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Updated: 3 hours 51 min ago
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.
MaineBiz reported that the company Revolution Research Inc. — founded by UMaine graduates Nadir Yildirim and Alex Chasse — is receiving a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the development of a new environmentally friendly foam board insulation product.
University of Maine director of athletics Karlton Creech said in an article in the Bangor Daily News that it is unlikely that the athletic department will be able to provide cost-of-attendance funds to student-athletes. At UMaine, the calculated cost-of-attendance number after scholarship expenses is $2,400.
Creech estimated that if about 200 of UMaine’s 400 athletes are receiving some form of scholarship, it would cost the department an estimated $480,000 for 2015–16.
“There’s no way, right now, that I have a way of affording that for everybody,” he said.
The State Department has chosen Portland to host an international forum on the Arctic next year, reports the Portland Press Herald. This will be the first time a meeting in the United States will be held outside of Alaska.
Approximately 250 delegates are expected to attend the forum including scientists, business leaders and senior government officials from eight Arctic nations.
Gordon Hamilton, a professor at the Climate Change Institute and School of Earth and Climate Sciences at the University of Maine, says the meeting presents an opportunity for scientist to share their expertise.
Pctonline.com picked up a University of Maine release about a group of researchers testing pathogenic fungi as a way to manage invasive fire ants spreading through Maine.
The Bangor Daily News reported that Anna Helper, with the help of a few volunteers, dropped her floating sculpture off a footbridge into the Kenduskeag Stream behind the University of Maine Museum of art.
Hepler’s solo exhibit “Blind Spot” — featuring more than 25 sculptures and two-dimensional artworks — is scheduled to open June 19 at the University of Maine Museum of Art, according to museum director and curator George Kinghorn.
Hepler said she hopes to move the floating sculpture elsewhere in Maine once her exhibit closes Sept. 19.
UMaine Composites Center Awarded $77.4 Million for Research and Development of New Blast-resistant Material
According to an article in the Portland Press Herald, The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $1 billion toward the construction of an additional DDG-51 destroyer, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins announced Thursday. If the funding bill becomes law, the additional destroyer would likely be built at Bath Iron Works.
The defense appropriations bill will also provide $77.4 million for the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center to research and develop blast-resistant materials.
Increased funding for defense purchases, including $7.27 million for the construction of a Secure Hybrid Composite Container and the creation of a pilot production line in the United States. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security, the Composites Center has developed a shipping container in response to secure shipping guidelines.
Revolution Research Inc., an Orono-based company founded by UMaine graduates Nadir Yildirim and Alex Chasse, will receive $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to create a prototype for the first 100 percent eco-friendly thermal insulation foam board, reported in an article in the Portland Press Herald. The award will allow the team to rent space and buy equipment for their own laboratory.
Chase, who graduated from UMaine in 2013 with a degree in civil engineering, is working as a researcher at the university’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center. The company — founded last year — won the UMaine Business Challenge, and a $5,000 award for their business plan.
Yildirim credited the UMaine Foster Center for Student Innovation for the skills he learned that enabled him to be an entrepreneur.
“They taught me not to fear and how to feel the passion. The passion is the strongest part,” he said. “You should believe in what you’re doing, focus on it. No fear. Otherwise, you will get stuck at some point. You need to trust in yourself 100 percent.”
An event on June 16 at the Lithgow Public Library will feature Kate McCarty, master food preserver for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Centralmaine.com reports. The free workshop will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the program room of Lithgow’s temporary quarters at the Ballard Center, 6 East Chestnut St. and will give participants tips on garden planning and optimal canning techniques.
McCarty manages 40 volunteer educators through UMaine Extension, teaches canning classes, maintains a food blog and authored the book “Portland Food: The Culinary Capital of Maine.”
For more information, call Lithgow Library at 207.626.2415 or visit lithgow.lib.me.us.
A University of Maine researcher, a doctoral student and an undergraduate are at Wind Cave National Park in Hot Springs, South Dakota excavating cave fossils that date back 11,000 years to the end of the most recent ice age.
Scientists say preliminary samples from the material — which includes at least 22 species — will help them understand how the region, including climate, has changed.
The UMaine contingent includes Jacquelyn Gill, assistant professor of paleoecology and plant ecology; Jeff Martin, a Ph.D. student affiliated with Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT); and Chason Frost, an undergraduate.
The UMaine trio has partnered with the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs for the project centered around a cave that is 27 feet long and less than two feet high.
“What’s really cool about the cave is that it includes these animals that are both extinct and animals that are survivors of the Ice Age,” Gill told the Rapid City Journal as she sifted through fossilized teeth, vertebrae and rib bones the size of fingernail clippings.
“When you can put all these different pieces of ecosystem together it basically gives you a sense of how an environment changes as the climate changes.”
Gill is working with plant fossils and Martin is interested in bison fossils.
Marc Ohms, a physical science technician at the park, discovered Persistence Cave, as it has been dubbed, in spring 2004; its presence was kept a secret until now so amateur explorers wouldn’t damage the material inside.
Jim Mead of East Tennessee State University is head of the crew that also will screen-wash the material and prepare it for curation.
The UMaine contingent will take part in live-tweeting sessions (twitter.com/hashtag/cavebison), in partnership with UMaine’s Follow a Researcher, at 1 p.m. EST Tuesday, June 16, and Thursday, June 18. The expedition hashtag is #cavebison.
In addition, Martin is blogging about the experience at bisonjeff.weebly.com/bisonlarge-blog.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Mark Dwyer is a staff member and graduate student.
After high school in Hampden, Maine, Dwyer enrolled in chemical engineering at the University of Maine. He quickly realized chemical engineering wasn’t a good fit and decided to leave school to pursue real-world experience.
He worked as a carpenter, a pipe welder and a night janitor, which gave him perspective, experience and hands-on skills he would eventually use to renovate his own home. Eventually, Dwyer realized that in order to have the career he wanted, he would need to return to school.
After researching possible options, he decided that a civil engineering degree would best cover all the areas he was interested in. In fall 2011 he again enrolled at UMaine.
Dwyer was familiar with the Advanced Structures and Composites Center from newspaper articles and was impressed with the center’s research. It seemed like a good fit for his skills, so he toured the facility, submitted his resume, and by his second semester, was working as an undergraduate employee.
Dwyer was recognized as the student employee of the year for UMaine and statewide for the year of 2013–14. The award reflected his exceptional performance on two sets of engineering drawings. In 2012–13, he led production of a set of engineering drawings that detailed the construction and assembly sequence of VolturnUS 1:8, the first grid-connected floating wind turbine in the Americas. In 2013–14, Dwyer led the production of another set of engineering drawings for a full-scale VolturnUS.
Though he was an undergraduate student at the time, he handled work usually reserved for full-time staff, earning the respect of center staff and students.
In May 2014, Dwyer graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and is now a full-time research engineer. He also is pursuing a master’s degree in civil engineering. Dwyer is currently investigating how steel hull designs for floating wind turbines compare to concrete hulls.
Ali Abedi, University of Maine associate professor in electrical and computer engineering, was cited in a Portland Press Herald story about radio frequency emissions from a cell tower on the Deering High School roof that will be tested after a biology teacher reported fish in a room below the tower kept dying. Abedi said radio frequency waves barely penetrate water and do not damage DNA. He said they generate heat and that hypothetically an excessively high concentration of radio waves from a cell tower could cause a burn or excessive heat. “Maybe if (the fish) spent a lot of time on the surface,” Abedi was quoted as saying, adding that conclusions cannot be reached unless experiments on the fish are done in a controlled, scientific manner. “I really doubt this is the cause of the fish dying,” he was quoted in the article.
Phys.org picked up a University of Maine release about university researchers testing pathogenic fungi as a way to manage invasive fire ants spreading throughout Maine.
University of Maine researcher Jacquelyn Gill and student Chason Frost were mentioned in a story about an excavation at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota in the Rapid City Journal. The story compared Frost to a Gold Rush-era prospector who “carefully bathed a pan full of rock and course (sic) sediment in a small pool of water to reveal the tiniest pieces of treasure” as he searched for remains of small animals that lived 11,000 years ago. The excavation project, according to the story, has revealed fossil remains of at least 22 different species recovered from a dug-out section of the cave 27 feet long and less than two feet high. “What’s really cool about the cave is that it includes these animals that are both extinct and animals that are survivors of the Ice Age,” said Jacquelyn Gill, assistant professor UMaine assistant professor of paleoecology and plant ecology, who was sifting through tiny fossilized teeth, vertebrae and rib bones. “When you can put all these different pieces of ecosystem together,” Gill was quoted as saying, “it basically gives you a sense of how an environment changes as the climate changes.”
The University of Maine was listed as one of several universities nationwide that offer free tuition to American Indian residents, in an online piece in Indian Country Today Media Network.com. In February, two Colorado senators introduced the Native American Indian Education Act; it would provide funding to states to fulfill the federal mandate that colleges and universities cover the cost of tuition for out-of-state American Indian students. The mandate was a condition under which the college or state received its original grant of land and facilities from the United States. The bill, it was reported, has 37 co-sponsors from 17 states.