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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 5 hours 13 min ago
Mick Peterson, a University of Maine professor of mechanical engineering and executive director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, was quoted in a Racing Biz article about the surfaces and safety of horse racetracks. At the sixth Grayson-Jockey Club Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in Kentucky, Peterson presented an overview of his work, then moderated a discussion on the maintenance of several track surfaces, according to the article. Peterson, who has been studying racetrack surfaces for nearly 10 years, says when it comes to horses breaking down on tracks, the issue isn’t the type of surface the animal is running on, but how consistent those surfaces are. “I look at it as the job of the track supervisor to reduce musculoskeletal injuries in horses,” Peterson said, adding the key is data collection and monitoring. He stressed the importance of regularly collecting data on the racing surface, then using that data to increase its consistency, thereby reducing the likelihood of equine injury, the article states.
WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on a summer camp at the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond that focuses on connecting children with nature. The camp offers programs designed to increase ability and self-esteem for children ages 6-16. The campers learn a variety of outdoor skills, from survival to hunting and fishing, according to the report. Ron Fournier, conservation education manager at Bryant Pond, said he likes to see youths getting away from computer screens, making new friends and feeling comfortable in the outdoors. “I feel there is really a movement of kids getting reconnected to the outdoors and being able to get dirty and just having fun outside,” Fournier said. The camp has hosted record numbers this year, the report states.
Rebecca Holberton, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Maclean’s article about tensions rising over the last remaining disputed lands between the United States and Canada. The two treeless islands — North Rock and Machias Seal — are located in the ocean between Maine and New Brunswick. The waters around the islands contain a lucrative lobster fishery and are referred to as “the gray zone,” because both Canada and the U.S. claim that part of the ocean, according to the article. The islands’ primary residents are 5,800 pairs of puffins, and the Canadian government declared Machias Seal Island a migratory bird sanctuary in 1944, the article states. In the summer, a team of scientists live on the island to monitor the puffins and other seabirds. “Puffins don’t see borders,” said Holberton, who studied puffins on Machias Seal Island with Canadian and American scientists from 2007-12.
A University of Maine Cooperative Extension bulletin was cited in the Parent Herald article, “Internet addiction disorder linked to health, family, emotional problems — what are the common symptoms?” Internet addiction affects people of many ages, but it is most likely to affect children’s development neurologically and physically when parents spend more time with screens than family, according to the article. The UMaine Extension bulletin, “Children and brain development: What we know about how children learn,” says connections are established as early as two months. Fewer connections — from parents to their children — may cause underdeveloped synapses that could lead to making fewer connections while growing up, according to the bulletin, prepared by Judith Graham, a human development specialist, and revised by Leslie Forstadt, a child and family development specialist.
David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and professor in the School of Food and Agriculture, was quoted in an Ellsworth American article, “Area blueberry growers hoping for rain.” Without more rain, this year’s blueberry crop — a $250 million industry in Maine — will be average, according to the article. “If we continue to get adequate moisture for the remainder of the summer, the crop in Maine could be about average at 90 million pounds,” Yarborough said. Last year’s crop totaled 104.42 million pounds, the article states. Yarborough said the harvest will start along the midcoast on July 27 and about one week later Down East.
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.