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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 2 hours 52 min ago
Mainebiz reported the University of Maine and the Maine Potato Board have unveiled a new potato variety, Caribou Russet. The potato is a cross between a Silverton Russet and Reeves Kingpin and is described as having “high yields, mid-season maturity and moderate common scab resistance,” as well as “good baked and mashed quality for fresh market consumption,” the article states. The potato also is expected to be useful for processing markets. The new variety was developed at UMaine in the breeding program overseen by Gregory Porter, chairman of the Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences. The Bangor Daily News, Potato News Today and PotatoPro.com also reported on the Caribou Russet. The full Maine Potato Board release is online.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the 28th Expanding Your Horizons conference at the University of Maine. Nearly 500 middle school girls from around the state attended the event that aims to provide a safe and encouraging environment to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Expanding Your Horizons, which is coordinated by the UMaine Women’s Resource Center with support from the Maine Girls Collaborative Project, featured workshops for students and teachers. Workshops were offered on a variety of STEM-related topics, as well as on gender equity and confidence building. “It’s really introducing the girls to the different STEM fields and careers that are out there. Giving the females role models in those fields so they can see that it’s attainable,” said Jennifer Dunham, special projects assistant at the Women’s Resource Center.
The Free Press reported Kisei Tanaka, a doctoral student at the University of Maine, was one of several presenters at the 40th annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum held in Rockport. Tanaka, who spoke during a session on climate change, explained a new computer model developed to show prime lobster habitat in the Gulf of Maine, according to the article. Tanaka used environmental data from 1978 to 2012 to illustrate the changes in ideal lobster habitat along the coast, the article states. He found that by the 2000s, nearly all of the eastern counties had an increase in good lobster habitat, particularly during the spring months. “Temperature and salinity have changed due to climate change; depth and bottom type haven’t,” Tanaka said, adding that juvenile lobsters pick a place to settle and grow based on water temperature, bottom type, salinity and depth.
The 2015 AgrAbility National Training Conference will cover issues of disability in the agricultural industry April 13–16 at the Hyatt Regency Rochester in Rochester, New York. The conference also will include tours of area farms and other attractions.
Lani Carlson, University of Maine Cooperative Extension AgrAbility project coordinator, says there are many reasons to participate in the training workshop.
“It provides a chance for rural professionals to get together with AgrAbility staff, as well as clients and their families from across the nation. The breakout sessions and tours will offer a variety of learning opportunities from some great speakers on timely topics geared specifically toward farmers and ranchers, and other topics concerning military veteran farmers,” Carlson says.
The keynote address will be given by motivational speaker Chris Koch who, born with no arms or legs, works on his family’s farm in Alberta, Canada.
Event registration and more information is online. More information about Maine AgrAbility is available online or by contacting Carlson at 944.1533, 800.287.1471 (in Maine) or email@example.com.
The USDA-funded national AgrAbility program assists farmers, loggers and fishermen with disabilities and chronic illnesses so they may remain active in production agriculture. In Maine, AgrAbility is a nonprofit partnership between UMaine Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One.
Jacquelyn Gill, an assistant professor of paleoecology and plant ecology at the University of Maine, was quoted in an article published in the journal Nature that focuses on sexual harassment and assault during field research and on campuses. The topic has gained less attention in scientific fields with greater gender equality, such as ecology, according to the article. Gill and Joshua Drew, a conservation ecologist at Columbia University in New York, will speak about the topic as part of a panel discussion at the August meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Baltimore, Maryland, the article states. “We want to start important conversations — for example, sharing university reporting procedures with students in their own labs, departments and institutions,” Gill said, adding she feels responsible for her graduate students. “We need to create a culture where incidents are rare and reporting is easy.”
WABI (Channel 5) reported on the University of Maine’s fourth annual Summer Camp Fair for Kids that was held in the New Balance Student Recreation Center on campus. Representatives from more than 50 summer camps provided information and answered questions about the available programming for children and teenagers. “It gives all the families in the area a chance to actually look and see pictures of previous camps and to interact with camp directors and counselors and get to kind of have more of a tangible experience of what they might be doing this summer,” said event organizer Lisa Carter, who is assistant director of the Maine Bound Adventure Center.
Cheryl J. Spencer, a scientific research specialist in the School of Forest Resources, has been selected to receive the 2015 Outstanding Classified Employee Award.
The annual award, presented by UMaine’s Classified Employee Advisory Council (CEAC), recognizes exceptional service by UMaine classified employees who inspire others through dedication, commitment and work ethic; maintain the highest level of professional service; and help create a better UMaine community.
The Outstanding Classified Employee Award will be presented at the Employee Recognition and Awards Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., March 18 at Wells Conference Center.
For 30 years, Spencer has been dedicated to running the operation of soil science professor Ivan Fernandez’s research and teaching labs in the Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences Department. She continuously works to meet the forest soils program’s training goals and mentors students of all ages, as well as completes extramurally funded research grants the program is awarded.
Spencer is referred to as the “point of coordination and organization” for the biogeochemistry of forests research program which includes multiple field sites and research laboratories, as well as undergraduate student employees, graduate students, technical staff, postdoctoral associates and collaborators from UMaine and around the world.
Spencer, who instructs sections of the soil science laboratory, is described as loyal to the program and community and compassionate to students and colleagues. Graduate students rely on and respect Spencer for her practical knowledge and guidance. The same respect also is regularly recognized and expressed by collaborating faculty and scientists from across U.S. and Europe.
In the community, Spencer reaches out through her service to the Soil and Water Conservation Society; the Maine Association of Professional Soil Scientists; and Maine Envirothon, a high school environmental competition.
Timothy Miller, laboratory manager at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center, has been selected to receive the 2015 Outstanding Professional Employee Award.
The annual award, presented by UMaine’s Professional Employees Advisory Council, recognizes dedication to serving others, the highest level of professional services and standards within disciplines or areas of responsibility, a commitment to creating a better campus environment and significant public service contributions.
The Outstanding Professional Employee Award will be presented at the Employee Recognition and Awards Luncheon, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., March 18 at Wells Conference Center.
For more than two decades, Miller has been the laboratory manager at UMaine’s marine sciences center in Walpole. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 170-acre, 22-building campus that has an extensive teaching, research and community outreach mission in marine sciences. His duties can range from overseeing Darling Center safety protocol and facility maintenance to ensuring the best residential experience for Semester by the Sea students, and supports visiting scientists and college groups in their work at the center.
Miller is described as the “glue” that keeps the Darling Center functioning efficiently and effectively. He is well known for his “make things work” attitude, and initiatives to improve the overall Darling Center environment and infrastructure. Members of the UMaine community and visitors to the Darling Marine Center recognize and appreciate his deep level of concern and caring.
Beyond the Darling Center campus, Miller also is active in his community, serving as Bristol’s assistant fire chief and volunteering with area youth groups, including 4-H and the Boy Scouts.
The Sun Journal reported the University of Maine’s University Singers will perform a free concert at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School on March 13. The concert is one of several shows around central and northern Maine as part of the choir’s annual spring tour. Under the direction of Francis Vogt, a School of Performing Arts faculty member, the group of about 60 singers will perform evening shows at middle and high schools and a church before ending the tour with two performances on campus.
A 2014 Honors thesis by University of Maine psychology student Sophie Veilleux was cited in the Pacific Standard article, “Why do circus elephants get all the sympathy?” According to the article, Veilleux’s paper, “Coping with Dissonance: Psychological Mechanisms that Enable Ambivalent Attitudes Toward Animals,” focuses on four possibilities for why the majority of Americans, who generally care about the treatment of animals, show ambivalence toward livestock.
A University of Maine maple syrup expert and economics study were mentioned in the Bangor Daily News article, “LePage opens Maine’s maple season by tapping Blaine House tree.” Maine is the third-largest maple industry in the U.S., generating $17.3 million in annual income for the nearly 600 people it employs, according to economist Todd Gabe’s 2014 study that was funded by the state and the Maine Maple Producers Association, the article states. Kathy Hopkins, a maple syrup expert with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in the article. “We have the trees. If we decide to get organized, get more young people and develop the market — Maine could do anything it wants,” she said of the state’s maple industry.
Information from the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine was mentioned in a Philipstown.info article about cooking crab cakes. The article states that according to Maine Sea Grant, crab meat is low in fat, high in zinc and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Applications will be available April 1 for a University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Food Preserver course that starts June 18 at Gorham Middle School in Gorham, and at the UMaine Extension office in Falmouth.
The 10 three-hour, hands-on kitchen labs are slated to be held 5:30–8:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 17; dates may change due to produce availability.
The course will cover food preservation techniques, including canning, drying, freezing, fermenting and winter storage. Upon successful completion, graduates will serve as volunteer community resources, providing the public with research-based information from UMaine Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The training fee is $220; partial scholarships are available. Application packets will be available online or will be mailed when requests are made at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099.
The University of Maine’s University Volunteer Ambulance Corps (UVAC) recently was named a HEARTSafe CAMPUS at the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation’s (NCEMSF) 21st annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
The NCEMSF encourages and promotes community awareness of the potential for saving the lives of sudden cardiac arrest victims through the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and increased public access to defibrillation.
In 2013, NCEMSF, with support from HEARTSafe Communities, the American Heart Association, the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation and industry partners, developed an initiative to designate college communities as HEARTSafe Campuses based on quality campus-based EMS organizations.
The HEARTSafe Campuses act as examples to other campuses as a means to improve overall cardiac arrest care, according to the organization.
UVAC was recognized with EMS organizations from seven other institutions including Georgetown University, Fordham University, Tufts University and Virginia Tech.
More about the recognition is online.
A new type of fiberboard invented by University of Maine researchers is made with nontoxic, biobased additives and is 25 percent stronger than conventional products.
Most particleboard contains a formaldehyde-based binder that releases toxins into living spaces, causing health concerns. The UMaine fiberboard uses a safe, nontoxic binder of nanocellulose, a gel composed of small particles of cellulose. Cellulose is an important structural component of plants and the most abundant natural polymer on Earth. In this invention, the nanocellulose is made using a low-energy grinding process.
The fiberboard, patent-pending in the United States and Canada, was developed by UMaine researchers Doug Bousfield and Mike Bilodeau.
More information is online.
RollEase Innovation Center in Brunswick, Maine, opened in 2014 and began taking advantage of the research and development capabilities of the University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC). The innovation center has collaborated with AMC in numerous projects — from testing products and new materials to doing new component design and running software programs to validate designs and calculations.
RollEase Inc., headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, is the leading designer and largest manufacturer of clutch-based window covering operating systems worldwide and the third largest distributor of roller shade fabric in the U.S.
“One of the primary reasons we decided to make a multimillion dollar investment to locate our new innovation center here was to be within close proximity of the University of Maine and be in a position to work with their advanced manufacturing program,” said Greg Farr, senior vice president and chief innovation officer for RollEase in written testimony to the legislative committees of appropriations and financial affairs, and education and cultural affairs.
“Our company is very fortunate to have access to the world-class people and facilities of the Advanced Manufacturing Center, for we would never have made the kind of progress we’ve made to date on our own,” said Farr, writing on behalf of the requested appropriation for the University of Maine System from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF).
The Advanced Manufacturing Center is an engineering support and service center that is dedicated to promoting manufacturing economic development in Maine.
More than 480 middle school girls from around the state are expected to take part in the annual University of Maine conference that aims to provide a safe and encouraging environment to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The 28th Expanding Your Horizons conference takes place March 12 on the UMaine campus and features workshops for students, as well as teachers of the 25 participating schools.
The conference is coordinated by the UMaine Women’s Resource Center with support from the Maine Girls Collaborative Project. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is the event’s Healthy Start Partner and the UMaine College of Engineering is the Fun Futures Sponsor. The Maine School of Science and Mathematics summer camp also donated to the conference. The event involves volunteers, including university faculty, staff and more than 35 UMaine students, as well as community professionals.
The student activities begin at 9 a.m. in Hauck Auditorium with a keynote address by UMaine graduate students LeeAnne Thayer, who studies marine science, and Brianne Suldovsky, who studies communications. The students will share their personal experiences as women working in and around STEM.
Throughout the day, groups of girls will be guided by UMaine students and staff through three workshops around campus. Two of the workshops are STEM-related, while the third focuses on gender equity and confidence building.
Topics of the STEM-related workshops include computer science, engineering, wildlife biology, forestry, math, physics, horticulture, veterinary medicine and GIS/GPS remote sensing. Students also will have the opportunity to meet and hear stories from successful women working in science and math fields throughout the state.
Jennifer Dunham, special projects assistant at the Women’s Resource Center, says the day is designed to introduce girls to new areas and future career possibilities. Organizers say they hope there is a topic for everyone.
“If just one girl walks out of a workshop excited, that’s one more girl who may decide to be an architect, or an electrical engineer, or a computer programmer, or a forester, who may not otherwise have ever considered that field,” Dunham says.
The gender equity workshop, designed by graduate assistant Ashley Burns, will focus on the stereotypes and barriers women face in STEM and beyond.
“Ultimately, we want the girls walking away not only knowing and possibly being excited about fields they weren’t before, but also having the confidence to pursue them; whatever challenges they may encounter,” Dunham says.
Teachers attending the conference will participate in professional development sessions from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wells Conference Center.
The professional development forums will be divided into two sections. At 10 a.m. UMaine Extension and 4-H will lead a hands-on workshop that will explore how using the 4-H Experiential Learning Model can enhance student understanding of STEM. Participants also will learn about free resources offered by 4-H to educators statewide.
After lunch in the Bear’s Den, teachers will hear about how to bring science into the classroom from Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine and the Challenger Learning Center of Maine.
CEU’s are available for those who attend the educational forums. CEU costs are covered by the conference registration fee.
Mainebiz and the Bangor Daily News reported the National Science Foundation awarded $657,000 to Acadia Harvest Inc. (AHI), which is working to achieve a commercial-scale, land-based, indoor Maine seafood farm with low to zero waste. AHI will use a controlled environment to study how aspects of aquaculture can be applied to land-based agriculture, according to Mainebiz. AHI works in partnership with the University of Maine and the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin, where the research will be performed, the article states.
Kathy Hopkins, a maple syrup expert with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in a Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal article on the start of the maple sugaring season and how weather affects sap flow. After a cold winter, there is a perception that the season is starting late, but Hopkins said that may be based on the early seasons that maple syrup producers have enjoyed over the past few years, according to the article. If a cold winter is followed by a quick warm-up, the season will be short and less syrup will be produced, the article states. “That’s the biggest thing about the amount — having perfect weather for six weeks or so,” Hopkins said. “If it gets too hot too fast, it can close the season down fast, and you run the risk of getting a buddy tasting syrup that tastes like green twigs.”
A 2012 Maine Policy Review report by Janet Fairman, an associate research professor of education at the University of Maine, and Christine Donis-Keller, an education consultant, was cited in the VTDigger article, “School district consolidation: Will Vermont go where Maine has been?” The Maine Policy Review report, “School District Reorganization in Maine: Lessons Learned for Policy and Process,” focused on the state’s objective to reduce 290 school districts to 80. The article states that according to the report, by the 2011–12 academic year, the districts had been reduced to 164 and the success of the effort “is still open to debate.” Gordon Donaldson, professor emeritus of education at UMaine, also was quoted in the article. He recalled his perspective on the legislation that led to school district consolidation under Gov. John Baldacci’s administration.