University of Maine News
The Associated Press spoke with Rick Wahle, a University of Maine research professor at the Darling Marine Center, and cited UMaine research for a report about the steady decline in the number of baby lobsters settling off the coast of Maine and how the decrease could put an end to recent record catches. The article cited a UMaine survey of 11 Gulf of Maine locations that found young lobsters have declined by more than half of their 2007 levels. UMaine divers have been tracking the settlement rates of Maine lobsters since the late 1980s, according to the article. Wahle said the lobsters could be thinning out for many reasons, including rising ocean temperature. He added the lobster decline is “telling a story of gradually — and more recently rapidly — declining settlement in the Gulf of Maine on a widespread basis,” which is raising concern. ABC News, Yahoo News, NBC News, Portland Press Herald, Morning Sentinel and WABI (Channel 5) carried the AP report.
The latest post on the Portland Press Herald blog, “The Franco-American blog: News and notes from Maine’s French culture,” focused on the upcoming University of Maine spring symposium, “In and Out of Place: Finding Home in Franco America.” UMaine’s Franco-American Centre and Franco American Studies program will host the series of free events April 25–26 on the Orono campus. The symposium is sponsored by the UMaine Humanities Initiative and le Ministère des Relations internationales, Francophonie et Commerce extérieur du Québec, and will feature readings from acclaimed writers, panel discussions by scholars from New England and Canada, and a screening of the film “Le grand Jack (Jack Kerouac’s Road: A Franco-American Odyssey)” directed by Herménégilde Chiasson.
The University of Maine Darling Marine Center is offering a Natural Science Illustration Workshop from July 28 through Aug. 1 in Walpole.
David Wheeler of the Pratt Institute’s Center Extension Campus at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute will lead the workshop, which focuses on using pencils, pens, paints and computers to capture the natural world on paper. No prior art training is required. Wheeler has created life-sized dinosaur models for the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Osaka Museum of Natural History in Japan. His artwork is in permanent collections of museums, universities and marine centers.
Cost of the workshop is $370. Lodging and food are available at DMC for an additional fee. More information, including how to register by June 1, is online.
Mary Ellen Camire, professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine, was quoted in the CTW Features article “Avoid the snack traps.” Camire said to get the most nutritional benefits from snacks, people should look at their eating habits and decide what types of foods are lacking and make up for them with snacks. She gives the example of snacking on yogurt in the morning and string cheese in the afternoon if dairy intake is a concern. She also suggested keeping snacks at 200 calories or less. Philly.com and Quad Cities Online carried the report.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Nory Jones, an e-commerce specialist and professor of management information systems at the University of Maine, for the report “Cash-strapped Mainers eyeing alternative currencies.” Jones said alternative currencies such as the Bitcoin are unstable and volatile, and even though the currency has gained some legitimacy, she doesn’t think it’s enough to make the coins useful. Jones said in order for virtual currency to be legitimate, she thinks it’s going to need some form of governmental support.
Research and outreach efforts being done at the University of Maine to learn more about the devastating effects of the emerald ash borer were mentioned in a Morning Sentinel article about how the Asian beetles are threatening the livelihood of Maine’s American Indian basket makers by destroying ash trees, which are needed to create the traditional baskets. The basket makers are part of an anti-borer coalition that includes university researchers, entomologists and forestry officials. For the last several years, the faculty at UMaine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center and Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative have hosted an annual symposium about the invasive pests. Last year, the event drew 65 people from a variety of state and federal agencies, entomologists and Wabanakis. The article also stated UMaine researchers have begun mapping existing ash and collecting and preserving ash seeds that could be replanted after a potential wave of devastation.
Research being conducted at the University of Maine was cited in the Maine Public Broadcasting Network report “Maine bracing for another spruce budworm outbreak.” The spruce budworm, one of the most damaging native insects of spruce and fir trees, is currently attacking trees in Quebec, and Maine forestry officials fear the insect could start destroying state forests in the next two to four years. The last outbreak in Maine began around 1970 and ended in 1985, killing more than 20 percent of the state’s fir trees, according to the Maine Forest Products Council. Patrick Strauch of the Maine Forest Products Council, told MPBN this time landowners hope to stay ahead of the bug and do targeted, presalvage cutting. Researchers at the University of Maine are helping with the preventative effort by conducting modeling to help landowners plan ahead.
A 2013 study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe was cited in the Mainebiz article, “Farm Credit East merger seen as beneficial to Maine farmers, loggers, commercial fishermen.” According to Gabe’s study, the forest industry in Maine has a total economic impact of $8 billion and direct employment of 17,075 workers.
The Portland Press Herald referred to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Tick ID Lab in an article about Maine ticks surviving the long, cold winter. The article mentioned different types of ticks — deer ticks and dog ticks — and stated if someone is not sure what type of tick was attached to them, they should send the dead tick to the UMaine Extension Tick ID Lab at 491 College Ave. in Orono or call 207.581.3880 for more information.
The University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs and the Maine Army National Guard will co-host a conference May 20–21 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 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days at the Maine Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Bangor. Speakers 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.
Scheduled speakers include: Gen. Charles Jacoby, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command; Rear Admiral Jonathan White, oceanographer and navigator of the Navy, director of Task Force Climate Change; Paul A. Mayewski, director of the UMaine Climate Change Institute; Major-General Christopher Coates, deputy commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command, National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces; Philippe Hebert, director of Policy Development for Canadian Department of National Defence; and John Henshaw, executive director of Maine Port Authority.
Officials from the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School will share experiences and display cold-weather operations equipment.
For more information, call Lt. Col. Darryl Lyon, 207.430.5888. The symposium is free but seating is limited and tickets are required to attend. For tickets, contact Peter Fandel, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Portland Press Herald spoke with David Kappos, a former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, about an article he has written for the upcoming issue of Maine Policy Review, a publication of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. In his article, Kappos argues that Maine is strategically well-positioned to lead the next wave of innovation in the United States.
The Portland Press Herald quoted University of Maine assistant professor for climate change and sustainability coordinator Dan Dixon in an article titled “Green Glossary Part 2: Living la vida LOHAS.” Dixon explained monoculture — the practice of growing “a single crop, year after year,” — and how it can lead to the depletion and erosion of soils.
The BDN and AP reported on UMaine’s selection for the Princeton Review’s annual list of “green colleges.” This is UMaine’s fifth consecutive year on the list, which totaled 332 colleges in the United States and Canada. The Princeton Review cited UMaine’s composting and recycling initiatives, programs to reduce the number of vehicles on campus, and sustainable energy research opportunities for students and faculty as reasons for its inclusion. The Sun Journal and Portland Press Herald carried the AP report.
University of Maine President Paul Ferguson has announced the 2014 valedictorian, Sierra Ventura of Belfast, Maine, and salutatorian Jennifer Chalmers of Foxborough, Mass.
Both will receive their degrees at UMaine’s 212th Commencement ceremonies in Harold Alfond Sports Arena May 10.
“Sierra and Jenn personify the best of the University of Maine undergraduate experience in their academic excellence, community engagement, and dedication to research and scholarship,” says President Ferguson. “We are proud of their achievements and their leadership in the UMaine community.”
Ventura will receive a bachelor’s degree in music education. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has been active in UMaine’s chapter of the National Association of Music Education, including two years as treasurer, and she is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her leadership roles on campus include serving as assistant conductor of the University of Maine Singers and of Euphony, the Orono-based chamber choir, both in 2013–14. The previous year, Ventura was the assistant accompanist of Collegiate Chorale.
Ventura also was a member of other musical ensembles in the UMaine School of Performing Arts, including Opera Workshop, Concert Band and Athena Consort, and she worked on the technical and events crews. Since 2009, she has had her own business, S.J. Ventura Music Instruction, teaching 35 students in piano, voice, flute, clarinet and saxophone. Ventura plans to pursue a graduate degree in music education at the University of Maine.
“UMaine has helped me shape my pursuits in the music education field,” Ventura says. “UMaine has also provided me the opportunity to connect with many veteran teachers and other professionals in my field throughout my undergraduate career, as well as give me tools to become a better private music teacher for my students. During my undergraduate career, I was also blessed to have met my fiancé during my time in University Singers.”
Chalmers will receive two bachelor’s degrees in English and in history. She has majored in English and history, with minors in education and Spanish, and received highest honors for her honors thesis, a historical and literary research project, entitled “Teaching Literature in America: Demonstrating Relevance in the Early Cold War (1945–1963).”
Chalmers is a member of multiple honor societies, including All Maine Women, Sophomore Eagles and Phi Beta Kappa. The UMaine Presidential Scholar Award recipient received Roger B. Hill Scholarships in both history and English, and the Ellis Prize in English. She also received a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
While at UMaine, Chalmers had two internships that advanced her professional writing skills. She was a human resources intern with the Massachusetts State Police in Framingham, Mass., and an English editorial intern with Pearson Higher Education in Boston, Mass. She was a journalist for the Maine Journal and a tutor for UMaine’s Writing Center. In addition, Chalmers was a student supervisor for Black Bear Dining concessions and a clarinetist in the UMaine Symphonic and Pep bands. Her community service activities included volunteering, serving as a note taker for UMaine Disability Support Services, and being involved in Autism at UMaine and the History Club.
“Since the moment I first visited UMaine, I have always felt at home,” Chalmers says. “I’m particularly appreciative of the way my professors have been so willing to help me achieve my goals and have always been on the lookout for opportunities that might be beneficial for me. I also really appreciate the wealth of opportunities that UMaine has provided outside the classroom. I have had so many opportunities to join organizations that I genuinely care about, gain leadership experience and make lasting friendships. My coursework, jobs and activities at UMaine have provided me with the experience that I have needed to get scholarships, internships and jobs, both inside and outside UMaine. The people, the organizations, and the generally encouraging atmosphere at UMaine have been invaluable to my personal, professional and intellectual growth during college, and I know that taking advantage of the opportunities that UMaine has to offer has allowed and prepared me to achieve my goals.”
Chalmers has accepted a position with Teach for America. For the next two years, she will teach secondary special education English in southern New Jersey and then will pursue graduate school.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
Cathy Billings of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute will offer a book signing for her first volume, The Maine Lobster Industry: A History of Culture, Conservation and Commerce, 11 a.m.–noon, May 1, at the Martin Luther King Plaza outside the Memorial Union. In case of rain, the event will be moved to Rogers Hall, second floor conference room. The book, published by The History Press, reveals the hardworking history beyond the trap. Since the first recorded lobster catch in 1605, the Maine lobster fishery has grown into a multibillion dollar force. Billings’ book embarks on a journey from trap to plate, introducing readers to lobstermen, boat builders, bait dealers, marine suppliers and the expansive industry that revolves around the fishery. Strides in sustainability have been a hallmark of the Maine fishery throughout the centuries, from the time lobstermen themselves introduced conservation measures in the mid-1800s. Today, Maine’s lobster fishery is a model of a co-managed, sustainable fishery and the people who work Maine’s lobster fishery have developed a coastal economy with an international influence and deep history.
The University of Maine System Diversity Steering Committee is again pleased to offer mini-grants totaling $6,000 for planning and implementing programs that strengthen campus diversity initiatives. Faculty and staff may send proposals electronically by Sept. 19, 2014 for diversity programs or initiatives that will be conducted during FY15. Proposals should include the following information: a brief description of the program, the amount of financial support requested, the amount of financial support that is being provided by the faculty/staff member’s university, contact information for the person(s) submitting the proposal. Proposals that involve collaborations with diverse communities or organizations external to the university are encouraged. Proposals and questions about the mini-grant programs should be directed to Sally Dobres, UMS director of equity and diversity, email@example.com, 207.973.3372. Grant awards will be announced by Oct. 17. Successful recipients are expected to submit a short report at the end of the fiscal year.
The Scotsman reported on the recently published findings of a biodiversity research project led by the University of St. Andrews in collaboration with researchers from around the world, including Brian McGill, an associate professor of ecological modeling at the University of Maine. The researchers found that despite fears of a global biodiversity crisis, there has been no consistent drop in the number of species seen locally around the world. The research into 100 communities and a total of 35,000 species found that while there were major changes in species found in any one place, the total number of plants and animals did not significantly change. The findings were published in the journal Science.
WLBZ (Channel 2) spoke with Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Maine, for a report on the scrutiny surrounding a proposed $25 million Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) loan that would support Cate Street Capital’s Thermogen Project that aims to build a pellet mill in Millinocket that uses new, steam-based technology. Rice, a consultant to FAME on the project, says the new method is a radical change, but is an improvement in technology. He warned Thermogen will need about three times as much biomass to make pellets using steam, which has to be taken into account.
The Associated Press reported Maine’s Legislature approved roughly $50 million in bond proposals as it wrapped up for the session. One of the six approved bond proposals includes borrowing $8 million to renovate and improve a University of Maine Cooperative Extension lab that assists farmers and foresters and identifies pests, as well as plant and animal diseases. WABI (Channel 5) and seattlepi.com also carried the AP report.
The project, which was led by the University of St. Andrews in collaboration with researchers from around the world — including the University of Maine’s Brian McGill — found that despite fears of a global biodiversity crisis, there has been no consistent drop in the number of species found locally around the world.
The research into 100 communities and a total of 35,000 species — from trees to starfish — found that while there were major changes in species found in any one place, the total number of plants and animals did not significantly change, according to the release.
The researchers, who were surprised by the findings, say the study should not detract from the threat many of the world’s species are under, but that policymakers should focus on changes in biodiversity composition, as well as loss, the release states.
“Conservation scientists will need to shift from just talking about how many species are found in a place to talking about which species are found in a place,” said McGill, an associate professor of ecological modeling. “Put simply, species composition changed more often than species number, and these kinds of changes should be a focus for future study.”
The full news release is online.