The Bangor Daily News reported The University of Maine System Board of Trustees approved spending up to $9 million for the future Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Center. The laboratory will help scientists study pest management and threats to human and animal health across the state, according to the article. It will be the only facility in the state able to identify ticks and test them for transmittable diseases, including Lyme. The lab also will be the base of research in the state for agricultural issues — from potato blight to salmonella in eggs to livestock diseases, the article states. “This is very important to the state of Maine,” said John Rebar, executive director of UMaine Extension. The lab, where about 20 scientists will work, is expected to be finished in 2016, Rebar said.
Robert Glover, a UMaine assistant professor of political science and honors, is one of eight national finalists for the 2015 Ernest A. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement for Early Career Faculty, presented by the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) and the Center for Engaged Democracy (CED) at Merrimack College.
The annual award recognizes faculty in the early stages of their career who are innovators in sharing knowledge-generating tasks with the public, and involving community partners and students as participants in public problem solving.
This year, there were 42 nominations for the award, with the winner to be announced in August and honored at a NERCHE colloquium in Boston and the annual Conference of Urban and Metropolitan Universities in Omaha, Nebraska later this year.
More information about the award and finalists is online.
Ivan Fernandez, a professor of soil science and forest resources at the University of Maine, was a guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. The show, titled “The Importance of Soils,” focused on how soil is the basis for healthy food production, supports Earth’s biodiversity, and helps the planet combat and adapt to climate change.
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece, “Our democracy’s health depends on the health of humanities,” by William Adams, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The article was adapted from his essay in the humanities-themed issue of Maine Policy Review (Winter/Spring 2015), published by the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.
Container garden advice from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension was included in the Farm and Dairy article “How to manage common garden problems.” Although container gardens are beneficial for growers with limited space, and pest management can be simpler, problems can arise, according to the article. UMaine Extension lists insufficient sunlight, too much nitrogen, excess water, poor drainage, low temperatures, too little phosphorus and other conditions that can negatively affect plants growing in containers, the article states.
University of Maine Athletics will host a free screening of “The Lego Movie” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5 on Morse Field at Alfond Stadium.
Members of the public are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs to watch the film on the high-definition video scoreboard.
UMaine football team members will greet fans and provide free snow cones during the event presented by CU Promise.
More information is available by calling 207.581.1086.
Mary Ellen Camire, a University of Maine professor of food science and human nutrition, and president of the Institute of Food Technologists, spoke with Bottom Line Health for the article, “5 edible weeds that are probably growing in your yard.” Camire warned if people aren’t sure what a plant is, they shouldn’t eat it. “There are many lookalikes in the plant kingdom,” she said. To learn how to identify what’s edible in a specific region, Camire suggests attending a wild foraging workshop at a local Cooperative Extension, arboretum or chapter of the Audubon Society, according to the article. Camire also suggested people pick weeds only from areas that haven’t been treated with pesticides or herbicides, and “avoid plants that have been exposed to high levels of car exhaust, such as those that grow alongside roads, near septic leach fields or businesses that use chemicals, or near any other potential sources of contamination.”
Daniel Sandweiss, a professor of anthropology at the University of Maine, spoke with the San Antonio Express-News for an article about a remote excavation taking place northwest of Austin, Texas. Scientists believe humans came to North America from Asia at least 14,000 years ago, according to the article. The earliest known civilization, known as the Clovis people, left stone tools that are dated to about 13,000 years ago, but artifacts that have previously been found at the Texas site and other distant sites appear to push back the arrival date by several thousand years, the article states. “There are now a lot of sites which have a strong claim to being Pre-Clovis. Not everyone accepts them and of course you can argue about any individual site, but mainstream thinking has moved back beyond the Clovis First idea,” Sandweiss said.
The Bangor Daily News reported the annual Camden Conference generated nearly $1.1 million in the local economy last year, according to a report commissioned by the organizers to determine how beneficial the event is for businesses and job creation in midcoast Maine. The Camden Conference has been held each February in Camden since 1988 to focus on foreign policy issues, with international experts coming to Maine to offer lectures, according to the article. The Camden Opera House is the main venue for the conference, with the 2015 event streamed live to the Strand Theatre in Rockland and the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast. The economic impact study was conducted by University of Maine professors Harold Daniel, an associate professor of marketing, and Todd Gabe, an economics professor. The study determined the Camden Conference had an overall economic impact of approximately $850 in local spending per attendee and an additional $330 per attendee for labor hired directly and indirectly for the conference, the article states.
The Portland Press Herald reported on the inaugural Camp North Woods, held at the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond in Oxford County. The five-day camp is staffed by the TV stars of Animal Planet’s “North Woods Law” and sponsored by the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. Campers, ranging from ages 8 to 12, will learn to paddle a canoe, handle a firearm, fish for brook trout, and use a bow and arrow, according to the article. They also will be taught why Maine’s fish, wildlife and natural areas need to be protected for future generations, and how they can help, the article states.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Bangor Daily News editorial, “Maine: Where people speak, representatives hear them.” Maine is more open to public participation than most other states, according to the article. “The more open and level a political system is, the better chance an outsider has at being elected and of participating in government,” Brewer said. He added Maine is one of a few states where local decisions are made at town meetings and where citizen participation — through public hearings, letters and one-on-one discussions with easily accessible legislators — influences policy decisions, the article states. “Average people matter here,” Brewer said.
The University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) in Franklin was mentioned in the Mainebiz article, “A promise of higher ag yields: Aquaponics offers new source of food.” According to the article, Maine’s foodie scene will soon get a new source of fresh vegetables from Maine greenhouses that use aquaponics, an indoor ecosystem where plants grow in large tubs of water and use waste from live fish as fertilizer. Aquaponics uses about 90 percent less land and water than soil agriculture, but potentially could generate three to four times more food, according to a report from Industry ARC. CCAR is studying aquaponics for demonstration and business development, the article states.
Fosters.com previewed a self-guided garden tour in York County from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 25. The eight-stop tour follows a route through South Berwick, Eliot, Kittery Point and York. It includes gardens owned, managed by or created in collaboration with University of Maine Cooperative Extension York County Master Gardener Volunteers. The tour features a CSA farm started by a Master Gardener, six flower and food gardens, and the Central School Garden in South Berwick, where staff and volunteers created an outdoor classroom for elementary students, according to the article.
An economic impact study conducted by Todd Gabe, an economics professor at the University of Maine, was cited in a Portland Press Herald article about a Texas-based company filing an application with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to build a $613 million wind farm in Aroostook County. The farm would have an installed capacity of 250 megawatts, which would make it the largest wind farm in New England, able to power roughly 70,000 homes, according to the article. The wind farm project would create an estimated 653 full- and part-time jobs and have a $356 million statewide economic impact over the three-year period it will be constructed, according to Gabe’s study, which was commissioned by EDP Renewables North America. Once complete, the farm would support 16 full- and part-time jobs, representing almost $800,000 in labor income, the study found.
The Associated Press reported on this year’s final training session for citizen scientists interested in Maine’s bumblebee counting project. The session took place at the University of Southern Maine. The Maine Bumble Bee Atlas project aims to help determine Maine bee range and abundance, according to the report. The project is being coordinated by the state, UMaine and the University of Maine at Farmington. SFGate and WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) carried the AP article.
The University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center (DMC) is host of the free Science on Tap Seminar series at the Newcastle Publick House from 6–7 p.m. Wednesdays.
On July 22, the seminar, “Shellfish aquaculture: Job creation, tasty bivalves and some cool science too,” will be presented by Carter Newell. A resident of Damariscotta, Newell will talk about the biology, ecology, economics and history of shellfish aquaculture in Maine. A shellfish farmer and coastal oceanographer for more than 30 years, he will highlight the potential bivalve cultivation has for ecologically and socially sustainable job creation along the coast, as well as which places grow the best bivalves — and why.
Newell has been farming mussels and oysters since getting his master’s degree in oceanography at DMC in 1982. He founded the Pemaquid Oyster Co., in 1986 with Chris Davis and Smokey McKeen, and in 2007, he founded Pemaquid Mussel Farms. Newell received his Ph.D. in marine biology from the University of New Brunswick in St. John in 2005.
Science On Tap wraps up July 29 and focuses on marine biological studies being conducted at the center.
The University of Maine football team will host its annual Meet the Black Bears free football clinic at 6 p.m., Aug. 26 at Alfond Stadium. All ages are welcome. Participants will have the opportunity to meet players and coaches, get posters and autographs, and join the team for a pizza party, sponsored by Domino’s. To attend, send the names and ages of participants to GoBlackBears@yahoo.com.
The Bangor Daily News and WABI (Channel 7) also reported that University of Maine women’s basketball student-athlete Liz Wood of Catlett, Virginia, has been named the America East’s 2014–15 Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Wood, the first Black Bear to receive the honor, was selected from a group of eight student-athletes in female sports. Each year following the fall, winter and spring seasons, a committee of athletic administrators and NCAA faculty athletics representatives elects a male and female scholar-athlete in each of the league’s 18 championship sports.
A July 15 Portland Press Herald editorial, “Maine shirks obligation to K–12 schools, students,” focused on the state’s inability to meet a school funding mandate, and cited a 2013 Maine Policy Review article on the impact of state revenue reductions on Maine municipalities. The Maine Policy Review article by Emily Shaw explored municipal responses to reduced Maine revenue and found that they are “largely making up for the lack of state spending through increasing the tax and fee burden on their local populations.”
The University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center (DMC) is host of the Science on Tap Seminar series at the Newcastle Publick House from 6–7 p.m. Wednesdays.
On July 29, the series wraps up with a seminar by Pete Jumars titled, “Darling worms: A rich legacy of polychaete research.”
Marine worms are critical food web components. They feed on dead organic material on the seafloor and in turn are food for lobsters, crabs and bottom fishes. These polychaete worms have been studied at the DMC since its beginning 50 years ago.
Research at the DMC has unlocked secrets of polychaete migration, feeding habits, unexpected roles in transferring marine pollution into food webs, and surprisingly fast and efficient means of burrowing through mud. Current and future projects will focus on their roles as pests of oysters and their altered ecosystem functions when nipped (partially eaten) by fishes.
Jumars is arguably the world’s expert on polychaete worms, having published comprehensive reviews of this taxonomic group in 1979 and 2015. He studied deep-sea species diversity at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. Jumars’ current research interests are broad and interdisciplinary. They focus on the ways that physics, chemistry, and geology limit what marine organisms do and how they do it. Jumars is a professor in the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences and based at the Darling Marine Center.
This summer the DMC is also offering Wednesday Walking Tours of our waterfront facility through Aug. 19. Tours begin at 10:30 a.m. and last about 90 minutes.
On Aug. 8 the DMC will host an Open House from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
All events are free and open to the public.
Additional information on all these events, as well as Darling Marine Center history, can be found on the DMC’s website.