University of Maine News
The University of Maine Graduate School will hold the 27th annual Graduate Student and Faculty Recognition Ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, May 9 in the Alfond Arena. A reception in the Memorial Gym will immediately follow the hooding ceremony. For disability accommodations or for more information, visit the Graduate School website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207.581.3291.
University of Maine researchers are studying the most efficient way to commercially thin regenerating clearcuts from the spruce budworm outbreak of the 1980s that are starting to reach profitable size throughout northern Maine. With no consensus among foresters and those in the logging industry about how best to thin stands, the researchers are investigating commercial thinning treatments that are silviculturally effective.
Jeffrey Benjamin, associate professor of forest operations, and Robert Seymour, the Curtis Hutchins Professor of Forest Resources, teamed with Emily Meacham, now with American Forest Management, and Jeremy Wilson, executive director of the Harris Center for Conservation Education, to compare thinning methods.
In the team’s recent study, they compared two whole-tree and two cut-to-length systems in terms of residual stem damage, retention of downed woody material, product utilization and production cost. While initial results were mixed in terms of residual stand damage, more than four times more biomass was produced from the whole-tree operations. The study also found commercially available equipment can conduct these treatments with skilled operators, but at a high production cost. The best system silviculturally was also the most expensive.
The researchers say efforts to develop cost-efficient harvesting machines to treat the stands should continue. No matter what technological advances are made, logging contractors carry the biggest responsibility for success because they need to balance residual stem damage and crop tree selection with production costs, according to the researchers.
Details of the study were published in the December 2013 issue of the Society of American Foresters’ Northern Journal of Applied Forestry.
WVII (Channel 7) spoke with Laurie Connell, a research professor in the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences, about a handheld device she helped develop to quickly detect disease-causing and toxin-producing pathogens such as algal species that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. Connell said the device — called a colorimeter — could be used by government agencies for water sampling. The device could be instrumental in monitoring coastal water in real-time, thereby preventing human deaths and beach closures. Phys.org also carried a report about the device.
The Maine Edge published a review of the University of Maine School of Performing Arts’ production of “Grease.” The review states “the cast consistently came together.” Remaining performances of the show are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20, 21, 22, and 2 p.m. Feb. 23 in Hauck Auditorium.
The Maine Edge reported on the third Big Gig pitch-off and networking event held at Husson University’s Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business in Bangor. The Big Gig is a network for innovators and entrepreneurs in the Orono, Old Town and Bangor areas that was started by a partnership between the University of Maine, Old Town, Orono and Husson University and is supported by Blackstone Accelerates Growth. Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation, said one of the reasons the Big Gig was started was to connect innovators and entrepreneurs. Event participants were preselected to deliver a three-minute elevator pitch about their business idea to a panel of judges and attendees. The winner moves on to compete for the $1,000 grand prize in the Big Gig finale in April.
NECN spoke with George Jacobson, Maine’s state climatologist and professor emeritus of biology, ecology and climate change at the University of Maine, about environmental and species changes seen in Maine. The report states scientists at UMaine’s Climate Change Institute say weather is different from climate and evidence points to a warming planet. Jacobson said the news “isn’t all good, it isn’t all bad; it’s change.” He added it’s important for researchers to work together to prepare for predicted trends.
The Weekly carried a report about an artifact at the University of Maine’s Hudson Museum that may have inspired the logo design of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. The wooden Northwest Coast transformation mask depicts a bird of prey when closed and reveals a painted depiction of a human face when opened. The artifact is part of the William P. Palmer III collection and is on display at the museum. A few days before Super Bowl XLVIII, Robin K. Wright, curator of Native American art and director of the Bill Holm Center at Burke Museum at the University of Washington, posted a blog “Searching for what inspired the Seattle Seahawks logo.” The mask Wright describes in her blog is believed to be the same mask displayed at the Hudson Museum.
The Portland Press Herald’s Natural Foodie column previewed the 27th annual Camden Conference that will run Feb. 21–23. The theme of this year’s conference and accompanying course offered by the University of Maine’s Division of Lifelong Learning is “The Global Politics of Food and Water.” The conference and course aim to explore water and food security topics from many perspectives around the world as they relate to human life, global climate change and relationships between countries.
Snow plowing at the University of Maine is planned for Wednesday night, Feb. 19. Parking Services reminds the UMaine community to be aware of the weather for the next few days. As noted on the back of all parking permits, the winter overnight parking ban is in effect through May 1. All staff, commuter and visitor parking areas are closed to overnight parking. No vehicle should be parked in these lots between midnight and 6 a.m. Any vehicle left during snow removal will be towed and stored at the owner’s expense. The College Avenue South and the Bridge Tennis Court lots are available for faculty, staff, commuter and visitors who have a short-term need to park vehicles overnight.
The United States Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus will perform at 7 p.m. Monday, March 31 at the Collins Center for the Arts. The University of Maine School of Performing Arts and the Bangor Daily News are sponsoring the show, which will include 16 UMaine students as guest performers and Christopher White, UMaine Symphonic Band director, as a guest conductor for one piece.
The United States Army Field Band has been performing for more than 60 years and travels nationally and internationally to perform. Since its formation in 1946, the Field Band has appeared in all 50 states and in more than 30 countries on four continents. The Field Band’s 65 members are selected by competitive audition and are called “The Musical Ambassadors of the Army.” The United States Army Soldiers’ Chorus was founded in 1957 and is the vocal complement of the United States Army Field Band.
Tickets for the event are free, but are limited to four tickets per request. Tickets can be obtained by mailing a request in a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
ATTN: U.S. Army Field Band Tickets
University of Maine School of Performing Arts
5788 Class of 1944 Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5788
For more information on the performance or to request a disability accommodation, call the School of Performing Arts at 207.581.4703. More information on the musical performers of the band and chorus is available online.
The University Credit Union’s seventh annual Healthy High 5k/10k and 1-Mile Fun Run at the University of Maine, sponsored by Cadillac Mountain Sports, will be April 13.
The race, which begins at 4:20 p.m. at UMaine’s New Balance Student Recreation Center, promotes health and wellness for both the university and the community.
Early registration fees for the 5k/10k are $15; $5 for students. The 1-mile walk/run is free. Early registration deadline is 4 p.m April 9. Day-of registration fees are $20; $10 for students. Registration is available online.
Race proceeds benefit the Black Bear Exchange Food Pantry and Thrift Store. In addition, donations of used footwear will benefit Soles4Souls.
For registration information, to request a disability accommodation or for more information, call Shelby Saucier, 207.581.1423.
The Associated Press, Penobscot Times and Phys.org reported on research being conducted by Jenny Shrum, a Ph.D. candidate in the ecology and environmental sciences graduate program in the University of Maine School of Biology and Ecology. Shrum is researching the biophysical relationships between weather and sap flow. Her goal is to better understand what drives flow and how expected trends in climate may affect the processes and harvesters in the future. Boston Herald, WLBZ (Channel 2), Boston.com, Portland Press Herald, Daily Journal, SFGate, Journal Tribune, seattlepi.com and The Telegraph carried the AP report.
WABI (Channel 5) spoke with University of Maine students and faculty for a two-part report on the University of Maine System’s Native American Tuition Waiver and Educational Program. UMaine students Katrina Coston, Tori Hildreth and Catherine Chavaree spoke about their experiences growing up and the importance of the program. UMaine faculty Sharon Oliver, senior director of admissions; John Bear Mitchell, a Wabanaki studies lecturer and associate director of UMaine’s Wabanaki Center; and Darren Ranco, chair of Native American programs also spoke about the program’s benefits and ongoing efforts to spread the word. Ranco said both recruitment and retention of Native American students are works in progress.
Spencer Meyer, associate scientist for forest stewardship at the Center for Research on Sustainable Forests at the University of Maine, and Rob Lilieholm, an associate professor of forest policy in the School of Forest Resources at UMaine were interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about how two Maine groups are being paid to manage their forests for carbon dioxide reduction that will offset pollution by industry. Meyer said the arrangements are “offsetting a global process” and are “laying the groundwork for others down the road.” Lilieholm said although the forest carbon offset projects are just beginning in Maine, the state could eventually find them financially attractive. He estimates widespread use of trees-for-carbon-dioxide compensation is probably five to 10 years off.
WVII (Channel 7) interviewed University of Maine mechanical engineering technology students who are working on a log hauler restoration as part of their capstone experience. The steam log hauler, located at Leonard’s Mills in Bradley, has been put together entirely by students. The Lombard Log Hauler Restoration Project is in its 30th year, and the current students hope to have the log hauler running on steam this spring.
The Bangor Daily News published a review of the University of Maine School of Performing Arts’ spring production of “Grease.” The review states the “actors dig deep for nuanced and near flawless performances.” Remaining performances of the show are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20, 21, 22, and 2 p.m. Feb. 23 in Hauck Auditorium.
A 2010 University of Maine study was cited in a Portland Press Herald article about how a growing concern about the water quality of Maine’s lakes has led the state to recommend towns wet roads before a storm with a brine solution to lessen the environmental damage caused by spreading salt and sand. Even though experts say the solution is safer and more effective, many towns and plowing contractors have been resistant to the change, the article states. The UMaine study found Maine spreads about a billion pounds of salt on its roads every year, and much of the salt ends up in water supplies which can harm wildlife.
Jake Ward, University of Maine’s vice president for innovation and economic development, was mentioned in a Free Press article on the recent findings of an independent analysis on economic development investments in the state. The reports were compiled by Investment Consulting Associates (ICA) and include recommendations to improve the evaluation process and information on which programs provide a good return on investment. Ward was part of a steering committee of people from private and public sectors in Maine that worked with ICA on the project.
Scott Dunning has been nominated to serve on the Efficiency Maine Trust Board. Efficiency Maine offers business and residential programs to help Mainers make energy improvements and save money.
Scott Dunning of Hampden is a professor of electrical engineering technology and director of the University of Maine School of Engineering Technology. Throughout his 21-year career at UMaine, he has taught a variety of courses in the areas of electrical engineering and power systems. His primary research interests are in the areas of energy efficiency.
Dunning became involved with the Association of Energy Engineers in the late 1990s, when he became an instructor for the Certified Energy Manager program. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Maine. He is a senior member and past chair of the Maine Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
All nominations are contingent upon Maine Senate confirmation after review by the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology.
Every Monday afternoon Jared Duggan, an accounting major at the University of Maine, heads to Leonard Middle School in Old Town to meet one of his close friends — a sixth-grader named Matt.
When Jared arrives, the two head outside to play basketball, even though it’s winter. It’s the pair’s normal routine, regardless of the weather.
Meanwhile at the Old Town Recreation Department, Jared’s sister Emily Duggan, an elementary education major at UMaine, sits with Keely, a fifth-grader. They’re making friendship bracelets while they talk about friends and school.
This is the second year the Duggans of Buxton, Maine, have participated in UMaine’s Black Bear Mentor Program. The program is offered through the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and is run by an AmeriCorps VISTA. More than 80 UMaine students are currently participating, making the program’s 11th year the largest.
The Black Bear Mentors meet with third- to eighth-grade students once a week after school at Dr. Lewis S. Libby School in Milford, Old Town Elementary School, Leonard Middle School in Old Town and the Old Town Recreation Department. The mentors work with students on activities such as sports, arts and crafts, homework, board games and community service projects.
“I think the end goal is to try to get the students interested in pursuing education,” Jared, who is in his junior year at UMaine, says of the program. “We know what we’ve done to get to college so we can pass that on to kids to try to get them to have the same habits so they can hopefully go to college, too.”
The siblings, who live together, joined the program at the same time last year.
“Jared and I have always gotten along really well because we are the only two children in our family and because we’re so close in age. We don’t argue very often but when we do, we usually get over it pretty quickly,” Emily says, adding she and her brother also like attending UMaine hockey and basketball games together.
Emily, a UMaine sophomore, says she decided to become a mentor because she has always enjoyed working with children and wants to be a teacher. The Duggans also both worked as recreation counselors during the summer in their hometown. Jared, who was working as an RA at the time he joined the program, also decided being able to work with kids during the school year would be rewarding.
“It’s the first thing I look forward to in the week because you just go and hang out with a kid and spread your wisdom,” Jared says.
Black Bear Mentors, who come from a variety of majors, are interviewed and undergo background checks before training begins. They are paired with a student based on similar interests and mentor them in weekly 90-minute sessions for the entire academic year.
Returning mentors, such as the Duggans, have the option to mentor the same child for multiple years — if the child also wants the same mentor. Both Emily and Jared are now on the second year of mentoring the students they were originally paired with.
“When I first met Keely she was pretty shy — I’m shy, too — so we were pretty similar. But now she talks all the time and asks me for advice, which is cool,” Emily says.
She says offering advice to Keely has helped both of them open up and has helped her learn how to solve problems and give the best advice without being involved. The pair also likes to spend time doing homework, playing board games or making arts and crafts. Jared and Matt, on the other hand, spend most of their time outdoors throwing a football or playing basketball.
“Matt really likes to play sports, so everyday we go outside — even in the winter,” Jared says. “While we’re outside, we’ll play with the other kids to work on teamwork. I also push him to do homework so he can play sports for school teams.”
Jared says Matt was outgoing from the moment they met and the two bonded quickly, becoming fast friends. Since Jared has known Matt, he has become more comfortable sharing personal stories.
The Duggans, who would recommend the program to UMaine students, agree the best part of being involved in the program has been reuniting with their student for the first time after summer break and seeing the excitement on their face.
“It was like we didn’t even have the summer break. He was really excited to see me, and we picked up right where we left off. We went right back outside again. It was pretty cool to see that nothing had really changed,” Jared says.
He adds the experience was the same for all the returning mentors.
“The kids just run right to their mentors. You can tell how much they mean to the kids,” he says.
Emily says she knows Keely enjoys taking part in the program by the reactions she gets from other students when she visits.
“I imagine she tells her friends about it because when I go to Old Town Rec, they always say, ‘Oh, you’re Keely’s mentor.’ They all want a mentor,” she says.
In November, the Black Bear Mentors hosted the elementary- and middle-school students for the group’s annual scavenger hunt on the UMaine campus.
“It wasn’t a typical scavenger hunt,” Emily says. “The goal was to show them places on campus and see what they’re interested in.”
The group plans to have the students visit again to do activities such as rock climbing or touring the football field.
“I’m excited for them to come back,” Jared says. “It’s always fun when they’re on the campus.”