The 5th annual Berkshire Natural History conference brought together a community of naturalists, students, scientists, activists, and people of all ages to celebrate the natural beauty of the Berkshires and to encourage its preservation. The conference was sponsored this year by Green Berkshires, Berkshire Community College, Williams College Department of Biology, Williams College Center for Environmental Studies, Orion Magazine, HRWA, and the Hoffman Bird Club. Participants learned about the many conservation and environmental outreach organizations in the Berkshires including Greenagers and Mass Audubon Berkshire Sanctuaries. Representing Williams College at the conference this year were Assistant Professor of Biology Ron Bassar, Jenks Hehmeyer ’20, and the Director of the Center for Environmental Studies Hank W. Art. Professor Bassar shared his research on brook trout and how they may react to climate change. Jenks presented his research on amoeba slime molds that surprised and informed listeners about the diversity and even existence of these odd creatures. Hank Art walked participants through “Two and a Half Centuries of Change in a Western New England Landscape”, using the Hopkins Forest as his field site. The conference highlighted the challenges that the flora and fauna of the Berkshires are facing, but it also illuminated the region’s beauty.
By Cristina Mancilla ’20