Communicating in crisis— creating narratives that inspire change

Featured in the Washington Post, CNS researcher examines how we talk about crises and offers tips to better our narratives and inspire change Images of overcrowded hospitals, maps of wildfire destruction, real-time twitter updates of political upheaval. It seems that over the past year, stories of crisis and catastrophe follow us everywhere we go— so much so that the term “doomscrolling” (the act of almost obsessively consuming news of suffering and injustice on social media) gained global popularity. Many of us feel overwhelmed, not knowing how to create positive change.    Ezra Markowitz, Environmental Conservation, recently published an article in the Washington Post discussing what decades of social-science research tell us about the effectiveness of different approaches to catastrophe story-telling. In particular, he details four ways to improve how we talk about crises and encourage powerful action.  From "After 2020, we need to talk about how we talk about catastrophe:"   First, avoiding overt crisis and catastrophe frames does not mean playing down the urgency of...
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The New England White Shark Research Consortium— an unparalleled joint-effort to understand this crucial apex predator

Danylchuk Lab joins the first-ever regional collaboration to deepen our understanding of the white sharks that pass through New England waters UMass Amherst fisheries biologist Andy Danylchuk, environmental conservation, and his Ph.D. student Bryan Legare recently joined other shark research groups and government agencies from the northeastern United States and Canada in the New England White Shark Research Consortium (NEWSRC). It provides the first-ever collaboration to jointly study the white shark (Carchardon carcharias) throughout its entire northeast range.    With increased white shark sightings from Rhode Island to Canada, NEWSRC says, “this is the perfect time to create a unique consortium to increase our understanding of white shark life history, including their migration, residency, habitat use, reproduction and predatory behavior – factors that drive human-shark interactions, and broader perceptions of white sharks by coastal communities.”  Danylchuk and Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries are co-advisors to Legare in his doctoral work. The three will collaborate with the Provincetown-based Center for Coastal Studies to study the near-shore movements...
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UMass Amherst Agricultural Sciences Again Ranked Among The Top Five in Global Rankings by U.S. News

For the second year in a row, the Best Global Universities guide published by U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Massachusetts Amherst No. 4 in the comprehensive subject area of Agricultural Sciences for 2021, and first among U.S. universities in that subject area. The rankings consider the top 1,500 universities across 81 countries.  U.S. News notes that, “These are the world’s best universities for agricultural sciences based on their reputation and research in the field.” The rankings can be viewed at https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/agricultural-s... Agricultural sciences as reviewed for this survey includes a wide range of subjects related to how humans use and develop natural resources for their benefit, including horticulture, food science and nutrition, dairy science and agronomy. At UMass Amherst, several schools, departments and programs contribute to this global reputation.  In the College of Natural Sciences (CNS), these include the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, the School of Earth & Sustainability (SES), the Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE), food...
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Adjunct Professor Rodger Gwiazdowski leads insect conservation efforts

Adjunct Professor Rodger Gwiazdowski leads insect conservation efforts

Insect conservation efforts by Adjunct Professor Rodger Gwiazdowski were headlined in the Montague Reporter, describing his involvement to restore the Puritan tiger beetle to the Connecticut river. When asked why it matters whether scientists successfully reintroduce Puritan tiger beetles to the sandy shores of the Connecticut River, professor Rodger Gwiazdowski may answer philosophically. “It’s the humility that there’s a natural world that existed before us, and exists arounds us, and we have a responsibility to allow these things to persist,” Gwiazdowski told the Reporter. “Just because we don’t know what something does, doesn’t mean it’s not important.” The Puritan tiger beetle, or Cicindela puritana, is a federally-protected species found only in the Connecticut River and Chesapeake Bay. For reasons likely having to do with decades of human development along the river, the beetle is nearly extinct. Read the full story in the Montague Reporter....
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Rick Harper wins Tree Canada Award

Rick Harper wins Tree Canada Award

Rick Harper wins Tree Canada Public Education Award The Tree Canada Public Education Award recognizes excellence in furthering the understanding of urban forestry issues and/or encouraging best practices in the urban forestry sector. This award is open to individuals, the media or organizations. Congratulations to our 2020 Public Education Award winners! Richard W. Harper, PhD, is an Extension Associate Professor of Urban & Community Forestry at the University of Massachusetts. Rick is a Past-President of the International Society of Arboriculture – New England Chapter, and is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist. Based on formal research interview data with urban forestry stakeholders (Harper et al. 2017), Rick launched the Urban Forestry Today monthly noonhour webcast series in 2014, to provide free, openly-accessible CEU opportunities to arborists/urban foresters across Canada, the U.S., and globally, regarding research-based best practices. Through his supervision and instruction of urban forestry/arboriculture graduate and undergraduate students, he is also actively training arborists and arboriculture researchers for the next generation. Rick and his...
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