The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the Maine AgrAbility Project a $701,828 grant to continue assisting farmers, loggers and fishermen with disabilities and chronic illnesses so they may remain active in production agriculture. AgrAbility is a nonprofit partnership between University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. Lani Carlson, Maine AgrAbility Project coordinator, said the program provides assessments, advice and aid to farmers where a simple injury or arthritis can mean lost productivity, or even retirement. “Agriculture is so important, and it’s important that we keep our farmers working, both for our communities and economy, but for their own livelihood,” Carlson said.
The Working Waterfront published an article on tidal marsh research being conducted by Brian Olsen, an assistant professor of biology and ecology at the University of Maine. In January, Olsen will start gauging the restoration of tidal marshes and birds along the stretch of coastline impacted by the most deadly and destructive storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, according to the report. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded Olsen a $1.4 million grant to conduct a 22-month study on the recovery of birds associated with tidal marshes from Virginia to Maine, the article states. “A thorough understanding of Hurricane Sandy’s effects on tidal marsh wildlife is needed to help direct remediation funds where they will have the greatest impact,” Olsen wrote in the project overview.
The University of Maine School of Performing Arts will present its annual Yuletide concert, a family-friendly holiday show, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 at the Collins Center for the Arts.
A variety of ensembles will take the stage including the Oratorio Society, Collegiate Chorale, Euphony, Black Bear Men’s Chorus and University Singers. The performance will include several vocal and instrumental soloists, as well as student and faculty conductors.
Tickets are $12, or free with a valid student MaineCard, and are available at the CCA box office, by calling 581.1755 or online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 581.1755.
Members of the University of Maine’s Xi Sigma Pi forestry honor society are selling Christmas trees at Nutting Hall until Dec. 20, or until all trees are sold.
The sale runs 3–6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 12–6 p.m. Fridays; and 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Proceeds benefit the Xi Sigma Pi scholarship fund.
Trees are 4 feet to 8 feet tall and come from the Charlotte White Center’s Highland Blue Ribbon Trees Program, which provides jobs for people with disabilities.
The Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine has teamed with area public libraries to offer an opera series with discussions ahead of performances that are broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera. WVII (Channel 7) reported a discussion was held this week at the Bangor Public Library about the opera “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” ahead of the Collins Center for the Arts’ Dec. 6 broadcast of the show. Discussions of the opera are also scheduled at the Brewer and Orono public libraries.
The Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainability Conference that was hosted by the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute in October was mentioned in a Huffington Post blog post by Peter Neill, director of the World Ocean Observatory. In the article, “The externalities of climate change,” Neill wrote about the conference, which he attended along with state agency managers, municipal officials, city planners and others who are interested in the topic. Neill said the purpose of the conference was for participants to ask themselves “What if?” in terms of potential effects of climate change and how to deal with them. “We participants accepted the challenge, and worked together to envision a way forward. Indeed, we began an exercise to plan for the future,” Neill wrote. “We could see how something just might happen, just might work, and how that might accrue to hopeful community benefit.”
The Maine Edge carried a University of Maine news release announcing Kevin Duplissie, director and head teacher of UMaine’s Child Study Center, has been named the 2015 Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year. Duplissie also teaches psychology courses in cognitive and social development in children and has been working at the university for 27 years. Duplissie, who has been using Ag in the Classroom’s food, land and people curriculum since 2008, integrates agriculture into every subject and conducts several agriculture-related activities with the college students and preschool children each week.
Jan. 9 is the deadline to apply for University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer training offered this winter and spring at the Oxford County UMaine Extension office, 9 Olson Road, South Paris.
The first of the 14 sessions, held 5:30–9 p.m. Thursdays, is Jan. 29. The last is May 15. Topics include botany, composting, extending the season and how to best grow apples and berries. After completing training, participants are required to return 40 hours of volunteer work in Oxford County community garden projects, including with Maine Harvest for Hunger, One Tomato Project and South Paris Maine Veterans’ Home.
Class size is limited to 30, cost is $220 and limited scholarships are available. More information is online. Also, for more information or to request an application or disability accommodation, call 207.743.6329.
2015 parking permits for faculty and staff are now available through Parking Services.
Permits can be ordered online and mailed to on-campus locations. MaineStreet username and password; vehicle information; and credit card or electronic check information is required for online purchases.
Permits can also be ordered via mail or at MaineCard Services, 130 Memorial Union or Parking Services, 523 DTAV, Rangeley Road.
For more information, call 207.581.4047.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report about how Maine is the only state in the nation where constitutional officers — state attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state — are elected by the Legislature. More than two-thirds of the states choose secretaries of state and attorneys general through a popular vote, while others leave the selection to the governor, according to the report. Some in the Legislature, including Gov. Paul LePage, hope to change the election process, the report states. “If this is going to happen, there’s probably no better time for this to happen than right now in Maine politics,” Brewer said of changing the process, adding voter sentiment is probably on LePage’s side when it comes to popularly electing officers.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine article about members of UMaine’s Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society finishing second among 22 teams from the United States and Canada at The Wildlife Society’s 2014 National Quiz Bowl at the society’s annual conference in Pennsylvania. Undergraduates Marie Martin, Abigail Feuka, Caitlin Gunn, James Petersen and Karla Boyd proved their expertise during a six-hour Jeopardy!-like competition. Team captain Martin said the squad’s composure and runner-up finish indicates the quality of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology that rewards naturally curious individuals. “It is because of our natural propensity towards that information that we were so successful,” she said.
Members of the University of Maine’s medical outreach student group, Operation HEARTS, are hosting a Breakfast with Santa fundraiser at Orono High School Dec. 6, WABI (Channel 5) reported. The breakfast runs from 8–11 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults; $4 for children 12 and under. The group is raising money for a spring trip to Baltimore, Maryland where they plan to support inner-city charities and community groups, such as Moveable Feast, an organization that provides meals to critically ill people, according to the report.
The Weekly published a University of Maine news release about several student, staff and faculty groups who are leading charitable efforts this holiday season to give back to the community. Groups including the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism, Office of Human Resources, Classified Employees Advisory Council, and several fraternities and sororities are collecting food, toys and clothes for those in need.
The Maine Bound Adventure Center at the University of Maine will hold its 16th annual indoor rock climbing competition Dec. 6.
Boulder Bash 2014 will include a day of bouldering with divisions for men, women and children from beginner through expert climbers. All ages and abilities are welcome. Prizes will be provided by local community outdoor retail partners.
Doors open at 8 a.m., competition begins at 9 a.m. Preregistration is $10, day-of registration is $15. A Boulder Bash T-shirt is included.
For more information or to register, stop by the Maine Bound Adventure Center, call 581.1794 or visit the website.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the Maine AgrAbility Project a $701,828 grant to continue assisting farmers, loggers and fishermen with disabilities and chronic illnesses so they may remain active in production agriculture.
Richard Brzozowski, University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist and project director, said the grant will fund the project for four more years. The USDA awarded 21 grants totaling $4.1 million to land grant universities.
Maine AgrAbility works directly with farmers, loggers and fishermen, as well as agricultural service providers, by offering educational workshops, on-site assessments and technical assistance. The free resource is available to agricultural workers, and their family members, with a physical, cognitive or illness-related disability or chronic health condition.
AgrAbility is a nonprofit partnership between University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. The program collaborates with other agencies, including Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation. More information about Maine AgrAbility project is available online at umaine.edu/agrability, or by contacting Lani Carlson, AgrAbility Project coordinator, 207.944.1533, email@example.com.
Amy Blackstone, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Maine and chairwoman of the Sociology Department, spoke with the Chicago Tribune for the article, “How couples can start their own Christmas tradition, no kids required.” Blackstone said many relatives often assume if adults don’t have children they have lots of free time, and a couple’s holiday plans should revolve around families that include children. “(As a society), we’re not culturally comfortable with the idea that a family can mean two people,” Blackstone said, adding that our culture is beginning to grasp the idea of many types of families, including those without children. “The idea that (childless) couples don’t form families of their own is a myth,” she said. “They, like all families, enjoy and have every right to spend the holidays as a family, too.”
The Maine Ocean Acidification Study Commission, a panel that spent months studying the effects of ocean acidification, have announced their findings and recommendations, according to the Associated Press. The panel found ocean acidity levels have increased by 30 percent over the past two centuries, and recommends the state improve its monitoring of marine ecosystems and work to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. State Rep. Mick Devin, a Democrat from Newcastle who is a researcher and shellfish hatchery manager at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, spoke with the AP and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network about the study. Devin, who co-chaired the commission, said ocean acidification “threatens an important part of Maine’s economy and coastal communities.” WABI (Channel 5) carried the AP report.
The University of Maine’s graduate wildlife conservation program and undergraduate wildlife ecology program were mentioned in the Online Schools Center article, “30 degrees that will get you dirty.” The report states both programs revolve around animals and their natural habitats, many in Maine, and could lead to a variety of field-based jobs such as wildlife biologist, conservation manager or park ranger. “The content of the bachelor’s program in particular is outdoorsy and exciting: students may go out in the field to assess the behavior of snowshoe hares, or even handle bear cubs in their own den,” the article states. “All this provides plenty of opportunity for getting back to nature — and possibly covered in fur.”
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece, “Without health insurance, Down East women subsist on the margins,” by Mary Shea, an assistant professor of nursing and graduate program coordinator at the University of Maine.