Per Garder, a civil engineering professor at the University of Maine, was featured in the “Ask the Experts” section of WalletHub’s recent study about 2015’s best and worst states for summer road trips. Garder said he thinks more people will take road trips this summer than in previous years because gas is still relatively cheap and the economy is slowly turning around. For those taking road trips, he suggests using the GasBuddy app to find cheap gas; using Internet or coupon books to find low-cost, high-quality hotels; and eating local at small restaurants for some meals while supplementing with food from grocery stores.
Kathy Hopkins, a maple syrup expert with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Morning Sentinel for an article about the Maine Maple Producers Association’s Maple Mania stop in Skowhegan on June 11–13. Maple Mania is an annual tour of Maine maple farms that seeks to share and promote the state’s maple syrup industry, according to the article. The event also includes workshops and educational components for maple syrup producers. “It’s a good time because it’s after the maple season is over and the cleanup is over,” Hopkins said. “In the far parts of the state, maple syrup production goes into May.” UMaine Extension works with the Maine Maple Producers Association to organize Maple Mania, which has been held at different locations around the state for the last five years, the article states.
The Bangor Daily News reported on the the third annual Children’s Book Drive to be held at The Briar Patch book and toy store on Central Street in Bangor on Thursday, June 25. The drive aims to benefit Literacy Volunteers’ programs to help adults and families learn to read, according to the article. This year, Darling’s Ice Cream for a Cause, the Literacy Volunteers of Bangor, the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development and The Briar Patch have partnered for the event, which raised more than 1,100 books for children and teens last year, the article states.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release reminding growers and marketers of hay and hay products to update their listings on the University of Maine Cooperative Extension online hay directory. “Extension has maintained the hay directory for many years and growers and consumers have found the resource valuable,” said Rick Kersbergen, UMaine Extension educator in Waldo County.
Weaving baskets while learning about brown ash identification and habitat is one of the hands-on projects at the Wabanaki Youth Science Program (WaYS) wskitkamikww, or Earth, summer camp June 22–26, at Cobscook Community Learning Center in Trescott.
At the third annual WaYS summer camp, Native American youth in grades 9–12 also will use compasses and forest tools, learn about medicinal and edible saltwater plants, tidal ecology and climate change issues as they relate to fish.
“It’s great fun. It’s intense,” says Wabanaki Center program manager tish carr, who earned a Master of Forestry degree at the University of Maine.
WaYS, a long-term, multi-pronged program coordinated by the Wabanaki Center at the UMaine, integrates environmental science and traditional Native culture.
WaYs, says carr, seeks to connect the next generation of Native youth with their cultural heritage and legacy of environmental management and stewardship.
In addition to summer camps, seasonal mini-camps are open to junior and senior high school-age students. Each mini-camp focuses on one activity; topics have included shelter building, maple tree tapping, snowshoeing and fishing.
Internships also are available for Native high school-age boys and girls to work with area natural resource experts, including those from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as cultural resource professionals.
And, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) programs are offered to Native students year-round to continue the long-term connection.
The various approaches and offerings are intended to develop a model education program that promotes Native American persistence and participation in sciences from junior high through college and when choosing a career.
The WaYS program is the brainchild of John Banks, director of the Department of Natural Resources for Penobscot Nation; Darren Ranco, UMaine associate professor of anthropology and chair of Native American Programs; as well as members from each of Maine’s Wabanaki Tribal Nations.
For three days at summer camp, water will be the broad topic for activities for the 25 participants. One day will be devoted to wildlife topics and another day will be dedicated to forestry.
Forestry activities, says carr, will utilize compasses and GPS units and include data collection, tree identification and possibly “forest forensics.”
Food at camp will be Native-based. “We’ll concentrate on a healthy lifestyle and talk about where food comes from,” says carr, adding that as many as four interns will assist educators during the week.
Barry Dana, WaYs cultural knowledge keeper, a Penobscot community elder and former tribal chief, teams with carr, a liaison with other natural resource professionals, to make the program a success.
The camp and WaYs are supported by National Science Foundation awards to Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.
In related news, the Penobscot Nation, with support from the Wabanaki Center and the USFS, recently received a grant totaling nearly $46,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for a Native habitat restoration project in Penobscot Experimental Forest in Bradley, Maine.
Wabanaki students will work hand-in-hand with members of the U.S. Forest Service, other scientists and cultural knowledge keepers to examine invasives in the forest
The 3,900-acre forest is a site for U.S. Forest Service research; it’s one of 80 experimental forests in the U.S. and the only one in the transitional zone between the Eastern Broadleaf and boreal forests.
During the 18 months of the grant, Wabanaki students will collect and analyze data on invasives, including Asiatic bittersweet and Norway maples.
The grant, says carr, will help develop future Native environmental leaders by providing participants with the ability to participate in cutting-edge research and learn from various professional and cultural mentors.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
New complimentary webinar from Science:
Persevering in science: Advice from Nobel Laureates
You are invited to hear our panel of experts on June 29, 2015, in this live, online educational seminar. For more information and complimentary registration visit: MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "app.aaas-science.org" claiming to be webinar.sciencemag.org
Date: Monday, June 29, 2015
Time: 8 a.m. Pacific, 11 a.m. Eastern, 4 p.m. UK, 5 p.m. Central Europe
Duration: 1 hour
About This Webinar
About 100 students and teachers from 12 high schools and local Native American communities around the state will gather at the University of Maine for a three-day program that focuses on creating innovative solutions to environmental problems related to stormwater management.
UMaine Stormwater Management Research Team (SMART) Institute participants will work with university faculty, undergraduates and graduate students; city water planners; and representatives from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection during the program that runs from Wednesday, June 24 through Friday, June 26.
Now in its second year, the SMART Institute aims to engage a diverse group of students and teachers in training for the implementation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their schools while addressing an important environmental issue. Stormwater runoff is a pressing and expensive problem for most major cities, and the model of the program — STEM solution-focused with diverse citizen involvement — will have nationwide applicability and appeal, program organizers say.
The institute is supported by a more than $735,000 grant awarded by the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Track III program that aims to empower female and minority high school students who are often underrepresented in STEM fields. The program also is supported by Emera Maine, Maine Community Foundation (Haskell-Stetson Trust) and IDEXX Corp.
Throughout the conference, students will take part in hands-on projects led by STEM professionals in areas such as engineering design, science, computer modeling and information technology to monitor and map water quality. Participants will tour UMaine labs and stormwater areas on campus, hear from guest speakers, and learn how to use wireless sensors to test water, as well as collect, enter and analyze data. Institute participants also will tour a lunar habitat on campus to see applications of wireless technology in other areas of research.
With the guidance of a representative from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, students will begin their work as “live sensors” on the Stillwater River in Orono, collecting samples of insects that are indicators of water quality. Students also will collect water samples and retrieve data from wireless sensors built by UMaine students. New this year, students will prepare and be judged on a group presentation to “tell the story” of the Stillwater River, based on data they gather and analyze during the institute. An awards ceremony will be held before students depart.
An opening session will be held from 8–9 a.m. Wednesday, June 24 in the Hill Auditorium of Barrows Hall. Paige Brown, a 2015 SMART Institute participant and Bangor High School junior, will deliver the keynote address, “Identifying and Remediating the Sources of Pollution in Impaired Bangor Streams.” Brown is the winner of the Maine Stockholm Junior Water Prize, a prestigious youth award for a water-related science project, and will represent Maine at this year’s national competition in Washington, D.C.
The SMART Institute is open to Maine students who are currently in 10th or 11th grade. Females and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. The program also trains high school teachers to co-facilitate the academic-year internships of their participating students.
This year’s participating high schools include Bangor, Casco Bay and Deering in Portland, Edward Little in Auburn, Greely in Cumberland, Lewiston, Old Town, Orono, Portland, Shead in Eastport, Traip Academy in Kittery and Washington Academy in East Machias.
University of Maine marine scientists Bob Steneck and Rick Wahle were quoted in the Business Insider article “Something strange is happening to the Maine lobster population this year — and it could drastically raise prices.” This year, the price of lobster is increasing due to changing water temperatures that affect when lobsters molt, according to the article. Warmer water makes lobsters molt earlier in the year, and in 2012 New England’s ocean was relatively warm because of an “ocean heat wave,” Wahle said. The changing temperatures meant lobsters matured earlier, and the increase in lobsters caused the price per pound to plummet. Now the price is on the rise because the harsh winter dropped ocean temperatures around Maine to the lower end of the lobster comfort zone, the article states. “I predict that it will be a one-molt season, based on temperatures,” Steneck said, adding he thinks the molt will take place in July or August leaving not enough time for lobsters to grow enough for a second molt before the water cools. Yahoo Finance also carried the Business Insider article, and the Daily Meal and IntraFish cited the report.
Science Daily published the article, “Species lines blur between two sparrows in New England’s tidal marshes,” on a study conducted by a group of researchers including Brian Olsen, assistant professor of biology and ecology. Olsen worked with researchers at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Delaware and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to capture and examine birds on the coast of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, according to the article. The line between bird species is sometimes blurry, with related species interbreeding where their ranges overlap to create populations of hybrid offspring, the article states. In their study, the researchers found that in the saltmarsh sparrow/Nelson’s sparrow hybrid zone on the New England coast, identifying hybrid birds is challenging. DNA revealed that half the birds identified as “pure” in the field were of mixed ancestry.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on an Aging Initiative Workshop hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Research at the Buchanan Alumni House. Organizers said Maine’s 65 and older population is growing at a rate three times faster than those under 65, meaning now is the time to use resources to plan for the future, according to the report. The workshop aimed to bring together interested faculty and staff from all disciplines on campus to review past and current research in the area of aging. Breakout sessions provided opportunities to shape the direction of future research, explore interdisciplinary and interprofessional synergies, and build new collaborations.
United Press International (UPI) published an article on a study led by Walter Golet, assistant research professor in the School of Marine Sciences and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Golet and his team recently published a paper in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series that outlined how the overall condition (fat content) of Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Maine declined despite an abundance of Atlantic herring — their preferred prey. The abundance of herring doesn’t help the tuna during foraging because the herring population growth has translated to smaller body sizes, meaning tuna have to eat more fish to pack on the right amount of traveling fat, according to the article. Tuna in the Gulf of Maine have relocated their hunting grounds to offshore banks and locales on the northwest Atlantic shelf, where herring are bigger, the article states. “Fisheries managers will now face the challenge of how to manage for high abundance of small pelagic fish, which benefits benthic fishes and mammalian predators, and maintain a robust size structure beneficial for top predators with alternative foraging strategies,” the scientists wrote.
Research being conducted at the University of Maine was mentioned in an Examiner.com article about a swarm of 15,000 honey bees that recently descended upon Capitol Hill. The bees had been out of their nest looking for a new, larger home, according to the article. A group of UMaine researchers have undertaken a project to help determine which plants benefit bees the most in the Maine landscape, the article states. The researchers — Alison Dibble, Lois Stack, Megan Leech and Frank Drummond — are working to enhance native and honey bee populations by increasing beneficial pollinator flowers.
The Weekly published a University of Maine news release about University of Maine marine scientist Bob Steneck delivering a coral reef address on World Oceans Day in the Dominican Republic. Steneck encouraged Dominican Republic officials and stakeholders to preserve and improve coral reefs — what he calls the tropical rainforests of the sea — in his keynote address in Santo Domingo. “They contain 25 percent of all species on Earth. However, they are also among the world’s most endangered ecosystems and, as such, the biodiversity, breakwater function, food resources and ecotourism value they provide for people are all at risk,” Steneck said. He encouraged the Dominican Republic government and nongovernment organizations to preserve reefs that are healthy and continue efforts to improve those that are degraded. His recommendations included banning the harvesting of parrotfish and investing in enforcement. About 400 people attended Steneck’s keynote at the conference, which was sponsored by Propagas Foundation.
Katherine Musgrave, a longtime University of Maine professor and nutritionist, passed away June 20, 2015 at the age of 95.
Musgrave, an Orono resident, started teaching at UMaine as an assistant professor in 1969. She “retired” in the 1980s, but continued to work full time, according to a Bangor Daily News article on Musgrave. She then taught classes on campus and online, worked as a registered dietitian, a nutrition consultant to area physicians and corporate wellness programs and broadcast a weekly radio segment about healthy living on Bangor radio station WZON, the article states.
In 2011, Musgrave was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame, alongside U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.
President Susan J. Hunter had this to say about Musgrave:
“Katherine Musgrave was one of the stalwarts of the University of Maine faculty — the consummate teacher, both in the classroom and in distance education, and the untiring human nutrition education researcher and advocate. She came to UMaine the year after getting her degree from Oklahoma State in 1968, teaching countless students who went on to nutrition-related careers, helping train school food service personnel and consulting with local physicians on how to advise patients on healthful eating habits. Katherine ‘retired’ as a full professor in 1985, but continued to teach a popular introductory course on food and nutrition, both on campus, by ITV and online.
“Her passion for healthy living and good nutrition was nationally recognized, was award-winning and made a difference in Maine. Her caring for the health and well-being of future generations was evident in so many ways, including the scholarship fund she established in the University of Maine Foundation in 2009 to provide financial assistance to graduate dietetic interns.
“Katherine epitomized the teaching, research and community outreach mission of a public research university. We will miss her integrity, vision, wit and all-out love of life.”
WABI (Channel 5) also carried a report on Musgrave.
In the July issue, Down East magazine’s 2015 Best of Maine list includes the University of Maine Emera Astronomy Center as one of the three “Best Rainy Day Playgrounds” in the Family category. The editors cited the center for its family-oriented star shows that introduce youngsters ages 4 and older to the night skies.