Combined News

Cape Cod Times Previews Maine Steiners Performance at Mass. High School

University of Maine News - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:02

The Cape Cod Times reported the Maine Steiners, the University of Maine’s oldest a cappella group, will headline “A Cappella Fest” at Falmouth High School in Falmouth, Massachusetts on May 22. The group is scheduled to perform with Hawkapella from the University of Hartford in Connecticut and Falmouth High School’s Soulfege.

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Master Gardeners Offer Home Composting Workshop

University of Maine News - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:01

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners are offering a hands-on workshop on basics of home composting and soil management 6–8 p.m. Thursday, June 5, at Wells Reserve at Laudholm, 342 Laudholm Farm Road, Wells.

Best practices for home composting, including proper materials, pile management for optimum efficiency and bin options will be covered. Mulching, lasagna gardening, hugelkultur, cover cropping and soil testing will also be discussed and demonstrated. Glenn MacWilliams, a Master Gardener volunteer, and Frank Wertheim, an Extension professor, will lead the program. Meet at All Seasons Garden behind the lab/science building, dressed for the outdoors, and prepared for hands-on learning.

A $7 fee ($5 for members of Laudholm Trust) may be paid at the event. To register, contact UMaine Extension in York County, 207.324.2814 or rebecca.gowdy@maine.edu. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call Wertheim at 207.324.2814 or 800.287.1535 (in state).

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SSI Research Cited in National Climate Assessment Report

University of Maine News - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 14:01

Research being conducted through Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative was cited in the the newly released National Climate Assessment report, which found global warming is affecting life in Maine and other New England states.

Under the “Selected Adaptation Efforts” of the Northeast section of the report, it reads:

“Officials in coastal Maine are working with the statewide Sustainability Solutions Initiative to identify how culverts that carry stormwater can be maintained and improved, in order to increase resiliency to more frequent extreme precipitation events. This includes actions such as using larger culverts to carry water from major storms.”

The paragraph is referring to a project being conducted by SSI researchers Shaleen Jain, an associate professor of civil engineering; Esperanza Stancioff, an educator with UMaine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant; and Alexander Gray, a research assistant.

The “Helping Communities Weather the Storm” project aims to help Maine communities better understand and prepare for the potential local impacts of climate change.

The research is part of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative, a program of the Senator George J. Mitchell Center, which is supported by National Science Foundation award EPS-0904155 to Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.

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UMHI Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day Previewed in BDN

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/15/2014 - 11:13

The Bangor Daily News advanced the second annual Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day, which is organized by the University of Maine Humanities Initiative and open to the public at various locations Saturday, May 17. Free events include TEMPO youth string ensemble performances at the Maine Discovery Museum; graphic novel author and illustrator Jimmy Gownley at The Briar Patch; a sculpture lecture and exhibit tour at the University of Maine Museum of Art; and the world premiere public showing of three short films shot in Bangor in 1929 and PechaKucha presentations by UMaine faculty and local practitioners at the Brick Church. “This helps to better connect the rich resources at UMaine with the vibrant cultural scene in Downtown Bangor and other regional organizations,” said Liam Riordan, event organizer and UMaine history professor.

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Forstadt, Trostel Quoted in BDN Article on Increased Pre-K Enrollment

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/15/2014 - 11:13

Leslie Forstadt, a child and family development specialist and associate Extension professor with the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension, and Philip Trostel, a UMaine economics and public policy professor, were quoted in the Bangor Daily News article, “Report: Enrollment in pre-kindergarten increasing steadily in Maine.” Forstadt spoke about the multiyear effort by pre-kindergarten advocacy groups to educate the public about the benefits of early education, which may have contributed to the enrollment increase. Trostel said the increase in the number of public preschools offered by Maine school districts also is a result of a funding change that went into effect during the 2006–07 school year and increased the amount of money districts could receive from the state for each 4-year-old taught. The change means taxpayers also benefit when children attend high-quality pre-kindergarten programs, Trostel said, adding that pre-kindergarten allows parents to work and can set children on a path to a higher paying career, which equates to more people paying taxes and less dependence on government services.

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Maine Humanities Summit Mentioned in Phi Beta Kappa Newsletter

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/15/2014 - 11:12

The second annual Maine Humanities Summit was advanced in the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s “State of the Arts & Sciences: May 2014” newsletter. The University of Maine Humanities Initiative (UMHI) and the Maine Humanities Council will host the summit in Augusta on May 16. This year’s event will focus on ways humanities administrators, faculty and the general public can effectively communicate the value and importance of the humanities to residents and media. Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest academic honor society.

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Riordan Writes Op-Ed on Public Humanities for BDN

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/15/2014 - 11:11

The Bangor Daily News published an opinion piece by Liam Riordan, a University of Maine history professor, board member of the Maine Humanities Council, and incoming director of the UMaine Humanities Initiative (UMHI); and Gibran Graham, a member of the Bangor City Council, founder of PechaKucha Bangor and board member of River City Cinema. The article, “Community engagement makes a difference. The Bangor region is a case in point,” focused on the importance of public humanities and upcoming UMHI events in the area.

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Third Annual Advancing Women in Academia Networking Conference May 20

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/15/2014 - 11:09

Colleagues in STEM and social-behavioral sciences from around the state are invited to attend a day of networking and discussion of issues relevant to career advancement for women in academia Tuesday, May 20 in Bangor.

The University of Maine’s ADVANCE Rising Tide Center will host the “Advancing Women in Academia: 3rd Annual Networking Conference” from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The day includes poster presentations, networking sessions and workshops. Workshop topics include: Fostering Collaborations Across Institutions; Effective Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Women Faculty; an Social Media for Outreach, Collaboration and Networking.

Daryl Smith, a senior research fellow and professor emerita of education and psychology at Claremont Graduate University in California, will deliver the keynote, “Diversifying the Faculty for the Next Generation: Debunking the Myths.” Other presenters and workshop facilitators include Michelle Hale, director of Maine Career Connect; Linda Silka, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center; and Jacquelyn Gill, an assistant professor of terrestrial paleoecology at UMaine.

The conference is free. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Registration and more information is available online, by calling 207.581.3439 or emailing risingtide@maine.edu.

The event is presented with support from the National Science Foundation and UMaine’s ADVANCE Rising Tide Center partners Maine EPSCoR, Colby College, Maine Maritime Academy, University of Southern Maine and the University of New Hampshire.

The ADVANCE program, funded by the National Science Foundation, seeks to develop systemic approaches to retaining and advancing women faculty in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and social-behavioral science careers. The ADVANCE Rising Tide Center seeks to implement strategic initiatives at UMaine and within the University of Maine System that will embed transformation in a focused, sustainable institutional regime to create “a rising tide that will lift all boats.”

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Chen Awarded Funds to Determine Cost of Producing Milk in Maine

University of Maine News - Thu, 05/15/2014 - 11:08

Xuan Chen, a farm credit assistant professor in the University of Maine’s School of Economics, received a $28,390 Maine Department of Agriculture grant for his proposal, “Determining the Current Cost of Producing Milk in Maine 2013.” The yearlong project aims to accurately determine the costs of producing milk in Maine based on four levels of production as defined by demographic data collected in a mail survey and by milk production records maintained by the Maine Department of Agriculture. About 40 farms will receive on-site visits to collect financial performance data for the year 2013. The information will be summarized and presented to the Maine Milk Commission in written and oral testimony, as well as during state legislative hearings.

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BDN Publishes Op-Ed on Parenting by Blackstone

University of Maine News - Wed, 05/14/2014 - 11:29

The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece “Cut parents some slack, already” by Amy Blackstone, an associate professor and chairwoman of the University of Maine’s Sociology Department. Blackstone also is a member of the Maine Regional Network, part 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.

   

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Press Herald Reports on UMaine Offshore Wind Project Questions

University of Maine News - Wed, 05/14/2014 - 11:29

The Portland Press Herald reported on questions surrounding the U.S. Department of Energy’s decision not to award the University of Maine’s offshore wind project with a key $47 million grant. According to the article, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins spoke with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who said one reason the project lost out was because federal officials weren’t convinced the New England Aqua Ventus floating design made of concrete and composites could be built for less money than competing steel units. “I care a great deal about this and I’m really surprised at the decision,” Collins told the Press Herald. “It’s just difficult to understand why the administration didn’t choose the university as one of the projects.” The project will receive $3 million for further research and development, and will be considered for more funding should it become available. The Bangor Daily News also published an editorial on the topic titled, “Go big, or lose big, on offshore wind in Maine.”

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McGreavy Mentioned in Down East Magazine Article on Amphibian Migrations

University of Maine News - Wed, 05/14/2014 - 11:23

Bridie McGreavy, a post doctoral sustainability science researcher for the University of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative and part-time faculty member in the Communication and Journalism Department, was quoted in a Down East magazine article about the spring migration of Maine frogs and salamanders when they travel from the woodlands where they hibernate to the vernal pools where the breed. To help the amphibians safely cross the road during migration, the Lakes Environmental Association (LEA) in Bridgton gathers “crossing guards” on the first warm, rainy spring night, for a ritual known as Big Night. McGreavy was head of the LEA’s environmental education program a decade ago when she first read about amphibian breeding habits and led LEA’s first organized Big Night. According to the article, UMaine graduate students also attend Big Night to gather specimens and put radio transmitters on salamanders and frogs for tracking.

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UMaine Astronomy Professor, Grad Student to Travel to Chile

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 14:50

A University of Maine astronomy professor and graduate student will travel to Chile in July to spend one night of observation at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, east of the city La Serena.

The observatory is home to the newly developed Dark Energy Camera or DECam; the only one of it’s kind. The DECam is part of a 4-meter diameter Victor M. Blanco Telescope, which a few years ago was the largest in South America. The DECam is a set of 62 cameras totaling 570 megapixels.

David Batuski, a physics professor, and Andrej Favia, his graduate student, were allotted one night of observation with the telescope on July 2. The highly competitive proposal application process accepts about one in eight proposals.

Batuski and Favia will spend about four hours looking at two superclusters of galaxies in the search for dark matter, what Batuski calls “one of the greatest mysteries of cosmology right now.”

Dark matter makes up 27 percent of the universe’s content. All observed ordinary matter adds up to 5 percent, while dark energy accounts for 68 percent, according to NASA.gov.

Dark matter doesn’t generate or interact with light, making it only observable through deduction of other observations of its gravitational effects.

According to Batuski, the effects of dark matter have been observed on the small scale — seen as galaxies and clusters of galaxies with too much mass. It has also been observed on its largest scale — the entire universe.

Batuski and Favia’s research will attempt to observe dark matter on a medium scale — roughly 40 million light years — the first of its kind to their knowledge.

With only one night of observation Batuski and Favia are excited, but most of all are hoping for clear weather.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

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UMaine Outdoor Survey to Guide State, Press Herald Reports

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 10:36

The Portland Press Herald reported an outdoor recreation survey being conducted by the University of Maine and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is expected to give state parkland managers better insight into how residents and visitors spend their time outdoors. The results of the survey will be used for a bureau report on how and why people recreate in Maine. The report, called the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, is required every five years by all states to help decide what outdoor recreation programs get funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This is the first year the bureau has partnered with UMaine. Sandra De Urioste-Stone, an assistant professor of nature-based tourism who is leading the survey, said the sample size is already at 14,000. “We’re very happy with the response rate,” she said. “Now we can talk with confidence about what Maine residents think of recreational opportunities, and what they like to pursue.”

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BDN Cites Gabe’s Waterfront Concerts Study

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 10:35

A 2013 study conducted by University of Maine economics professor Todd Gabe was cited in a Bangor Daily News article titled, “City reviewing noise complaints in wake of season’s first Bangor Waterfront concert.” In his study, Gabe found the series brought $30 million into the local economy in its first three years. Waterfront Concerts promoter Alex Gray said an updated version of the report is in the process of being finalized and has been sent out for peer review.

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UMaine, 4-H Youth to Connect on Campus

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 10:34

The University of Maine will host more than 100 Maine 4-H youth this weekend at the annual 4-H@UMaine: Connecting Kids to Campus.

Youth 12 to 17 years old will stay overnight on the UMaine campus, explore careers and take part in experiential learning during a variety of workshops offered by UMaine faculty and graduate students. The event will be held from 3 p.m. Friday, May 16 until 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 17.

Workshop topics include composite materials, embryology, fundamentals of acting, aquaculture, high-altitude ballooning, dance, field skills for the forest, ecology, waves in the ocean, veterinary medicine, permaculture, chemical engineering, CSI-geology, nanotechnology, and nutrition and health.

Some 4-H members will also judge the Maine Invention Convention state competition from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at UMaine’s New Balance Student Recreation Center. During this event hosted by UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation, students from around the state will showcase their inventions to solve real-world problems.

More information about 4-H — the youth development program of University of Maine Cooperative Extension — is available online, or by calling Karen Hatch Gagne at 207.592.6980 or Barbara Baker at 207.212.8397.

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Correll Book Award Winners Announced

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 10:33

Winners of the third Correll Book Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Informational Text were announced at the Correll Early Literacy Conference in April.

Children’s book author and illustrator Ted Lewin won the award for the birth to 3-year-old category for his book, “Look!” Wildlife photographer Ingo Arndt was named the winner in the 4- to 8-year-old category for “Best Foot Forward: Exploring Feet, Flippers, and Claws.”

Also, for the first time, three honors books were announced: “One Gorilla: A Counting Book” by Anthony Browne, “Woodpecker” by Dee Phillips and “Bats Biggest! Littlest!” by Sandra Markle.

The national award was created in 2012 through the University of Maine’s College of Education and Human Development to draw attention to the need for quality informational text for young children. The seven-person committee considers informational texts published in the United States in the last calendar year. The winning books are chosen as exemplars of the genre, appropriate for the age group, engaging for young children and sources of accurate information, according to Susan Bennett-Armistead, Correll Professor of Early Literacy at UMaine.

Past award winners include Gail Gibbons for “Gorillas” and Melissa Stewart for “A Place for Bats.”

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Office of Student Records Newsletter Available Online

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 10:32

The University of Maine’s Office of Student Records has published its most recent newsletter. The February–April 2014 issue of the quarterly newsletter “For the Record” is available online.

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Building Community Through Cultural Works

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 08:23

The University of Maine Humanities Initiative will host the second annual Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day at various downtown locations on Saturday, May 17.

From 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., free events for participants of all ages will be offered at venues such as the UMaine Museum of Art, Bangor Public Library, Maine Discovery Museum and the Brick Church.

The Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day was created in 2013 as part of the University of Maine Humanities Initiative (UMHI) to create a better forum for connecting UMaine faculty, staff and students with the general public in our region of the state, according to organizer and UMaine history professor Liam Riordan.

“The goal of the day is to share high-quality cultural work of all sorts that stimulates thought in a fun and informal setting. From student research to music, movies, visual arts and conversation, the day offers a range of engaging events,” Riordan says.

Local partners of the day are Bangor PechaKucha, Downtown Bangor Arts Collaborative, KahBang, Northeast Historic Film, River City Cinema and the string ensemble of The Eastern Maine Pops Orchestra (TEMPO) for Young Musicians.

Featured events include:

10:30 a.m. to noon

  • National History Day Open House at the Bangor Public Library where prize-winning research by middle and high school students will be on display

11 a.m.

  • Graphic novel author and illustrator Jimmy Gownley at The Briar Patch

12:30 p.m.

  • University of Maine Museum of Art sculpture lecture by Andy Mauery, UMaine art professor, and a photography exhibit tour led by George Kinghorn, UMMA’s director and curator

1:30 p.m.

  • TEMPO youth string ensemble performances at the Maine Discovery Museum

3 p.m.

  • Student and parent discussion at the Bangor Public Library about National History Day’s national competition in Washington, D.C.

4 p.m.

  • Northeast Historic Film’s world premiere public showing of three short films shot by Bangor resident Charles E. Gilbert in 1929, co-hosted with River City Cinema and KahBang at the Brick Church

6 p.m.

  • Humanities 20×20 PechaKucha presentations by UMaine faculty and local practitioners at the Brick Church, co-hosted with PechaKucha Bangor and the Downtown Bangor Arts Collaborative

The Downtown Bangor Public Humanities Day is one of several UMHI events planned for 2014. The initiative, housed in UMaine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and established in 2010, advances the teaching, research and community outreach of the arts and humanities to enrich the lives of all Maine residents.

More information about UMHI and a complete Bangor Public Humanities Day schedule are online. Details are also available on the Bangor Public Humanities Day event page on Facebook.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

categories: blue sky news, liberal arts and sciences, outreach, pathway 1

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Communicating Value, Importance of Humanities

University of Maine News - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 08:23

The University of Maine Humanities Initiative (UMHI) and the Maine Humanities Council will host the second annual Maine Humanities Summit at the Governor Hill Mansion in Augusta on Friday, May 16.

This year’s summit, “The Humanities and Public Policy,” will feature speakers from across the nation who will discuss ways humanities administrators, faculty and the general public can effectively communicate the value and importance of the humanities to residents and media.

“The summit offers the opportunity to speak to the public and legislators in concrete terms about how important humanities are to our state’s civic and economic well-being,” says Justin Wolff, UMHI director and an associate professor of art history at UMaine. “We hope to persuade policymakers that funding these areas from kindergarten up through higher education is a strong investment with a high return.”

Wolff says in a time of increasing emphasis on STEM education, it’s important to remember the value of the humanities, as well.

“The humanities form the foundation of all disciplines,” he says. “They teach critical writing and communication skills, as well as awareness and sensitivity to place and identity.”

For example, Wolff says, if an engineer plans to build a bridge, it’s important for them to understand the cultural heritage and the needs and desires of the people who live in the region that would be affected by the bridge.

Humanities advocates are often faced with the challenge of not having the hard data that STEM backers may have, according to Wolff.

“It’s very hard for humanities advocates to find and share the hard data to prove what we know. We know the value of critical thinking, and we know employers want workers with the skills the humanities teach, but it can be hard to prove it with charts and graphs,” he says. 

About 60 humanities constituents from throughout the state attended last year’s summit. Participants came together to talk about areas of broad concern, new initiatives and programs, and ways to coordinate efforts to advocate humanities. Wolff says the inaugural event led to encouraging conversations, including the idea to make future summits more instrumental.

In an effort to make the second summit more focused, the organizers decided to give this year’s event a theme — “Humanities and Public Policy.” The summit will feature speakers from around the nation who will discuss subjects in one of three areas: advocating the humanities through the use of data and media; the humanities and education policy; and the importance of cultural tourism and the humanities to the state’s economy.

Scheduled speakers include Maine residents, including Hugh French, director of the Tides Institute & Museum of Art in Eastport; and Laura Lindenfeld, an associate professor of communication and journalism at UMaine; as well as national leaders of humanities advocacy, such as Stephen Kidd, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance; and Theda Skocpol, director of the Scholars Strategy Network and Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University.

UMaine President Paul Ferguson; Jeff Hecker, UMaine’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost; and Hayden Anderson, executive director of the Maine Humanities Council, are slated to give opening remarks.

“Anyone interested in humanities will gain something from the summit,” Wolff says. “It’s meant to initiate lasting partnerships and collaborations. We want to throw possibilities out and see them take root. It offers a place for people to share ideas for coherent and effective advocacy.”

The summit is one of several UMHI events planned for 2014 and serves as a key program in the initiative’s outreach efforts. The initiative, housed in UMaine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and established in 2010, advances the teaching, research and community outreach of the arts and humanities to enrich the lives of all Maine residents.

The mission of UMHI is twofold: To support and promote the excellent humanities scholarship being created on campus, and to bring that research and scholarship into contact with all Maine residents through an aspect known as public humanities, according to Wolff.

“UMHI is a very strong advocate of the public humanities and efforts to break down walls between the university and the community at large,” Wolff says, adding that UMaine humanities professors and students are working on behalf of all Maine residents.

More information on the Maine Humanities Summit and UMHI is online.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

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