The Bangor Daily News advanced a May 20–21 conference co-hosted by the University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Maine Army National Guard to explore challenges and emerging opportunities in the Arctic. The free conference, titled “Leadership in the High North: A Political, Military, Economic and Environmental Symposium of the Arctic Opening,” will be held at the Maine Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Bangor. Speakers, including UMaine professor and Climate Change Institute director Paul Mayewski, will address global, national and state issues and implications related to diminished sea ice in the Arctic, including the changing environment, trade, geopolitics and policy.
James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in a nationally syndicated column by Bangor writer Sarah Smiley. Smiley often writes about her family and their Dinner with the Smileys tradition of getting to know someone over a meal. Dill, who was invited to share a meal and stories with the Smileys, told the family about his job at UMaine Extension where he and his co-workers help farmers identify and control pests that might destroy crops. Dill took the family to the insect room of his Orono office where he showed off cockroaches, ticks and preserved butterflies and tarantulas. He also told stories of keeping bed bugs as pets when he was a child. Parade, Bangor Daily News, Daily American and Reporter-Times carried the column.
An economic impact study on Maine’s craft beer industry that was commissioned by the Maine Brewers’ Guild and conducted by two professors at UMaine’s School of Economics was the focus of a Mainebiz article. The study found the state’s craft beer industry could double in the next four years. It also found that Maine breweries sold $92.6 million worth of beer while employing almost 1,500 workers, and the industry generated an additional $35.5 million from sales at brew pubs, restaurants and retail shops. With revenue from peripheral industries, such as festivals, hotels and beer tours, the study estimated the Maine craft beer industry resulted in an annual statewide economic impact of $189 million, according to the article.
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece, “Campus lifestylers, easy access to guns: A cocktail for violence at US colleges,” by Howard Segal, a history professor at the University of Maine, and Deborah Rogers, a UMaine English professor. The column originally appeared in Times Higher Education.
The University of Maine will hold the annual Clean Sweep Sale 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Friday, May 23 and 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday, May 24 in York Commons.
Furniture, electronics, appliances, housewares, cleaning supplies, books, bedding, shoes and clothing will be among the items for sale. Items were donated by the university or students who moved out of the dorms at the end of the semester.
Proceeds will support programs and services offered by the Black Bear Exchange and student service projects coordinated by the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism.
Call the Bodwell Center at 207.581.3091 for more information.
The role of citizen science in sustainable river herring harvest is the focus of a more than $49,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The co-principal investigators are Theodore Willis and Karen Wilson at the University of Southern Maine, and Karen Hutchins Bieluch, Linda Silka and Laura Lindenfeld at the University of Maine.
Maine is one of only three states currently harvesting river herring. The researchers believe that collaborations between the state, harvesters and citizens who live in the towns where river herring runs occur can play a role in ensuring a sustainable river herring fishery. Additional data is needed to help inform decisions about fishery management and sustainability. One potential solution to collecting more data for future stock assessments is to expand the role of citizen scientists in gathering data on river herring. Citizen science involves members of the public in gathering and sometimes analyzing scientific data about a particular issue of interest. Citizen science not only generates important scientific data, but it also has been shown to be an important educational tool for learning about nature and about the production of science broadly. There are three primary goals of this project:
- Investigating the various attempts at citizen science monitoring of river herring, collating the successes and difficulties, and producing a road map useful to other groups interested in getting involved with local river herring monitoring and management.
- Working with pilot communities to assist them in developing monitoring programs and, simultaneously, assess the accuracy of citizen efforts in producing harvest independent records.
- Collaborating with stakeholders, facilitating meetings, interviewing members of the stakeholder groups, performing participant-observation at meetings and monitoring activities, and designing and implementing surveys to study participant perceptions, attitudes and intent to continue citizen science monitoring efforts.
The Weekly Observer spoke with Trent Schriefer, a 4-H youth development professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, about the 4-H Safety Saturday to be held in Springvale on May 31. The free program will cover ATV, bicycle, tractor and fire safety, as well as offer CPR instruction. Schriefer said organizers view the event as a way to kick off the summer and serve the 4-H and Sanford communities. “It’s important that kids, especially young kids, get to know community service providers at this type of event, which can then grow into a positive relationship,” Schriefer added.
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.
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 email@example.com. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call Wertheim at 207.324.2814 or 800.287.1535 (in state).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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