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Posts Tagged ‘Aram Boghosian’

Photo: Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe
Jean Devine (left) and Jayden Pineda, 7, make a meadow at the Waltham Y.

I’m excited that today the Boston Globe caught up with my friend Jean’s terrific biodiversity-education outreach. Readers may recall that I blogged here and here about how she and Barbara Passero got started on “meadowscaping” — hoping to ween homeowners from using pesticides and herbicides that harm the environment and contribute to global warming.

Debora Almeida reports on the educators’ latest work with kids: “Swimming, crafting, and playing games are staples of day camp, but kids at the Waltham YMCA are doing something new this summer.

“They’re learning how to plant and cultivate a meadow — and why they should.

“ ‘We just want to save the world, that’s all,’ said Barbara Passero, cofounder of Meadowscaping for Biodiversity, an outdoor environmental education program for students of all ages, which has partnered with the Y for the project.

“Over the course of the summer, Passero and program leader Jean Devine are teaching children the fundamentals of meadow upkeep and the importance of planting exclusively native plants. They are the best hosts for pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and moths. In turn, the insects attract other wildlife such as birds and rabbits, building biodiversity.

“While some people’s first instinct would be to spray pesticides to protect their hard work from leaf-munching insects, Passero knows that birds will take care of the insects on their own. She also refuses to use any toxic substances around the children, who truly get their hands dirty digging in the meadow. Seth Lucas, program administrator at the Waltham Y, said kids love the activity. …

“The meadow started as a patch of weedy grass, but is in the process of becoming a 10-by-60-foot flourishing garden. Passero and Devine are setting the meadow up for success with native plants that come back year after year. The plants are self-sustaining and spread on their own.”

Such a happy story! Do read the whole thing here.

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Andrew Joseph writes at the Globe’s new national health publication, Stat,  about the potential of silk worms to solve people’s joint problems.

“When Dr. Ailis Tweed-Kent was an internal medicine resident at Massachusetts General Hospital,” he writes, “she saw arthritis patients who were sometimes unable to work because of the pain. She could prescribe pain relievers, but she felt frustrated that there wasn’t more she could do. …

“In 2013, she founded Cocoon Biotech Inc. to come up with a way to treat the actual cause of arthritis, the loss of cartilage in joints. For the therapy, she turned to a biomaterial that has been used for thousands of years: silk. …

“What makes silk so special, researchers and entrepreneurs say, is its versatility, something that a synthetic material has not yet replicated. Silk has the added benefit of being naturally biocompatible, meaning it’s safe to use in the body.

” ‘It’s a simple protein, basically, and yet it’s all in the way it’s processed and used,’ said David Kaplan, chair of biomedical engineering at Tufts University, who has studied silk for more than two decades.

“Cocoon is one of a number of biotech companies that have licensed silk technology from Tufts. The microscopic spheres it has developed are meant to be injected into joints where they can lubricate the bones’ surfaces as a stand-in for lost cartilage.”

More here.

Photo: Aram Boghosian / Boston Globe
Silk worm cocoons at professor David Kaplan’s lab at Tufts in Medford.

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Take two tomatoes and call me in the morning.

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The University of South Carolina has developed a manual for health centers that want to collaborate with farmers markets on health, even writing food prescriptions for patients who need to improve their eating habits.

The manual’s authors, Darcy Freedman and Kassandra Alia, write in the intro of their manual:

“Farmers’ markets have grown in popularity in recent years as a place for improving health, increasing economic growth for local agriculture, and building communities. …

“Though the rebirth of farmers’ markets represents an exciting movement in the United States, data reveal that the benefits of farmers’ markets are not evenly distributed. Communities with the greatest need for farmers’ markets, for instance, are least likely to have them.

“In the present manual, we describe an approach for developing a health center‐based farmers’ market. Health centers, in particular federally qualified health centers or FQHCs, were identified as a strategic place to locate farmers’ markets because they may be located in food desert contexts (i.e., low‐income communities with low‐access to healthy food retailers). Additionally, locating at a health center makes an explicit connection between farmers’ market and preventive medicine.” More.

Photo: Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

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So far this spring I have walked to the office by way of North Station only a few times. But when I did, I got curious seeing people in hard hats working like they had a deadline on a part of the Greenway blocked off by a fence. I peeked in and thought, “What is that? It looks like a labyrinth.”

As someone who tends to think of Theseus, Ariadne, and the Minotaur on
Crete when labyrinths are mentioned, it has taken me a while to realize how many people today use them for meditation. And work being what it is, there will probably come a day soon when I want to test out the possibilities.

The new labyrinth was dedicated on a rainy day this week as part of a lovely Armenian Heritage Park.

Alejandra Matos writes for the Boston Globe, “US Representative Edward Markey and other officials welcomed the rain, calling it tears of joy from generations of Armenians.

“The park, located between the North End and Faneuil Hall, includes a sculpture surrounded by a reflecting pool, and is meant to honor Armenian immigrants to the state. Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, who is Armenian, said he has been fighting for the park since 1999.

“ ‘This is a gift to the city, not just for the Armenian immigrants. This is a park dedicated to all immigrants who have experienced coming to this great city,’ Koutoujian said.”

The third-largest Armenian population in the United States is in nearby Watertown. Read more at the Globe.

4/8/13 Update: The sculpture gets reconfigured to reflect how immigrants adapt. Check it out here.

Photograph: Aram Boghosian for the Boston Globe

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