The Free Press reported Paul Mayewski, a University of Maine professor and director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute (CCI), will appear June 9 on the series finale of the Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously.” The show is a nine-part documentary series about the impact of climate change on people and the planet. Mayewski was filmed gathering ice cores 20,000 feet atop a glacier on Tupungato, an active Andean volcano in Chile. He also was filmed at home, where he enjoys his family, dogs and sailing. Mayewski said climate change is causing and will continue to cause destruction, and how scientists and media inform people about the subject is important.
A bill proposed by Rep. Mick Devin of Newcastle, who is also a researcher and shellfish hatchery manager at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, was mentioned in a column published in the Working Waterfront, titled “Gulf of Maine uniquely susceptible to ocean acidification.” Devin, who has shown concern about the vulnerability of Maine’s marine ecosystems and fisheries-dependent communities, proposed a bill last fall to establish a commission that would study the effects of coastal and ocean acidification on species that are commercially harvested along Maine’s coast, according to the article. The bill gained support from diverse interest groups and became law April 30. Global Ocean Health also carried the column.
The University of Maine has become the newest member of HathiTrust, a partnership of major academic and research libraries collaborating in a digital library initiative to preserve and provide access to the published record in digital form.
Launched in 2008, HathiTrust currently has more than 90 partners. Over the last five years, the partners have contributed more than 11 million volumes to the digital library. More than 3.7 million of the contributed volumes are in the public domain and available online.
By joining HathiTrust, UMaine’s Fogler Library is taking steps to assure the preservation of its digital copies and contribute or sustain those volumes in a comprehensive digital archive.
“We are very pleased to have the University of Maine join us in this important enterprise,” said Mike Furlough, executive director of HathiTrust. “The University of Maine has been a significant player in shared print initiatives, an area of particular focus for HathiTrust. It is the combined expertise of our members that helps us thrive, and we look forward to working with the University of Maine to pursue our collective goals.”
The University of Maine Counseling Center and Touchstone Resources has been reaccredited by the International Association of Counseling Services Inc. (IACS), an Alexandria, Virginia-based organization of United States, Canadian and Australian counseling agencies.
The UMaine services were evaluated by IACS using high standards of counseling practice and were found to be competent, reliable and professional. IACS approval also depends on evidence of continuing professional development as well as demonstration of counseling performance excellence.
The UMaine Counseling Center and Touchstone Resources is directed by psychologist Douglas Johnson, and offers a range of mental health counseling services to students.
IACS was established to encourage and aid counseling agencies to meet high professional standards through peer evaluation and to inform the public about dependable agencies.
Effective July 1, Lucille Zeph will resign as associate provost and dean of the Division of Lifelong Learning (DLL) to allow her to focus solely on her duties as director of the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at the University of Maine. For the past three years, Zeph has held both positions.
“I am extremely grateful to Lu for her leadership of the Division of Lifelong Learning these past three years,” says Jeff Hecker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Few people could have stepped in to lead an organization as complex as DLL. While I will miss the wisdom and creativity she brought to the Provost’s leadership team, I support her decision to turn her full attention to the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies.”
Zeph was tapped to serve as interim associate provost and dean of the Division of Lifelong Learning in 2011 upon the retirement of longtime dean Robert White. She was appointed associate provost and dean on an ongoing basis last July, all the while continuing to serve as director of the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS).
During her tenure, she managed the complex operations of DLL that include the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, Conference Services, the Continuing Education Division, Summer University, UMaine’s online programs and several centers and interdisciplinary academic programs. Her benchmarks in DLL include implementation of UMaine’s 24–7 initiative offering online certificates and degree programs, and creation of the Lifelong Learning Advising Center specifically for adult and nontraditional students who aspire to complete their degrees at UMaine.
Zeph, a UMaine associate professor of education, joined the College of Education faculty in 1979 and founded CCIDS in 1992. The center is Maine’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, part of a national network of centers congressionally authorized under the Development Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000. CCIDS conducts interdisciplinary education, research, and community engagement to positively affect the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout Maine and beyond.
Dan Churchill’s speech to the Graduate Faculty and Student Recognition Ceremony (aka the Hooding Ceremony) on May 9, 2014.
Dan Churchill is a 1963 Engineering Physics graduate of the University who has had a distinguished career in government service and business. Over the last decade, Dan and his wife Betty have provided critically important resources and inspiration to graduate students in the Climate Change Institute and the School of Policy and International Affairs through the Churchill Exploration Fund and the Churchill Internship Fund. Not only were these programs beautifully conceived to leverage maximum impact, Dan has also been deeply interested in the students and their work. In several cases at least they have become good friends, and Dan’s interest has been hugely encouraging. Dan has also given tremendous time and effort as the Chair of the School of Policy and International Affairs Advisory Board, a group of outstanding individuals who have enhanced the SPIA program immensely under Dan’s leadership.
This is a wonderful occasion – you are being hooded today, and very well deserved that is. It is also a wonderful opportunity for me, as hooding cannot be finished until I have talked at you for a few minutes.
WLBZ (Channel 2) spoke with Barbara Murphy, a gardening expert and University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator in Oxford County, for a report about home gardens being affected by overnight frost. Murphy said it has been a very cold and slow start to the growing season and advises home gardeners to wait for consistently warm daytime and nighttime temperatures before planting. “The soils are very cold — much colder than the air temperature — and they’re absolutely saturated. No seeds germinate very well under these conditions, and seedlings don’t get established well under these conditions. So just be patient,” she said.
Kathryn Hopkins, a maple syrup expert and University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and professor, was mentioned in a Sanford News article about Hilltop Boilers of Newfield being named “top boilers” for the state at the Southern Maine Maple Sugar Makers Association’s annual maple syrup contest. About 60 participants from York, Cumberland and Oxford counties attended. Hopkins, who also is host of the Maple Grading School, has made the program and contest possible for Maine’s syrup producers, according to the article.
Mainebiz reported on the 12 panelists who have been named for the 2014 Top Gun Showcase on June 4. At the showcase, 12 of the 20 companies that went through the Top Gun entrepreneur mentor program will have their pitches evaluated by the panelists who come from a variety of industries. The University of Maine’s Target Technology Incubator is co-hosting the event with the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, which runs the Top Gun program. The event is supported by the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative, the Maine Technology Institute, business sponsors, mentors and program advisers.
Elmira Star-Gazette and Press and Sun-Bulletin reported that U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pick a joint proposal by Cornell, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Maine for a risk-management software package to help farmers, particularly in the Northeast, plan their crop insurance and price support participation. The report states the farm bill adopted by Congress set aside $3 million for online tools to assist farmers in their decisions about the new farm risk management programs, according to Schumer’s staff.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a free weed identification walk at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 12, at Stutzman’s Farm, 891 Douty Hill Road, Sangerville.
Common weeds that invade vegetable, fruit and other cultivated crops will be the focus of the walk led by Extension Educator Donna Coffin. She’ll have references available for those who want to learn how to identify and manage weeds. Participants are encouraged to bring a digital photo of problematic weeds in their farms and gardens. Two hours of pesticide recertification credit are available for private pesticide applicators.
For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Coffin at 207.564.3301, 800.287.1491 (in Maine) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blueberry health benefits research by Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, a clinical nutritionist and professor at the University of Maine, was cited in a Prevention magazine article titled “10 new ways to lower your blood pressure naturally.” Klimis-Zacas’ research was mentioned under the section that advises readers to “snack on wild blueberries.” She found wild varieties, as opposed to conventional blueberries, may help blood vessels relax and have more antioxidant compounds, which researchers believe also helps maintain a healthy blood pressure, the article states. The Fresno Bee also carried the Prevention report.
Barbara Murphy, a gardening expert and University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator in Oxford County, and Mark Hutchinson, a UMaine Extension professor in Knox and Lincoln counties, were quoted in the Bangor Daily News article, “Cold, wet spring means slow start for farmers, gardeners.” Murphy said it may be the most sluggish start to the growing season in almost a decade, but she advises gardeners to be patient and assume it’s going to be a good season. “There’s no reason to assume this year will be different from any other successful year,” she said. Hutchinson said he has heard from other experts that the slow spring is a lot like what has been normal in past years.
The Portland Press Herald published an article on a startup founded by two former University of Maine hockey coaches Dan Kerluke and David Alexander, along with Tim Westbaker, a computer programmer and UMaine alumnus. The trio created Double Blue Sports Analytics to create an iPad app that allows hockey goalies and goaltending coaches to easily capture performance data and analytics. The startup is the first to market with such a goalie-specific data analytics product, but already has plans to tap into the much broader global market for sports science and training, the article states. The company is a tenant of the Target Technology Incubator, an Orono facility that was developed by UMaine and the Bangor Target Area Development Corporation to provide an environment for business development and commercialization activities for innovation-based startups. Kerluke told the Press Herald he met Westbaker through Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation. Kerluke calls Moriarity the company’s “guardian angel.”
Lenard Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging and professor in the UMaine School of Social Work, wrote an opinion piece published by the Bangor Daily News titled “Can Maine keep its aging population safe?” Kaye also is a member of the Maine chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network, which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications. Members’ columns appear in the BDN every other week.
The University of Maine student group Male Athletes Against Violence (MAAV) was mentioned in a Morning Sentinel article about the “Party With Consent” movement started by a graduating student at Colby College. The initiative aims to encourage healthy interactions between the sexes at college parties. In 2010, Mark Tappan, a professor of education at Colby, brought a chapter of MAAV to the college, after the group was started at UMaine. Student Jonathan Kalin became president of the Colby group, whose name has since changed to Mules Against Violence, and started Party With Consent as an initiative of that organization.
A CD of Leone Sinigaglia’s chamber music performed by University of Maine artists Noreen Silver, cello, and Phillip Silver, piano, performing with violinist Solomia Soroka, was reviewed on MusicWeb International. Reviewer Jonathan Woolf notes, “these elegant readings set a standard for future Sinigaglia performances, and I truly hope that more will follow the lead of the intrepid Solomia Soroka and Noreen and Philip Silver.”
The University of Maine will offer a six-day, public leadership training program for female college students that aims to strengthening political skills and build confidence.
A diverse group of 28 students with a variety of majors and interests from colleges around the state will arrive at UMaine on Friday, May 30 to take part in the sixth annual Maine NEW Leadership conference. They will learn skills such as public speaking, networking and how to advocate for a cause and run for public office.
Throughout the free conference, students will participate in a variety of workshops hosted by women leaders from politics, business and education. On Tuesday, June 3, participants will travel to the State House in Augusta and Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan.
“Maine NEW Leadership was established to address the underrepresentation of women in state and federal government,” says Mary Cathcart, co-director of Maine NEW Leadership and a senior policy associate at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.
In the current U.S. Congress, 18 percent of representatives and 20 percent of senators are women, and in the Maine Legislature, 23 percent of senators and 31 percent of representatives are women, according to Cathcart.
More information about Maine NEW Leadership is available online or by calling Cathcart at 581.1539.
Lakes in New England and the Adirondack Mountains are recovering from the effects of acid rain more rapidly now than they did in the 1980s and 1990s, according to a study led by a former University of Maine researcher.
Acid rain — which contains higher than normal amounts of nitric and sulfuric acid and is harmful to lakes, streams, fish, plants and trees — occurs when sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere mix with water and oxygen.
In the United States, about two-thirds of sulfur dioxide and one-quarter of nitrogen oxide result from burning fossil fuels, including coal, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Sulfate concentration in rain and snow dropped 40 percent in the 2000s and sulfate concentration in lakes in the Northeast declined at a greater rate from 2002 to 2010 than during the 1980s or 1990s, says Kristin Strock, a former doctoral student at UMaine, now an assistant professor at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.
Also during the 2000s, nitrate concentration in rain and snow declined by more than 50 percent and its concentration in lakes also declined, Strock found.
The Clean Air Act enacted in the U.S. in 1970 has been modified several times, including amendments implemented in 1994 that regulated emissions, especially from coal-burning power plants. The Clean Air Interstate Rule issued in 2005 by the EPA sought to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by 70 percent. Total emissions of sulfur and nitrogen in the U.S decreased by 51 and 43 percent, respectively, between 2000 and 2010, Strock says, which was twice the rate of decline for both in the 1990s.
Strock and the research team analyzed data collected since 1991 at 31 sites in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New York and 43 sites in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
The research team included Sarah Nelson, assistant research professor with the Senator George J. Mitchell Center and cooperating assistant research professor in Watershed Biogeochemistry in the UMaine School of Forest Resources; Jasmine Saros, associate director of the Climate Change Institute at UMaine and professor in UMaine’s School of Biology & Ecology; Jeffrey Kahl, then-director of environmental and energy strategies at James Sewall Company; and William McDowell of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of New Hampshire.
“Data collection for over two decades in this study is part of the EPA-LTM network, which also includes over 30 years of research and monitoring at 16 remote lakes in Maine, and over 25 years at the Bear Brook Watershed in Maine,” Nelson says.
“These long-term monitoring data allow us to observe patterns like changes related to climate, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of environmental regulations like the Clean Air Act. The new findings reported here underscore the importance of such long-term monitoring, which can often be difficult to keep funded.”
While results reveal a recent acceleration in recovery, the researchers say continued observation is necessary due to variability of results. In New England, Strock says variability might be due to the effect of human development, including road salt, on lakes.
A number of other factors can affect watersheds and interact with acid rain, say the researchers, including depletion of calcium in forest soils, long-term increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, long-term changes in air temperature, and changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme wet and dry seasons.
The study, “Decadal Trends Reveal Recent Acceleration in the Rate of Recovery from Acidification in the Northeastern U.S.” was published online in March on the Environmental Science & Technology website.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
University of Maine professor Paul Mayewski is featured in the Showtime series Years of Living Dangerously starring Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Matt Damon.
It’s a thriller with an ending that hasn’t been written yet.
Executive producer James Cameron, who has also directed the blockbusters Avatar, The Terminator and Aliens, describes Years of Living Dangerously as the biggest survival story of this time.
The documentary, developed by David Gelber and Joel Bach of 60 Minutes, depicts real-life events and comes with an “adult content, viewer discretion advised” disclaimer.
The nine-part series that premiered April 13 shares life-and-death stories about impacts of climate change on people and the planet.
Correspondents, including actors Ford and Damon, as well as journalists Lesley Stahl and Thomas Friedman and scientist M. Sanjayan, travel the Earth to cover the chaos.
They examine death and devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy; drought and lost jobs in Plainview, Texas; worsening wildfires in the U.S.; and civil unrest heightened by water shortage in the Middle East. The correspondents also interview politicians, some of whom refute the science or are reluctant to enact legislation.
And they speak with scientists who go to great lengths, and heights, to do climate research. Mayewski, director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute (CCI), is one of those scientists. He is scheduled to appear in the series finale at 8 p.m. Monday, June 9.
Climate change, he says, is causing and will continue to cause destruction. And he says how scientists and media inform people about the subject is important.
“There are going to be some scary things that happen but they won’t be everywhere and it won’t be all at the same time,” he says. “You want people to think about it but not to terrify them so they turn it off completely. You want them to understand that with understanding comes opportunity.”
In February 2013, Sanjayan and a film crew joined Mayewski and his team of CCI graduate students for the nearly 20,000-foot ascent of a glacier on Tupungato, an active Andean volcano in Chile, to collect ice cores.
Sanjayan calls Mayewski “the Indiana Jones of climate research” for his penchant to go to the extremes of the Earth under challenging conditions to retrieve ice cores to study past climate in order to better predict future climate.
Sanjayan, a senior scientist with Conservation International, wrote in a recent blog on the Conservation International website that while people may distrust data, they believe people they like.
He thought it would be beneficial to show the scientific process at work and to introduce the scientists’ personalities to viewers. “He’s the sort of guy you’d want to call up on a Wednesday afternoon to leave work early for a beer on an outdoor patio,” Sanjayan writes of Mayewski.
So for the documentary, Mayewski was filmed in the field — gathering ice cores at an oxygen-deprived altitude of 20,000 feet atop a glacier with sulfur spewing from nearby volcanic ponds. “It’s a strange place to work,” Mayewski says, “but it’s where we can find amazing, productive data.”
He was also interviewed at home, where he enjoys his family, dogs and sailing.
Mayewski likes the series’ story-telling approach. Scientists, he says, need to explain material in a way that is relatable, relevant and empowering.
Take for instance Joseph Romm’s baseball analogy. Romm, a Fellow at American Progress and founding editor of Climate Progress, earned his doctorate in physics from MIT.
On the Years of Living Dangerously website, Romm writes, “Like a baseball player on steroids, our climate system is breaking records at an unnatural pace. And like a baseball player on steroids, it’s the wrong question to ask whether a given home run is ‘caused’ by steroids. Home runs become longer and more common. Similarly climate change makes a variety of extreme weather events more intense and more likely.”
Mayewski says it’s also imperative to provide tools that enable people to take action to mitigate climate change as well as adapt to it.
“When we have a crystal ball, even if the future is bad, we can create a better situation,” he says. “We have no choice but to adapt.”
Maine is in a good position to take action, he says, especially with regard to developing offshore wind technology. “Who wouldn’t want a cleaner world, to spend less money on energy and have better jobs? We will run out of oil at some point but the wind won’t stop,” he says.
Wind is up Mayewski’s research alley. He has recently been studying ice cores from the melting glacier that serves as the drinking water supply for 4 million residents of Santiago. Temperature in the region is rising, greenhouse gases are increasing and winds from the west that have traditionally brought moisture to the glacier have shifted, he says.
And the glacier is losing ice.
“Our biggest contribution is understanding how quickly wind can change,” Mayewski says. “Wind transports heat, moisture, pollutants and other dusts.”
By understanding trends, Mayewski says it’s possible to better predict where climate events will occur so plans can be made. Those plans, he says, could include determining where it’s best for crops to be planted and where seawalls and sewer systems should be built.
Harold Wanless, chair of the University of Miami geological sciences department, says sea levels have been forecast to be as much as 3 to 6 feet higher by the end of this century. On the Years of Living Dangerously website he says, “I cannot envision southeastern Florida having many people at the end of this century.”
In Maine, Mayewski says climate change is evidenced by the powerful 2013–2014 winter, the lengthening of summers, increased lobster catches and northward spread of ticks.
While climate change has become a political topic, Mayewski says it’s a scientific and security issue. He says it’s notable that previous civilizations have collapsed in the face of abrupt, extreme changes. And climate change, he says, is far from linear in the way it evolves.
For decades, Mayewski has been interested in exploring and making discoveries in remote regions of the planet. “When you go all over the world, you get a global view,” he says. “By nature, I’m an optimist. That is tempered with this problem. I do believe there will be a groundswell of people, or governments, or some combination so that there will be a better future in store.”
To watch clips from previous episodes of Years of Living Dangerously, as well as the entire first episode, visit yearsoflivingdangerously.com.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777