BEAT: Conserving Flowers and their Pollinators

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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. 
 
She continues to research plant-animal interactions from herbivory to pollination. Her current studies on pollination focus on the evolution and conservation of flowers and their pollinators, which is critical to understand in the face of global pollinator decline and loss of species worldwide.
 
Joan Edwards is a Professor of Biology at Williams College, where she has been a faculty member since 1979. At Williams, she teaches courses in Ecology, Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Environmental Studies. She completed her Ph.D. in Botany at the University of Michigan, where she also did her undergraduate studies. She is the Samuel Fessenden Clarke Professor of Biology and a faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program at Williams.
 
Pittsfield Green Drinks is an informal gathering on the third Tuesday of the month. These nights are free and open to everyone with any environmental interest.
 
Due to COVID-19, these events are virtual until further notice. This event will take place on Zoom. Registration is required to join. Register at: https://tinyurl.com/May2022-Green-Drinks

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General Dynamics Seeks Small-Business Connections

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Congressman Neal says there are more than 133,000 Massachusetts residents employed by small businesses in the state. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — General Dynamics Mission Systems gathered around 75 small businesses and professional organizations at the Berkshire Innovation Center on Monday for a day of making connections.

The event titled "Innovating for The Future" sought to expand the company's supply chain in the state and further GD's relationship with the community by strengthening the local industrial sector.  

"I think one of our main objectives today is to make connections. Make connections between General Dynamics and all of the folks we have here representing the various companies, we have several of the General Dynamics companies represented," Vice President of Supply Chain Management Ann Rusher said.

"So getting our message out as to what our needs are and what would be important for small businesses to be able to support us and making the connections than with the small business, what are their capabilities and where do they want to go, everyone's on their own respective growth journeys, and then how do we make the connection so that we can follow up and actually find ways to work together and to help each other and collaborate on the hard problems that we are facing right now."

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