The Associated Press reported Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, will discuss ongoing conflicts in Syria and the Middle East on Sept. 22, in the Buchanan Alumni House at the University of Maine. Ford, who held the position from 2011 until earlier this year and served 30 years in the U.S. Department of State and Peace Corps, will address how domestic politics and U.S. strategy intersect in Syria in a free talk titled “Syria and Washington Politics — Hard to Agree.” The Washington Times, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, WABI (Channel 5) and Portland Press Herald carried the AP report.
Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Boston Globe article titled, “In Maine, scientists see signs of climate change.” Mayewski said Maine is particularly sensitive to changes in climate more than any other state because of its natural resources and location. “We’re heavily dependent on stability in the environment, but we’re going in the direction of instability. We’re at the beginning of abrupt climate changes,” Mayewski added.
Several University of Maine sustainability practices were mentioned in Portland Press Herald articles about colleges adding sustainability programs and making an effort to go green. The article, “‘Green’ moves into the classroom,” stated starting this fall, UMaine is offering a bachelor of arts degree in Human Dimensions of Climate Change. Dan Dixon, UMaine’s sustainability coordinator, spoke about several UMaine efforts including Blue Bikes, the Terrell House Permaculture Living & Learning Center and campus farms for an article depicting a “perfect green university.”
John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for a report marking the program’s 100th anniversary. At a time when more than 50 percent of Americans lived in the countryside, and 30 percent of the workforce was engaged in farming, the program’s earliest focus was on agricultural education, according to the article. Today, Maine has 16 county offices, and staff and volunteers across the state. Rebar said Extension educators specialize in topics such as the maple syrup industry, aquaculture, goats and small poultry flock management, and the program still focuses on nutrition, childhood obesity prevention and food safety. He said today’s farmers are “eager to learn the latest information on how to produce, store, package and market their harvest,” and they are avid consumers of UMaine Extension’s online resources.
The Bangor Daily News published a report about the University of Maine’s New Balance Field House and Memorial Gym entering the final stages of renovations. PC Construction is nearing completion of the $15.65 million renovation project that has taken place over the past 17 months, according to the article. “It is the heart of our department, with the majority of our programs in the Memorial Gym and the New Balance Field House. It really helps lift our spirits to have seen all this new, positive work being done,” said Will Biberstein, UMaine’s associate athletic director for internal operations, who has helped oversee the project.
University of Maine’s Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Robert Dana and Sandra Caron, a UMaine professor of family relations and human sexuality, were quoted in the Portland Press Herald article, “For Maine advocates, brutish behavior by pro-athletes offers call to action.” Dana said he felt shamed and frightened by the latest acts of violence in the NFL and spoke about the importance of leading male athletes on campus away from bad behavior. “We can’t let up. At our base, we know people are good. Sometimes I feel we need a quiver of a hundred arrows to target the problems,” Dana said. Caron, who formed Male Athletes Against Violence at UMaine in 2004, said, “The message we hope to convey is that men can be part of the solution by taking a stand against violence, sexism and by speaking up when they see or hear about such situations.”
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with Seacoastonline for the article, “Maine gubernatorial race remains a toss-up.” Brewer spoke about the latest polls and how it looks like it will be a tight race between Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, with independent candidate Eliot Cutler coming in third.
The University of Maine will host alumni and parents of current student for the 2014 Homecoming and Parents Weekend. The joint event will take place Friday to Sunday, Oct. 17–19.
The UMaine Alumni Association will host the Homecoming Craft Fair and Maine Marketplace in the newly renovated New Balance Field House. The craft fair runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 18 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19.
This year’s Homecoming will honor the reunion classes of 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009.
A football game against Albany, and two men’s ice hockey games against Union College are among scheduled events. Other activities include the Emera Astronomy Center dedication, a jazz brunch and a silent auction.
A University of Maine marine scientist has won a prestigious award for publishing an outstanding ecological research paper before the age of 40.
Douglas Rasher, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center in Walpole. Maine, received the Mercer Award at the 99th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) Aug. 11, in Sacramento, California.
Rasher joins influential scientists, and some of his role models — E.O. Wilson, Jane Lubchenco, Robert MacArthur and Joseph Connell — as a recipient of the award.
“Over the past half-century, many well-known ecologists received this award for publishing what are now considered ‘classic’ papers,” Rasher says. “These studies shaped who I am as a scientist and how I view the natural world. That makes receiving this award very personal and special to me.”
Rasher was chosen the recipient of the 2014 Mercer Award for his eye-opening study on Fiji’s coral reefs that provided insight into management and conservation of coral reefs.
He was a graduate student at Georgia Institute of Technology when he conducted the research that demonstrated diverse grazing fish are essential to keep coral reefs clean and free of harmful seaweeds that quickly out-compete baby corals for space on the reef.
Clean reefs, he found, are healthy reefs and are better able to recover from hurricanes and other disturbances. Ecology published the study online in June 2013.
The Mercer Award, which has been presented annually since 1948, is named in honor of George Mercer, a young ecologist killed in World War II. ESA gives the award to promote contributions of early-career ecologists.
Bob Steneck, professor of marine ecology and biology at UMaine, said some awards are for a lifetime of achievements — for a job well done.
“Others are bellwethers of great things to come,” he says. “The Ecological Society of America’s Mercer Award is clearly in the later camp.”
Rasher says he pursued funding for a position at UMaine, in general, and the Darling Center, in particular, because it would enable him to work with Steneck, whom he calls a “world-class scientist,” as well as to study “one of today’s most pressing environmental issues.”
Rasher’s awarding-winning research paper, “Consumer diversity interacts with prey defenses to drive ecosystem function,” may be read at online.
Contact: Linda Healy, 207.563.8220
The Bangor Daily News spoke with several University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff members about Question 2 on the November ballot that will ask Maine voters to approve an $8 million bond for animal and plant diagnostic services. The bond would allow UMaine Extension to build a new facility on campus to house labs for the monitoring and testing of insects and pests that plague domestic and wild plants and animals in Maine, the article states. Anne Lichtenwalner, director of UMaine’s Animal Health Laboratory; John Rebar, executive director of UMaine Extension; and Jim Dill, a pest management specialist, spoke about the proposed lab’s benefits, such as early Lyme disease detection.
WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported on the University of Maine’s test of its full emergency notification system. The system, which was established in 2007, allows university safety and communications professionals to use mechanisms such as sirens, text alerts and social media to quickly communicate information to the community during emergency situations. UMaine’s Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Robert Dana and Wayne Maines, UMaine’s director of safety and environmental management, spoke with WABI about the importance of emergency drills and preparedness. UMaine community members are reminded to register to receive emergency notifications of public safety issues, as well as announcements about class cancellations due to inclement weather. Registration for texts and/or email alerts is available online.
The Bangor Daily News reported more than 100 University of Maine students are heading to New York City this weekend to take part in the People’s Climate March, which is being called the biggest demonstration in the history of the climate justice movement. “We are going because the climate crisis is the biggest challenge our world faces today, and it needs to be addressed, plain and simple,” said Michael Bailey, a UMaine student who helped organize the trip. The Sun Journal also carried the BDN report.
WVII (Channel 7) reported the University of Maine Counseling Center and St. Joseph Healthcare, in conjunction with several area sponsors, will host the sixth annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Oct. 5 at UMaine. Funds raised from the event will benefit research initiatives of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
University of Maine programs were mentioned in an opinion piece by Sen. Angus King that was posted on Fosters.com, a service of Sanford News. In the column, titled “Education must be dynamic to keep pace with changing world,” King wrote about partnerships between UMaine and state high schools, including the Bridge Year Program and the College of Engineering’s agreement with Thornton Academy in Saco. “These partnerships and programs all recognize the same truth: If Maine is to grow and succeed in an increasingly complex world, the way we deliver education to our students must be as dynamic as the world into which we’re sending them,” King wrote.
The Free Press reported University of Maine Assistant Libra Professor of Mechanical Engineering Andrew Goupee will discuss “Floating Offshore Wind: Becoming a Reality?” at Penobscot Marine Museum’s Main Street Gallery in Searsport on Sept. 25. Goupee is an engineer at UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.
Ryan Low, interim vice president for administration and finance at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald article titled, “Cost of Maine’s public colleges tops legislative panel’s agenda.” For the last three years, University of Maine System tuition has been frozen and the state hasn’t cut the allocation, according to the Press Herald. University officials have said they plan to ask for more state funding this year, which Low said will be difficult given the tough economic climate, the article states.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant are offering a five-session fall workshop for people interested in improving their facilitation skills.
“Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills, Level 1,” will be held 4–8 p.m. Oct. 14, Oct. 28, Nov. 10, Nov. 25 and Dec. 9, at North Berwick Town Hall, 21 Main St., North Berwick.
The workshop features experiential learning, including a chance to practice facilitation skills and receive feedback in a safe environment. The $120 fee covers instruction, a resource notebook and light meals.
For 20 years, instructor Kristen Grant has created programs that build individual skills and group capacities. She has a background in providing interactive, educational programs and works extensively in team settings.
Enrollment is limited to the first 15 registrants. To register or to request a disability accommodation, contact UMaine Extension, 207.324.2814. For more information, call 207.646.1555, ext. 115, email email@example.com or visit the website.
On Sept. 18, the Maine Development Foundation and the University of Maine’s School of Economics released the fourth quarterly report analyzing critical economic indicators in Maine.
The latest report, “Strategic Land Conservation in Maine,” looks at the multiple benefits of conserved land, such as recreational opportunities and protection of habitats and working landscapes, and the distribution of conserved acreage in an attempt to understand the impacts of conserved lands, set priorities and ensure a high return on investment.
Michelle Johnson of the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, who recently received her doctorate in ecology and environmental sciences from UMaine, wrote the report.
Mario Teisl, director of the UMaine School of Economics and professor of resource economics and policy, is overseeing the series of reports that further explore the economic indicators in “Measures of Growth in Focus,” an annual report issued by the Maine Economic Growth Council.
The Maine Development Foundation news release and the full report are online.
Karlton Creech, the University of Maine’s director of athletics, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for an article about UMaine lowering its season ticket prices and cutting the cost of single-game seats for several home games. “We made some price changes based on the opponent, the game time and the time of year,” Creech said. “I think it will be beneficial for both revenue and attendance. The goal is to make sure the arena is full for every game.”