Two alumnae of the University of Maine English Department’s Graduate Program have been awarded 2014 National Endowment for the Arts fellowships for creative writing.
Catherine Reid, chair of Warren Wilson College’s undergraduate creative writing program, and Josie Sigler Sibara, assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of Rhode Island, both received $25,000 nonmatching grants.
A total of 38 creative writing fellowships were awarded nationwide. Grants are intended to give published writers time to write, research and travel. The review criteria are artistic excellence and artistic merit; the NEA received more than 1,300 eligible manuscripts to be judged for the 2014 awards..
Reid earned her master’s degree at UMaine in 1989. “O, The Oprah Magazine” listed her essay collection “Falling into Place” one of 14 Riveting Reads To Pick Up in March 2014.
Sibara earned her master’s degree at UMaine in 2002. Her collection of short stories “The Galaxie and Other Rides” won the Ruby Pickens Tartt First Fiction Award in 2012.
Jacob Eddy of Thompson, Connecticut is a junior at the University of Maine. He will graduate in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology, and a concentration in wildlife science and management. This past summer, Eddy worked with UMaine graduate student Brianne Du Clos, who collaborates with faculty researchers Cynthia Loftin and Frank Drummond. Eddy and Du Clos captured and identified bees in Maine to assess their habitat in power lines, and the impact that blueberry fields have on the diversity and abundance of the insects in the lines.
How do you describe your research?
Brianne: We are comparing bee populations in power lines adjacent to and away from blueberry fields to figure out which species of bees are living in there and their numbers.
Blueberry fields are usually surrounded by wooded areas, which do not make good bee habitat because they are dark and have fewer flowers. We are learning that power lines make a great habitat for bees because they are open to lots of light and wildflowers. Unfortunately, we also are finding that there aren’t too many power lines around blueberry fields. However, there are plenty of nearby roads, which can serve the same purpose as the power lines in terms of bee forage and habitat. This research will determine if power lines are actually beneficial to bees and if those near blueberry fields enhance the native bee diversity and abundance, which will only benefit the blueberry growers.
What is it about the power line habitat that you’re questioning or concerned about?
Brianne: At the most basic level, we want to know if power lines can serve as bee habitat. This question is answered just by simply catching bees in those areas. At a deeper level, we are assessing what kinds of forage (wildflowers and flowering shrubs) are found in the power lines throughout the growing season to determine if the power lines can provide a consistent source of forage for bees. Bees need pollen and nectar after the blueberries bloom, which happens in late May and early June.
We are also assessing the effects on different landscapes when bees use nearby power line habitats. The blueberry fields of Down East Maine lie in a simpler landscape of mainly forests, but not much of any other agricultural use or urban development. In contrast, the blueberry fields of midcoast Maine lie in a more complex landscape of forests, more agricultural land and more development. Landscape complexity is generally beneficial to bees because of the varying degrees of openness, flower variety and light intensity, so we expect to find more bees and bee species in midcoast Maine.
When you determine which species are there and in what numbers, what will that tell you?
Brianne: It’s really interesting to think of something like power lines as providing bee habitat. Demonstrating that bees are using power lines as habitat may provide conservation opportunities for native pollinator habitat, like planting more wildflowers or providing bee nesting boxes to enhance existing habitat. Knowing that bees are living and foraging in managed landscapes, such as power lines, is exciting news to tell everyone.
Where did you do your fieldwork?
Jacob: There were two main ranges, midcoast and Down East Maine. Each range had six sites, three that were adjacent to blueberry fields (at least 100 feet away) and three that were at least 2 kilometers away from the fields.
How did you contribute to the research project?
Jacob: In the field, we set up bowl traps and did netting. In the lab, I pin the bees and put them into a box with others collected that same month. We can only identify a bee down to its genus, so we send the boxes to an expert to identify the species.
What are some cool facts you learned about bees while doing the research?
Jacob: First, people think that you can’t get stung by bumblebees. That’s false: The only time I got stung during this project was by a bumblebee. They’re just really cool, they can be shiny and fluorescent. There are just so many types of bees that we don’t usually see or think of as bees. What’s also interesting is that huge portions of our food rely on bees to pollinate them. If we lose large numbers of bees, we could lose a large portion of our food supply.
How does doing undergrad research add to your academics at UMaine?
Jacob: The Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology Department does a good job giving you experience in the labs, but doing actual research gives me more of an insight into what I would actually be doing with my degree. I pick up tidbits on how other people conduct their studies and if I were to do a study, I would know how to design it and what I would need to do. I get to see how much work really goes into research studies and sometimes I even get to have some input. The graduate students provide us with insights and tips and interactions that we would never get in a lab. Basically, I get an understanding if I’m in the right field of study. Plus, Brianne is awesome.
Have you done any other research studies or was this your first one?
Jacob: Last year, I worked on a Canada lynx food habitat study. I processed the field samples and identified medullary configurations within scat samples to understand what the animals ate.
Why did you decide to major in wildlife ecology?
Jacob: It was always a career option in the back of my mind. I liked animals a lot and I loved to watch animal documentaries when I was younger. I’m an avid outdoorsman and I didn’t want to be stuck in an office all day, so when it came time to choose what I had to do in life I chose wildlife ecology. I feel that in the future with this degree, I’ll be able to make decisions to make things better.
So, why UMaine?
Jacob: When doing research on what schools to go to, I only applied to three, one of which happened to be UMaine. I picked UMaine out of the three because the wildlife program seemed the best and the faculty seemed really cool. I also think that Maine as a state is one of the best for ecology and wildlife, and Acadia and Baxter State Park are two great places to go just for those reasons.
After you graduate, what do you hope to be doing?
Jacob: I would love to work with large mammals in Africa or stay in North America and work with grizzlies. I think I want to manage them, but I’m considering grad school so that I can do research with them too. Because of the bee research, I want to get into beekeeping as well.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering growers a training session for the Bureau of Pesticide Control (BPC) private pesticide applicator core exam. Training will be 3–6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, at the UMaine Extension Oxford County office, 9 Olson Road, South Paris. Participants also have the option of taking the exam 6–7:30 p.m.
Effective April 1, 2015, a new Maine state law requires a pesticide license for fruit, vegetable and grain growers who use only general-use (over-the-counter) pesticides, and annually sell more than $1,000 of plants or plant products intended for human consumption. Each operation must have at least one licensed owner or employee on the farm. To qualify for the license, the candidate must pass the private pesticide applicator core exam.
Cost for training is $10. For more information, to register for the training or request a disability accommodation, contact Barbara Murphy, 207.743.6329, email@example.com.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will provide professional development for afterschool providers at seven locations across the state beginning in January 2015.
During the 10 hours of training, positive youth development concepts suitable for after-school programs and the interactive 4-H science curriculum will be highlighted. The agenda includes webinar overviews of the 4-H Afterschool Academy and 4-H science resources; an e-learning course for 4-H volunteers; and two in-person training sessions on the 4-H program model and the 4-H science curriculum.
Course fee is $60; CEU credits are available. Registration deadline is Friday, Dec. 19. To register and for academy locations, dates and times, visit umaine.edu/4h/youth/how-can-you-participate-in-4-h/afterschool/academy. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jennifer Lobley, 207.255.3345, 800.287.1542(in Maine), firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Maine political scientist Mark Brewer was quoted in a USA Today story about Maine being one of six states where it appears voter turnout was higher than 50 percent. “The bear-baiting referendum brought out plenty of people who are not normally regular voters,” says Brewer. “This time, it was seen as more controversial because more outside money came in on both sides. … Anytime there are accusations of outsiders controlling Maine politics, it rubs the multigenerational Mainers the wrong way.”
University of Maine philosophy Professor Michael Howard penned a column in the Bangor Daily News about the need to build political will for a climate-protecting carbon fee. Howard, a member of the Maine Regional Network that brings together scholars to address public challenges, said the U.S-China deal on carbon emissions “is a significant step in the right direction after years of impasse on global climate cooperation. It will set in motion policies that will make renewable energy more affordable and set the stage for more meaningful global climate negotiations in Paris in 2015.”
The Penobscot Bay Pilot ran the University of Maine media release about the launch of the Historical Atlas of Maine, a new geographical and historical interpretation of the state from the end of the last ice age to the year 2000. The atlas is the culmination of a 15-year scholarly project led by University of Maine researchers. UMaine historian Richard Judd and UMaine geographer Stephen Hornsby edited the 208-page atlas that has 367 original maps, 112 original charts and 248 other images. University of Maine Press, a division of UMaine’s Raymond H. Fogler Library, published the volume.
The Free Press previewed a book signing by author and University of Maine marine archaeologist Warren Riess at 11a.m. Friday, Nov. 28, at Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta. After 30 years of research, Riess’ book “The Ship That Held Up Wall Street,” is on bookshelves. Riess recounts his experiences as co-director of the investigation of an 18th-century British merchant ship unearthed beneath a Manhattan construction site in 1982.
The Free Press in Rockland previewed the 20th annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Holiday Market to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine. Molly Neptune Parker and her grandson, George Soctomah Neptune will be two of the featured artists.
An expert on the Middle East will deliver the Howard B. Schonberger Peace and Social Justice Memorial Lecture titled “The Obama Administration and the Arab Youth Revolutions on Monday, Dec. 1.
Juan Cole, a professor of history at the University of Michigan, will present the free, open-to-the-public talk at 7:30 p.m. in Little Hall on campus. Cole has been a guest on “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central and “Charlie Rose” on PBS. He has authored a number of books and founded Informed Consent, a critically acclaimed blog on current events in the Middle East.