February 23, 2022
Hi Friend,

We hope you have been enjoying this warm, springlike weather that's been hanging around these last few days. It has us looking forward to the approaching "Big Night" of amphibian migrations and the return of our summer-resident birds!

On an unrelated subject — as MA residents, we have the opportunity to help shape the commonwealth's understanding of climate impacts that affect our lives and communities by joining one of the statewide conversations that will take place during the following two weeks. The information you share will inform the Massachusetts Climate Change Assessment, and your feedback will be used to advise how the state prioritizes actions to address these challenges.

You can find more details on these community discussions by visiting our event calendar, and you can register here for your preferred date/time. Please consider joining one of these conversations to make your voice heard!

Thanks for all you do to protect the environment,
Jane, Rose, Jake, Noah, and Chelsey
P.S. Is anybody missing an earring? We found a sole, dangle earring with a dragonfly on it in BEAT's office the other day (pictured below). If this is yours, give us a holler.
It's Black History Month. Each week during February, BEAT will be celebrating Black environmentalists, spotlighting environmental inequalities, and honoring the contributions of Black folks to the environmental justice movement.
This week we are celebrating Anthony Sanchez.
Co-founder and president emeritus of Eagle Eye, Anthony Sanchez (left) and board president Chris Cato (right)
Anthony Sanchez is the co-founder and president emeritus of Eagle Eye Institute, a nonprofit organization located in Peru, Massachusetts — right here in the Berkshires! For over thirty years, Anthony has been working to remove barriers that prevent young people in cities from experiencing the natural world and lack of career opportunities in the environmental field. 

Anthony developed his connection to nature by chance. Having grown up in an urban environment, Anthony was sent to reform school in rural upstate New York after he got caught stealing. There Anthony Anthony had the opportunity to experience the pleasures of walking through a forest, horseback riding, and skating on a frozen pond. His nature explorations sparked curiosity and wonder and drove him to pursue other experiences in the natural world. These experiences motivated Anthony to follow an environmental career path, leading him to co-found Eagle Eye Institute in 1991.

Eagle Eye strives to give opportunities to young people from urban communities that allow them to deepen their knowledge and connection to the natural world — regardless of their race, class, or gender identity — and is dedicated to empowering youth to play an active role in caring for our environment. For the first 13 years of Eagle Eye as an organization, Anthony was the volunteer Executive Director, which prompted his recognition as an outstanding volunteer by receiving the Points of Light Award. Anthony established partnerships with youth-serving organizations, local businesses, and environmental professionals as instructors during his active years at Eagle Eye. These partnerships created mentor-rich environments that provided robust cultural exchanges and new ways of individuals seeing themselves, others, and nature. 

To quote the current board president Chris Cato: "As Eagle Eye looks to the next 30 years, it is essential that we consider all that is happening in the world today. Much of how we see ourselves and each other has a new lens, yet the benefits of time in nature have remained constant. We will continue to elevate time in nature as an integral partner in support of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being." 

If you want to learn more about Eagle Eye, you can watch this short video and check out the sources provided below.
Ice House Hill Farm, an iconic Richmond spot, is forever protected by Berkshire Natural Resources Council

The Berkshire Eagle
"Ice House Hill Farm, an iconic area known for its natural scenic beauty, has been forever protected. Berkshire Natural Resources Council and the farm's owners reached a deal to place the farm into the Massachusetts Conservation Restriction program, according to a release from the council. [...] 'Preserving Ice House Hill Farm is important to ensure that local agriculture remains a strong and significant part of Berkshire culture,' said BNRC President Jenny Hansell. 'It has timeless views, rich habitat, and a special place in the hearts of many people who love Richmond and the region.' A conservation restriction is a legally enforceable agreement that secures permanent protection of specific conservation values while allowing for limited land uses, such as farming, which are not detrimental to land preservation, the release stated." Read More
State policymakers, candidates, and advocates decry controversial energy grid vote

Sabrina Shankman | The Boston Globe
"In the wake of a controversial decision last week by the region’s [...] grid operator ISO-New England would allow the continuation for two years of a rule that Healey and others say hurts the expansion of renewable energy in the region, all at a time when states are racing to cut emissions and switch off of fossil fuels. [...] The state Executive Office for Energy and Environmental Affairs is also reviewing last week’s vote, according to a spokesman, and will be taking a look at how it may impact the state and regional pursuits of clean energy. [...] The controversy lies in the decision by ISO-NE to delay removing the so-called “minimum offer price rule,” which essentially prevents most state-subsidized energy generators, such as wind and solar plants, from bidding into the potentially lucrative market for providing backup electricity at times of peak demand." Read More
In low-income countries, meat isn't the problem. U.S.-style animal agriculture is

Brian Kateman | Fast Company
"In recent years, there’s been a growing movement against eating too much meat. Environmentalists point out that meat production is one of the leading causes of climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution; health advocates assert that eating too many animal products increases one’s chances of everything from heart disease to cancer; and animal welfare activists argue it’s wrong to be cruel to animals. [...] Activists have their attention trained on cases of major international agribusiness corporations exploiting lower-income countries, and the people and ecosystems within them. The implementation of U.S.-style CAFOs—or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, large-scale industrial agricultural facilities that confine animals under torturous conditions to produce cheap meat, eggs, or milk—bring anything but prosperity to impoverished people around the world. [...] When Western powers are making decisions on behalf of those people and their nations, it’s worth investigating who exactly benefits from their methods. Are they really helping, or are they just duplicating the very systems that create food swamps and environmental toxins that harm the most vulnerable populations right here in the U.S.? Academic experts are cautioning us of exactly this. Research out of Johns Hopkins finds that transplanting U.S.-style industrial food production to low- and middle-income countries will likely come at the cost of major threats to public health and the environment. Another major study, with authors from American, European, and Singaporean universities, specifically illuminates two things: one, that reducing global consumption of animal products is important for both human health and environmental sustainability; and two, that different countries will require different solutions." Read More
The strange reason migrating birds are flocking to cities

Chris Baranuik | BBC Future
"...Swainson's thrushes migrate from northern areas to Central and northern South America every autumn. But some make a "pit stop" in and around cities such as Montreal. For a study published last month, Morales and her colleagues had been researching how Swainson's thrushes balance the need to migrate quickly – so as to maximize its benefits – with the need to refuel, such as by stopping over in places like Montreal. They caught and radio-tagged a total of nearly 80 of the birds. Huge numbers of migrating birds visit cities all around the world on their extraordinary journeys, which often cover thousands of kilometers. It is not always obvious why they come to urban locations. Some appear to be attracted by light. Others, such as the Swainson's thrush in its bush full of berries, seem to enjoy the food on offer. But cities are not always friendly to outsiders. The death toll, sadly, is staggering. Some migrating birds, for example, are killed by domestic cats while others collide with buildings. Many thousands of birds die every year in New York alone when they crash into the brightly lit windows of skyscrapers, a well-known problem in megacities (Read more from BBC Future about why this happens). More recently, a flock of blackbirds was filmed dropping from the sky onto a street in the city of Chihuahua in northwest Mexico, leaving many dead. [...] The birds might move to this urban green space precisely because it is rich in resources such as berries and water.
Any bird landing in a city park could find such rewards, if they are present, but what draws birds to a bustling metropolis in the first place? It could largely be to do with light, says Morales' co-author Barbara Frei at Environment and Climate Change Canada, a department of the Canadian government. No one knows exactly why birds are attracted to artificial light at night but there is ample evidence for this effect. One possibility, Frei says, is that birds – which use starlight and other phenomena to navigate – are naturally enticed by points of light." See Photos & Read More
Five ways AI is saving wildlife - from counting chimps to locating whales

Graeme Green | The Guardian
"A recent report by Wildlabs.net found that AI was one of the top three emerging technologies in conservation. AI is helping to protect species as diverse as humpback whales, koalas and snow leopards, supporting the work of scientists, researchers and rangers in vital tasks, from anti-poaching patrols to monitoring species. With machine learning (ML) computer systems that use algorithms and models to learn, understand and adapt, AI is often able to do the job of hundreds of people, getting faster, cheaper and more effective results. [...] Brazil has lost more than 15% of its surface water in the past 30 years, a crisis that has only come to light with the help of AI. The country’s rivers, lakes and wetlands have been facing increasing pressure from a growing population, economic development, deforestation, and the worsening effects of the climate crisis. But no one knew the scale of the problem until last August... Without AI, researchers could not have analyzed water changes across the country at the scale and level of detail needed." AI can also distinguish between natural and human-created water bodies. The Negro River, a major tributary of the Amazon and one of the world’s 10 largest rivers by volume, has lost 22% of its surface water. The Brazilian portion of the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland, has lost 74% of its surface water. Such losses are devastating for wildlife (4,000 species of plants and animals live in the Pantanal, including jaguars, tapirs and anacondas), people and nature." Read More
Northern Woodlands January 2022 Reader Photo Gallery

Northern Woodlands
"Your January images often related to birds — from Sabina Ernst’s image of a crow snow angel, to Tami Gingrich’s fun shot of a Carolina wren captured at a banding station and supervised by Tami’s furry friend. Kirk Gentalen shared a fascinating image of aquatic insects under ice, and Charlie Schwarz contributed a great photo of a red flat bark beetle – a little-seen but spectacular predator that hunts under the bark of hardwood trees. John Gilbert welcomed a new porcupine neighbor, and AM Dannis asked: how many moose do you see?" See More Photos
A New Theory for How Mammals Might Survive Hibernation

Charles Q. Choi | Inside Science
"...Extended bouts of fasting and repose can cause mammals to break down muscle proteins for energy, ultimately generating nitrogen-loaded urea. Since urea is toxic in high concentrations, it normally gets excreted in urine. It was a mystery why hibernators suffer remarkably little muscle atrophy while dormant. Since they are not eating or drinking anything while hibernating, they are not taking in nitrogen to replace any that researchers would expect them to lose in their urine. Nitrogen is a vital building block for proteins, so its loss would hamper any efforts to preserve muscle. [...] The scientists experimented with squirrels during both active and hibernating phases. They found that urea in these rodents was not just excreted in their urine, but also made its way into their guts, where microbes broke it apart. The nitrogen from this urea got incorporated into amino acids the squirrels reabsorbed, which they in turn recycled to help make proteins in the liver and muscles." Read More
Only nine percent of plastics recycled worldwide: OECD

"...A new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development report found that 460 million metric tons of plastics were used in 2019, the number that nearly doubled since 2000. The amount of plastic waste has also more than doubled during that same time to 353 million metric tons, the Paris-based OECD said. 'After taking into account losses during recycling, only 9% of plastic waste was ultimately recycled, while 19% was incinerated and almost 50% went to sanitary landfills,' it said in its Global Plastics Outlook. 'The remaining 22 percent was disposed of in uncontrolled dumpsites, burned in open pits or leaked into the environment.' [...] Plastics contributed 3.4 percent of global greenhouse emissions in 2019, 90 percent of it from 'production and conversion from fossil fuels,' the report said. [...] The OECD proposed a series of 'levers' to address the issue, including developing the market for recycled plastics, which only represent six percent of the total—largely because they are more expensive. It added that new technologies related to decreasing the environmental footprint of plastic represented only 1.2 percent of all innovation concerning the product.
While calling for a 'more circular plastics lifecycle,' the OECD said that policies must also restrain overall consumption. It also called for 'major investments in basic waste management infrastructure,' including 25 billion euros ($28 billion) a year to go towards efforts in low and middle-income countries." See Graphics & Read More
75% of people want single-use plastics banned, global survey finds

John Geddie | Reuters
"Three in four people worldwide want single-use plastics to be banned as soon as possible, according to a poll released on Tuesday, as United Nations members prepare to begin talks on a global treaty to rein in soaring plastic pollution. The percentage of people calling for bans is up from 71% since 2019, while those who said they favoured products with less plastic packaging rose to 82% from 75%, according to the IPSOS poll of more than 20,000 people across 28 countries. [...] If the United Nations cannot agree on a deal to put the brakes on plastic pollution, there will be widespread ecological damage over the coming decades, putting some marine species at risk of extinction and destroying sensitive ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangroves, according to a WWF study released this month. It is likely to take at least two years to finalize any treaty. But whatever is agreed at the Nairobi conference from Feb. 28 to March 2 will determine key elements of any deal. [...] The IPSOS poll also showed that 85% of respondents globally want manufacturers and retailers to be held responsible for reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic packaging, up from 80% previously." Read More
Conservation Has a Human Rights Problem. Can the New UN Biodiversity Plan Solve it?

Katie Surma | Inside Climate News
"...Some conservationists argue that to protect natural resources and prevent the extinction of other species, as many areas as possible must be blocked off and protected, even when that negatively affects human activities or involves evicting humans who lived on the land. Other advocates say that approach is flawed and ultimately ineffective, and that human interests, especially the rights of Indigenous people, must be taken into account. 
The debate has intensified in reaction to a sweeping 2019 U.N. report on the state of the world’s biodiversity, warning that human activity is driving the extinction of nonhuman species at unprecedented and alarming rates, with grave consequences for humanity’s food and water supplies. To address that crisis, diplomats from 190 countries that are parties to the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity will meet in Kunming, China in April. The United States is the only country that is not a party to the treaty, but it will participate in talks as an observer state. At the Kunming meeting, governments are expected to finalize a 10-year plan aimed at stopping biodiversity loss. The draft plan lays out 21 targets that governments must hit by 2030, the most controversial of which is a target to conserve at least 30 percent of the Earth’s land and water by 2030. The so-called “30 by 30 plan” has drawn outsized attention because of the impact some conservation parks have had on Indigenous communities like the Maasai. Many of those parks are modeled after America’s “Yellowstone” national park. But Yellowstone, and many of its offspring, have long, dark histories of human rights abuses, displacement and social conflict. Among the most high-profile reports documenting these abuses was a 2019 Buzzfeed investigation containing allegations that the conservation giant World Wildlife Fund financed and supported park guards who allegedly assaulted, raped, tortured and killed people at parks in Asia and Africa during anti-poaching missions. Such incidents have led human rights experts to speak out about how the conservation industry and policy makers are failing Indigenous and local communities. “Respecting human rights is the only way to make conservation really work,” said John Knox, former U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and the environment. “The world can’t solve this crisis without protecting the people who have lived in these areas for centuries and who are on the front lines of conservation.” [...] There are signs that the ethos of the conservation community is starting to shift. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, a membership organization based in Switzerland and known for its Red List of threatened species, has rolled out a “Green List” of protected areas based on measurable standards, including the meaningful engagement of local communities and effective conservation outcomes. The idea is to cajole governments at all levels to adhere to human rights and environmental standards. “The interest of local communities is where things need to start,” said James Hardcastle, the head of IUCN’s protected and conserved areas program. “The message we’ve been pushing and gunning for is that it is not what counts, but who it counts. Local communities must be a part of this.” As of January 2022, there are 59 protected areas in 50 countries on the list, exclusive of many iconic American national parks. Parks like Yosemite with dark histories will need to show they are positively addressing any past rights abuses to achieve Green List status, Hardcastle said." Read More
We list events from a variety of local and regional organizations and individuals. 

Events with BEAT:

Community Calendar: 









We list jobs related to the environment from a variety of organizations. 

Pittsfield Energy Advocate (part-time) | Ener-G-Save | Pittsfield | deadline 3/1
Stewardship Field Assistant | The Nature Conservancy | Great Barrington | 3/13
Stewardship Field Assistant | The Nature Conservancy | Sheffield | 3/13
Conservation Corps Member | SCA Massachusetts Conservation Corps | Berkshire Hills | deadline 3/14
Experiential Education Director | Christodora, Inc. | Florida, MA | deadline 3/20
River Steward — Paid Internship | Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) | deadline 3/31
Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) | Stockbridge
High Road Manager | Berkshire Natural Resources Council | Hybrid/Berkshires
Stream Crew Members (3 positions) | Greenagers | South Egremont
Conservation Technician | Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) | Stockbridge
Administrative and Marketing Manager | Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires | Great Barrington
Administrative Manager | Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires | Great Barrington
Marketing and Communications Manager | Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires | Great Barrington
AmeriCorps Outdoor Educator | Christodora | Florida, MA
Canvass Director | Fund for the Public Interest | Boston | deadline 2/25
Field Crew Leader | Great Pond Foundation | Edgartown | deadline 2/28
Southern New England Trails Volunteer Programs Field Coordinator | Appalachian Mountain Club | Russel | deadline 2/28
ACE: Fisheries Specialist–AmeriCorps Eligible | American Conservation Experience | Sunderland | deadline 2/28
Communications Intern | Massachusetts River Alliance | Cambridge | deadline 2/28
Energy Advocate (full-time) | Ener-G-Save | Springfield | deadline 3/1/22
Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Environmental Education Intern | National Marine Life Center | Buzzards Bay | deadline 3/1/22
Program Coordinator | Earthwatch | Boston or Remote | deadline 3/1
Shorebird Monitor | Duxbury Beach Reservation | deadline 3/1
Southeast Massachusetts Common Loon Field Biologist | Biodiversity Research Institute | deadline 3/1
Western Massachusetts Common Loon Field Biologist | Biodiversity Research Institute | deadline 3/1
Ecological Restoration Technician – Level 1 | Land Stewardship, Inc. | Turner Falls | deadline 3/1
Ecological Restoration Technician | Land Stewardship, Inc. | Turner Falls | deadline 3/1
Summer Science Intern | Great Pond Foundation | Edgartown | deadline 3/4
Environmental Protection Litigation Attorney | National Environmental Law Center | Boston | deadline 3/4
Forest Monitoring Member – Cape Cod National Seashore | American Conservation Experience | Wellfleet | 3/5
Climate Adaptation & Conservation Fellowship | US Geological Survey/ORISE | deadline 3/10
Director of Development | Grow Food Northampton | Northampton | deadline 3/11
River Restoration Coordinator | The Nature Conservancy | Vermont | deadline 3/17
Conservation Science & Land Steward | Linda Loring Nature Foundation | Nantucket | deadline 3/18
Canvass Field Manager | Fund for the Public Interest | Boston | deadline 3/18
Beyond Plastics Campaign Associate | U.S. PIRG | Boston | deadline 3/18

***Are you a non-profit environmental organization looking for willing, capable, and *free* summer interns? 
The Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College provides funding to students to pursue unpaid environmental summer internships with non-profit organizations and governmental agencies, supervised research, and creative endeavors. Learn more about this summer program and how you can get involved here.

Environmental Monitor
February 9, 2022

The Environmental Monitor provides information on projects under review by the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office, recent MEPA decisions of the Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs, and public notices from environmental agencies.
Berkshire Index:
Becket – Notice of Application for a 401 Water Quality Certificate (click on the link, then at the top, click on attachments) – Route 8 bridge over Shaker Mill Brook – posted 2/9/22
Multiple municipalities – Notice of Submission of a Yearly Operational Plan (click on the link, then at the top, click on attachments)  Eversource Energy vegetation management – posted 2/9/2022
Lenox – Lenox Valley Waste Transfer Facility – ENF – comments due 1/11/22

Pioneer Valley Index:
Chicopee – Notice of Project Change – Pilot Travel Center (aka Chicopee Hotel Redevelopment) – comments due 3/1/22
Multiple municipalities – Notice of Submission of a Yearly Operational Plan (click on the link, then at the top, click on attachments) – Eversource Energy vegetation management – posted 2/9/2022
Southampton – Notice of Intent to Initiate an Ecological Restoration Project – (click on link, then click on attachments) – submitted 1/26/22
Westfield – Westfield Target Supply Chain Facility – ENF – issued 1/11/22
Statewide Index:
Public Notices
Public Notices listed here are from a variety of sources, from town conservation commissions and select boards to state and federal agencies. These listings are for Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden, and Franklin counties. Listings are only posted if they are environmental in nature. You can find all public notices for Massachusetts here
Berkshire Environmental Action Team
20 Chapel St., Pittsfield, MA 01201
(413) 464-9402
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