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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 11 hours 7 min ago
Growers and marketers of hay and hay products are reminded to update their listings on the University of Maine Cooperative Extension online hay directory.
“Extension has maintained the hay directory for many years and growers and consumers have found the resource valuable,” says Rick Kersbergen, UMaine Extension educator in Waldo County. Kersbergen also advises having an analysis done when buying or selling forage products to ensure appropriate quality.
To list hay for sale on the directory, contact the Waldo County Extension office at 342.5971, 800.287.1426 (in Maine), or complete the online form. For more information about quality testing, contact Kersbergen at email@example.com or watch UMaine Extension’s educational videos on YouTube.
University of Maine student-athletes posted a 3.21 cumulative grade-point average during the 2014-15 academic year.
The 3.21 GPA placed the Black Bears third in the 2015 America East Academic Cup standings. The Academic Cup, established by the America East Board of Directors in 1995, is presented to the institution whose student-athletes post the highest grade-point average during the academic year. The University of Hartford and the University of New Hampshire tied for the 2015 America East Academic Cup, each posting a 3.23 GPA.
The UMaine women’s basketball team, the 2015 America East co-regular season champion, led all league women’s basketball squads with a 3.39 GPA. It was one of three squads in the America East to both win/share a championship and finish with the highest GPA in their respective sports.
All nine of UMaine’s women’s sports teams recorded a 3.00 GPA or better this season, led by the cross-country and ice hockey squads, both of which finished with 3.46 GPAs. Basketball (3.39) and swimming and diving (3.33) followed. Field hockey, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and soccer all finished with a 3.27 grade-point average and softball earned a 3.25 GPA.
The UMaine men’s squads were led by the cross-county team with a 3.31 GPA, followed by ice hockey (3.21) and indoor track and field (3.13).
After Hartford, UNH and UMaine, the University of Vermont was fourth in the AE with a 3.16 GPA. Binghamton University and the University of Massachusetts Lowell tied for fifth, each recording a 3.10 GPA. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Stony Brook University tied for seventh with a 3.08 GPA, while the University at Albany compiled a 3.06 GPA.
Each of America East’s nine member institutions and 79 percent of its teams (110-of-139) compiled grade-point averages higher than 3.0 in 2014–15.
In all, America East student-athletes have averaged better than a 3.0 GPA for 10 straight years. The league’s 3,400-plus student-athletes averaged a 3.14 GPA, the highest single-year mark in league history. It’s the third consecutive year a new standard has been set.
The University of Maine is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015. The athletic department is noting 150 student-athlete achievements during the year; visit goblackbears.com/150achievements.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
An Orono-based company founded by two University of Maine graduates has been awarded $224,996 from the National Science Foundation to create a prototype for the first completely eco-friendly thermal insulation foam board.
Nadir Yildirim, a graduate of UMaine’s innovation engineering program and current Ph.D. student in the Wood Science and Technology Program in the School of Forest Resources, and Alexander Chasse, a 2013 civil engineering graduate from UMaine who works at the university conducting nanomaterial research, created Revolution Research, Inc. to develop recyclable and reusable products using cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) for several industries.
“I believe RRI will open a new page in the insulation industry,” says Yildirim, the project’s principal investigator.
The pair started RRI in 2014 to develop and commercialize replacements of petroleum-based thermal insulation products. RRI’s current focus is the creation and commercialization of thermal and acoustical insulation foam boards for use in the construction industry.
One of the largest uses of energy is heating and cooling buildings, according to the researchers, which drives construction companies to search for products that improve insulation performance.
Foam board insulation products currently on the market are produced from petroleum-based chemicals. RRI aims to use CNFs and green polymers to produce an eco-friendly thermal insulation board with a lower carbon footprint as well as the necessary mechanical and thermal properties to meet market needs. The researchers also hope to offer the board at a comparable price to current insulation products.
CNFs have the ability to reinforce weak materials, permitting new composite products. The raw material, cellulose, is abundant and obtainable from renewable sources including plants and sea animals. Green polymers that will be used in the project also are a readily available renewable resource, but are weak and brittle without CNF reinforcement.
“RRI’s novel foam boards will not only be better for the environment than current petroleum-based products, but will also provide improved energy efficiency,” Yildirim says. “With a better thermal insulation you can save the environment; you can save lots of money.”
The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project also will allow the team to rent space and buy equipment for a laboratory. Currently RRI doesn’t have any employees, but within the next five years, Yildirim hopes the company will have its own Maine-based production facility with about 30 employees.
Successful completion of the project will provide the opportunity for Phase II, which would allow RRI to apply for a grant up to $750,000.
Since the company began, RRI has received a $5,000 award from the Maine Technology Institute, as well as $5,000 for winning first place at the 2015 UMaine Business Challenge, the state’s largest student entrepreneurship competition.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
WABI (Channel 5) reported on an Orono-based company founded by two University of Maine graduates that has been awarded $224,996 from the National Science Foundation. The grant will allow Revolution Research, Inc. to create a prototype for the first completely eco-friendly thermal insulation foam board. Nadir Yildirim, a graduate of UMaine’s innovation engineering program and current Ph.D. student in the Wood Science and Technology Program in the School of Forest Resources, and Alexander Chasse, a 2013 civil engineering graduate from UMaine who works at the university conducting nanomaterial research, created RRI to develop recyclable and reusable products using cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) for several industries. “There is no product on the market that can compete with this one,” Yildirim said of the foam board. Stephen Shaler, director of the School of Forest Resources and Yildirim’s adviser, told WABI it’s everyone’s job to contribute to protecting the environment. “As we have increasing populations, as we have pressures on the environment, energy demands and the impact that has on sustainability and on the environment; we need to do things in a better way. We need green materials,” Shaler said. The Bangor Daily News also reported on the company.
Several recent University of Maine graduates who have turned to farming as a career were mentioned in the Bangor Daily News article, “Forward, not back: The odds are Millennial farmers will fail. Why they pursue the good life anyway.” Margaret McCollough, who graduated in May with a degree in sustainable agriculture, has since returned to Arundel where she and her partner and UMaine alumnus Garth Douston started an organic vegetable farm in 2014, according to the article. McCollough and Douston gained the knowledge for starting a farm from a classroom, which allowed them the comfort of learning without fear of failure or making ends meet, the article states. As a student, Douston gained experience as a farm worker at UMaine’s Rogers Farm, and McCollough was farm manager at UMaine Greens where she grew salad mix for the university’s dining facilities. Jon Noyes, a 2012 UMaine graduate with a degree in international affairs and history, also was mentioned in the article. Noyes, who works on his family’s farm in Woodland, said farming appealed to him because he enjoys the solitude. The article was written by Danielle Walczak, a recent UMaine Honors graduate who studied journalism, creative writing and sustainable food systems.
The Darling Marine Center was mentioned in a Current Publishing article on the Freeport-based Coastal Studies for Girls. The program is a semester-long, or 16-week, science and leadership school for 10th grade girls located on Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport, where students become immersed in a marine science-based curriculum, according to the article. Recent student Heather Sieger said a memorable experience from the course was a weekend field trip to the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole. At the center the students collected marine creatures from a boat, including sea cucumbers and spider crabs, to examine under a microscope, the article states. “It was so exciting to look at everything that’s on the ocean bottom in that area,” Sieger said. “This was definitely one of the moments where I thought to myself, this is what I want to study for the rest of my life.”
WVII (Channel 7) reported U.S. Sen. Susan Collins met with students from around Maine who are visiting Washington, D.C. as they prepare to compete in the final round of the National History Day contest. NHD is an academic program that promotes critical thinking, research and presentation skills through project-based learning for students of all abilities. More than 300 students and teachers from 36 middle and high schools took part in this year’s state contest held at the University of Maine in March. Exhibits, papers, websites, documentaries and performances were judged, with the top winners becoming eligible to compete alongside nearly 3,000 students in the national contest. The students presented Collins with a T-shirt that featured this year’s NHD theme of “Leadership and Legacy,” according to the report.
Marcella Sorg, a research professor of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, was mentioned in the TribLIVE article “Korean War veteran, unidentified for decades, laid to rest in Pittsburgh.” Sorg was contacted to help identify a Korean War veteran whose remains were unnamed for 64 years. In 2012, the veteran’s remains were ordered to be exhumed from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. After almost three years in the lab, investigators believed they matched his teeth and clavicle to the dental and X-ray records of a Marine missing in action at Chosin, North Korea, according to the article. The team then called Sorg, a forensic anthropologist, for a second opinion before officially naming the man, the article states.
The Maine Edge advanced the University of Maine Museum of Art’s summer exhibitions that will open to the public on June 19 and run through Sept. 19. The exhibits include Niho Kozuru’s “Inter/Dimension,” Anna Helper’s “Blind Spot,” and “With Ties to Maine,” a collection of Maine-related art celebrating the 150th anniversary of UMaine. The exhibit will feature more than 20 pieces from the museum’s permanent collection by artists who spent significant time in Maine. Artists include John Marin, Andrew Wyeth, Alex Katz, Berenice Abbott and Neil Welliver.
The Portland Press Herald published the opinion piece “To avoid ‘anything goes,’ let’s seriously evaluate transfer credits to UMaine” by Howard Segal, a history professor at the University of Maine.
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.