University of Maine News
A University of Maine economics study was mentioned in a Bangor Daily News article about Lucas St. Clair, the son of environmentalist and entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby, speaking at a Lincoln Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce meeting. While St. Clair spoke about his efforts to create a North Woods national park and multi-use recreation area, he cited a UMaine study that found if he turned the 150,000-acre area over to the logging industry it would produce 53 jobs. St. Clair said he wants to do more for the region and said a national park has the potential to create up to 400 to 600 jobs.
The Associated Press, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald, WLBZ (Channel 2), WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) were among news organizations to report on University of Maine System Chancellor James Page’s announcement that he has selected Susan Hunter as the next president of the University of Maine. Hunter most recently served as vice chancellor for academic affairs for all seven universities in the system, and was UMaine’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost from 2008 to 2013. She will be UMaine’s first female president and will serve a two-year appointment beginning July 7. “There is no greater honor than being named to lead the institution where I have spent essentially my whole career,” Hunter said. Howard Segal, a UMaine history professor who sits on the executive committee of the Faculty Senate, told the Press Herald he thinks Hunter is a “good choice.” Boston Herald, SFGate, NECN, Seacoast Online and The Republic carried the AP report.
The Sun Journal and The Maine Edge published an advance of Maine 4-H Days, an annual event sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine 4-H Foundation. The event kicks off Friday, June 20 at Windsor Fairgrounds where volunteers will pack 16,000 meals to be donated to Good Shepherd Food Bank. The event runs through Sunday, June 22 and will offer enrichment workshops on archery, chess, country line dancing, yoga, Lego robotics and animal-related topics. An ice cream social and law enforcement K-9 demonstration also will be held.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will hold its annual Sustainable Agriculture Field Day 4–7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at Rogers Farm, 914 Bennoch Road in Old Town.
Rogers Farm is part of UMaine’s J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center. The free event is designed for farmers, crop advisers and others interested in agricultural production. UMaine agricultural researchers and Extension faculty will present field research highlighting current applied agricultural research projects, including alternative weed management strategies in vegetable production, opportunities and challenges with winter grains and evaluating plants to support native pollinators.
Presenters include Ellen Mallory, Extension sustainable agriculture specialist; Lois Berg Stack, Extension ornamental horticulture specialist; Eric Gallandt, associate professor of weed ecology and management; John Jemison, Extension water quality specialist; Bryan Brown and Erin Roche, UMaine graduate students in Sustainable Agriculture; and Tom Molloy, sustainable agriculture research associate. Ilse Rasmussen, visiting scholar from the International Center for Research on Organic Food Systems, will discuss sustainable agriculture in Denmark.
Participants will receive one pesticide certification credit and two Certified Crop Adviser credits. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m.; events are 5–7:30 p.m. Participants are invited to arrive at 4 p.m. to participate in a walking weed tour conducted by Gallandt.
For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call Mallory at 207.581.2942 or Jemison at 207.581.3241.
University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page announced today that he has selected Susan J. Hunter as the next President of the University of Maine (UMaine) in Orono. The Executive Committee of the University System’s Board of Trustees unanimously supported the selection and will officially vote at a committee meeting on June 25. Hunter will be UMaine’s first woman president and will serve a two-year appointment commencing July 7.
“Dr. Hunter’s depth and breadth of experience at our flagship campus is unsurpassed,” Chancellor Page stated. “She is, moreover, already extremely well-known throughout the state as a tireless advocate for public higher education. She is the clear choice to advance the University of Maine.”
Established in 1865, the University of Maine will mark its sesquicentennial celebration in 2015. The University of Maine was originally established as the Maine College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts under the provisions of the Morrill Act, which was approved by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. In 1897 the original name changed to the University of Maine.
“The Board of Visitors is extremely pleased that Susan has agreed to assume the presidency during this transition period,” said Anne Lucey, Chair of the University of Maine Board of Visitors. “She has excellent relationships with alumni, donors, faculty and University supporters. Given her many years of service, she is able to assume a leadership role and provide the continuity the campus needs at this juncture.”
Since September 1, 2013, Hunter has served on the Chancellor’s cabinet as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for all seven of Maine’s public universities. Other than her time at the System, Hunter spent all of her career at UMaine, most recently as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost from 2008 to 2013.
“Susan is an outstanding leader and will bring continuity to the University of Maine’s Blue Sky Plan,” said Samuel Collins, Chair of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees. “She has established extensive and good relationships and developed a wealth of knowledge during her many years of service in a number of leadership roles at the University of Maine.”
Hunter began her career at UMaine as an adjunct professor in 1987, became a full-time faculty member in 1991, and has since served in various academic and administrative capacities including Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education; Assistant Director in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture; and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences where she was a faculty member and cell biologist whose research focused on structural and functional aspects of bone cell biology.
“There is no greater honor than being named to lead the institution where I have spent essentially my whole career,” Hunter said. “I am delighted to be returning to campus to work with very talented and dedicated faculty, staff and students. My efforts will focus on further development and implementation of the Blue Sky Plan, fund raising activities in preparation for a comprehensive campaign, and external engagement to further the goals of the University of Maine System and higher education.”
For six years Hunter served as a co-principal investigator of an award winning $3.0 million NSF GK-12 grant that placed graduate teaching fellows in K–12 schools as science demonstrators. She was also the principal investigator on a five-year $3.3 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant helping to fund UMaine’s Rising Tide Center, an initiative that aims to transform the university through enhanced opportunities for women faculty members in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social-behavioral sciences.
She received a B.S. degree in biology from James Madison University, a Ph.D. in physiology from Pennsylvania State University and did post-doctoral work at Case Western Reserve University and the Pennsylvania State University.
Hunter served on the Board of Directors of the Maine School for Science and Mathematics and currently serves on the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance Board of Directors, as well as the University of Maine System representative to the Governor’s STEM Council, the Board of Directors of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, member of the Stillwater Society, a member of the Pi class of Leadership Maine, and most recently, participated in a planning initiative for the Maine Arts Commission Steering Committee in preparation for a Cultural Strategic Plan for the State of Maine.
Hunter lives in Orono with her husband, David Lambert, a plant pathologist who also spent his career at UMaine as a faculty member in the School of Food and Agriculture. They have two adult children.
More information is available online.
University of Maine professor of oceanography Emmanuel Boss advises students to pursue their passion.
And he leads by example.
This summer, Boss and UMaine master’s graduate Thomas Leeuw will board Tara — a sailboat for the planet — to collect data and conduct research in the Mediterranean Sea.
They’ll study the ocean color, composition and pigments of surface particles.
And in addition to collaborating with international scientists, they’ll talk with schoolchildren about the ocean, swim in warm aqua water and eat delicious meals with backdrops of beautiful Mediterranean vistas.
“It’s a wonderful career,” Boss says. “You should do something you’re passionate about,” he says. “You can be serious about science and have fun in the process.”
Boss finds the work and play aboard Tara so valuable and fun, he’s gearing up for his third voyage. In August, he’ll be one of the scientists aboard during the 10-day leg from Israel to Malta. Boss, who participated in water sports growing up in Israel, says he’s most comfortable in the water and knew from an early age he wanted to pursue a career in oceanography.
Tara is three months into its seven-month, nearly 10,000-mile 2014 international expedition that includes stops in 11 countries, including France, Greece, Israel, Italy and Spain. Tara departed in May from Lorient, a seaport in northwestern France, and is scheduled to return in December.
During the trek, a host of other scientists are exploring the impact of plastic on the Mediterranean ecosystem and the degree to which microplastics in the ocean are part of the food chain. Researchers also seek to raise awareness about the Mediterranean’s environmental issues and encourage policymakers in the region — where approximately 450 million people live — to develop better waste management plans.
At each stopover, the team that generally includes five sailors, two scientists, a reporter and an artist — invite the public to tour the 118-foot-long, 33-foot-wide, 120-ton research vessel. And they take part in outreach projects. May 31 on No Tobacco Day, for instance, crewmembers of Tara removed 53 gallons of trash, including cigarette butts, from a beach.
French designer Agnes B. founded the nonprofit Tara Expeditions in 2003 to “understand the impact of climate change and the ecological crisis facing the world’s oceans,” according to its website.
Boss says the mission, outreach, interdisciplinary science, sharing of chores, stunning scenery and immersion in various cultures make for a valuable and inspiring venture.
And he’s eager to have students experience it as well. Last summer, then-graduate students Leeuw and Alison Chase participated in the 2013 Tara Oceans Polar Circle expedition, as did the husband-and-wife Boss pair — Emmanuel and Lee Karp-Boss, associate professor in UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences.
They utilized a $149,714 grant from NASA to gather biogeochemical information from the Arctic Ocean — information that NASA uses to verify data that its satellites glean daily from the same water.
This summer, Boss and Leeuw, who this spring earned his master’s degree in oceanography, will utilize an additional NASA award of $27,000 to continue collecting data in the Mediterranean.
Boss says he was persistent in his efforts to get NASA to provide the follow-up funding. “If you want to make something happen, put all of your weight and belief behind it to make it happen,” he says. “You only live once; go for it. Don’t give up on your dream.”
He gives similar advice to students.
Leeuw says his interest in oceanography emerged when he took an undergraduate course with Boss. Leeuw, a marine science major, subsequently became a research assistant in the University of Maine In-situ Sound and Color Lab.
Multiple opportunities subsequently became available, he says.
Leeuw and Boss analyzed data collected from 2009 to 2012 during the Tara Oceans expedition. This past year, the two developed an iPhone app that measures water quality.
And after this summer’s monthlong Mediterranean trek, the Lincoln, Vermont, native will drive cross country to Washington state, where he has accepted a job developing environmental sensors at Sequoia Scientific, Inc.
The lesson: “Don’t be afraid to make friends with faculty; some of the best learning and research opportunities can happen outside the classroom,” Leeuw says.
Leeuw says last summer’s Arctic trip was unlike anything he had ever experienced.
“It was empowering to work as a scientist,” he says. “It prepared me for this upcoming situation. I’m more confident.”
He monitored a suite of optical instruments and as water was pumped into the vessel’s flow-through system, he recorded its temperature, salinity profile and fluorescence.
Leeuw calls the data that UMaine collected last summer — which is free and accessible to the public — unparalleled.
“We drifted up to an ice pack and took a bunch of samples,” he says. “The water was below freezing but there were massive plankton blooms. Just amazing.”
A UMaine student is currently working to identify the types of species, he says.
During that trek, Tara was blocked by ice in the Vilkitsky Strait for about a week. When Tara was able to forge ahead, she arrived late at the next destination — Pevek, Russia. The scientists departing the vessel after that leg of the trek, including Leeuw, had missed that week’s one flight out of the northern port.
This summer’s adventure begins for Leeuw on June 26, a couple of weeks after World Oceans Day. He’ll board Tara in Nice, France, work for just over a month and debark in Cyclades — a dazzling Greek island group in the Aegean Sea.
Results of the voyage are expected to provide scientific insight into “what is in the ocean — where species are and why they are there,” Leeuw says, all of which advance researchers’ understanding of the ocean and the mission of Tara Expeditions.
Etienne Bourgois, president of Tara Foundation, says Tara’s quest is to understand what is happening with the climate and to explain it simply.
“This exceptional ship must pursue her mission as ambassador of the world’s citizens, must remain a catalyser of energy and desire to tackle without glitter the main question that arises for each one of us: What future are we preparing for our children?” he says on the website.
To learn more, visit oceans.taraexpeditions.org.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Kris Burton, director of technology commercialization at the University of Maine, was mentioned in the Mainebiz article, “Top Gun entrepreneurs gain an edge with expert guidance on avoiding mistakes while growing.” The Top Gun Entrepreneurship Acceleration program is a Blackstone Accelerates Growth program offered by the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development in Portland and Bangor. Kat Taylor, director of business development at GenoTyping Center of America in Bangor, said she went to Top Gun to network and refine her company’s business strategy. She said she especially found Burton helpful in understanding the unique elements of her business and the best way to emphasize them.
The Maine Edge reported on three exhibitions that will be on display at the University of Maine Museum of Art this summer. “Awake: Paintings by Maya Brodsky,” “Looking Back Six Years — Part Two: Selected New Acquisitions,” and “Young Curators: Eight Scoops” will run from June 20 through Sept. 20 at the museum in downtown Bangor.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in an Associated Press article about The Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund PAC endorsing gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud. Brewer said the endorsement is the latest example of the attempt by Maine’s liberal coalition to support Michaud early in the three-person race for governor and to present him as the preferred option to Gov. Paul LePage. Miami Herald and Boston Herald carried the AP report.
A 2011 logger training survey conducted by the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources was mentioned in a Mainebiz article about three industries — shipbuilding, forestry and logging, and offshore wind and ocean energy — that are taking ownership of worker training needs. The survey found a need for greater entry-level training, with 62 percent of contractors employing the more technologically advanced cut-to-length harvesting method saying they lacked access to qualified loggers and operators, according to the article. A follow-up survey found 73 percent of the contractors see a need for an equipment operator-training program in Maine. The survey also raised concerns about retirement, succession and sustainability, and prompted the Northern Maine Development Commission, in collaboration with the University of Maine at Fort Kent and Aroostook Partnership for Progress, to develop seminars to teach logging and forest product owners and employees about best practices, the article states. Sherry Huber, executive director of the Maine Tree Foundation, said her organization has been working for many years with groups including UMaine to make sure the state’s forest products industry has a skilled workforce.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine Grass Farmers Network (MGFN) are co-sponsoring a pasture walk at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at Overland Farm on Hunter Road in Unity.
Overland Farm owner Mike Anderson has been improving its pastures with managed grazing and critical soil amendments. Anderson raises registered Highland cattle, a Scottish breed with long horns and wavy coats. Anderson will talk about what he has done to improve the pastures and changes he has seen in productivity. UMaine Cooperative Extension educator Rick Kersbergen will be at the walk to help answer questions.
The walk is one in a series of educational events co-sponsored by MGFN and UMaine Extension. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call the Waldo County Extension office at 207.342.5971 or email email@example.com.
Research conducted by Philip Trostel, a University of Maine professor of economics and public policy, is the focus of the Mainebiz article, “Maine’s colleges and universities struggle with shrinking budgets.” Trostel was the author of “The Fiscal Return on Higher Education in Maine,” which looks at the state benefits of greater educational attainment, such as increased tax revenue and reduced social costs. The report was released in May by the Maine Development Foundation and UMaine’s School of Economics, and is the third quarterly report analyzing critical economic indicators in Maine. The study shows a bachelor’s degree creates a 75 percent earnings increase over a lifetime, and more education translates into higher pay at every level.
The Portland Press Herald published a feature for its “Meet” series on James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Dill, a tick expert, was interviewed at the UMaine Extension Tick ID Lab in Orono. He spoke about the increase in ticks, and gave advice on tick protection. Dill said about 100 people visit the lab for tick identification in an average year, and he has already seen about 70 this year. “The whole tick and bed bug issue has become so rampant in the last five years,” he said. “It’s really on the forefront of people’s minds.”
Amy Witt, a horticulture professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, demonstrated on WLBZ (Channel 2) how to grow flowers and herbs vertically by using a pallet. Witt said pallet gardening is great for growing annuals, herbs, crops that vine and greens such as lettuce. She also spoke about UMaine Extension’s “Ask the Expert” day to be held Wednesday, June 18 at Tidewater Farm in Falmouth.
Frank Drummond, an entomology specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and a UMaine professor of insect ecology, spoke to the Bangor Daily News about a five-year, $3.5 million research project on the role bees play in blueberry production. Drummond is leading the project that involves biologists, economists, anthropologists and graduate students from UMaine, as well as researchers from other states. Drummond said renting commercial beehives is, on average, the most expensive production cost for Maine’s blueberry growers. The project aims to study the role native bees play in blueberry pollination, the status of native bee populations, and which species of bees are best for adequate pollination. “The whole purpose of this project is to look at what are some of the best pollination strategies that growers might be able to use,” he said. The project also includes outreach to blueberry growers in the form of workshops hosted by Drummond to teach growers about pollination.
Mick Devin, a Democratic state representative for District 51 and researcher and shellfish hatchery manager at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center, was a recent guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. The show focused on ocean acidification off the coast of Maine and the dangers it poses for marine life, especially shellfish. Devin introduced the legislation that passed in April to create a commission to study ocean acidification and look for ways to mitigate it.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Portland Press Herald article, “Michaud’s sexuality has double-edged potential,” about Maine gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud. Brewer said there are many different ways the issue can cut — either positive or negative for Michaud. He said Michaud’s sexuality may be costing him some votes among socially conservative Democrats in the 2nd District, but it could appeal to more liberal voters in the 1st District, who might be inclined to support Cutler. “It’s going to be fascinating to see how that plays out in November,” Brewer said.
The Bangor Daily News published an opinion piece titled “To survive and grow, Maine farmers must keep innovating,” by John Piotti, president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust. The article first appeared in Maine Policy Review, published by the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.
The Penobscot Times reported on the appearance of Paul Mayewski, a University of Maine professor and director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute (CCI), on the June 9 series finale of the Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously.” The show is a nine-part documentary series about the impact of climate change on people and the planet. Mayewski was filmed gathering ice cores 20,000 feet atop a glacier on Tupungato, an active Andean volcano in Chile. Mayewski said climate change is causing and will continue to cause destruction, and how scientists and media inform people about the subject is important.
University of Maine junior Matthew Dexter kicked off his 42-day cross-country relay run to raise money for cancer research Sunday, June 15, in San Francisco, California. People interested in keeping in step with Dexter’s progress are invited to read his blog.
Dexter and 33 other college students are taking part in the second annual 4,000-mile Ulman Cancer Foundation’s 4K for Cancer, the motto for which is “Change Lives.” Doug Ulman created 4K for Cancer in 1997 after he was first diagnosed with cancer to enhance “lives by supporting, educating and connecting young adults, and their loved ones, affected by cancer.”
Dexter, a psychology major from Acton, Massachusetts, has raised more than $7,000 for the cause, $2,000 more than his original goal. Last year, runners and bikers taking part in the event contributed about $775,000 to the fund.
Dexter’s mother Christine died of stomach cancer when he was 13 and he says running was therapeutic for him. Dexter wanted to take part in the run to help others facing similar challenges. Relay participants run six to 10 miles a day, visit patients, give away chemo packs (comfort items for patients undergoing chemotherapy) and deliver college scholarships to young adults with cancer. The relay team is slated to reach Baltimore, Maryland on July 26.