Seacoast Online reported on recent archaeological findings on land protected by Seabrook Station nuclear power plant in New Hampshire by Brian Robinson, a professor of anthropology and quaternary and climate studies at the University of Maine. The 4,000-year-old artifacts, which range from fish bones to archaeological remnants of Native American huts, tell researchers about the lives of indigenous people, what they fished, and possibly why some fish species no longer exist in the Gulf of Maine, according to Robinson, who led a recent excavation. Robinson was accompanied by graduate students from UMaine and the University of Connecticut, and the team completed the excavation over the course of three weeks, according to the article. In the 1970s, Robinson and his team discovered human remains on the same site, which have since been returned to the Abenaki tribe, as well as swordfish remains, which indicated the species, now gone from the Gulf of Maine, was abundant 4,000 years ago, the article states. “We’re doing things we can do now that we could literally not do 40 years ago,” Robinson said. “We keep getting more and more precise perspectives and that takes increasingly precise work.”
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Kristy Townsend, a neurobiology professor at the University of Maine, about the “Body Worlds” exhibit that’s set to open in the new Portland Science Center. The exhibit offers visitors the chance to see the interconnectedness of the human body through cadavers that have been treated with plastination, a method of halting decomposition and preserving by replacing bodily fluids with plastics such as silicon rubber, according to the report. “Body Worlds” first appeared in Japan in the late ’90s and has since been displayed in major cities throughout the world to more than 40 million people, making it the most popular exhibition of all time, the report states. “I think the controversy that surrounds the initial plastination experiments is a little unsettling at first, but I actually think the exhibit does a great job of getting people excited about science and about their own bodies,” Townsend said, adding she saw the exhibit in London about seven years ago, and will encourage her students to see it in Maine. “I do think for people interested in a career in medicine, this is maybe one of the first times they can see inside the human body. So I think it’s a great opportunity for pre-med students,” she said.
Robert Seymour, the Curtis Hutchins Professor of Forest Resources at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Bangor Daily News editorial, “Maine can’t cut more trees from its public forests on a whim.” As lawmakers left Augusta last month, they left a debate unsettled about how much wood to cut from Maine’s public forests, how to use the revenue from those logging operations, and what will become of $11.5 million in voter-approved, land-protection bonds, according to the article. In the coming weeks, a commission will start discussing parts of the debate, the article states. Over the past decade, the Bureau of Public Lands has generally had conservative harvest levels and seen tree growth on public lands that is 18 percent faster than all of Maine’s other forests, according to the article. “What that means is their foresters practice a level of forest management that is more refined,” Seymour said. With more wood on its lands and recent favorable harvesting conditions, the bureau has increased its cut over the past seven years, the article states. “That the harvest can go up now, I think, is a tribute to their excellent historical stewardship,” Seymour said.
WABI (Channel 5), Maine Public Broadcasting Network and WVII (Channel 7) reported on a telemedicine conference and discussion held at the University of Maine. Health care provided through a video conference helps connect Maine’s rural areas to better health care resources, WABI reported. Sen. Angus King, who participated in the conference and an accompanying sensor lab tour, led the roundtable discussion on the need to increase federal investment and support for telemedicine. King said he would also like to see regulatory changes that can improve access to vital health care services for people, especially the elderly, in rural states like Maine, according to MPBN.
Approximately 30 area law enforcement officers were on campus Aug. 12 for a daylong training program hosted by the University of Maine Police Department. The program that focused on cultural awareness and professionalism for police officers was led by Francis Amoroso, the New England regional director with the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service (CRS). CRS offers training programs to help state, local, and tribal governments and communities address racial and ethnic conflict, and prevent and respond to violent hate crimes committed on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or disability, according to the Justice Department website. Amoroso has offered this training for central Maine area law enforcement agencies in the past, and according to UMaine Police Chief Roland Lacroix, this and other awareness programming is an important part of the department’s responsibility to the safety of members of the UMaine community — one of Maine’s most diverse communities.
As climate policies evolve through the legislative process, public acceptance and support may change, as well. A recent study conducted by a team of University of Maine researchers found that even though acceptance is an important process through which policy perceptions and economic ideology influence support, acceptance doesn’t always lead to support.
Through a national survey of Australian residents to better understand the role elections play in changing the public’s view on policies, the team determined acceptance and support for the country’s carbon pricing policy remained stable before and after the 2013 federal election.
Stacia Dreyer, a former Ph.D. student with the School of Economics, Department of Psychology and the Sustainability Solutions Initiative, led the study that was published online Aug. 10 in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Dreyer worked with Mario Teisl, director of the UMaine School of Economics and professor of resource economics and policy; Shannon McCoy, an associate professor of psychology at UMaine; and Iain Walker, researcher at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Floreat, Western Australia and the University of Western Australia’s School of Psychology in Crawley. Dreyer is now a research associate in the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington.
The team conducted the survey to investigate acceptance of, and support for, the Australian carbon pricing policy two weeks before and two weeks after the election, and how perceptions of the policy, economic ideology and voting behavior affect acceptance and support.
Acceptance, a positive attitude toward an existing policy; and support, which adds an active behavioral component; were stable before and after the election, even though the climate policy was a highly contentious topic and despite that different policy outcomes were expected depending upon election results, according to the researchers.
Policy acceptance was higher than support at both times, and acceptance did not always lead to support, making acceptance a necessary but insufficient condition of support, and highlighting the necessity of measuring acceptance and support as two distinct concepts, the researchers say. Additionally, they found higher levels of perceived fairness and effectiveness were associated with increased levels of acceptance and support, whereas higher levels of free-market ideology were associated with decreased levels of acceptance for and support of the carbon pricing policy.
The report, “Australians’ views on carbon pricing before and after the 2013 federal election,” is online. This is the third article from Dreyer’s dissertation to be published, and the second to be published with UMaine researchers Teisl and McCoy.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 581.3747
Entomology Today published a University of Maine news release on Edith Marion Patch, UMaine’s first female entomologist, and a newly published biography by Cassie Gibbs, UMaine’s second female entomologist. The biography, “Without Benefits from Insects: The Story of Edith M. Patch of the University of Maine,” is a publication of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station. Its publication coincided with UMaine’s 150th anniversary. “Edith Patch is recognized as the first truly successful professional woman entomologist in the United States,” Gibbs said. “She was among the early scientists to write and speak of the threats to the environment from the widespread applications of chemical insecticides and to bring this to the public’s attention.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education spoke with Jeff Thaler, assistant university counsel and a visiting professor of energy policy, law and ethics at the University of Maine, for the article “Why a global education doesn’t have to mean going abroad.” According to the article, some educators believe that given the diversity of the United States, it’s no longer necessary to cross national borders to give students beneficial intercultural skills and global experience colleges. The article mentioned an immersive program founded by Thaler that places Williams College students in the homes of Portland immigrants and refugees and gives them the opportunity to volunteer in schools or with community groups. Over seven years, Thaler has placed students with families from Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, according to the article. Thaler said one student who had also studied overseas told him she was challenged more in Portland “because abroad she felt like a visitor. Here, she was still in the U.S. yet immersed in a culture not her own. It made the experience richer.”
Liam Riordan, director of the University of Maine Humanities Center, was an Aug. 13 guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio program. The show, titled “The importance of humanities,” focused on how and why the humanities matter in not only the academic world, but the world at large. William “Bro” Adams, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, also was a guest. Adams will be delivering a keynote address at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 13, at Point Lookout in Northport as part of a free public Celebration of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Humanities in Maine, coordinated by the UMaine Humanities Center.
The Lincoln County News reported on the Darling Marine Center’s 50th anniversary celebration. Events included free walking tours of the campus in July and August, a seminar series called Science on Tap hosted by faculty and staff at the Newcastle Publick House, and an open house at the center with family-friendly activities. “The Darling Marine Center is a really strong node for marine science in research and teaching on the coast of Maine and of the Northeast region,” said Heather Leslie, DMC director. “We are known as the birthplace of oyster aquaculture and the leading work on developing the oyster farming industry was done here in the 1980s.” The open house included a touch tank, face painting, and block printing for children, and buildings including the electron microscopy lab and shellfish hatchery were open for the public to tour and learn more about the research at the DMC, according to the article. “A lot of the visitors who live around here were amazed at what all goes on,” said Mary Jane Perry, a professor of oceanography at the DMC.
Tim Godaire, a graduate student at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, is featured in a Bangor Daily News article about Climate Ride Northeast, a 320-mile journey from Bar Harbor to Boston, scheduled for Sept. 17–21.
The inaugural ride, according to the article, is expected to raise $400,000 to support organizations involved with environmental causes and cycling advocacy.
“I registered because I wanted to make a difference with these Maine organizations (Bangor Land Trust, Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby),” said Godaire, who, according to the article, used social media and sent letters asking friends for donations to meet the required $2,800 to participate in the ride.
“As a student studying climate science, I’m aware of the urgency and need for climate action, community awareness, and alternative sources of energy and transportation,” Godaire said in the article. “Participating in the Climate Ride Northeast allows me to raise funds for organizations that address these particular issues within my local community and on a national scale.”
University of Maine head football coach Jack Cosgrove and his staff will host “Coach Cos’ Football 101 for Women” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10.
The interactive workshop is designed to teach women who have never played football the basics such as offensive and defensive strategies as well as what to look for when watching a game.
The first part of the workshop will feature light refreshments as Cosgrove and the staff discuss the fundamentals of the game and hold a question-and-answer session.
The second section will include a tour of the UMaine football facilities as well as a chance to participate in optional drills on the field.
Attendees should wear comfortable clothing and athletic shoes for the walking tour and drills.
The event is $25; $10 for UMaine students. Tickets can be reserved online. All participants receive a T-shirt, and proceeds benefit the UMaine football program. Registration deadline is Sept. 7.
For more information, call 581.1086.
The University of Maine Hutchinson Center has received a second disbursement for $450,000 from the estate of Belfast, Maine resident Marilyn Duane to benefit scholarships and outreach efforts.
Duane’s attorney and friend Lee Woodward presented an initial disbursement of $500,000 to the Hutchinson Center on April 15. Woodward, who is handling Marilyn Duane’s estate with co-personal representative Cindy MacLeod-Klewin, anticipates that, when the estate is settled, the proceeds will total just over $1 million to the Hutchinson Center for scholarships.
“The Marilyn Duane Scholarships will make higher education more affordable and accessible than ever before for people in the mid-coast region who want to start or complete a University of Maine degree,” said University of Maine President Susan J. Hunter. “Marilyn’s generosity and vision have the potential to change the lives of countless students.”
Marilyn Johnson Duane grew up in Bangor, the daughter of Dr. Henry and Dorothy Carlton Johnson. Marilyn and her late husband, James T. Duane, retired to Belfast in 1987. James was an early computer engineer who worked for General Electric and was a member of the Belfast Rotary Club. Marilyn was a member of the Belfast Garden Club and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Marilyn was inspired by the work of UMaine alumnus James Patterson, founding director of the Hutchinson Center and a member of the Belfast Rotary, who she said opened the door for students to access quality, affordable higher education in a supportive, flexible environment.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we deeply appreciate the support the Duane Estate has provided Belfast’s Hutchinson Center,” said University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page. “This gift acknowledges the significant contributions the center is making in the mid-coast region, and it contributes to our efforts to make university programing more affordable and accessible for the people of Maine.”
With the gifts from the Marilyn Duane estate, three funds have been established:
- The James C. Patterson Scholarship Fund will award scholarships to non-matriculated students served by the Hutchinson Center who are enrolled in a University of Maine undergraduate or graduate coursework.
- The Marilyn Duane Scholarship Fund will benefit University of Maine System matriculated students with financial need who are served by the Hutchinson Center.
- The Marilyn and James T. Duane Community Outreach Fund focuses on creating access to lifelong learning opportunities that otherwise would not be available. The fund will be used for educational programming at the Hutchinson Center for personal enrichment, professional development, continuing education and/or early college opportunities at reduced or no cost to participants.
“Marilyn Duane has provided an incredible scholarship legacy for mid-coast students served by the Fred Hutchinson Center of the University of Maine,” Patterson said. “I am honored to be mentioned as one of the team working to develop the Hutchinson Center into the community resource it is today.”
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The Washington Post cited a 2004 study by University of Maine communication and journalism professor Paul Grosswiler in the article, “The big cultural debate simmering beneath Google’s new Alphabet name.” Google’s new parent company name, Alphabet, was “designed to evoke the ingenuity of the human spirit,” according to the article, even though more than 1.3 billion people don’t use an alphabet as their primary writing system. The idea that there is a “best” writing system implies that others are inferior, and critics of this theory have argued that this is a Western-centric bias, the article states. “The alphabetic literacy theory has asserted the West’s permanent superiority over the East due to the psychological and cultural effects of the alphabet. Science, philosophy, logic, rationality, democracy and monotheism are said to be inextricably linked to the alphabet in this theory,” Grosswiler wrote in his 2004 study, “Dispelling the Alphabet Effect,” which was published in the Canadian Journal of Communication. Rationality is a common characteristic to all human cultures, the article states. Asian concepts of yin and yang, as well as theories of elemental properties such as fire and water, could be thought of as a kind of classification system for explaining nature, according to Grossweiler.
Ed Grew, a research professor of geological sciences at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Quanta Magazine article about whether geology is predictable or if Earth’s mineral composition is due to chance events. The answer, according to the article, could help scientists identify planets likely to harbor life. Robert Hazen, a mineral physicist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory, worked with collaborators including Grew to investigate the role chance played in mineral formation. They found the more abundant the element, the more minerals it formed, according to the article. Grew, a co-author of the study, said the results still support the idea of determinism because “we can explain why they’re not obeying the rules.” The team also found evidence for the role of chance by using a database to retrieve more than 650,000 mineral observations at specific locations around the world. Twenty-two percent of all minerals were reported in only one place, and 12 percent were found in only two places, according to the article. The rare minerals might appear only under unforeseen circumstances, such as an unusual assembly of rocks that concentrates elements together, the article states. “It’d be like if you threw together a whole mess of ingredients and cooked it up, and it came out to be a prize-winning culinary dish,” Grew said.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on a new $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR program that will fund a four-year study examining the future of dams in New England. The project marks an expansion in partners and scope for the New England Sustainability Consortium (NEST), adding Rhode Island to the existing partnership between Maine and New Hampshire. The study will look at strengthening connections between scientists and decision-makers on a number of options including maintaining existing hydropower dams, expanding hydropower capacity, and removing aging dams in order to restore fisheries, according to the report. The NEST team says solutions to sustainability challenges require a collaborative approach in which researchers from the natural sciences, social sciences, engineering and humanities combine their expertise. UMaine researchers on the project include David Hart, Sharon Klein, Bridie McGreavy, Darren Ranco, Sean Smith and Joe Zydlewski.
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece “We should prepare for the worst consequences of climate change,” by Michael Howard, a philosophy professor at the University of Maine. Howard is a member of the Maine chapter of the national 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 Forecaster reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will host a fundraising event to support the gardens and outdoor classrooms at the UMaine Gardens at Tidewater Farm in Falmouth. The Taste of Tidewater event will be held 5–8 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Episcopal Church of Saint Mary Parish House. The event will include food, music and art. The gardens are an educational project on about three acres of land operated by the UMaine Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County, according to the article. Amy Witt, a horticulturist with UMaine Extension, said the space is mostly used as teaching gardens and outdoor classrooms to show people how to grow their own food and plants and learn sustainable practices, the article states. “Everything we do here has an educational component,” Witt said.
The Maine Edge carried a University of Maine news release about a hike and memorial service to honor fallen service members from UMaine and surrounding communities. The Summit Project (TSP) event will take place Saturday, Sept. 26 with a walk from the Maine Veterans Home in Bangor to Alfond Stadium on the UMaine campus for the military appreciation football game. As part of the event, hikers will carry engraved TSP memorial stones that have been donated by family members to represent their fallen loved ones. Volunteers will learn about the service members whose stone they will carry, write a letter for the service member’s family, and read it during a memorial service on campus following the trek. About 25 hiking spots are available with preference being given to the military family community at UMaine. Backup hikers may be assigned. A registration form is available online. Spots are limited.
The first Northern Maine Rural Living Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum, 1664 U.S. Route 1, Littleton.
Class topics include livestock barns and fences, buying used farm equipment, raising livestock and poultry, gardening and soil health, cheese-making, and food preservation methods, including canning and root cellaring. A panel discussion on sustainable beekeeping will be held, and there will be youth activities, livestock displays, craft demonstrations and a harvest lunch with local foods.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Southern Aroostook Soil & Water Conservation District are co-sponsors of the event. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 532.6548, 800.287.1469 (in Maine) or visit the website.