Alexander Alfano- Building and Construction Technology

Matthew Faucher- Turf grass science and management

Brendan Clark- Environmental Science

In many places across the U.S. families are facing a crisis, a lack of clean drinking water. Water is the key to all life, so you would think that in a wealthy country like America, every citizen would have access to clean drinking water. This is not the case. In recent years there has been a growing issue of a lack of clean water in many parts of the country. Heather Blevins and her 7 and 8-year-old children are residents of Lovely, Kentucky. Unfortunately, as of recently, Lovely’s water has become less and less lovely. Their town water has become yellow and gives off a smell of bleach. When Heathers children take a bath their skin becomes red and itchy. With Heather only making $980/month from social security, buying bottled water can be an economic struggle. This is not a freak occurrence; many other parts of the country are facing the same problem. From Flint, MI to Lovely, KY, water quality is being degraded at rapid rates, and will only continue to become worse in the future.   Continue Reading

Improving the Heat Island Effect Through Green Roofs

Rachel Nurnberger- Environmental Science

David Pacheco- Building & Construction Technology 

Zac Wannamaker- Natural Resource Conservation

Green roofs add a beautiful shade of natural green to a dull urban environment.

New York City’s struggle with the urban heat island effect is no secret. The issue has seen a growing amount of concern in recent years due to the increase in hospitalizations and deaths caused by extreme city temperatures (Calma, 2018). This increase in inhabitant health issues has lead NYC to seek resolution to the issue through heat island mitigation programs. Continue Reading

The Impacts of Climate Change on United States Agriculture


(Drip Irrigation)

Ryan MacMullan- Plant and Soils Science Major, Jonevan Pomeroy- Building Construction and Technology Major, Austin Ford- Forestry Major


Between 1910-1930, farmers were pressured to plow millions of acres of grassland in the Great Plains as a result of World War I and an increased food demand for soldiers and their families (History, 2009a). Advanced agricultural practices such as crop rotations and genetically engineered crops weren’t yet applied to the crops, and farming practices revolved around surface irrigation which relies upon precipitation and the natural flow of water to their crops via channels dug into the earth and only had water use efficiencies of 50-70% (History, 2009a; Bjorneberg, 2013, p. 2). This was done without the knowledge of the environmental consequences and in a desperate attempt to meet the food demands of war. (Lee & Gill, 2015). The slogan “the rain follows the plow” was a common phrase that farmers used in hopes of a plentiful crop season (Lee & Gill, 2015). However, this saying was incredibly far from the truth and their excessive plowing and wasteful irrigation practices actually resulted in decreased agricultural yields and disruption to the environment. Continue Reading

Green Roofs: The Future of Combating UHI

Green roofs add a beautiful shade of natural green to a dull urban environment.


Skyler Hall – Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences

Joseph Lyons – Building Construction Technology Sciences

Anthony Tiso – Pre-Veterinary Sciences

University of Massachusetts, Amherst



HOOK!!!!! Located in Southern California, Los Angeles [LA] is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States and draws in millions of people annually. In 2016 alone, nearly 46 million people visited the city (CBS Los Angeles, 2016). LA is the second largest city in the America, rivaled only by New York City. According to Population USA (2019), in the most recent census survey, Los Angeles has a resident population size of roughly 4 million people and it is estimated that by the summer of 2019 it could potentially rise well over that number. It is predicted that by 2050, the population will have increased by 3.5 million people (World Population Review, 2019). This ever increasing population of the city has a significant impact on cities and the urban environment. Increased buildings lead to higher temperatures through trapped carbon emissions, lack of vegetation, and decreased albedo. All of these factors lead to the Urban Heat Island Effect [UHI]. The urban/city area is significantly warmer than the  surrounding suburban and rural areas. In some cases it was noted that temperatures in major cities could be as much as 22℉ hotter in the evenings compared to the surrounding areas (North Carolina Climate Office, 2019). Continue Reading

Plastic pollution is killing the ocean’s coral reefs

Adam Chartier, Building and Construction Technology.

Autumn Fetridge, Animal Science.

Kara Duprey, Environmental Science.

The United States and its territories are home to several coral reef systems in Florida, Puerto Rico, The U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Pacific Islands, and the Garden Flower Banks offshore of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico (Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2018, para. 1). The Florida Reef is the third largest barrier reef in the world and has been in decline for the last four decades due to disease, pollution, and rising ocean temperatures (EPA, 2018, para. 16). Hawaii alone houses 60%, over 140,000 acres, of the United States’ coral reefs and is estimated to be worth over $9 billion and contribute several hundred millions of dollars to the economy per year. Commercial and recreational fishing in coral reefs generate $200,000+ per year (EPA, 2018, para. 31-33). However, we may not be able to enjoy the beauty and benefits of coral reefs for much longer as our plastic trash continues to infiltrate and devastate reefs at alarming rate; systematically poisoning, wounding, and infecting coral communities, leaving stark white skeletons in their place. Single-use plastic production releases chemicals that damage corals and the plastics themselves cause disease and physical harm to corals. Continue Reading

Why Not Wood? (Mass-Timber Construction)

Jason Norman (Building Construction Technology) ; Miranda D’Oleo (Environmental Science) ; Liya Woldemariam (Envi. Sci.) ; Dylan Haley (Natural Resource Conservation)


The building sector releases greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and could have a significant impact on the people and town of Amherst. The carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere has the ability to trap and store heat near the earth’s surface through the greenhouse effect. Just over the past century, there has already been a 2°F increase in temperature in the Commonwealth (Environmental Protection Agency, n.d, p.2). This has raised concerns regarding the damages that will result from the increase in temperature on human health. It is projected that there will be a 50% increase in the number of heat related deaths, increase in asthma and accelerated spread of diseases through pests (Town of Amherst Energy Conservation Task Force, n.d,  p.10). An increase in temperature and precipitation along with the increase of pollution have shown to increase the incidence of asthma. Pollutants such as smog are expected to increase with high temperatures. These pollutants have been linked to cause respiratory issue (EPA, n.d). Also, high temperatures lead to increased spread of diseases through insects. Insects such as ticks that transmit lyme disease function best in temperatures above 45°F. This means that as winters become warmer the length of time that the ticks are present increase (EPA, n.d). All of these risk and consequences to human well-being and health are too high to not implement policies, in the building sector specifically, meant to mitigate against climate change. Continue Reading

Water for Farms

Thomas O’Donoghue….Building and Construction Technology

 Noah Wartenberg……..Building and Construction Technology

Heidi Mannarino……….Environmental Science





                                               Flood Irrigation


                                          Drip Irrigation

It’s a dusty, breezy day on Jack Durham’s sweet corn farm in Central Alberta, Canada. His family has been on this land for over 100 years. Outside, what seems like miles of plastic piping delivers slow drip water to the crops. With the land unusually dry and the wind blowing swirls of dirt around, his plants remain hydrated. But this was not always the system.

Jack has two framed photographs on his wall, both next to a window looking out on his land. One photo features the fields checkered with long, flooded trenches. The other photo features the same fields with giant overhead sprinklers, showering the crops with water. Jack carefully recalls each major shift in how his crops get water. With each major shift came a massive decrease in how much water he used.  

Here in Southern Canada, the agriculture industry is heavily dependent on meltwater from the mountains. Climate change induced temperature warming has been causing mountain snowpack to melt early, leaving less water available during the growing season. Resultantly,  many Albertan farmers have been seeing crop yield losses, especially in the last decade. However, because of their higher water efficiency, the Durham farm is able to remain as productive as ever. Watching some of his neighbors struggle has been hard, but Jack is sure he made the right choice in upgrading to such an efficient system. A choice, he claims, would have been impossible without major financial help provided by the provincial Albertan government.(source)

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Green Roofs: Saving the Air and Saving Lives

Nicholas Lanni: Animal Science

Cole Payne: Building and Construction Technologies

Ben Lasky: Geology

Buzzing from the alarm clock’s warning ushers in the start of a new day. Avoiding the seductive snooze button, you roll out of bed and begin your morning preparations. Between the alertness of being awake and the daze of sleep, you slowly waddle to the dark bathroom to brush your teeth and wash off the last bit the previous night’s trance in the shower. Drying off, you begin to suit up for today’s task, whether its another day at school or a demanding shift on the job. Sizzling fragrant coffee provides the final jolt needed to get you on your way. Nearly walking out the door you almost forget something: your face mask. Leaving the safety of your climate-controlled home and venturing outdoors without it would be foolish. Indeed, taking deep breaths of unfiltered air is very unhealthy and dangerous. Continue Reading

Reducing Cows Environmental Impact

Bessie producing methane

Andreas Aluia- Forestry

Sean Davenport- Environmental Science

Haley Goulet- Animal Science

Picture this. Miles of rolling green fields sprawled out in front of you, dappled in hundreds and hundreds of black and white cows. Their heads low as they graze the young grasses covered in early morning dew. Behind you the farmer is preparing the barns for the cows return in the afternoon. Each breath of air making you feel renewed with the peace and clean air of the countryside. But how clean is it?


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