arise for Social Justice; Concerned Citizens of Franklin County; Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution, Climate Change Committee; The Enviro Show; Extinction Rebellion Western MA; Green Berkshires; Hitchcock Center for the Environment; Keep the Woods; 350MA Berkshire Node; Mother Out Front Pioneer Valley; Partnership for Policy Integrity; Restore: The North Woods; Representative Lindsay Sabadosa, 1st Hampshire District; Representative Paul Mark, 2nd Berkshire District; Senator Jo Comerford, Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester District; Springfield Climate Justice Coalition; Traprock Center for Peace & Justice; Wendell State Forest Alliance