The Maine Edge reported on scheduled public star shows for the month of March at the University of Maine’s Emera Astronomy Center. The Maynard F. Jordan Planetarium shows are held 7 p.m. Fridays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Friday nights in March feature “Undiscovered Worlds,” an exploration of the hundreds of planets orbiting stars beyond the sun. For younger sky watchers, Sunday afternoon shows introduce a medium-sized yellow star making his way through space in “Little Star that Could.” Admission to all shows is $6, and seating is limited.
The Bangor Daily News previewed the 77th Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show to be held at the University of Maine. The event will be held in the New Balance Field House Friday through Sunday, March 6–8. The Penobscot County Conservation Association event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that are given back to students studying conservation-oriented subjects at Maine colleges in the form of scholarships, according to the article.
The University of Maine College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the 2015 Maine Science Festival will present a public talk by an Academy-Award winning computer scientist from Pixar Animation Studios on March 20.
Tony DeRose, a senior scientist and lead of the Research Group at Pixar, will give the free public talk, “Recent Research at Pixar,” 3:10 p.m. in Bennett Hall, Room 137 on the UMaine campus. DeRose will speak about how the computer animation film studio views research and problems, and how scientists interact with production. He will also highlight a few recent research projects at Pixar.
While at UMaine, DeRose will meet with university students, faculty and staff; hear research presentations; tour several research facilities; and take part in a roundtable discussion on how the university can build collaborations in art, science, technology and engineering.
For more information about DeRose’s public talk or to request a disability accommodation, contact Claire Sullivan at 581.1924 or email@example.com.
DeRose received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of California, Davis, and has a doctorate in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a computer science and engineering professor at the University of Washington from 1986 to 1995. In 1998, he contributed to the Academy-Award winning short film “Geri’s Game.” He also received the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award in 1999 and a Scientific and Technical Academy Award in 2006.
The inaugural Maine Science Festival is set for March 20–22 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The event aims to teach participants of all ages about science while bringing them together with Maine’s science and technology experts, including UMaine. DeRose is the festival’s headliner and is scheduled to make the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. March 21.
More about the Maine Science Festival is online.
University of Maine students with Alternative Breaks, a student-lead organization that promotes community involvement, are spending their Spring Break volunteering throughout the United States.
Since 1998, Alternative Breaks has been organizing trips for UMaine students to provide volunteer service to others. This year, the nonprofit is sending out seven volunteer groups of 11 students. The more than 70 students, along with faculty and graduate student trip advisers, are spending one week of Spring Break on volunteer work.
One of the groups is traveling to Macon, Georgia to work with Rebuilding Macon, a volunteer organization that works with the community to rehabilitate the houses of low-income homeowners, particularly the elderly and disabled. While in Macon, the students plan to build two wheelchair ramps, paint two houses, repair two house ceilings and prepare six houses for painting, according to Rebuilding Macon.
Other volunteer locations in March:
- Frankie’s World day care center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro, North Carolina
- Friends of Rockaway community-based nonprofit in Far Rockaway, New York
- Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, Virginia
- Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and Animal Refuge in Savannah, Tennessee
- Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center on New York City
More information about Alternative Breaks is online.
For Nancy Bunting, farming hasn’t always been a bowl of cherries.
But it has included harvesting thousands of pounds of the sour fruit for Allagash Brewing Company to use in its beer.
In honor of Bunting, the Portland brewer named its October 2014 limited edition copper-colored beer “Nancy.”
The sour red ale tastes like a medley of tart cherry, citrus and pie spice, according to Jeff Perkins, brewmaster at Allagash Brewing Company. Its aroma is described as a blend of cherries, bread crust and cinnamon.
Bunting says she’s blessed to work with Allagash and to be the namesake of a niche brew.
For more than two decades, Bunting and her husband Earl have experienced both blessings and challenges associated with farming.
They own Doles Orchard, situated atop a ridge in Limington where guests pick their own fruit — including cherries, raspberries, peaches, plums, pears, strawberries, elderberries, blueberries and 25 varieties of apples — as well as go on hayrides and enjoy homemade pies and preserves.
During off-seasons, Earl has worked in carpentry and Nancy has waitressed.
The Buntings’ relationship with Allagash began in 2010, when brewers at the Portland, Maine-based company inquired about purchasing their sour cherries to use making Coolship Cerise, a traditional, Belgian-inspired spontaneously fermented beer.
Since that time, the Buntings have supplied Rob Tod’s company with more than 6,000 pounds of cherries that they picked, packed and delivered in wooden apple boxes that they built.
Allagash brewers continued using the tart fruit in the Coolship Cerise releases. And they were so impressed with the quality of the cherries, they decided to build a beer around them.
“Their fruit inspired us to brew ‘Nancy,’” says Perkins. “Over the years, we’ve been honored to develop a relationship with Earl and Nancy and we have been so inspired by their approach to farming. Because the cherries were from them, it was appropriate to make reference to their farm.”
Bunting laughs recalling that Allagash initially proposed naming the distinctive brew after her husband.
“Then they found out there already was a beer named Earl,” she says light-heartedly. “I’m second fiddle to Earl.”
Allagash employees also were impressed with the rustic boxes in which the Buntings delivered the cherries and asked if they could manufacture crates to hold 24 bottles of beer. The couple has since sold nearly 6,000 of the stylish, practical containers to the company.
“Selling beer in wood crates is traditional in Belgium,” says Perkins. “We wanted to do something like that for our own beers sold at the brewery.”
Nancy says she enjoys the independence of being a farmer and developing niche markets — including homemade crates and boxes and slate coasters.
While building boxes two years ago, Nancy severed four fingers in a table saw accident. Emergency room care, surgery and follow-up visits took a financial toll, as the Buntings didn’t have health insurance. But they worked out a payment plan and Nancy devised ways to adapt and continue to work on the farm.
“I’m still amazed at how much I can accomplish relatively hassle-free,” she says, adding she has been humbled by the generosity and goodwill of family and friends.
She’s also been humbled by Allagash Brewing — which routinely gives back to the community by donating some of its profits to local organizations.
When Allagash officials asked her which group she’d like a portion of Nancy’s proceeds to be donated to, Bunting did some online research. Her daughter in California told her about AgrAbility — the nationwide U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded program established to assist farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers and farm family members impacted by a limiting health condition.
The Maine AgrAbility program is a nonprofit collaboration between University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. It assists farmers, fishermen and forest workers with challenges or limitations so they may continue to be productive and work safely — all of which Nancy could readily identify with.
And the Buntings already had a solid connection with UMaine Extension. For years, Nancy and her husband have sought expert advice from UMaine Extension educators about farming topics — from garden pests to egg production.
So Nancy asked Allagash officials to spread their generosity and good cheer to Maine AgrAbility.
Maine AgrAbility program coordinator Lani Carlson says since the project formed in 2010, it has provided technical information to 247 farmers and conducted on-site assessments and recommendations for 75 others whose agricultural businesses include dairies, Christmas tree farms, vegetable stands and hay sales.
Maine AgrAbility clientele, says Carlson, has included area farmers with chronic health impairments, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, as well as with aging-related issues, including arthritis and hearing loss.
To educate people about the program is a huge thing,” Nancy says. “I’m happy to be getting the word out about this great program and all the ways it can help people.”
To date, Allagash Brewing Company has gifted nearly $10,000 to the organization.
“We are greatly honored to receive this gift,” says Richard Brzozowski, director of the Maine AgrAbility program. “The money will help us in our mission to assist Maine farmers and growers who have chronic health issues or injuries to gain more control over their lives and to continue to farm successfully.”
Talk about a cherry on top.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Three Maine women and a teen who are leaders in social justice, community advocacy and cultural preservation will be honored at the 29th annual Maryann Hartman Awards on March 24 at the University of Maine.
This year’s Maryann Hartman Award recipients are Maria Girouard of Orono for her advocacy for the preservation of the cultural heritage and rights of the Penobscot Nation; Deborah Thompson of Bangor for her work on recognizing and preserving the rich architectural history of Bangor; and Florence Reed of Surry, for her initiative in creating Sustainable Harvest International, connecting Maine to the global community.
Girouard, Thompson and Reed join 88 distinguished Maine women who have been honored with Maryann Hartman Awards, named for the late UMaine associate professor of speech communication who was a renowned educator, feminist, scholar and humanist. Hartman Awards are given by UMaine’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program to recognize Maine women for their inspirational achievements in the arts, politics, business, education, healthcare and community service.
High school senior Nicole Maines of Portland will receive the Young Women’s Social Justice Award. She is the 17th recipient of the award, begun in 2001 to recognize young women who have distinguished themselves through their dedication and contributions to justice and social change.
The Maryann Hartman Awards Ceremony will be held 5:30–7:30 p.m., March 24 in UMaine’s Buchanan Alumni House. This year, the free public event is part of Women’s Leadership Week, a University of Maine 150th anniversary observance. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.1228.
Short biographies of this year’s award winners follow:
Maria Girouard, member of the Penobscot Nation, is an historian and environmental activist. She is the health and wellness coordinator for Wabanaki Health and Wellness, which serves all tribally enrolled Native Americans in Penobscot, Washington and Aroostook counties. Girouard also serves as a community organizer for the Penobscot Nation in the Maine-Wabanaki REACH, which is investigating and reporting on Wabanaki experiences with the Maine child welfare services. She is the former director of the Penobscot Nation’s Department of Cultural and Historic Preservation. Girouard’s activism work centers on water quality.
Deborah Thompson has been a major force in the historic preservation movement in Maine for nearly 40 years. She was largely responsible for Bangor’s Historic Preservation ordinance, which was the first in Maine. In the 1970s and 1980s, she conducted an extensive preservation survey of Bangor that still informs local and state preservation commissions. She has since conducted several other surveys throughout the state. She is the author of Bangor, Maine, 1769–1914: An Architectural History and edited Maine Forms of American. She is currently at work on a book about Bangor architect Wilfred Mansur with co-author Earl G. Shettleworth Jr., director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.
Florence Reed is the founder of Sustainable Harvest International (SHI). In the early ’90s, Reed worked in environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, and launched SHI in 1997 in the basement of her parents’ home. Today, the successful nonprofit dedicated to environmental conservation and alleviating poverty is found in three Central American countries. SHI provides farming families in Central America with the tools and resources to overcome poverty, and focuses on efforts to preserve tropical forests.
Nicole Maines of Portland has been actively involved in challenging gender norms in Maine and nationwide. Maines advocates for the equal rights of all members of the LBGT community. At age 13, she was instrumental in helping defeat a bill in Maine that would have limited transgender rights. She has also set legal precedent in protecting the rights of transgender people’s use of public bathrooms and access to all school facilities, programs and extracurricular activities in a way that is consistent with their gender identity. Maines speaks nationwide about her personal experiences, and continues to advocate on behalf of transgender children and adults.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece, “Maine’s older adults need affordable housing options” by Jennifer Crittenden, the fiscal and administrative officer of the University of Maine Center on Aging. Crittenden 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.
Kenneth Palmer, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting article “History shows LePage faces uphill battle to change state constitution.” According to the article, Gov. Paul LePage wants amendments to the Constitution of the State of Maine that would replace the secretary of state position with a lieutenant governor and get rid of the income tax. LePage also said he is considering proposing an amendment that would change the way the state elects its treasurer and attorney general, from election by the legislature to either a popular election or appointment by the governor, the article states. According to records at the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library, of the approximately 1,200 amendments proposed in the state’s history, 172 have been approved by the legislature and voters. “I think the point is, the constitution reflects Maine culture, which is relatively moderate, doesn’t like a lot of rapid change, but does want to keep things up to date,” Palmer said. Seacoast Online and the Bangor Daily News carried the report.
WABI (Channel 5) reported the executive director of the Municipal Review Committee (MRC), a group representing the trash disposal needs of nearly 190 Maine towns, updated the Hampden Town Council on a proposed solid waste processing facility that will turn trash into biofuel. At the meeting, the MRC told councilors they reached an agreement with Maryland-based company Fiberight to build the facility, according to the report. Committee members also said they were pleased with the findings of a report by students from the University of Maine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) led by Hemant Pendse, a UMaine professor who leads the FBRI research team focused on creating and commercializing new bioproducts. The team was tasked with studying Fiberight’s operations to determine if its technology will work in the colder temperatures of Maine.
WVII (Channel 7) reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and FoodCorps are offering a free cooking class for income-eligible families April 29–May 20 at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office in Skowhegan. The four-session class is designed for income-eligible families with children living at home. Parents will be taught how to prepare quick and easy meals while youth make healthy snacks. Participants who complete the program will receive a cooking kit that includes recipes and kitchen tools.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine Cooperative Extension news release announcing a one-year poultry egg business project that it’s offering to 4-H members ages 9–18 and their families. The statewide project is intended to generate income for participants and provide learning experiences in business, entrepreneurship, keeping records, documentation, problem-solving, food safety and animal husbandry. Participants will learn and follow state and local regulations for producing and selling poultry eggs.
More than 50 summer camps from around the state are expected to participate in the University of Maine’s fourth annual Summer Camp Fair for Kids 4–7 p.m. March 11 in the New Balance Student Recreation Center on campus.
Camp representatives will be on hand to provide information and answer questions about the available programming for children and teenagers.
Formerly known as the Camp Bangor Fair and hosted by the United Way of Eastern Maine and associated with the Camp Bangor Program, the event typically attracts more than 500 visitors. Parents and children interested in local and regional summer camps are encouraged to attend.
The fair is free and open to the public. All attendees will receive a free day pass to the New Balance Student Recreation Center.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and FoodCorps are offering a free cooking class for income-eligible families 5–6 p.m. Wednesdays, April 29–May 20 at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan.
The four-session class is designed for income-eligible families with children living at home. Parents will be taught how to prepare quick and easy main meals while youth make healthy snacks. Participants who complete the program will receive a cooking kit that includes recipes and kitchen tools.
For more information, including questions about eligibility, as well as to register and request disability accommodations, call 207.474.9622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Maine’s Climate Future: 2015 Update,” a new report from the University of Maine, was featured in stories by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and the Associated Press. The report highlights the effects of climate change in Maine, such as intense precipitation events, warming temperatures in the atmosphere and ocean, and rising sea levels. Ivan Fernandez, a professor in the UMaine School of Forest Resources, Climate Change Institute and School of Food and Agriculture, is one of the report’s authors. He said the next 35 years will likely bring as much change to the state’s climate as the last 100. Fernandez said those changes included about three degrees in temperature warming, two weeks longer of a growing season and a sea level rise of about six-tenths of a foot, the AP reported. Seacoast Online, I-95 (95.7 FM), WGME (Channel 13 in Portland) and WRAL-TV (in North Carolina) carried the AP article.
John Mahon, the John M. Murphy Chair of International Business Policy and Strategy at the University of Maine, and Michael Hastings, director of UMaine’s Office of Sponsored Programs, wrote an opinion piece for the Portland Press Herald. The article is titled “Public university students should get two years of free tuition.”
Dustin Sleight, an engineering student at the University of Maine, spoke with WVII (Channel 7) about a research project he is raising funds for at UMaine’s Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction (VEMI) Laboratory. Sleight and other undergraduate students have started a Kickstarter campaign to aid the purchase of a virtual reality motion platform that would be used with other VEMI equipment, such as the driving simulator that calculates reaction time. “I think engineering in general, there’s an obligation to do something good for the community, good for an individual, good for the progress of humankind,” Sleight said.
The Ellsworth American reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Eat Well Volunteers Program in Hancock County is recruiting volunteers for its second season. Participants will be trained to teach clients of food pantries and community meal sites about nutrition, food safety and preparation, and using fresh garden produce, according to the article. The hands-on volunteer training consists of six weekly sessions starting in April at the Hancock County Extension Office. The training fee is $60, and partial scholarships and payment plans are available.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release announcing the University Singer’s spring tour. Under the direction of Francis Vogt, a School of Performing Arts faculty member, the group of about 60 singers will perform several free concerts around central and northern Maine in March as part of the choir’s annual spring tour. The tour kicks off March 9 at Stearns High School in Millinocket. Other free concerts are scheduled in Presque Isle, Madawaska, South Paris and Augusta. The tour ends with two performances at Minsky Recital Hall on the UMaine campus in Orono at 7:30 p.m. March 21 and 2 p.m. March 22. Tickets for the Orono shows are $9, or free with a valid student MaineCard. Tickets are available at the Collins Center box office by calling 581.1755.
Chef, author and sustainable food system expert Barton Seaver is being honored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center (MCSPC) as a Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow at a reception at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, at the University Club in Fogler Library at the University of Maine.
This event, originally slated for Jan. 27, was rescheduled due to inclement weather.
Seaver works collaboratively with industry and institution leaders, policymakers, media and conservationists and is a leading voice for sustainable food systems. The director of the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health spearheads initiatives to inform citizens about how menu and diet choices can promote healthier people, more secure food supplies and thriving communities.
“Esquire” magazine’s 2009 Chef of the Year also is on a mission to restore people’s relationship with the ocean, the land, and with each other — through dinner. Seaver is both a National Geographic Society Fellow and the first Sustainability Fellow in Residence at the New England Aquarium, where he educates restaurant and culinary school staffs about sustainable seafood. In 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named Seaver to the United States Culinary Ambassador Corp.
The March 18 event is co-sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine, Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine and the university’s School of Marine Sciences.
The MCSPC, a nonpartisan, independent, research and public service unit of UMaine, brings Fellows to campus each semester to teach an undergraduate class, engage faculty in discussions about research and public policy, tour research projects and meet with UMaine administration and graduate students. By connecting Maine leaders with students and faculty, the program stimulates interest in state policy research and gives policymakers a better understanding of the value of the university.