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Fans Supporting Animal Shelters & Organizations for Betty White

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Shelters and rescue organizations across the country are being supported on Monday through the Betty White Challenge. 
Monday would have been beloved television star Betty White's 100th birthday. The "Golden Girl" actor died at age 99 on Dec. 31, 2021, and fans within days had come up with a way to honor her memory by helping animals. 
White was a strong advocate for animals during her lifetime in supporting numerous organizations and foundations dedicated to both wildlife and domesticated animals and received the American Humane Society's National Humanitarian Medal and the Legacy Award.
The internet-driven fund raiser challenges fans to donate $5 to their favorite animal charity in White's honor. While her birthday was the target, donations have been rolling in over the past two weeks.
Berkshire Humane Society staff member Sam Klass said Friday that people have been following White's legacy by donating to the shelter since her passing.
"Honestly within the last week, since she has passed, we have definitely had a big influx of donations whether it is money or just small little things, blankets, towels," he said. 
"We get a pretty large amount of donations regardless, which is amazing, we have a great community, but I know within the last week, it's definitely been like a pretty decent little surge." 
The Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter had raised almost $400 Sunday through the Friends of Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter.
Eighth-graders at Herberg Middle School were collecting and rolling pennies last week to donate to to the Berkshire Humane Society or Sonsini Shelter on White's 100th birthday. 
"Students have been making signs, containers at home for the cause and spending their lunch and after school time to make our goal of $50 by Tuesday morning," wrote teacher Jen Jaehnig on Friday. "As of this morning we have collected $45.70. More has just arrived and yet to be counted, if we have surpassed our goal, we are hopeful both shelters will receive a donation on Tuesday, as Monday is a holiday."
The students' effort is motivated by the school's "Good Citizenship Hours," five hours of community service in government, environment or social needs. The activity is in preparation for their Grade 8 civics project requirement established by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2018.
Of course, rescues and shelters can use donations of money, items and volunteer time at any time of the year. 
Sonsini is saving for a new building and is always in need of pet safe ice melt, garbage bags, canned kitten food, clumping litter, Nylabones and Purina ProPlan for puppies with sensitive skin and stomach.
Shelter staffer Simone Olivieri said there are only about four dogs available for adoption at the moment but there are a great many kittens. One dog, Bronx, has been at shelter for over a year and is still looking for his forever home. 
Klass, at the Berkshire Humane Society, said dog food, cat food, and cat litter are always great non-monetary donations, as well as leashes and new dog toys. The shelter has a pet food bank for people in need and on federal assistance, so they can take as much of those items as possible. 
Other area organizations include Bluebird Farm Animal Sanctuary; Second Chance Stables in Savoy; Got Spots Etc. dog rescue in Adams; Cummington Wildlife Rescue; Second Chance Animal Shelter in Arlington, Vt.; Monty's House Wildlife Rehabilitation in Shaftsbury, Vt.; and Francis of Assisi Society for Animals (cat rescue) in Bennington, Vt. You can also check with your veterinarian about donations toward spay/neuter funds and medical care for stray and wild animals. 

Tags: animal shelter,   memorial donations,   

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BEAT: Conserving Flowers and their Pollinators

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Joan Edwards will speak at the May Pittsfield Green Drinks event on Tuesday, May 17th at 6:00 PM and give a slideshow presentation about the rapidly decreasing biodiversity that is taking place globally, known as the sixth extinction. 
She will specifically focus on flowers and their insect visitors. 
This sixth extinction is primarily driven by human actions, from habitat loss to climate change. The impacts of biodiversity loss are far-reaching, resulting in biological communities that are less resilient and with diminished ecosystems services. As part of the discussion, Joan will explore the impact of biodiversity loss in the pollinator-flower world and examine how the surprising dynamics of flower-pollinator networks can help to conserve both flowers and their pollinators.
Joan Edwards is a botanist interested in understanding the biomechanics and adaptive significance of ultra-fast plant movements—plant actions that are so quick they occur in milliseconds. Using high-speed video (up to 100,000 fps), she studies the evolutionary significance and biomechanics of fast movements, including the trebuchet catapults of bunchberry dogwood, the vortex rings of Sphagnum moss, the splash cups of liverworts, and the "poppers" of wood sorrel. Her early fieldwork was on the impact of moose on plants in the boreal forests of Isle Royale National Park. 
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