Daniel Williams of Orono has been appointed to serve a two-year term as interim executive director of the Collins Center for the Arts (CCA) at the University of Maine.
Williams replaces John Patches, the longtime director of the Collins Center, who retired Jan. 31.
The Collins Center for the Arts, home to the Hutchins Concert Hall and the Hudson Museum, opened in 1986. Today, it is one of the focal points of community engagement under the Blue Sky Plan, UMaine’s five-year strategic plan.
“Senior Vice President Janet Waldron and I are very pleased that Danny Williams has agreed to assume leadership of the Collins Center for the Arts,” says University of Maine President Paul Ferguson. “Danny has demonstrated remarkable leadership in diverse opportunities at UMaine and consistently brings excellent results. At this time, his leadership and experience are particularly important to the Collins Center for the Arts. Consistent with the Blue Sky Plan, the CCA is poised under his leadership to achieve its full potential, engaging Maine citizens and providing high-quality entertainment and education.”
Since 1986, Williams has been a member of the UMaine community, where he has served in leadership roles in marketing, fundraising, community outreach and the performing arts. Most recently, Williams was associate director of planned giving with the University of Maine Foundation. He is a faculty member in the School of Performing Arts and has served on the Collins Center for the Arts advisory board since 1993, chairing both the Special Events and Gala Committee, and the Community Relations and Outreach Committee.
The Bangor High School graduate received a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in higher education administration from UMaine in 1991 and 1994, respectively.
In addition, Williams served as president and director of development for the Eastern Maine Community College Foundation, director of annual and reunion giving for the University of Maine Alumni Association, and assistant to the dean for UMaine Enrollment Management. In 1998, he served one term as Maine state representative for District 122.
His honors include the UMaine Patrons of the Arts Vincent A. Hartgen Award in 2005.
“The arts are thriving at UMaine and in the Bangor region, and the Collins Center has an essential and exciting role to play, bringing together the campus, the community and world-class performers.” says Williams. “My commitment is to excellence at the CCA, and to seeing the center continue to expand its educational and cultural impact throughout the region and the state.”
Williams lives in Orono with his wife, State Sen. Emily Cain.
The Portland Press Herald reported on the University of Maine-led proposed offshore wind pilot project and its fight for federal funding. Maine Aqua Ventus, a group made up of UMaine and partner companies, is competing against Seattle-based Principle Power for up to $47 million in matching federal energy funds to demonstrate the technology for next-generation offshore wind turbines. The Press Herald also reported members of Maine’s congressional delegation have been actively involved in promoting UMaine’s project.
WABI (Channel 5) and WLBZ (Channel 2) covered the 76th annual Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show held in the newly renovated New Balance Field House at the University of Maine. Lois Ann Holmes, an official with the Penobscot County Conservation Association that puts on the show, told WLBZ, “We needed space, and the University of Maine has been so cooperative with us and very helpful to let us grow here.” WLBZ (Channel 2) also reported on children getting a chance to kayak during the show in UMaine’s Stanley Wallace Pool.
The Free Press of Rockland advanced the March 11 University of Maine Singers concert that will take place at the Owls Head Transportation Museum. The show is one of five free public concerts the group is performing in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts over spring break.
A proposed offshore wind pilot project and floating test turbine created by Maine Aqua Ventus, which includes the University of Maine and partner companies, was the focus of the ASME article “First offshore wind turbine for the U.S.” Jake Ward, UMaine’s vice president for innovation and economic development, said university experts recognized renewable energy was a leading growth area for composites, and the amount of wind available off the Gulf of Maine has the potential of being a useful resource.
The New Hampshire Union Leader published a report on the Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition that will be hosted by the University of New Hampshire’s computer science department March 14–16. The University of Maine’s Cyber Defense Team is slated to compete in the event. One winner and one alternate will be selected to represent the Northeast region at the national competition in Texas during April.
The University of Maine was mentioned in a Mainebiz article about Southern Maine Community College’s composites technology department and its new lab at Brunswick Landing. Graduate students enrolled at UMaine are allowed to take classes at SMCC and earn academic credit. Andy Schoenberg, instructor and chairman of SMCC’s composites technology department, said one UMaine graduate student is currently enrolled in the program, and he expects more will sign up.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a six-session course that covers moving a specialty food product to market.
The class, which meets 5:30–9 p.m. each Tuesday, April 8–29, will be held in two locations — 7 County Drive, Skowhegan, and 165 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft. Two May class sessions will include individual business consultations and a tour of the Dr. Matthew Highlands Pilot Plant, a state-of-the-art UMaine facility that assists food processors, entrepreneurs, farmers, researchers and students in the food industry.
Topics to be covered include licensing, safe preparation and packaging of food, assessing potential profits and locating resources to support a developing business. The class is for people operating a value-added business and those seriously considering one; participants must have a specific food product or recipe in mind and are expected to attend all sessions. Presenters include: Beth Calder, UMaine Extension food science specialist; James McConnon, UMaine Extension business and economics specialist; and Kathy Hopkins, Debra Kantor and Donna Coffin, UMaine Extension educators.
Cost is $35 per person. Partial scholarships are available. Registrations must be received by April 1 to reserve a space. More information, including online registration is online. For questions, or to request a disability accommodation at the Skowhegan site, call 207.474.9622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions, or to request a disability accommodation at the Dover-Foxcroft site, call 207.564.3301 or email email@example.com.
The University of Maine Graduate School is pleased to announce the following award recipients for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Chase Distinguished Research Assistantship (CDRA)Alex Bajcz Ecology and Environmental Science Jie Cao Marine Biology Paige Case Chemical Engineering Jessica Clark Physics Kourtney Collum Anthropology & Environmental Policy Raymond Flagg Computer Engineering John Sullivan Intermedia Kevin Sullivan Psychology Lisa Weatherly Biomedical Sciences William Weathers Mathematics
Dean's FellowshipAmamihe Onwuachumba Electrical & Computer Engineering
Michael J. Eckardt Dissertation Fellowship in MEIF Areas (Formerly MEIF)
Richard Brzozowski, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for an article about Maine’s snow depth and its potential to cause flooding and affect future crops. Brzozowski said the winter’s consistent snow cover is beneficial to gardens and farms. He said strawberry crops benefit from the snow protecting them from the cold, and lawns and vegetable gardens can enjoy nitrogen left behind by melting snow. He also warned a snowpack that lasts longer than usual could delay spring bulbs from sprouting, but added the insulating snow cover means the soil won’t take as long to thaw.
WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) and the Associated Press reported on Maine Gov. Paul LePage citing a maple industry study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe. Gabe found the state’s maple industry directly contributes nearly $28 million to the state’s economy every year. LePage said the industry has a “huge potential for additional job creation.” MPBN and Boston.com carried the AP report.
The Darling Marine Center and its resources were mentioned in a Boothbay Register article about the Damariscotta River Association’s Estuarine Monitoring Program. The program offers community members a chance to get out on the water and become part of a data-gathering effort that will help determine the health of the estuary. Water samples collected during the program are taken from seven locations beginning at the DMC. The salinity, temperature and other data from the samples are then entered into a DRA database at the DMC. “We’re grateful to the Darling Marine Center for their expert partnership and continued technical consultation on this project,” said DRA Executive Director Steven Hufnagel.
Karlton Creech, University of Maine’s athletic director, was quoted in a Bangor Daily News article about the university’s decision to decline the offer by WABI (Channel 5) to televise UMaine’s Hockey East first-round game against Merrimack College. UMaine officials turned down the offer because they wanted to honor their agreement with their current broadcast partner, WVII ABC 7 and Fox 22, which couldn’t televise the game. Creech said, “Unfortunately, our partner [WVII-Fox] wasn’t able to produce the game for several reasons and we didn’t want to go outside of that [agreement].” He added, “The good news is there are plenty of tickets available so people can watch it in person instead of on TV.”
GeoCommunity SpatialNews previewed the 2014 NERCOFE Workshop to be held at the University of Maine on March 10–11. The workshop, hosted by New England Regional Council on Forest Engineering, is held annually for Maine’s forestry students and professionals and will include presentations on GIS/GPS technology and discussion regarding Maine’s strategy against spruce budworm. Blue Marble Geographics of Hallowell, Maine, is scheduled to demonstrate the LiDAR Module for Global Mapper and how it is used throughout the forestry industry.
Registration is open for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s annual Maine Grain Conference, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Spectacular Event Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor. The conference is designed for farmers, crop advisers and others involved in the agricultural community.
Featured speakers Klaas Martens and Mary-Howell Martens from Lakeview Organic Farm in Penn Yan, N.Y., will talk about organic grain rotations, production considerations for alternative grains, growing grain for seed and protecting grain quality with proper harvesting, drying, cleaning and storage. The Martens farm 1,400 acres of corn, wheat, barley, oats and legumes. They also operate a feed mill and sell organic feed, crop seed and food-grade grains.
Dorn Cox of the four-generation Tuckaway Farm in Lee, N.H. will discuss grain equipment options for all scales of operation. The grain grower will also give an overview of his 250-acre farm, as well as of the Great Bay Grain Cooperative that shares equipment and expertise.
Ellen Mallory, UMaine Extension sustainable agriculture specialist and conference organizer, will update attendees on UMaine grain research results with graduate students Aaron Englander and Erin Roche. An open question-and-discussion session will be held so participants can tap into available expertise.
Participants will receive two pesticide certification credits and six Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) credits.
Registration is required by Thursday, March 13. Cost is $20 if registered by March 10, $30 after. The fee covers lunch and a snack. Registration is available online. For more information, to register by phone, or to request a disability accommodation, call Meghan Dill at 207.581.3878.
Categories: Campus Announcements; Cooperative Extension; Economic Development; Penobscot County; Statewide; Outreach
A new app developed by a University of Maine graduate student allows iPhone users to take water quality measurements.
“The end result we want is to crowdsource water quality data,” says the 23-year-old oceanography student from Lincoln, Vt.
As part of his master’s thesis, Thomas Leeuw developed HydroColor, an app that uses three photos to measure the reflectance of natural water bodies. Based on the reflectance values, the turbidity or level of suspended sediment in a given water body can be measured.
“What we’re measuring is the reflectance of the water and the particles inside it,” Leeuw says. “To make reflectance measurements, oceanographers use precision instruments called radiometers. HydroColor is taking what a lot of ocean scientists do with radiometers and satellites, and applying it to an iPhone camera.”
The process requires three photographs, beginning with a photographer’s gray card, which calibrates the app based on how much ambient illumination is present. Gray cards reflect 18 percent of the light in the area, giving the app an initial reading of how much light is entering the water.
Next, the app directs the user to take a photograph of the sky. The app uses this image to control for the amount of light from the sky that is being reflected by the surface of the water. Surface reflection — such as the blue color seen when looking at a body of water on a clear day — offers no information about the turbidity of the water because it is light reflected by the surface of the water, not reflected from particles suspended in it.
The final photograph taken is of the water itself, which the app evaluates after controlling for surface reflection. The magnitude of reflected light in the red portion of the visible spectrum can be used to assess turbidity.
The reflected light can also offer information about the type of particles in the water.
“Turbidity actually is a measure of sidescattering, but you can use it to estimate the concentration of particles, in grams per meter cubed, so we’re able to convert turbidity to physical values,” Leeuw says.
In addition, the makeup of particles can be inferred based on the color of light reflected. Organic particles typically contain pigments that absorb light only in certain regions of the visible spectrum. This will cause the reflectance signal to vary across the visible spectrum. Inorganic particles do not contain pigments and their reflectance signature does not vary greatly across the visible spectrum.
By aggregating data from many people over large spatial and temporal scales, HydroColor can determine the typical turbidity or chlorophyll values for different environments. The interactive online database can then be used by laypeople or lake association officials to help monitor for changes, such as increased occurrence of algal blooms or erosion leading to higher suspended sediment.
Turbidity is one of many parameters for measuring water quality. Chlorophyll, for instance, reflects mostly green light and can offer a measure of the amount of algal particles in the water body. Using the different reflectance characteristics, Leeuw says HydroColor could be expanded to offer a more comprehensive readout of water quality measurements.
Leeuw next hopes to find an online host for user-gathered water quality data. “Eventually we’re going to have a button in the app so after you take a measurement, you can upload it to an online database,” he says. “The idea is that the database is open to everyone, it is a place where people can look at and compare measurements from all over the world.”
Understanding how water quality parameters like turbidity change over time is critical for scientists in many fields, Leeuw says. “One turbidity level is not necessarily better than another. We’re just very interested in fluctuations. It’s a tool for looking at changes in the environment.”
Leeuw hopes HydroColor will also provide an inexpensive, accessible learning tool for science classrooms. Compared to a professional radiometer, which can be cost-prohibitive for most classrooms, iPhones are becoming ubiquitous among students, and gray cards generally cost less than $5.
“It’s an extremely cheap lesson using a lot of technology. You can not only use it to learn about environmental science, but optics, technology and app development,” Leeuw says. “Right now, it is only for iPhone, but we’re thinking about hiring a developer to convert it to Android as well.”
Although he had experience programming before turning to app development, Leeuw had to teach himself Objective-C, the language used for the iOS platform. But developing HydroColor demanded more than learning a new programming language. The project has been in progress for about two years, a time span that has allowed Leeuw and his adviser, UMaine professor Emmanuel Boss, to gather hundreds of photos while on other excursions.
“We’d always be doing our other research, but then we’d run over and snap a few pictures to continue with development,” Leeuw says. “We used (research) trips of opportunity — anywhere we’d go, we’d make sure to grab some data.”
Those “trips of opportunity” have allowed Leeuw to aggregate images from all over the coast of Maine, Georgia and Washington, and many locations in the Arctic. Leeuw sailed to the Arctic with Boss as part of a project to study Arctic phytoplankton.
Now that HydroColor is available in the Apple app store, Leeuw’s goal is in sight. He presented his app to the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu in February and hopes to publish the project in a journal.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
A new study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe was cited in a Bangor Daily News article titled “LePage says Maine could lead the nation — and maybe Quebec — in syrup production.” Gabe’s study, which received financial support from the Maine Agricultural Development Grant Fund and the Maine Maple Producers Association, showed the state’s syrup industry contributes nearly $49 million to Maine’s economy and supports more than 800 jobs. The figures include multiplier effects. The Sun Journal also carried the BDN report.
The Bangor Daily News reported Charles Porter, a research associate for the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute and well-known mountain climber, passed away Feb. 23, 2014 at the age of 63. Paul Mayewski, director and distinguished professor of the Climate Change Institute, and Brenda Hall, a professor in the institute and UMaine’s School of Earth and Climate Sciences, shared their memories of Porter with the BDN. Mayewski said, “Charlie had a very rare ability and a staunch drive to understand as much as he could about the physical, chemical, biological and socio-cultural aspects of some of Earth’s most remote places.” Hall called Porter a “one-of-a-kind person” who was always up for an adventure.
The Portland Press Herald interviewed David Townsend, an oceanography professor in the University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences, for an article about two major oil companies exploring potential drilling sites in water off Nova Scotia that could generate opportunities for Maine businesses, but also threaten the state’s fisheries. Townsend spoke about currents in the proposed exploration area. He said because of the circular currents in the Gulf of Maine, a major spill could cause highly diluted trace oil to reach coastal waters in Maine.
University of Maine School of Performing Arts’ students Christian Giddings, Megan Rounds and Sydney Walker spoke with WABI (Channel 5) about the school’s spring break production of the child-friendly folktale “Baba Yaga and the Black Sunflower.” The students are performing the play on campus March 22, as well as at several schools around the state. Walker said performing the play is a nice way to be able to give back to the community. Carol Korty, professor emerita at Emerson College and a guest artist at UMaine, wrote and directs the play about a young girl who doesn’t fit in, and a witch that lives in a walking house. Korty told WABI the tour is a good learning experience for the students to see what it’s like to be on the road.