The international website Fresh Plaza published an article about University of Maine Department of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences graduate student Kristen Brown, who is working to develop a potato variety that is resistant to potato blight. Channel 7 (WVII) also reported on the research.
Orono Town Planner Evan Richert will be the guest speaker from 9 a.m.–noon, Thursday, Feb. 21 at 107 Norman Smith Hall for a free public workshop and discussion on university-community partnerships, presented by CERTS (Community Engaged Research, Teaching and Service) at the University of Maine. The workshop title is “Community Engagement: Co-Determining Needs and Capacities.” To register or to request disability accommodations, contact to Claire Sullivan. A light breakfast and refreshments will be provided.
Jeff Thaler, University of Maine Visiting Professor of Energy Law and Policy with the UMaine School of Economics and the University of Maine School of Law, will join a panel discussion March 2 at a Yale Law School conference on environmental law. Themes to be explored at the “New Directions in Environmental Law: The Power of Voice” conference include resolving conflicts between environmental values.
In late May, Thaler also will present at the Institute for Natural Resources Law Teachers in Flagstaff, Ariz., a three-day conference to discuss environmental law and climate change. The title of his presentation is “Are Our Environmental Laws Obsolete or Unhelpful in our Climate Changed World?”
Terry Porter, UMaine associate professor of management, has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship to spend the spring 2014 semester at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom researching, in collaboration with colleagues there, the social processes by which business organizations navigate toward greater sustainability.
A University of Maine graduate student and a faculty member have received an international Digital Humanities Award for their work in digital humanities, which combines studies and information in liberal arts and humanities with computer technology for storage, sharing or exploring research. In recognition of their collaborative Digital Humanities Toolbox UMaine history doctoral candidate Rob Gee and Honors College and Maine Studies faculty member Katherine O’Flaherty won first place in the category “Best Professional Resource for Learning About or Doing DH Work.” Nominations for the awards, which recognize excellence in digital humanities in six categories, came from around the international digital humanities community. Members of the public chose the winners through online balloting. Gee and O’Flaherty were nominated in two categories: “Best DH Blog, Article, or Short Publication” for their post “Summer Project: Start a Digital History Toolbox,” available online and “Best Professional Resource for Learning About or Doing DH Work” for their Digital Humanities Tool Box.
Celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2013, University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H continues to offer a series of activities that enrich the lives of more than 30,000 Maine children ages 5–18 throughout Maine each year with hands-on indoor and outdoor experiences. Here is a list of some of the 4-H programs offered in 2013 that could make colorful, educational feature stories illustrating how 4-H broadens life skills and horizons for Maine’s youth.
Robotics Expos — March 16, Machias, and tentatively scheduled in October in southern Maine
Robotics expos include workshops and presentations by college students and professionals who work with robotics. Youths engage in hands-on learning as teams tackle an engineering challenge. Staff contacts: Jennifer Lobley, UMaine Extension educator, Washington County, 800.255.3345; Sarah Sparks, Extension 4-H youth development professional, Androscoggin-Sagadahoc counties, 207.353.5550.
Children, Youth & Families at Risk Grant Project: Sustainable Living Teen Volunteers —
4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond and Cumberland County, mid-April-early June. Many of these schools also are Environmental Living & Learning for Maine Students Project schools. The Maine Sustainable Communities Project is an effort to provide Maine teens with knowledge, skills, attitudes and behavior necessary for fulfilling, contributing lives. Sustainable Living Teen Volunteer training for middle school students promotes ecological and sustainable living, and life skills. It also involves service-learning projects. Long-term outcomes of the program for high school students include developing positive relationships with adults in inclusive and safe environments; engaging in their own learning; and experience belonging, independence and generosity. High school and middle school students engage in positive learning experiences in classroom and outdoor settings; learn the value of living sustainably and the importance of community service. The program encourages individuals, families and schools to adopt sustainable living practices that will reduce their environmental impact. Contact Catherine Elliott, UMaine Extension wildlife and fisheries specialist, Orono, 207.581.2902.
Kids Can Grow Programs — April–September
Kids Can Grow is a gardening program for ages 7–12. Through a series of hands-on gardening classes, children learn how to choose, plant and grow vegetables, herbs and flowers; the basics of good nutrition and food safety; how to build and plant a raised-bed garden at home, with materials, seedlings and amended topsoil supplied by UMaine Extension. Children are matched with Master Gardener Program or 4-H volunteers who mentor, assist and inspire them to be home gardeners. Sessions are 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m., April 27, May 11, June 1, July 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 21. Contact Frank Wertheim, UMaine Extension educator, York County, 207.324.2814.
Maine 4-H Days — July 19–21, Windsor Fairgrounds
In 2012, more than 480 youths, volunteers and parents traveled from across the state to attend the three-day Maine 4-H Days. The program offered more than 60 workshops for 4-H youth, including robotics, rocketry, archery, gardening, cooking, nutrition, forestry and physics, in addition to traditional 4-H livestock experiences. Maine 4-H Days activities are for all Maine youths and their families. This year’s event will include a 4-H 100-year celebration. Contact Sarah Sparks, Extension 4-H youth development professional, Androscoggin-Sagadahoc counties, 207.353.5550.
Tech Wizards — ongoing at the Bryant Pond Learning Center and in Kittery
Tech Wizards offers a variety of service-learning projects and ongoing school support. Two camps scheduled this summer on rockets and robots involve Operation Military Kids and Tech Wizards. Camps at Bryant Pond are scheduled July 21–26 and Aug. 4–9. Tech Wizard training in Kittery is scheduled April 29–May 1. The mission of 4-H Tech Wizards, held both in classrooms and after school, is to engage ages 8–17 in small-group mentoring programs focused on technology. In a previous project, students used submersible robots and tarps to assist with invasive milfoil identification and eradication with a western Maine community lake association. The program is funded by the National 4-H Council and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Based at Bryant Pond, other groups also participate in Tech Wizards in other counties. Contact Susan Jennings, UMaine Extension educator, Oxford County, 207.743.6329.
National 4-H Science Day — October
In Maine, 4-H celebrates National 4-H Science Day throughout October with a designated science project each year in many counties. This year’s experiment will relate to geospatial technologies. 4-H staff members will conduct a specific experiment with 4-H clubs, after-school programs and public libraries. Contact Sarah Sparks, 207.353.5550, for details.
4-H Afterschool Academy — ongoing
The academy focused on 4-H science and youth development has trained 380 after-school providers and reached 15,000 youths. Contact Kristy Ouellette, assistant UMaine Extension educator in 4-H youth and family development, Androscoggin-Sagadahoc counties, 207.353.5550; and Jennifer Lobley, Washington County, 800.255.3345.
4-H and the Lewiston Housing Authority — ongoing
4-H opportunities in Lewiston with the Housing Authority reach underrepresented and underserved youth. This year, the project has expanded to include 4-H science activities. Contact Kristy Ouellette, assistant Extension educator in 4-H youth and family development, Androscoggin-Sagadahoc counties, 207.353.5550.
SciGirls Training — ongoing
“SciGirls” is a PBS Kids television series designed to change how tweens think about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). SciGirls Training, offered in Maine by UMaine Extension and UMaine’s College of Engineering, integrates inquiry-based STEM instruction with a commitment to gender equity. Educators attending SciGirls Training learn about the latest research for engaging girls and boys in STEM, as well as activities that can put a creative twist on teaching STEM. Contact Laura Wilson, UMaine Extension 4-H science and youth development professional, Orono, 207.581.2971.
Expanded Learning Opportunities — 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond
Throughout the year, Expanded Learning Opportunities STEM programs are offered every Friday at Bryant Pond and every Tuesday and Wednesday at either Bryant Pond or Molly Ockett Middle School in Fryeburg. Supported by local superintendents, principals and teachers, the program involves middle school students partnering with local at-risk youths to engage in experiential learning programs. The program has resulted in decreased school absenteeism, improved grades and more engaged students. Contact Susan Jennings, UMaine Extension educator, Oxford County, 207.743.6329.
As the Maine Office of Tourism looks for new strategies to strengthen the tourism economy in the state, University of Maine Associate Professor of Marketing Harold Daniel in the Maine Business School is available to discuss a “quality labels” concept that UMaine market research suggests would be help.
Daniel says a UMaine student survey in late 2011 indicated that four out of 10 visitors interviewed said they would pay higher prices for a “certified” vacation destination. Quality labels assigned to certain Maine woods and outdoors vacation establishments that put a premium on environmental stewardship, for example, would acknowledge qualifying businesses that share a commitment to quality lodging, dining, recreational opportunities, positive environmental practices and community contributions.
At the first in a series of Governor’s Conference on Tourism statewide hearings recently, speakers suggested ways to heighten tourists’ awareness of and interest in high-quality vacation experiences through consistent brand marketing and advocacy.
David Vail, Bowdoin College professor of economics and director emeritus of environmental studies at the college, and Daniel explained their research in an article, “Consumer Support for a Maine Woods Tourism Quality Label,” in the 2012 Volume 21, Issue 2 edition of the Maine Policy Review, published by the University of Maine Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.
The next two state tourism conferences are March 19 in the Portland area and April 17 in the Bangor area.
Contact: Harold Daniel, 207.581.1933, or George Manlove, 207.581.3756
The Bangor Daily News published a feature story about University of Maine Assistant Research Professor Rhian Waller, whose cold-water coral research is being featured in the March issue of National Geographic magazine. National Geographic has included Waller in its Risk Takers series on scientists who push the limits for the betterment of society.
Two separate lectures — one on the global financial crisis and its impact on renewable energy development, and a second on the health effects of air pollution in Beijing, China — will be held Friday, Feb. 22 on campus. Both are free and public.
At 1 p.m. in 117 D.P. Corbett Business Building, Jonathan Rubin, professor of resource economics and policy at the UMaine Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, will present “The Financial Crisis and Its Impact on Renewable Energy Development,” a discussion about how the economic crisis is affecting the pursuit of renewable energy in the United States, Europe, South America and China.
Rubin, who chairs the Committee on Transportation Energy, U.S. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, specializes in the economics of energy, light-duty transportation, greenhouse gas emissions and alternative fuels. His talk is a Bangor Foreign Policy Forum presentation.
At 3 p.m. in Wells Conference Center, Peking University Professor Tong Zhu, dean of the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, will discuss “Air Pollution in Beijing: Formation and Health Impacts.”
The University of Peking has studied factors and reported on the consequences of worsening air pollution in Beijing, a city of 20 million people.
Zhu’s presentation is sponsored by the UMaine School of Marine Sciences and the UMaine Climate Change Institute.
For additional information or to request disability accommodations, call 207.581.3940.
Helping Maine businesses grow sustainable business practices and value will be the focus of a hands-on Sustainability Benchmarking Workshop from 4–6 p.m., Feb. 26 at the University of Maine Foster Center for Student Innovation.
The event is offered by UMaine Net Impact, an initiative of the Maine Business School; Maine Businesses for Sustainability; and the Foster Center.
Participants will be introduced to Maine Businesses for Sustainability, a network of businesses in the state focusing on sustainable practices.
The organization has a Web-based sustainability benchmarking survey designed to help businesses identify cost savings, increase consumer good will, strengthen the community base, expand market share, and improve operational efficiency.
Workshop participants can register online (amisustainable.eventbrite.com) or at the door.
Registration fee is $10.
Commercial production for new small grain markets will be the focus of the annual Maine Grain Conference March 1 in Bangor, sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The conference will be held 8:30 a.m.–4:15 p.m., at the Spectacular Events Center, 395 Griffin Road. Speakers from Maine and Canada will discuss producing food-quality grains, with particular attention to crop rotation, fertility and disease; managing problem weeds in organic small grain crops; local markets and informational resources for small grain-producers; and seed laws and the seed certification process. Preregistration is required by Thursday, Feb. 21. Information on registration and conference fees is available on the conference website. To register by phone, or to request disability accommodations, call Meghan Dill, 207.581.3878.
An article in the Bangor Daily News recently featured Old Town High School student research that uses dragonfly larvae as bio-sentinels for mercury in wetlands, streams, watershed and lakes in the Northeast. The project is led by OTHS science teacher Ed Lindsey and University of Maine researcher Sarah Nelson, a scientist with the UMaine Sen. George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research and the School of Forest Resources.
University of Maine marine scientist Rhian Waller is heralded as a risk taker in “New Age of Exploration” in the March edition of National Geographic Magazine.
The National Geographic Society, one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world, is celebrating its 125th birthday in 2013 with a yearlong series that highlights 21st-century explorers who “press the limits.”
Waller, a University of Maine assistant research professor in the School of Marine Sciences, has pressed the limits of diving during more than 40 expeditions around the planet. In a submersible, she once plunged to a depth of 3,600 meters for corals on the New England Seamount chain in 2005. She frequently scuba dives in temperatures of 35 degrees F and below in the name of science.
Her research focuses on how environmental factors such as climate change, fishing and oil exploration affect deep-sea coral ecology and reproduction, as well as what effect that altered life cycle could have on the rest of the marine ecosystem.
“You can imagine all it takes is one trawler or one piece of garbage to land on the coral and suffocate it, and that’s 4,000 years of growth and 4,000 years before that colony will grow back to support 1,000 different invertebrates, which in turn support maybe tens or hundreds of different species of fish,” she says.
The question-and-answer piece with Pat Walters on page 121 of National Geographic Magazine is titled “Ice Water Diver” and includes a portrait by Emmy Award-winning photographer Marco Grob.
In January 2013, Waller conducted research along fjords near Juneau, Alaska, where red tree coral forms essential habitat for rockfish and crustacean species. She is examining how healthy the coral is, when and how much it reproduces, and if there is a specific time of year when it should be protected because it’s reproducing.
Last summer, Waller traveled to Chile to study reproductive ecology of deep-sea corals. National Geographic and the National Science Foundation funded the study, which allowed her to establish three long-term sites that she’ll monitor and from which she’ll take coral samples.
Waller says her goal with each research project is to demonstrate the importance of deep-sea coral systems to the rest of the ocean ecosystem. “If we continue to damage these coral habitats, we’re going to damage the fish and invertebrate populations that live around them,” she says. “Even though they’re out-of-sight, out-of-mind, and many people don’t know they’re there, we have to explore and research why these ecosystems are important.”
Waller’s fascination with the beautiful, mysterious, slow-growing marine animals called corals was sparked when she snorkeled in the Red and Arabian seas as a youth.
While overlooking Tracy Arm fjord near Juneau, Alaska a month ago, Waller, 34, blogged for National Geographic: “This is one of those rare places, where fewer divers than you can count on one hand have dove and seen. Where even the marine radio won’t reach and you’re completely out of touch with the rest of humanity. Where when the sun shines on the top of the mountains and glistens off the aquamarine ocean, the scale of this glacial cut fjord becomes instantly apparent, and you feel so small. I think it’s important we take ourselves places where we can feel small occasionally, to remind us that we are protectors of our lands and our oceans, and to understand it we need to explore it.”
The online edition of National Geographic Magazine was available Feb. 15; the magazine is scheduled to hit newsstands Feb. 26.
The winter issue of UMaine Today magazine features an in-depth look at Waller’s research.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Maine 4-H, which turns 100 years old this year, has a lot to celebrate — deep roots, a large, supportive family and a lot of successes.
Today, 4-H youth programs enrich children’s lives through technology and hands-on programming. 4-H — which stands for head, hands, heart and health — is the youth development branch of University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Extension leaders and volunteers utilize university resources to develop the life skills and broaden horizons of 30,000 Maine children each year.
If youth ages 5–18 are interested in raising steers, making cheese, shearing goats, learning about tractor safety, sewing, growing vegetables and being a member of a Dairy Quiz Bowl Team, UMaine Extension has opportunities for them.
And if they’re fascinated with rocketry, adventure camps, new media photography, Junior Maine Guiding, public speaking, climate change, website development and LEGO robotics, 4-H has programs for them as well.
While 4-H has grown in size and scope since its inception in Maine in 1913, its core belief is the same — children are the promise for the future.
As 4-H history goes, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, farmers were reluctant to use new agricultural techniques developed by public university researchers, so universities established rural youth programs to introduce the concepts to children, which they eagerly shared with their parents.
Alumni praise 4-H for the positive and lasting impact it’s had in their lives.
Maine Assistant Attorney General Patrick Larson, a 1985 UMaine graduate, enjoyed hunter safety, outdoor programming, photography, cooking and electricity demonstrations as a member of Union River Valley 4-H in Aurora, Maine.
“The strong sense of public service and volunteerism I learned through 4-H helped me give back to the community later in life,” he says. “You learned that that was what you do; you offer your time to help others.”
Jodi Harnden of Wilton, Maine, says community service was also a vital component of the Dandy Crafter 4-H Club. Harnden, a third-year secondary education and mathematics double major at UMaine, says her group gave homemade quilts and crafts to residents and hospital patients, and raffled other crafts to support community service projects, including buying animal oxygen masks for area fire departments.
She says participating in 4-H trips and activities helped her develop skills and confidence. The peer tutor and snare drummer in the UMaine pep band wants to be a high school teacher.
Lisa Phelps, UMaine Extension’s 4-H program administrator, says the key is to empower children and raise aspirations. “I have had parents tell me that because of their child’s involvement in 4-H, he or she will graduate from high school and go on to college,” Phelps says. “And if they were not in 4-H, they would have most likely dropped out of school.”
John Rebar, executive director of UMaine Extension, says the self-directed, hands-on 4-H programs encourage children to learn about the world and all that they can achieve in it. “4-H provides the kinds of experiences that build skills and excitement that are remembered for a lifetime,” he says.
The glowing testimonials are backed by research. In 2008, initial results of Tufts University professor Richard Lerner’s longitudinal study indicated fifth-grade 4-H members across the country earned better grades, were more engaged in school and were more likely to envision themselves attending college than nonmembers.
That research supports UMaine Extension’s most recent efforts to increase UMaine recruitment, enrollment and retention through 4-H Science. The new statewide initiative was awarded a three-year Presidential Request for Visions of University Excellence (PRE-VUE) Program grant last summer as part of the university’s five-year strategic plan, the Blue Sky Project.
Contact: Jennifer O’Leary, 207.299.7751
University of Maine finance professor Pankaj “Pank” Agrrawal is cited in a list of influential business school professors who are reshaping the curriculum and teaching extensively about exchange-traded funds at major universities, according to ETF Database (ETFdb), a global leader in market analysis, tracking and ratings.
ETF (exchange traded funds) are a type of derivative investment vehicle often linked with a stock, bond, commodity, currency, sector or country index, which have gained popularity in recent years. Their correct use can dampen volatility and improve the risk-return tradeoff. ETFdb noted that the 17 professors it featured on its website “have continually played a major role in the world of finance and economics.”
Among those also on the list are Nobel Prize winner William Sharpe of Stanford University, Yale University’s Robert Shiller, and faculty members from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Wharton School, and Northwestern, NYU, Boston University, University of Notre Dame, Lehigh and other leading universities. The list is online.
Agrrawal, an associate professor of finance who joined the UMaine Business School in 2005, frequently has been recognized for his expertise in finance, investments and portfolio efficiency methods. His research on ETF’s and related topics has been listed on the Frankfurt-DAX stock exchange website and cited in the Wall Street Journal. He previously spent more than eight years in the investment management industry, where he was portfolio manager and director of research at leading global asset management firms in San Francisco, Boston, London and Philadelphia. He received his doctorate from the University of Alabama and has taught evening classes at Harvard and Drexel universities.
Agrrawal’s research interests include financial modeling using ETFs, forecasting using big data simulation and numeric analysis, portfolio optimization procedures, stable-beta estimation, digitizing investor sentiment as applied to behavioral finance and developing algorithms for Web-harvesting financial information. Agrrawal applies the data to extend existing work in areas such as multi-asset class diversification, risk-parity investing and modeling of human fallout during financial crises.
He is a the author of more than 25 papers at refereed conferences and 12 papers in academic journals, including the Financial Analysts Journal, the Journal of Behavioral Finance and the Journal of Investing.
Agrrawal also is the founder of Advanced Portfolio Solutions and Cloud Epsilon LLC, which he created as a service to disseminate information to the quantitatively oriented finance community. Products include large-scale ETF correlation-covariance matrices, beta estimates and the CorrectCharts and ReturnFinder finance iApps, which have been downloaded on iTunes in more than 30 countries.
Contact: George Manlove, 207.581.3756
This spring in Orono, University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer its Recipe to Market series for anyone considering starting a food business.
The four-session program, with two optional sessions, is scheduled March 21 through April 25 at UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation. It is a step-by-step course for converting a personal recipe into a business.
Leading the program are Beth Calder, a UMaine Extension food science specialist and associate professor of food science, and Jim McConnon, UMaine Extension business and economics specialist, professor of economics and authority on small and family businesses in Maine. Also participating in the series are UMaine Extension Professor Louis Bassano, Jason Bolton, UMaine Extension assistant professor for food safety, and program planning team member Jesse Moriarity, director of the Foster Center for Student Innovation. A panel discussion will include representatives from the Maine Department of Agriculture, in addition to an insurance expert, banker, attorney and food business owner.
Recipe to Market is an extensive workshop series focusing on such topics as licensing, regulations, food safety, testing and business management skills. The program also delves into regulations on labeling and special considerations for producing acidified canned foods.
In addition, program participants learn about some of the sources available to support them in business development, and how to add value to an existing business.
Recipe to Market is offered twice a year throughout the state, and has generated success stories about how specialty food producers have succeeded in marketing a product that began with a great idea, according to McConnon and Calder. The spring 2013 sessions are the first to be offered at UMaine. In the fall, the program will be offered in Cumberland County. Since the program’s inception in 2007, more than 100 people have participated.
Magic Dilly Beans company founder Brian McCarthy of Belfast, who intends to begin marketing specialty pickled dilly beans this spring, says the Recipe to Market classes he took at UMaine Extension’s Waldo County office saved him time and probably money by introducing him to the many complexities of market research, product pricing, packaging and distribution. Most important, he says, was learning to better understand his target market, his competition and pricing for a successful business start-up.
“I think it was very important, for multiple reasons,” he says. “This course helps you know what it takes. You can have a great recipe, butt here’s much more to it. That’s why a lot of people fail in this industry.”
Orono sessions now scheduled:
March 21, 5:30–8 p.m., “Are You an Entrepreneur? What Is Involved?”
March 28, 5:30–9 p.m., “Developing Your Product and Process”
April 4, 5:30–9 p.m., “Business Realities”
April 11, 5:30–9 p.m., “Resource Panel”
April 18, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m., individual business counseling
April 25: food pilot plant tours on campus
Recipe to Market program fees are $50 per person; $25 for students. Additional information is available on the UMaine Extension website. Registration deadline is March 14. For reservations or to request disability accommodations, contact Theresa Tilton, 207.942.7396 or email@example.com.
Contact: Jim McConnon, 207.581.3165 / Beth Calder, 207.581.2791
Master of Sciences in Oceanography Student, Thomas Leeuw, Receives Recogntion for Research and is Published in Scientific Journal
Posted February 18, 2013
Channel 5 (WABI) reported on the annual Junior Achievement Titan Challenge business and marketing competition for Bangor-region high school students, which was held Feb. 13 at the University of Maine Foster Center for Student Innovation.