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University of Maine News
News from the University of Maine
Updated: 2 hours 43 min ago
At the annual UMaine Employee Holiday Lunch on Dec. 17, the Classified Employees Advisory Council collected 277 pounds of nonperishable food items and $52 to benefit the Black Bear Exchange, the campus-based food pantry and clothing exchange. This was the second holiday donation drive coordinated by CEAC to support the Black Bear Exchange. Upward of 800 members of the UMaine community attended the lunch.
The research of Michelle Smith, assistant professor in the School of Biology and Ecology, is the focus of a National Science Foundation Discovery feature, “Rules of engagement: Transforming the teaching of college-level science.” Smith is the principal investigator on four projects and a co-principal investor on another, all aimed at improving nationwide science instruction and assessments. The Dec. 18 NSF story notes that Smith is a science education advocate and molecular biologist who “uses her analytical background to create teaching strategies that energize both students and faculty.” The story quotes UMaine faculty Mary Tyler and Farahad Dastoor, and includes photos by UMaine student Amanda Clark.
The University of Maine was highlighted in a MassLive.com story about Paperlogic, a 120-year-old paper mill in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, seeking to make new products with innovative cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) produced at the university. UMaine was recently awarded $350,000 to construct a commercial-scale CNF manufacturing plant with a capacity of 2 tons per day. The plant will accelerate CNF commercialization by making large quantities of it available to support the growth in application development activities. Paperlogic is a collaborator on the plant project that is funded by P3Nano.
Foster’s Daily Democrat carried a University of Maine Cooperative Extension release announcing that Jan. 5 is the deadline to apply for the Master Gardener Volunteer training in York County that begins Jan. 27 at the Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen St., Springvale.
University of Maine Climate Change Institute scientists Paul Mayewski, Sean Birkel and Ivan Fernandez shared their research about climate change with Keith Shortall on MPBN’s Maine Calling, an interactive radio program.
Several media outlets, including the Portland Press Herald, Bangor Daily News, WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported University of Maine men’s ice hockey coach Red Gendron will annually donate 5 percent of his salary to the Grant Standbrook Maine Hockey Forever Fund. Tom and Sally Savage have pledged $1 million to match endowment gifts from UMaine men’s ice hockey players and coaches. Standbrook, UMaine’s assistant men’s ice hockey coach and primary recruiter from 1988 to 2008, won national titles with the Black Bears in 1993 and 1999. The Associated Press report of the Standbrook Fund ran in papers nationwide.
Several Bangor Metro entrepreneurial award recipients are graduates of the University of Maine.
Abe and Heather Furth, who graduated in 2004, own Verve, Woodman’s Grill and The Orono Brewing Co. “Brewery tourism is growing, and we hope that our brewery will help bring more people to Orono. We think this will help Orono become the college town we know it can be,” said Heath Furth about the recent opening of the brewery.
Winner Gerry Nasberg, owner of Pat’s Pizza in Ellsworth and Bar Harbor, earned an MBA at UMaine. He says 20,000 UMaine grads who live in the Ellsworth area most likely ate a pizza or two at Pat’s when they were in school. He thought that nostalgia would attract customers and it has.
After being inducted into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame, University of Maine graduate and football all-star John Huard spoke highly of his Black Bear teammates in a Bangor Daily News article.
“The University of Maine was phenomenal and our guys were really close … I just reflect back to the fact that we were never bigger, we were never faster or stronger, but we always found a way to win. To me that speaks volumes to the character and the type of people in Maine and at the University of Maine,” says Huard, a two-time All-Yankee Conference first-team selection, played for the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.
Former University of Maine men’s ice hockey goalie Scott Darling was included in a Washington Post blog that recapped “Road to the NHL Winter Classic” on Epix.
Darling has made his way to the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL after he quit drinking alcohol several years ago and sought help for social anxiety. He rattled off the squads he’s been on since he left UMaine: Louisiana IceGators, Reading Royals, Florida Everblades, Mississippi RiverKings, Las Vegas Wranglers, Wheeling Nailers, Wichita Thunder, Cincinnati Cyclones, Charlotte Checkers, Hamilton Bulldogs, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Milwaukee Admirals, Rockford Ice Hogs and Chicago Blackhawks.
A professorship in petrology and mineralogy has been established in the University of Maine by UMaine research professor Edward Grew.
The Edward Sturgis Grew Professorship will allow for the hiring of a tenure-eligible faculty member in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences in the 2016 academic year. The professorship will focus on teaching and research in igneous and/or metamorphic petrology, geochemistry and mineralogy, and will be part of the Geodynamics, Crustal Studies and Earth Rheology research group.
Grew, a research professor of geological sciences, also established an Earth Sciences Endowment Fund in the University of Maine Foundation to support the educational and research activities of students.
This is the second professorship created in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture through private donations in the past two years. In 2013, Farm Credit of Maine (which merged with Farm Credit East on Jan. 1, 2014) established a term professorship in agricultural economics and agricultural finance. Xuan Chen was appointed to the professorship to teach production economics, assist with agricultural and natural resource-based industry cost-of-production studies, and lead the UMaine’s Farm Credit Fellowship Program.
Farm Credit East, a nearly century-old cooperative, has a long history of hiring UMaine graduates.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
John Linehan and Beau, Franklin Park Zoo
Photo courtesy Zoo New England
In 1980, John Linehan planned to use his University of Maine degree in wildlife management to improve the lives of wild animals by working in Africa, Alaska or Maine.
While waiting for that dream job to materialize, he took a temporary position in what, for him at that time, was an unlikely field — zookeeping.
As a child growing up in Canton, Massachusetts, Linehan was fascinated by the animals, but found zoos sad and depressing in their approach to helping the public appreciate the beauty and importance of animals.
Years later, the same was true when he got his first zoo keeping job at Boston’s 72-acre Franklin Park Zoo, founded in 1912. And it wasn’t just at that zoo. The nearby 26-acre Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Massachusetts, founded in 1905, held the same disappointment.
“When I first started, the two zoos were a joke. They only had farm animals and birds for exhibits. Not only that, inebriated people could just walk right in with no problem, and people could even bring their dogs in. It was an unsafe situation for both animals and humans,” says Linehan.
Yet Linehan stayed on because there were so many opportunities for him to make a difference. Every time his weekend came and he was off work for a couple of days, he would always think, “Will these animals be OK if I’m not there?”
He worked as a temporary laborer, zookeeper, head zookeeper, and mammal curator for 21 years. Throughout, Linehan voiced his opinions, concerns and enacted changes in an effort to improve Franklin Park for the animals and the patrons. He also worked to help establish Zoo New England — a nonprofit corporation created in 1991 to operate both Franklin and Stone zoos.
In 2002, Linehan was named president and CEO of Zoo New England, with a depth of experience and high expectations to move the zoological parks more in the direction of educational outreach and conservation.
Today, Zoo New England’s mission is to “inspire people to protect and sustain the natural world for future generations by creating fun and engaging experiences that integrate wildlife and conservation programs, research and education.”
“Ultimately, modern zoos are a critical component in introducing urban kids to nature,” Linehan says. “The zoos introduce the kids to the environment that will lead to a heightened appreciation and understanding of the animals, which will hopefully lead to learning about them in a higher education and, ultimately, will lead to them conserving the animals they grew to love.”
Zoo New England is committed to creating an emotional and intellectual connection to animals. Rather than making zoos a passive experience in which people simply view the wildlife, Linehan is working to make the exhibits more interactive, particularly so that children can learn while having fun.
To jump-start that process, Franklin Park is building a new children’s zoo that will have fewer animals, but is more interactive and features learning-based activities.
“The planet is like a fuse. If we don’t do anything, soon enough all biological ecosystems will start unraveling,” says Linehan of the importance of educating younger generations.
Linehan’s work focuses on conserving ecosystems and everything in them. That’s why Zoo New England is a participates in conservation projects, locally and around the globe.
For example, one of Franklin Park Zoo’s head veterinarians also does fieldwork in the cloud forest area of Panama, helping to reintroduce the golden frog that is extinct in the wild. His work involves not only the amphibians, but also human inhabitants in the area, recruiting them to help in the reintroduction effort.
In addition, Franklin Park has introduced a conservation awareness-raising Quarter Token program, called Quarters for Conservation,in which 25 cents of patrons’ admission fees goes toward conservation projects. Visitors receive a token upon admission that they then can deposit on-site toward one of a handful of conservation projects. Not only do the visitors know that they are helping to conserve species, they can be involved in deciding which project to fund.
Linehan admits that, even now as a zoo CEO able to bring his leadership vision to bear on improving zoos, he still misses hands-on zookeeping. Now he can only watch as zookeepers and curators perform the duties he used to do. Today he is more of a facilitator, making sure the zoos are running efficiently, and the animals are safe and healthy.
He also gets great satisfaction in helping people — from zoo patrons and donors to urban youths in his after-school programs — gain a healthy perspective on the wild kingdom and its place on the planet.
Making a difference is important to Linehan.
“I want people to come to my zoos and think, ‘Wow, those animals are incredible. What can I do in my life to make sure they don’t go extinct?’” he says.
People need to know that ecosystems are like a neighborhood, says Linehan, and that we have a reliance on other animals and that we share the planet with them.
WVII (Channel 7) interviewed Nory Jones, a professor of management information systems at the University of Maine, and several business students about a pen pal program that connects the students with a group of active marines. Students in MBS Corps, the Maine Business School’s community outreach organization, send letters and care packages to the marines who are their age and serving in the Middle East. “We have these wonderful students who take time from their busy schedules to just help; to make a difference in the community with all kinds of projects,” Jones said of MBS Corps members.
University of Maine students were mentioned in a Bangor Daily News article about the Municipal Review Committee, a group representing the trash disposal interests of 187 Maine communities, announcing it plans to develop a $60 million solid waste recycling and processing facility in Hampden. The proposed garbage-to-energy facility will feature technology from Maryland-based Fiberight that reuses organic materials in trash to make biofuels, according to the article. In October, the Municipal Review Committee hired a team of students from UMaine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) led by Hemant Pendse, a UMaine professor who leads the FBRI research team focused on creating and commercializing new bioproducts. The team is tasked with studying the operations of Fiberight to determine if its technology will work in the colder temperatures of Maine, the article states. The report is scheduled to be finished in January.
Eric Landis, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Maine, was mentioned in the Berkeley Lab news release, “Back to the future with Roman architectural concrete.” A discovery to understanding the longevity and endurance of Roman architectural concrete was made by researchers using beams of X-rays at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, according to the report. Landis is one of several co-authors of a paper describing the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) titled “Mechanical Resilience and Cementitious Processes in Imperial Roman Architectural Mortar.” At UMaine, Landis measured bridging crack morphology using computed tomography scans of fractured mortar specimens, the release states.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine report about three student members of the University Volunteer Ambulance Corps (UVAC) winning the LifeFlight of Maine Human Patient Simulator Challenge at the annual Midcoast Atlantic Partners EMS Seminar in Rockport. Melissa Dufault, Alana Silverman and Ryan Buckley competed against several medical response teams with years of service and experience, including seven EMS instructors and paramedics. Joseph Kellner, UVAC chief of service, served as paramedic backup for the team. In winning the challenge, the team received two days of free simulator training for UVAC provided by LifeFlight of Maine.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on a food pantry run by MBS Corps, the Maine Business School’s community outreach organization. The honor system food nook goes by the motto, “Take what you need, give what you can,” and is stocked by UMaine students, faculty, staff and public organizations, according to the report.
Foster’s Daily Democrat reported the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) and University of Maine’s Target Technology Incubator have announced members of the Top Gun Maine 2015 Class. The Top Gun entrepreneurship acceleration program is part of the Blackstone Accelerates Growth initiative. Top Gun participants will attend biweekly classes at the University of Southern Maine, the Target Technology Center or University College at Rockland and will work with mentors who will help them apply what they have learned to accelerate growth, the article states.
The Maine Edge published a University of Maine student profile on junior Matthew Dexter. Over the summer of 2014, Dexter raised $7,300 for the Ulman Cancer Foundation while participating in 4K for Cancer, a 42-day cross-country run to raise money for and awareness of cancer. Since completing the 4,000-mile team relay run, Dexter has formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit — the Eastern Trek for Cancer. The 29-day, 400-mile relay run starts June 27, 2015 in Kittery, Maine, and wraps up July 25, 2015 in Surf City, New Jersey.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension was one of five local organizations to be recognized by the Eastern Maine Development Corporation for its work serving the community’s economic needs.
EMDC Champion Awards were presented during the EMDC annual Meeting of Corporations in Bangor.
“UMaine Cooperative Extension has a longstanding partnership with EMDC. The expertise they provide to small businesses is beyond measure. The professionals at UMaine Cooperative Extension work with businesses of all sizes — starting with home-based businesses. UMaine Cooperative Extension is a collaborator in every sense of the word and they are constant supporters of business growth in our region,” EMDC wrote of UMaine Extension.
The Katahdin Region Transition Team, U.S. Small Business Administration of Maine, Cianbro and Penobscot Theatre also were honored.
A full EMDC news release is online.
The Senior Companion Program is celebrating 40 years of connecting volunteers age 55 and older with community service efforts.
Created by the federal government, SCP began in 1974 in 18 communities nationwide. Maine was added in 1978 when then-President Jimmy Carter expanded the program. University of Maine Cooperative Extension became the program’s sponsor in 1981 and last year, nearly 100 senior companions provided friendship and assisted more than 500 homebound clients in 12 counties statewide.
More information about the national program is online. For information about becoming involved in Maine contact Wanda Lincoln, 581.3326, email@example.com or visit the website. For information on the program in Androscoggin, Franklin, Oxford or Sagadahoc county, contact Anna Saar, 743.6329, firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the program in Aroostook County, contact Kim Hazlett, 532.6548, email@example.com. For information on the program in Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis or Waldo county, contact Terri Eldridge, 581.3870, firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the program in Kennebec or Somerset county, contact Gene Tobey, 474.9622, email@example.com. For information on the program in Washington County, contact Deb Gardner, 255.3345, firstname.lastname@example.org.