Capers R.S.,University of Connecticut |
Kimball K.D.,Appalachian Mountain Club |
McFarland K.P.,Vermont Center for Ecostudies |
Jones M.T.,University of Massachusetts Amherst |
And 7 more authors.
Northeastern Naturalist | Year: 2013
Research in alpine areas of northeastern North America has been poorly coordinated, with minimal communication among researchers, and it has rarely been multidisciplinary. A workshop was organized to review the state of alpine research in northeastern North America, to facilitate cooperation, and to encourage discussion about research priorities for the region's alpine habitat, which occurs in four US states and the southern part of Québec, Canada. More than 40 researchers with diverse expertise participated in the discussions, including lichenologists, botanists, herpetologists, ornithologists, ecosystem scientists, climatologists, conservation biologists, land managers, and others. Research priorities were developed through post-workshop discussions and an online survey, and they are presented here, along with a summary of the process used to organize the workshop. In addition to specific research questions, strong support was expressed for creation of a network of long-term alpine monitoring sites where a standardized protocol would be used to collect data on biotic and abiotic parameters. Researchers also strongly endorsed the creation of an organization to continue the exchange of information.
News Article | December 24, 2015
"A coalition of green groups has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new smog rules. The legal challenge, filed by the Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Appalachian Mountain Club and the National Parks Conservation Association, argues that the EPA’s surface-level ozone standard of 70 parts per billion is too weak to protect public health. “This standard leaves kids, seniors and asthmatics without the protection doctors say they need from this dangerous pollutant,” said David Baron, an attorney at Earthjustice, which is representing the groups."
News Article | November 18, 2016
Stephen R. Connors SM '89, director of the MIT Analysis Group for Regional Energy Alternatives (AGREA) and a leading alternative-energy researcher who helped bring solar and wind power into the mainstream, died peacefully at home on Nov. 13 after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 58. “Steve was a wonderful colleague,” reflects Robert Armstrong, director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI). “His research on renewable energy balanced technology, systems, and human needs carefully. This was particularly well illustrated by his work on Green Islands as part of the MIT-Portugal program. He was a terrifically optimistic and positive collaborator, and one of the most resilient people I have ever had the pleasure to know. He will be sorely missed in our community.” Connors spent more than 26 years working at MIT as a researcher, mentor, and instructor. He led alternative energy projects around the world at a time when many people were still skeptical about their viability. He thus helped usher in the current era where solar and wind installations can be seen dotting landscapes around the world, serving as mainstream energy solutions in a number of countries. “His love was regional energy planning with a special emphasis on integrating renewable energy sources and conservation into energy grids,” says David Marks, the Goulder Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Systems, emeritus, and professor emeritus of the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. “He worked on a variety of projects in Portugal; Norway; Mexico City; Shandong, China; Switzerland; Argentina; the United Kingdom; and even New England looking at a broad array of scenarios around new generation technologies.” Connors was a prominent figure at the MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment, where he served as director of the Alliance for Global Sustainability Energy Flagship program and then director of AGREA. In both roles, he tackled a variety of energy challenges across the globe. He believed that there is no single silver-bullet solution for a sustainable energy future and that instead we need to optimize a portfolio of solutions and within each technology to move from “best practice” to “next practice.” Additionally, as a distinguished researcher and mentor in a variety of MITEI programs, Connors led a cross-Atlantic partnership between MIT and major technological universities in Portugal that was designed to integrate renewable resources like wind, solar, and tidal into energy grids. This joint research included a major focus on strengthening graduate energy and technology programs at Portugal’s leading technology institutes. Connors’ work in Portugal was a powerful demonstration of his ability to marry research with real-world practice to change the way energy is supplied and used in the world. In the Azores, Connors led the Green Islands Program, which designed to use this region as a testing ground for renewable integration and as a platform for other islands that are dependent on imported fossil fuels. Recently, Portugal was listed as one of the first countries to run four days straight on only renewable energy (wind, solar, and hydro generated electricity), producing zero emissions. As of 2015, renewables provide 48 percent of Portugal’s electricity. “Steve Connors represented the best of a research and a student-advising colleague that any of us could have had,” recalls Richard Tabors, director of the Utility of the Future study and visiting scholar at MITEI. “From the first days of the AGREA project through multiple international renewable efforts he was always the ‘go to’ person — for facts, for support, for the next good idea, and for a smile and a positive word. The MIT energy community has lost a terrific colleague.” Connors was a frequent and popular speaker on all energy issues at many global forums. In 2014, he shared his views on how to build a bridge to a more sustainable energy future in a well-attended TEDx talk. He met his wife when he accepted her invitation to speak at a local Cambridge community potluck and arrived with a PowerPoint on wind energy and a homemade broccoli salad. In early work with the Peace Corps in Benin, Connors lived for two years in a hut with no running water or electricity and was charged with building wood-conserving cooking stoves to save forests. The experience taught him the importance of adapting technology to a specific geography. He was a tireless advocate for a more sustainable future, and these passions led him to co-found AltWheels, which has become one of the larger alternative transportation festivals in New England for fleets, and to co-chair the conservation committee for the Appalachian Mountain Club. Connors had a deep love of nature, hiking, and exploration. His travels and work took him to various countries, among them Switzerland, France, England, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, China, India, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Benin, Togo, Niger, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia. Born in Lakewood, Ohio, in 1958, Connors attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he studied physical anthropology and in 1980 received a BA magna cum laude with concentrations in economic development, technology and change, and applied and biological anthropology. After serving in the Peace Corps, he returned to UMass Amherst, where in 1986 he received a BS cum laude in mechanical engineering with a concentration in energy systems, solar, wind, hydrogen, water, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics. He also earned a master’s in technology and policy at MIT in 1989 with concentrations in electric power systems planning, energy and the environment, and the use of technical information in complex decision-making processes. Connors is survived by his wife, Alison Sander; his mother, Margaret Connors; his two sisters, Jennifer Connors and Martha Connors; his brother, Mike Connors; and four nieces. Services will be held at Newbury Court in Concord, Massachusetts, in December and at the MIT Chapel in spring 2017. Details will be shared on Connors’ website: stephenrconnors.com.
Kimball K.D.,Appalachian Mountain Club |
Davis M.L.,Appalachian Mountain Club |
Davis M.L.,Utah State University |
Weihrauch D.M.,Appalachian Mountain Club |
And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Botany | Year: 2014
Premise of the study: Most alpine plants in the Northeast United States are perennial and flower early in the growing season, extending their limited growing season. Concurrently, they risk the loss of reproductive efforts to late frosts. Quantifying longterm trends in northeastern alpine flower phenology and late-spring/early-summer frost risk is limited by a dearth of phenology and climate data, except for Mount Washington, New Hampshire (1916 m a.s.l.).•Methods: Logistic phenology models for three northeastern US alpine species (Diapensia lapponica, Carex bigelowii and Vaccinium vitis-idaea) were developed from 4 yr (2008–2011) of phenology and air temperature measurements from 12 plots proximate to Mount Washington’s long-term summit meteorological station. Plot-level air temperature, the logistic phenology models, and Mount Washington’s climate data were used to hindcast model yearly (1935–2011) floral phenology and frost damage risk for the focal species.• Key results: Day of year and air growing degree-days with threshold temperatures of -4 °C (D. lapponica and C. bigelowii) and -2 °C (V. vitis-idaea) best predicted flowering. Modeled historic flowering dates trended signifi cantly earlier but the 77-yr change was small (1.2–2.1 d) and did not signifi cantly increase early-flowering risk from late-spring/early-summer frost damage.• Conclusions: Modeled trends in phenological advancement and sensitivity for three northeastern alpine species are less pronounced compared with lower elevations in the region, and this small shift in flower timing did not increase risk of frost damage. Potential reasons for limited earlier phenological advancement at higher elevations include a slower warming trend and increased cloud exposure with elevation and/or inadequate chilling requirements. © 2014 Botanical Society of America.
Murray G.L.D.,Appalachian Mountain Club |
Kimball K.D.,Appalachian Mountain Club |
Hill L.B.,U.S. Air force |
Hislop J.E.,U.S. Department of Agriculture |
Weathers K.C.,Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Water, Air, and Soil Pollution | Year: 2013
Growing season rain and cloud events were sampled between 1984-2010 at Lakes of the Clouds (LOC) (1,540 m above sea level (ASL)) which is 1.6 km SW of the summit of Mount Washington, NH (1,914 m ASL). Mount Washington's summit is in the clouds ca. 51 % of the time. All samples were measured for pH, while cations and anions were measured consistently from 1996 to 2010. Annual mean cloud and rain water hydrogen ion concentrations declined significantly from 1984-2010. Nighttime cloud and rain hydrogen, sulfate, ammonium, and nitrate ion concentrations were significantly greater compared to daytime. Ion mean concentrations declined over the 1996-2010 timeframe and more rapidly since 2005. Co-located filter-based aerosol measurement (PM2.5) at LOC had higher ratios of ammonium to sulfate in summer daytime samples post (1995-2010) full implementation of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. This suggests a shift towards more neutralized sulfate aerosol dissolution into clouds with relatively more ammonium and declines in acidity. The origin of cloud water sampled, which ranges from regional fronts to orographic lower elevation air mass uplift, along with the diurnally shifting nocturnal boundary layer that often puts the LOC site in and out of the mixed layer, likely contributes to the diurnal and inter-annual variability observed. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
PubMed | Appalachian Mountain Club, Utah State University and Mount Washington Observatory
Type: Journal Article | Journal: American journal of botany | Year: 2014
Most alpine plants in the Northeast United States are perennial and flower early in the growing season, extending their limited growing season. Concurrently, they risk the loss of reproductive efforts to late frosts. Quantifying long-term trends in northeastern alpine flower phenology and late-spring/early-summer frost risk is limited by a dearth of phenology and climate data, except for Mount Washington, New Hampshire (1916 m a.s.l.).Logistic phenology models for three northeastern US alpine species (Diapensia lapponica, Carex bigelowii and Vaccinium vitis-idaea) were developed from 4 yr (2008-2011) of phenology and air temperature measurements from 12 plots proximate to Mount Washingtons long-term summit meteorological station. Plot-level air temperature, the logistic phenology models, and Mount Washingtons climate data were used to hindcast model yearly (1935-2011) floral phenology and frost damage risk for the focal species.Day of year and air growing degree-days with threshold temperatures of -4C (D. lapponica and C. bigelowii) and -2C (V. vitis-idaea) best predicted flowering. Modeled historic flowering dates trended significantly earlier but the 77-yr change was small (1.2-2.1 d) and did not significantly increase early-flowering risk from late-spring/early-summer frost damage.Modeled trends in phenological advancement and sensitivity for three northeastern alpine species are less pronounced compared with lower elevations in the region, and this small shift in flower timing did not increase risk of frost damage. Potential reasons for limited earlier phenological advancement at higher elevations include a slower warming trend and increased cloud exposure with elevation and/or inadequate chilling requirements.
McDonough MacKenzie C.,Boston University |
Murray G.,Appalachian Mountain Club |
Primack R.,Boston University |
Weihrauch D.,Appalachian Mountain Club
Biological Conservation | Year: 2016
Citizen science has the potential to expand the scope of data collection, engage the public in research, and answer big scientific questions. But, the quality of volunteer-collected data is often called into question, and citizen science programs must find ways to assess the validity of this concern. Here, we review five years of volunteer-collected data from an alpine flower monitoring citizen science project and present our efforts to investigate the quality of the volunteer-collected data. We found disparity between citizen scientists' self-assessed and actual plant species identification skills, indicating error in either true plant identification or reported location, consequently limiting the use of this dataset. Citizen science programs, including this project, must assess their data, and then make adjustments - in training, data collection methods, or goals - in order to produce quality data consistent with their scientific intentions. Indeed, this project now relies only on observations from seasonal trained staff and a handful of skilled volunteers in light of these findings. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
PubMed | Appalachian Mountain Club and Massachusetts General Hospital
Type: | Journal: Clinical pediatrics | Year: 2016
Studies support the use of exercise prescriptions in adults, but few studies have evaluated their use in children. One common barrier to effective physical activity counseling is lack of resources. Outdoors Rx is a collaboration between the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children that pairs exercise prescriptions with guided outdoor programs to increase physical activity among children. This article describes the design and implementation of Outdoors Rx at 2 community health centers serving ethnically diverse, low-income, urban families, as well as evaluates feedback from participating pediatricians regarding the utility of the program, barriers to success, and suggestions for improvement. Our results illustrate the feasibility of implementing a pediatric physical activity prescription program in community health centers serving traditionally underserved populations. Our data suggest that physical activity prescription programs are well received by both pediatricians and families and are a useful tool for facilitating physical activity counseling.