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Updated: 22 hours 13 min ago
The Portland Press Herald reported 10 finalists will compete Wednesday, June 3 for the $10,000 Top Gun Showcase grand prize at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Center in Portland. The competitors were chosen from 35 startups that were members of the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development’s (MCED) 2015 Top Gun program. The Top Gun entrepreneurship accelerator is a five-month program that engages entrepreneurs in growing their businesses. It combines education, mentoring, pitch-coaching and networking opportunities. The program is a partnership of the MCED, Maine Technology Institute, Blackstone Accelerates Growth and the University of Maine.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine news release announcing the NT Live production of “Man and Superman” will be broadcast at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 4, at the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine. Originally scheduled for May 14, technical difficulties forced the postponement of the broadcast of Simon Godwin’s reinvention of Bernard Shaw’s 1903 classic. Tickets, which are $18 for adults and $8 for students, are available online or by calling 581.1755, 800.622.TIXX.
Registration is open for the 10th annual Maine Beaches Conference, scheduled for July 17 at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.
The conference seeks to provide continuing opportunities for communication and exchange of the most current information among beach stakeholders with diverse interests.
Charles S. Colgan, professor of public policy and management in the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, will present the opening plenary talk about an ongoing study of beach visitors in southern Maine and New Hampshire.
The survey of more than 3,000 visitors, the largest of its kind to be conducted, provides key information for understanding the beach as a tourist resource.
Since the conference’s inception, a primary purpose has been to present results of the state’s beach monitoring programs, including the Maine Healthy Beaches water quality monitoring program and the Southern Maine Beach Profiling Program.
There also will be discussion about efforts to prepare for and adapt to rising sea levels and storm surge in Damariscotta, one of the most vulnerable towns on the Maine coast. The study recommends measures that property owners can take as well as community-level adaptation strategies, and it compares costs and benefits of various methods.
Other featured topics include managing coastal erosion, preparing for hurricanes, beach wildlife, beach access, legal updates, flooding and flood plains.
“This year will be our 10th conference, and we expect to host more than 225 participants,” says conference coordinator Kristen Grant, a marine extension associate with Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension based at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm.
In addition to presentations and panel discussions, there will be an exhibit area for sponsors and partner organizations, an art and photography show and outdoor activities.
The draft conference program and registration information are available online and by calling the Wells Reserve, 646.1555, ext. 157.
This fall, children in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes in several schools in Maine will be introduced to a lovable stranded visitor from outer space named Zappazipplezenzoozery, or Z.
In a series of books, the children will help Z learn about life on Earth and getting along with others. The stories, as well as practice and lessons, emphasize positive interactions, discovery of shared and unique characteristics and a sense of community.
In 1,200 classrooms in New York, Florida and California, the Sanford Harmony Program is making a difference. Initial research indicates it improves academic performance in reading and math, increases positive attitudes about school, encourages greater empathy and reduces gender stereotyping and classroom aggression.
The University of Maine is expanding the initiative statewide as a member of the newly formed Sanford Education Collaborative, which was announced June 2.
The collaborative is made up of nine inaugural university members, including nonprofit National University, which is leading the effort. Collaborative members are advancing the research-based education programs originally developed by Arizona State University that incorporate a range of lessons, curriculum resources and activities.
“In this day and age, it is more important than ever to provide opportunities for our children and school communities to understand and value diversity,” says Susan K. Gardner, Interim Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at UMaine.
The Sanford Harmony program is designed to enhance peer relationships in pre-K through sixth-grade classrooms. It focuses on developing interpersonal skills of communication, collaboration, inclusion and empathy to provide a foundation for a healthier society.
UMaine will receive $65,000 to advance the program within the state. The $30 million nationwide initiative to expand the Sanford Education Programs — Sanford Harmony and another program called Sanford Inspire — is administered by San Diego-based National University and inspired by the vision of philanthropist and entrepreneur T. Denny Sanford.
In Maine, the university’s College of Education and Human Development will help disseminate the Sanford Harmony Program to participating schools.
“We are excited to participate in this national consortium and to collaborate with other universities in these efforts,” says Mary Mahoney-O’Neil, Associate Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at UMaine.
The University of Maine was chosen for the collaborative because of the quality of the College of Education and Human Development; its application of research-based knowledge; and field-tested experience to address changing needs of schools, children and families; its strong partnerships with school districts throughout Maine; its professional development programs; and its location.
Allyson Handley, former president of the University of Maine at Augusta, is executive director of Sanford Education Center at National University. She was hired in August 2014 to lead the national implementation of programs dedicated to “A Better Tomorrow,” including the Sanford Harmony Program.
In addition to UMaine, inaugural members of the Sanford Education Collaborative are: National University (California); Long Island University (New York); Nova Southeastern University (Florida); City University of Seattle (Washington); South Dakota State University; University of South Dakota; Touro College (New York); and University of Central Florida.
To read more about the Sanford Education Collaborative, visit sanfordeducationcenter.org/education-collaborative.cfm.
To read more about the Sanford Harmony Program, visit sanfordeducationcenter.org/harmony.cfm.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Mick Peterson, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maine, spoke with Newsday for a report about the 147th Belmont Stakes thoroughbred horse race held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Belmont is one of several elite tracks at the center of a national movement to push for more precise maintenance and measurement of racing surfaces and conditions that affect them, according to the article. Glen Kozak, vice president in charge of facilities and racing surfaces for the New York Racing Association, and other top track managers consult with Peterson on track safety, the article states. Peterson’s lab analyzes track samples, and he also visits tracks to test for safe, well-maintained surfaces. “Our philosophy has been that tracks should not vary,” Peterson said, adding the load on horses’ legs and other factors should be as consistent as possible.
Mark Hutton, a vegetable specialist and associate professor of vegetable crops with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension; and Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with UMaine Extension, spoke to the Portland Press Herald for an article about how much of New England is experiencing a drier than normal spring. The lack of rain early in the season could help farmers get crops started without dealing with mud that can often delay the planting season, according to the article. Hutton said the lack of rainfall has helped complete tasks such as field work and preparation that are often delayed by rain, but says it is “a double-edged sword.” Farmers are “not being delayed because of excessive moisture, but they’re having to spend time irrigating crops,” he said. Because of the drier weather, Moran said she has applied fewer fungicide sprays and is expecting fewer diseases and hail damage. Hutton and Moran said if the dry weather continues, it could cause a problem, especially for farmers without access to rivers or ponds for irrigation.
A partnership between the University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) and Aroostook County-based company Ecoshel was mentioned in a Mainebiz article about a grassroots effort to advance the forest products sector and job creation in Aroostook County. Aroostook Partnership for Progress, a public-private organization created to spur economic development in Maine’s northernmost county, is leading the effort, according to the article. Ecoshel, a cedar shingle maker, relocated from Georgia and opened a mill in Ashland using a new high-tech assembly line developed by the AMC, the article states. The new process can produce a shingle every second.
A 2013 study by Sandra Butler, a University of Maine social work professor, was cited in the Phoenix New Times article, “Will kicking 1,600 off welfare inspire Arizona’s poor to get jobs?” Butler’s study, “TANF Time Limits and Maine Families: Consequences of Withdrawing the Safety Net,” found that Maine’s 60-month lifetime limit for welfare recipients that was imposed in 2012 did not lead to a statistically significant increase in wages or hours of employment, the article states. According to her study, a majority of welfare recipients already had some type of job when their assistance expired, but were living below the poverty line because they made an average wage of $9 per hour. Those who were not working, she found, faced barriers to employment, such as chronic illness, mental health issues or substance abuse, and more than 40 percent did not have a high school diploma, the article states. When the families were cut off, nearly 70 percent were forced to depend on food banks, Butler reported.
Richard Brzozowski, a small ruminant and poultry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in the Portland Press Herald article, “In Gardiner, a new slaughterhouse boosts Maine’s agriculture infrastructure.” The recent completion of the dual red meat-poultry slaughterhouse represents a step in the city’s effort to be a center for local food and an increase in the state’s infrastructure for locally raised meat, according to the article. It’s the state’s only USDA-inspected poultry slaughterhouse and the first in decades, according to Brzozowski. He said it makes sense to open the slaughterhouse because Maine residents value local products, and chicken is the most popular meat. “The demand for local food is so strong, and I don’t see an end to it,” Brzozowski said.
The Bangor Daily News reported on a current exhibit at the University of Maine Museum of Art in downtown Bangor called “Andy Warhol: Photographs & Screenprints.” The museum is featuring dozens of works from its permanent collection by well-known American pop artist Andy Warhol through June 6. “He’s pretty significant historically,” said Eva Wagner, education coordinator at the museum. “Especially when we’re talking about challenging the idea of what art is.” The exhibit also will be part of the Bangor Artwalk from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 5.
University of Maine economics professor Todd Gabe’s economic impact studies on Bangor Waterfront Concerts were cited in the Portland Press Herald article “Wave of outdoor concerts signals sonic boom for Portland.” Gabe’s studies found concerts at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor have drawn at least 300,000 concert-goers and brought $48 million into the local economy in its first four years, according to the article. Gabe also found more than 40 percent of the concert-goers in 2013 came from at least two hours away, and 20 percent came from at least four hours away, the article states. He estimates the concerts generated more than $29 million in direct spending and $18 million in indirect spending in its first four years.
University of Maine student Jessica Henderson wrote an opinion piece for the Bangor Daily News titled “Financial literacy especially important for children in foster care.” Henderson of Bangor is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work and grew up in the state’s foster care system.
A two-session pasture and forage management workshop will be held June 10, at Kennebec Cheesery, 795 Pond Road, Sidney, and June 17, at Oaklands Farm, 114 Oaklands Farm Road, Gardiner.
The workshop sessions will be held 6–7:30 p.m. and will cover grass-based management systems, both organic and conventional; livestock types; forage identification; grazing and harvesting techniques; and diverse tools available to farmers. Hosts will provide a tour of the farms.
Staff from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association will lead the workshop. Cost is $15; register online by June 8. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call Diana Hartley at 622.7546.
University of Maine students and researchers will study the science of tree ring dating during a week of hands-on fieldwork in Acadia National Park.
The 25th annual North American Dendroecological Fieldweek (NADEF) runs from June 1–10 at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor. NADEF is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and aims to train students in dendrochronology, or the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of tree ring patterns, during an intensive week of fieldwork, laboratory exercises and lectures.
“The fieldweek educational model is designed around hands-on and applied education,” says Jim Speer, NADEF director and professor of geography and geology at Indiana State University.
Throughout the course, which takes place at a different location every summer, participants experience all aspects of dendrochronology or dendroecology research, from sample collection, preparation and measurement, to data analyses and interpretation, as well as presentation of results.
“It is professional-level work and a very intense experience,” according to Speer, who says the participants complete original research projects, and an average of two of the projects are published each year in peer-reviewed journals.
“We partner with Acadia to attract and develop research and education opportunities, often with the University of Maine and other partners,” says Mark Berry, president and CEO of Schoodic Institute, a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service that manages the Schoodic Education and Research Center campus at Schoodic Point. “Acadia is an outstanding destination for field research, in part because of its long legacy of ecological investigation, and is an inspiring environment for students.”
Forty students from around the country, as well as Canada and India, will take part in the course. Four of the students are from UMaine. While most participants are graduate students, faculty and professional foresters also take part.
“The tree ring record is a biological archive and when properly read, it reveals a history of how our forests have responded to past stressors and disturbances,” says Shawn Fraver, an assistant professor of forest ecosystems science in UMaine’s School of Forest Resources. “These past responses provide insights into the resistance and resilience of Maine’s forests to current and future stressors associated with a changing climate, an increase in extreme weather events, and perhaps a pending spruce budworm outbreak.”
The science of tree ring research is properly referred to as dendrochronology, Fraver says. When applied to ecological problems, the field is sometimes referred to as dendroecology.
The program, which has been run by Indiana State University since 2003, offers six lab groups led by 13 instructors from institutions across the country, each representing a specialty within the field of dendrochronology.
Fraver will co-lead the stand dynamics group with Chris Gentry, an associate professor of geography at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee.
The group will use growth patterns evident in tree rings to reconstruct the history of forest development, including response to past disturbances, such as wind storms and insect outbreaks, in a red spruce forest within Acadia National Park, Fraver says.
Kara Costanza, a UMaine Ph.D. student working with Fraver, will co-teach the introductory dendrochronology group with Neil Toth, an Indiana State University alumnus. The group will likely collect samples from a recently cleared tract of land acquired by Acadia National Park to examine the species composition and develop chronologies.
Other groups include sclerochronology, which will apply dendrochronology techniques to the ear bones of fish and bivalve shells; dendroarchaeology, which will examine the oldest buildings in Acadia to determine construction dates; dendroclimatology, which will develop a chronology and examine climate history in white cedar or older red spruce; and fire history, which will collect samples to examine the park’s historical fire data.
“I hope students will come to appreciate the enormous potential of the tree ring record for addressing today’s pressing environmental issues,” Fraver says.
The week will include one to two full days of fieldwork where participants will collect samples, followed by several laboratory days with evening lectures, and ending with a presentation of projects June 9.
“This international workshop bringing the best scientists working on dendroecology to Acadia is a wonderful example of the opportunities that research learning centers offer for national parks,” says Becky Cole-Will, chief of resource management for Acadia National Park. “The research provides expertise and capacity for scientific research that parks often do not have.”
More information about NADEF is online.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
John Rebar, executive director of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for a report about a proposed rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to crack down on the use of pesticides when bees are on a farm. With about 90 percent of all honeybees living in hives maintained by beekeepers, the rule aims to protect the endangered population that is trucked across the country to pollinate fields, according to the report. “Maine is second only to the almond crop in California in the amount of imported hives,” Rebar said, adding Maine’s wild blueberries rely heavily on the traveling bees, with apples and other crops not far behind. “You know, tomatoes and strawberries, all your squash and pumpkins — all really dependent on pollinators,” he said.
WAGM (Channel 8 in Presque Isle) reported on the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 4-H STEM Ambassador program. Four students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle are 4-H STEM Ambassadors. They are trained to facilitate hands-on science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) activities with children 8–14 years old. Through 4-H STEM Ambassadors, youth across the state become connected to the research, resources and scientists at Maine’s public universities.
A University of Maine photo of the 213th Commencement was featured in the column “Speak up. Stand up. Stand out,” on the Maine Community Foundation’s blog Real Time. The article, a college commencement address, was written by Meredith Jones, president and CEO of the Maine Community Foundation. The article’s accompanying photo shows University of Maine President Susan J. Hunter with 2015 salutatorian Katelyn Massey of Waterville, a psychology major with a concentration in development and a minor in communication sciences and disorders, and a member of the UMaine women’s ice hockey team. Real Time is a community building blog that seeks to provoke thought, encourage conversation and help friends and colleagues understand what goes on behind the scenes at the Maine Community Foundation.
The University of Maine Office of Sustainability has been selected to be one of the 100 curators nationwide of the Lexicon of Sustainability pop-up shows — art exhibitions designed to spur community dialogue to help strengthen local food systems.
The next pop-up show will be hosted June 5 at COESPACE, 48 Columbia St., Bangor. The exhibit will be open at noon, and from 5—9 p.m. as part of the Bangor Artwalk.
Collaborating on the exhibit is the Bangor Area Food Council. Members are expected to be on hand to provide information.
The Lexicon of Sustainability, founded in 2009 by farmers and filmmakers Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard-Gayeton, focuses on sharing stories that explain sustainability. Lexicon uses information artworks, pop-up shows, street art, short films series and other formats to educate and engage people to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy and where their responsibility begins for creating a healthier, safer food system in America. Nearly 200 leaders in food and farming from across the country have shared their experiences as part of Lexicon of Sustainability.
Annually, Lexicon offers 100 artwork sets to curators. UMaine and the other 2015 curators each will organize at least five pop-up art shows that involve local communities, then will act as lending libraries to schools and community groups.
At UMaine, the Sustainability Office is collaborating in its shows with the Humanities Center and the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center.
Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in reports by WMTW (Channel 8 in Portland) and NECN on climate change affecting the region’s tick population. The Natural Resources Council of Maine presented a report by the National Wildlife Federation which states warmer winters “serve as a welcome mat for pests like ticks to expand their range,” according to NECN. Dill said climate change helps ticks thrive in Maine because warmer temperatures and heavier rains support tick populations in the summer, and insulating blankets of snow protect them in the winter. He said the concern about ticks is that last year the state had 1,400 cases of Lyme disease, as well as other co-infections and tick-borne pathogens. Dill also was quoted in the Portland Press Herald article “Lyme disease down so far, but ticks are gearing up for summer.” “Those ticks were quite fat and happy under the snow, but they were not going to start coming out until the snow was gone,” Dill said. “It’s going to pick up pretty quickly. The population looks pretty strong right now.”
A Portland Press Herald article on the closing of a substance abuse recovery center in Westbrook mentioned an analysis released by the Maine attorney general’s office and conducted by Marcella Sorg, a research professor of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine. Mercy Hospital plans to close the center in part because of low reimbursement rates for addiction services, according to the article. The analysis found Maine residents who died of drug overdoses in 2014 hit a record number of 208 — an increase of 18 percent over the previous year. The drugs involved ranged from cocaine to heroin and other opioids, and the number of heroin deaths jumped from 34 to 57 in 2014, the article states.