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Updated: 12 hours 21 min ago
Jacquelyn Gill, assistant professor of paleoecology and plant ecology at the University of Maine, will appear in a new five-part PBS program on human evolution.
Gill will be featured in the premiere episode “Americas,” airing 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 24.
“First Peoples” is a global detective story that traces the arrival of the first Homo sapiens on five continents. The program travels across the world to tell the story of our primitive ancestors by combining archaeology, genetics and anthropology.
A team of international scientists, including Gill, reveals evidence and discoveries that cast new light on 200,000 years of history and advance the scientific understanding of how humans came to be the modern beings we are today.
“First Peoples” airs at 9 and 10 p.m. Wednesdays June 24 and July 1, as well as 9 p.m. July 8.
More information, including a trailer for the show, is online.
University of Maine professors Anne Lichtenwalner and Kate Yerxa were interviewed by the Bangor Daily News for an article about an expected rise in egg prices due to an avian flu outbreak that has killed 47 million chickens and turkeys across the country. “Eggs have been a really inexpensive source of quality protein for a long time,” said Lichtenwalner, a veterinarian and director of UMaine’s Animal Health Laboratory. “On average, eggs will cost more. We may see a temporary spike for a while, but it will equilibrate. I don’t think we will have the very inexpensive eggs in the future.” Lichtenwalner added she thinks the outbreak will only be temporary. “I think we will step up and resupply and end up with a good industry again,” she said. Yerxa, a registered dietitian with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said protein in eggs can be found in other sources such as lean meats, fish, cooked dry beans, peas and lentils.
Mary Ellen Camire, a University of Maine professor of food science and human nutrition and president of the Institute of Food Technologists, was quoted in a WebMD article about the FDA cutting the use of partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of artificial trans fats, in processed food. Food makers will have three years to remove partially hydrogenated oils from products, the agency said in a statement. Experts can’t determine if there’s any safe level of trans fats to eat, and food makers have found substitutes for the controversial fats, according to the article. “In my gut, I don’t think it’s that big a threat to public health,” Camire said. “But in light of consumer concerns it probably is a good thing to do.”
Lenard Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging and professor in the UMaine School of Social Work, spoke with Wyoming Public Radio for the report “Wyoming elderly tough it out even as younger generations migrate away.” According to the report, 15 percent of Wyoming’s population is over 65 and a high percentage of them live on ranches and in small towns. With younger generations leaving for more urban jobs, few are staying behind to take care of their elders, the report states. “The bad news is that in rural communities, our formal network of health and human services is uneven at best and resources are scarce,” Kaye said. He added it takes a whole community to make a difference in helping seniors. “Local communities need to take action,” he said. “They need to be advocates for themselves. Frequently, the kind of programs we’re talking about can be organized and maintained at very little cost.”
The Sun Journal reported that a Spruce Mountain Envirothon team has won the state competition and is studying and raising money to travel to Missouri for the national contest. Envirothon is the nation’s largest environmental science competition and includes tests in forestry, aquatic ecology, wildlife biology, and soil science, according to the article. Teams also do a prepared presentation on a chosen current issue topic, which this year is Urban and Community Forestry, the article states. Four members of the Spruce Mountain team from Jay took a UMaine Academ-e online class on Urban and Community Forestry for high school and college credit. UMaine’s Academ-e is the first early college distance education program in Maine. The online program is open to Maine high school juniors and seniors who are nominated by principals, guidance counselors and teachers.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release announcing the University of Maine Cooperative Extension has updated information about avian influenza (AI) in a bulletin for poultry producers. Anne Lichtenwalner, an associate professor of animal and veterinary sciences, provided the update. AI is a contagious type A influenza virus of birds that occurs worldwide. On June 8, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reported a confirmed case of avian flu in Michigan, making it the 21st state in the U.S. affected by the outbreak. The updated information is in Bulletin 2109, “Avian Influenza and Backyard Poultry 2015.”
The Office of the Vice President for Research will be hosting an Aging Initiative Workshop, 9-11:30 a.m., June 22 in the McIntire Room, Buchanan Alumni House. Interested members of the UMaine community are strongly encouraged to participate. RSVP to Rowena Clukey, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are able to attend.
Maine has the highest median age of any state in the nation (43.5 years), and the largest proportion of citizens 50 years and older (approximately 40 percent). As the state of Maine’s land grant institution, it is critical that UMaine lead in the development of devices, technologies, products, policies and services to assist our population to live and thrive in place. To this end, the Office of the Vice President for Research has lead the development of an Aging Initiative. The Aging Initiative Workshop aims to bring together interested faculty and staff from all disciplines on campus to review the research that has been performed to date, and is ongoing, in the area of aging. Breakout sessions will provide opportunities to shape the direction of future research, explore interdisciplinary and interprofessional synergies, and build new collaborations.
National Geographic spoke with Sara Lindsay, an associate professor of marine science at the University of Maine, for the article “The surprising way jellyfish put themselves back together.” The article focused on research conducted in 2013 by biologists at the California Institute of Technology or Caltech in Pasadena. After cutting two arms off a moon jellyfish, the researchers expected the animal would regrow its limbs like other marine invertebrates, but instead the moon jelly rearranged its six remaining arms until they were evenly placed around the body, according to the article. “This is an amazing study and a fantastic piece of detective work,” said Lindsay, who was not involved with the study. Muscles in the jellyfish’s body pushed and pulled on the remaining arms until they were evenly spaced in a phenomenon the scientists call “symmetrization,” the article states. “This isn’t replacing lost parts, it’s replacing their function. That’s pretty cool,” Lindsay said.
Carol Kim, vice president for research and dean of the graduate school at the University of Maine, was quoted in an InsuranceNewsNet article about new technology that aims to help older adults stay at home. Kim, who recently testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, said “edge detection” offers new ways for senior citizens to retain their independence. Edge detection refers to high-contrast technologies to help see more clearly or track indoor movement through radio frequency identification, according to the article. Edge detection also includes “assistive jogger” hardware, smart mattresses, and protective gear for the head and hip, the article states. Every year, between 30 and 40 percent of those ages 65 and older experience a fall. By 2020, injuries that result from falls will cost the U.S. an estimated $54.9 billion, Kim said.
David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits, spoke with The Ellsworth American for an article about this season’s strawberry crop in Maine. “What we have found so far is that growth is good and pest numbers have been pretty low,” Handley said, adding the winter helped the crop by creating a protective snow cover and warding off pests. “Because we had a late spring, the pests were late waking up and the plants were past the period where the pests would be interested,” he said. Handley said most strawberry farmers plan to begin harvesting around June 19 or 20 with a goal of peaking around the Fourth of July.
Mainebiz reported on the “Maine’s Economy and Climate Change” meeting at Bowdoin College. About 300 climate experts gathered to discuss how the state will need to adjust businesses to adapt to heat waves, less snow and higher seas caused by a changing climate, according to the article. Ivan Fernandez, a professor of soil science and forest resources at the University of Maine, said “Climate change ‘from away’ affects all aspects of life and the economy in Maine.”
The Bangor Daily News “Family Ties” column advanced a presentation on “French-Canadian and Acadian Genealogical Research” at the University of Maine’s Franco-American Centre. The free program on Franco-American resources will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, in the library at Crossland Hall.
The Sun Journal published an opinion piece by Charles Scontras, historian and research associate at the University of Maine’s Bureau of Labor Education, titled “‘Right-to-work’: The issue that won’t die.”
Nominations are invited for the Maryann Hartman Awards for Maine Women of Achievement and the Maryann Hartman Young Women’s Social Justice Award.
Each year since 1986, the Maryann Hartman Awards Ceremony has celebrated significant contributions of Maine women in a variety of fields.
The awards are named after Maryann Hartman, a University of Maine associate professor of speech communication from 1969 to 1980 and a pioneer in the field of oral interpretation. Her work included comparisons of language patterns of Maine women and men born before 1900; oral autobiographies of Maine women born before 1900; and the use of oral interpretation to influence public policy. Hartman died of cancer in 1980.
“The Maryann Hartman Awards are a highlight of our year,” says Mazie Hough, director of the University of Maine Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, which organizes the awards.
“It is always inspiring to see the wide variety of accomplishments of women who have committed themselves to making Maine what it should be.”
The Maryann Hartman Awards for Maine Women of Achievement is presented to three distinguished Maine women who have demonstrated strong leadership and role modeling in their respective fields and who reflect and honor Hartman’s commitment to women and community. Previous winners include Margaret Chase Smith, Olympia Snowe, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Dora Anne Mills, Shenna Bellows, Tabitha King and Jennifer Finney Boylan.
The Maryann Hartman Young Women’s Social Justice Award recognizes a young woman 12–18 years old who has shown dedication to justice and to social change by actively promoting equality, encouraging diversity and tolerance, and improving her community. Previous recipients include Nicole Maines, Erin Williams, JoAnn Bourque, Sarah Eaton and Lindsay Richardson.
The 30th annual awards ceremony will be held in March 2016. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. To request nomination forms, call 207.581.1228 or visit umaine.edu/womensgenderandsexualitystudies/maryann-hartman-award. For information on phone nominations, call Liz Franck or Hough at 207.581.1228.
Completed nomination forms may be sent to MaryannHartmanAwards@umit.maine.edu; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Attention Maryann Hartman Awards Committee, University of Maine, 5728 Fernald Hall, Room 101, Orono, ME 04469-5728; or faxed to 207.581.1218.
Ellen Gibson, AgrAbility specialist with Maine AgrAbility — a nonprofit collaboration of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries Northern New England and Alpha One — is allowing gardens to be more accessible to everyone, regardless of ability, reports the Bangor Daily News.
“I think of it similarly to the concepts of universal design in architecture, designing gardens for everyone, regardless of age or ability,” Gibson said.
The article also quoted Donna Coffin, an educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Penobscot County, who explained that alternative gardens often come in trends. For example, there was a big movement a few years ago to create lasagna gardens, layered spaces made with compostable materials that slowly turn into soil.
“Every year there’s new techniques,” Coffin said. “This year the new thing is straw bale gardening.”
The animation, “A Climate Calamity in the Gulf of Maine: The Lobster Pot Heats Up,” — produced by a husband and wife animation team in Rockland and funded by the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine — was featured in an article in the Portland Press Herald.
According to The Handicapper’s Edge, Mick Peterson, executive director, Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, and engineering professor at the University of Maine, will be a featured speaker at this years Welfare and Safety of Racehorse Summit on July 8.
More than 100 people were present for the public meeting at Searsport District High school to discuss the plan to deepen and widen the navigation channel at Mack Point marine terminal, reported The Republican Journal. Opponents of the plan fear that dredging will disperse toxic materials that were left over decades of heavy industry around Penobscot Bay. Biologist, like Joseph Kelly — professor of marine biology at the University of Maine — are concerned that disturbing the dredge area and disposal site could release significant amounts of methane gas.
Kelley has worked extensively on mapping the seafloor of the Gulf of Maine, and said the methane would have come from organic matter that grew in marshes 10,000 to 12,000 years ago when the sea level was lower than it is today. That material would have been covered in mud when sea levels rose and undergone a gradual anaerobic decomposition, creating methane gas in the process.
Eastport artist Anna Hepler and two volunteers waded through the Kenduskeag Stream at low tide Friday to flip her floating sculpture rightside up, reported the Bangor Daily News.
Hepler’s solo exhibit “Blind Spot” is slated to open June 19 at the University of Maine Museum of Art. The exhibit will feature more than 25 sculptures and two-dimensional artworks, according to museum director and curator George Kinghorn.
A group is rallying early for Emily Cain — former state senator from Orono — in anticipation of the 2016 primary, reported an article in CentralMaine.com. Cain lost to U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the 2014 race for Maine’s 2nd congressional district.
Mark Brewer, University of Maine political science professor, said external factors should favor Democrats, calling the race a toss-up and Emily Cain is a strong candidate.
“That all being said, Poliquin’s going to be tough to beat in November of 2016,” he said.