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Collaborative Guide Project: Worcester Research Wayfinder: Environment

This guide consists of data sources about Worcester, compiled by the Worcester Academic and Research Collaborative (ARC) Research and Instruction SIG.

Local and Regional Government Agencies

Special Projects in the Area

Regional Environmental Council (REC) is a grassroots environmental justice organization located in Worcester, Massachusetts–New England’s second largest city. Founded in 1971, REC has been dedicated to building healthy, sustainable and just communities in Worcester and beyond for almost 40 years. They promote programs for children, schools, and the community at large, including interships for young people.

Next Step Living offers home inspections for environmental safety evaluations, including information on rebates and incentives.

In 2009, Holy Cross' Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture hosted a talk - "Challenge of Climate Change" - by William D. Nordhaus. You can access the podcast here:

William D. Nordhaus is the Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University. He recently chaired a panel on the National Academy of Sciences that produced a report, Nature's Numbers, recommending approaches to integrate environmental and other non-market activity into the national economic accounts.
"Panel on Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting, Committee on National Statistics, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council."

These scholarly articles speak to environmental issues specifically in the Worcester area:

Bertin, R. I., & Parise, C. M. (2014). Patterns and Changes in the Nonnative Flora of Worcester County, Massachusetts. American Midland Naturalist, 172(1), 37-60.

Nonnative species are a major component of global change and have been linked to ecosystem disruption, reduction of native species richness, and substantial economic costs. An understanding of the patterns of occurrence of nonnative species and the environmental correlates of their abundance is necessary to formulate an informed response to the threats posed by these species. While considerable work has been conducted in Europe on the overall patterns and changes in nonnative species, few comprehensive studies are available for other areas. Because patterns of nonnative success can be region-specific, the availability of data from multiple geographic areas is important. Here we use two floristic surveys conducted in the 1930s-1950s and 1980s-2000s, respectively, as a basis for describing patterns and changes in the nonnative vascular flora of Worcester County, Massachusetts. Established, nonnative species comprised 21%-36% of all species in the county's 60 towns.

Downs, T. J., Ogneva-Himmelberger, Y., Aupont, O., Yangyang, W., Raj, A., Zimmerman, P., & ... Felice, M. (2010). Vulnerability-Based Spatial Sampling Stratification for the National Children's Study, Worcester County, Massachusetts: Capturing Health-Relevant Environmental and Sociodemographic Variability. Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(9), 1318-1325. doi:10.1289/ehp.0901315

The National Children's Study is the most ambitious study ever attempted in the United States to assess how environmental factors impact child health and development. It aims to follow 100,000 children from gestation until 21 years of age. Success requires breaking new interdisciplinary ground, starting with how to select the sample of > 1,000 children in each of 105 study sites; no standardized protocol exists for stratification of the target population by factoring in the diverse environments it inhabits.