University of Maine News
The Portland Press Herald published a feature for its “Meet” series on James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Dill, a tick expert, was interviewed at the UMaine Extension Tick ID Lab in Orono. He spoke about the increase in ticks, and gave advice on tick protection. Dill said about 100 people visit the lab for tick identification in an average year, and he has already seen about 70 this year. “The whole tick and bed bug issue has become so rampant in the last five years,” he said. “It’s really on the forefront of people’s minds.”
Amy Witt, a horticulture professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, demonstrated on WLBZ (Channel 2) how to grow flowers and herbs vertically by using a pallet. Witt said pallet gardening is great for growing annuals, herbs, crops that vine and greens such as lettuce. She also spoke about UMaine Extension’s “Ask the Expert” day to be held Wednesday, June 18 at Tidewater Farm in Falmouth.
Frank Drummond, an entomology specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and a UMaine professor of insect ecology, spoke to the Bangor Daily News about a five-year, $3.5 million research project on the role bees play in blueberry production. Drummond is leading the project that involves biologists, economists, anthropologists and graduate students from UMaine, as well as researchers from other states. Drummond said renting commercial beehives is, on average, the most expensive production cost for Maine’s blueberry growers. The project aims to study the role native bees play in blueberry pollination, the status of native bee populations, and which species of bees are best for adequate pollination. “The whole purpose of this project is to look at what are some of the best pollination strategies that growers might be able to use,” he said. The project also includes outreach to blueberry growers in the form of workshops hosted by Drummond to teach growers about pollination.
Mick Devin, a Democratic state representative for District 51 and researcher and shellfish hatchery manager at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, was a recent guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. The show focused on ocean acidification off the coast of Maine and the dangers it poses for marine life, especially shellfish. Devin introduced the legislation that passed in April to create a commission to study ocean acidification and look for ways to mitigate it.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Portland Press Herald article, “Michaud’s sexuality has double-edged potential,” about Maine gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud. Brewer said there are many different ways the issue can cut — either positive or negative for Michaud. He said Michaud’s sexuality may be costing him some votes among socially conservative Democrats in the 2nd District, but it could appeal to more liberal voters in the 1st District, who might be inclined to support Cutler. “It’s going to be fascinating to see how that plays out in November,” Brewer said.
The Bangor Daily News published an opinion piece titled “To survive and grow, Maine farmers must keep innovating,” by John Piotti, president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust. The article first appeared in Maine Policy Review, published by the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.
The Penobscot Times reported on the appearance of Paul Mayewski, a University of Maine professor and director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute (CCI), on the June 9 series finale of the Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously.” The show is a nine-part documentary series about the impact of climate change on people and the planet. Mayewski was filmed gathering ice cores 20,000 feet atop a glacier on Tupungato, an active Andean volcano in Chile. Mayewski said climate change is causing and will continue to cause destruction, and how scientists and media inform people about the subject is important.
University of Maine junior Matthew Dexter kicked off his 42-day cross-country relay run to raise money for cancer research Sunday, June 15, in San Francisco, California. People interested in keeping in step with Dexter’s progress are invited to read his blog.
Dexter and 33 other college students are taking part in the second annual 4,000-mile Ulman Cancer Foundation’s 4K for Cancer, the motto for which is “Change Lives.” Doug Ulman created 4K for Cancer in 1997 after he was first diagnosed with cancer to enhance “lives by supporting, educating and connecting young adults, and their loved ones, affected by cancer.”
Dexter, a psychology major from Acton, Massachusetts, has raised more than $7,000 for the cause, $2,000 more than his original goal. Last year, runners and bikers taking part in the event contributed about $775,000 to the fund.
Dexter’s mother Christine died of stomach cancer when he was 13 and he says running was therapeutic for him. Dexter wanted to take part in the run to help others facing similar challenges. Relay participants run six to 10 miles a day, visit patients, give away chemo packs (comfort items for patients undergoing chemotherapy) and deliver college scholarships to young adults with cancer. The relay team is slated to reach Baltimore, Maryland on July 26.
Lenard Kaye, director of the University of Maine Center on Aging and professor in the UMaine School of Social Work, was quoted in an Associated Press article about former President George H.W. Bush celebrating his 90th birthday by making a tandem parachute jump near his home in Kennebunkport. Kaye said more and more seniors are participating in extreme physical activities and Bush’s jump is indicative of the trend. Kaye predicts the trend will increase as more baby boomers retire, but warns seniors who partake in “extreme acts of adventure” should keep in mind their bones are more fragile than when they were younger. ABC News, The Washington Post and Seattlepi.com were among news organizations that carried the AP report.
The Bangor Daily News published a slide show and article about a Bangor Christian School field trip to the restored one-room schoolhouse at the Page Farm & Home Museum on the University of Maine campus. Patricia Henner, director of the museum, portrayed a 19th century teacher during the trip. “It’s fun to take the kids back in time and see what school was like in 1867,” Henner said.
Rick Wahle, a University of Maine research professor at the Darling Marine Center, was interviewed for the AccuWeather.com article, “Drastic New England lobster decline may be linked to warmer waters.” Wahle, founder of the American Lobster Settlement Index, has been tracking lobster populations since 1989. Recently, he and his crew of divers have been counting the larval populations of lobster in water off the coast of New England and Atlantic Canada. “In 2013 we saw one of the most widespread downturns in the history of [this study] for sure,” Wahle told AccuWeather.com. He said the population of young lobsters is nearly 50 percent of what it was in 2007, and he believes oceanographic changes are responsible for the decline. Business Insider also carried the report.
Laura Lindenfeld, an associate professor of communication and policy at the University of Maine, was interviewed for a ClimateWire article about the rise in fiction films that use climate change to help drive the plot line. Lindenfeld and postdoctoral researcher Bridie McGreavy recently published an article in the International Journal of Sustainable Development about their research on race and gender stereotypes in movies that focus on climate change. Lindenfeld said seeing climate change in popular media is encouraging because it shows society is talking more about the issue. “People consume entertainment media for fun, not to change their way of thinking. But for better or for worse, it is indeed changing the way you experience the world,” she said.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Mick Devin, a Democratic state representative for District 51 and researcher and shellfish hatchery manager at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center. As a result of legislation introduced by Devin and passed in April, a commission will soon convene to study ocean acidification and look for ways to mitigate it. The legislation makes Maine the first state on the East Coast to enact a law specifically to study the threat posed by the ocean’s changing chemistry. Devin says ocean acidification is a problem he witnesses daily, and Maine is the East Coast state most affected by ocean acidification. He said more carbon dioxide is entering the ocean and creating carbonic acid, which impacts marine life such as oysters and clams by causing their shells to dissolve. “Getting the bill into law was the easy part,” Devin said, adding the real work starts with the commission and their recommendations.
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Jemison spoke about the importance of crop rotation and demonstrated the best way to plant carrots and onions.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Kennebec Journal about the race between Democrat Emily Cain and Republican Bruce Poliquin for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat. Brewer said Cain is the favorite at the start of the campaign, and Poliquin may have trouble winning because he is more conservative than the moderates who have held the seat most recently. He said Poliquin has, “a very specialized, foundational group of supporters and it’s hard to see how much bigger he can make that.”
The Maine Edge reported on High Touch Courses’ UMaine-affiliated Summer Technology Camp to be held in Orono. The camp is an intensive, project-based overnight and day camp for middle and high school students who want to change the world with technology. Four weeklong courses on different themes will be offered from July 7 through Aug. 1. Students can attend every week or take individual courses. Course topics are Web design, 3-D art and graphic design, game development, and hardware architecture.
Patty Counihan, director of the Career Center at the University of Maine, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for the article, “Finding a job isn’t getting any easier for Maine teens.” Counihan said hiring plunged five or six years ago, but “it seems like it is coming back slowly but surely.” In 2009, she told the Press Herald, about 60 companies signed up to recruit workers on campus, and this year it was back up to the normal level of around 100. She said the university doesn’t compile overall job placement figures until about six months after a class graduates, but knows IBM hired a handful of UMaine graduates this year, while Enterprise Rent-A-Car hired nine. She said a substantial number of other graduates had offers or interest from potential employers, as well.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald article about the results of the Democratic and Republican primaries for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Emily Cain won the nomination as the Democratic candidate, and Bruce Poliquin won over Kevin Raye in the district’s Republican primary. Voter turnout was predictably low across the district, according to the article. Brewer said final turnout numbers would be a key factor in the Republican race, saying before the results were in that a heavy turnout would benefit Raye and a low turnout would help Poliquin.
David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about the best methods for growing native berries. Handley shared tips for successfully growing strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries at home.
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece “Women’s ‘confidence problem’? It’s so much more” by Amy Blackstone, an associate professor and chairwoman of the University of Maine’s Sociology Department. Blackstone also is a member of the Maine Regional Network, part of the Scholars Strategy Network, which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications. Members’ columns appear in the BDN every other week.