University of Maine News
WABI-TV5 and Fox 22 covered the University of Maine football team’s “Meet the Bears” event Aug. 20, on Morse Field at Harold Alfond Sports Stadium. About 250 youth took part in fun drills, and met coaches and players.
Lu Zeph, director of the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at the University of Maine, wrote a tribute to the late Vermont U.S. Sen. James Jeffords that was published on the website of the national network, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Zeph is an AUCD public policy co-chair.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on the Art in the Garden event held at Rogers Farm in Old Town, which is part of the University of Maine’s J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center. The demonstration garden at the farm is maintained by Master Gardener volunteers. The event featured live music, food, demonstrations on pressing flowers, children’s activities and poems read in the garden. Kate Garland, a horticulturist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said she’s always happy to see new faces at the farm and hopes it attracts as many people as it can. “We want to showcase the wonderful work the Master Gardeners have been doing all season long and welcome a broad range of people into the garden,” Garland said.
WABI (Channel 5) reported the University of Maine football team will host its annual Meet the Black Bears free football clinic at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20 at Alfond Stadium. Participants of all ages are welcome to meet players and coaches, get posters and autographs, and enjoy pizza. Jack Cosgrove, head coach of the football team, said about 200 children attended last year, and he would like to continue to the grow the event.
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Jemison spoke about planting fall crops such as spinach and arugula as summer gardening wanes and space becomes available in the garden. He also suggested gardeners plant cover crops such as a mixture of peas and oats to amend the soil before putting the garden to bed for the winter.
Penobscot Bay Pilot reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a train-the-trainer workshop for those interested in leading 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) experiments at their work sites. Designed for 4-H volunteers, teachers, library staff and after-school or childcare providers, the workshop will be available via distance learning at sites throughout the state in September and October. NYSD is held annually to promote programming that sparks interest and leadership in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
The University of Maine was mentioned in articles by the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News on climate change and the increase of ticks and Lyme disease. Both reports referenced a question on the November ballot that will ask voters to approve an $8 million bond that would support a laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for monitoring Lyme disease and other health threats related to mosquitoes, bed bugs and ticks. Research from UMaine’s Climate Change Institute also was referenced in the BDN article. A clinical research associate at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, which tracks tick populations in the state, said CCI research shows the state will grow significantly warmer by 2050.
Patricia Libby, a member of the instructional and student services staff at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center since 2011, has been named associate director of the Belfast-based outreach facility.
Libby will join Monique LaRocque, associate provost for the UMaine Division of Lifelong Learning (DLL), in leading the Hutchinson Center, which has become an educational and cultural focal point for Maine’s midcoast area since its opening in 2000. Their goals for the center include offering new graduate degrees and certificate programs, and additional conferences and events.
LaRocque joined UMaine in July after an eight-year career at the University of Southern Maine. In UMaine’s Division of Lifelong Learning, which includes the Hutchinson Center, LaRocque is helping develop online program offerings, particularly at the graduate level, and leading the growth of UMaine’s Summer University.
LaRocque noted that Libby has a great sense of the needs of the midcoast region and the potential for quality programming at the Hutchinson Center. “She brings great team-building and a strong set of managerial skills to her work, and I am very pleased to have her leadership at the Hutchinson Center,” LaRocque says.
At the Hutchinson Center, Libby has served as assistant director for student and academic services, and as the instructional and student services coordinator. She has played a key role in the development of the DLL Advising Center, and implementation of the Adult Degree Completion Initiative and the University of Maine System Concierge Program.
Before joining UMaine in 2011, Libby spent more than 16 years in the business sector. She served as operations manager of Libby Sales Corp., and then as a senior account manager at MBNA. In addition, Libby has been a community leader through her involvement at the Penobscot Bay YMCA, and her 12-year tenure on the school boards of SAD 28 and Five Town CSD.
Libby is a licensed social worker who holds a master’s degree in social work from UMaine.
The Black Bear Orono Express begins operation Friday, Aug. 29 with free service on the half-hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday–Friday. The new Saturday service will be noon–5 p.m., with two buses making regular stops, plus stops at University Mall and Nexxlinx on Godfrey Drive. The new schedule is online.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a food safety workshop for volunteer cooks, 1–5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at the University of Maine Regional Learning Center, 75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104, Falmouth.
Cooking for Crowds offers up-to-date information about safely handling, preparing, storing and transporting food for large groups of people, including at soup kitchens, church suppers, food pantries and community fundraisers. The class meets the Good Shepherd Food Bank safety training requirements.
Cost is $15; partial scholarships are available. Register online by Sept. 11. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine). To receive notice of other educational opportunities, email email@example.com.
When it comes to recognizing instances of sexual harassment in the workplace, age is a fundamental factor in shaping individuals’ perceptions of interactions, according to a University of Maine sociologist.
Amy Blackstone, an associate professor of sociology and chairwoman of UMaine’s Sociology Department, found age is important because how perceptions shift over time links to several age-related processes such as maturity and historical context.
“When it comes to how we understand harassment and how we respond to it, age, maturity and experience matter,” Blackstone says. “Our study suggests that employers should consider tailoring harassment training and interventions to the specific needs and experiences of workers at different life course stages.”
Blackstone worked with Jason Houle, a UMaine alumnus who is now an assistant professor of sociology at Dartmouth College, and Christopher Uggen, a Distinguished McKnight Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota, to examine how perceptions of sexual harassment at work are linked to an individual’s age, experience and historical backdrop.
The findings were documented in the article, “‘I didn’t recognize it as a bad experience until I was much older’: Age, experience, and workers’ perceptions of sexual harassment,” which was published in June in the Mid-South Sociological Association’s journal “Sociological Spectrum.”
As many as 70 percent of women and 1 in 7 men experience sexual harassment at work, according to previous findings cited in the article. To study changes in perceptions of related experiences, the researchers analyzed data from 33 women and men who were surveyed over the course of 14 years and interviewed in 2002 about their workplace experiences from adolescence into their late 20s.
Three themes emerged among participants: As adolescents, respondents perceived some of the sexualized interactions they experienced at work as fun; while participants did not define some of their early experiences as sexual harassment at the time, they do now; and participants suggested prior work experiences changed their ideas about workplace interactions and themselves as workers.
The researchers used data from interviews with 33 participants in the Youth Development Study (YDS), a longitudinal survey of 1,010 adolescents in Minnesota that began in 1988, when respondents were 14–15 years old and in ninth grade, the article states. In the 2000 administration of the survey, when respondents were 26–27 years old, they were asked if they experienced sexual harassment in jobs held during and since high school. In 2002, when respondents were 28–29 years old, the researchers interviewed 14 men and 19 women of varying races.
Looking back at jobs held during adolescence, the majority of interviewees recast some of their early workplace experiences as sexual harassment, but said flirting and other sexually charged behaviors were considered normal interactions because they were at a point in life when sociability was believed to be an important aspect of the work experience. The participants also viewed some interactions as acceptable for adolescents but inappropriate for adults, the researchers found.
While some respondents attributed their shift in perceptions to role or status changes — growing older, marriage or parenthood — others cited the importance of historical context and landmark sexual harassment cases that altered workplace policies and garnered national attention, according to the article.
Public consciousness about sexual harassment may have heightened during the time participants were in high school, the researchers suggest, as a result of high-profile events such as the 1991 televised hearings of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and the Civil Rights Act of 1991 that included amendments to Title VII that allowed for compensatory damages in cases of sex discrimination.
Interviewees reported that at least some of the sexualized interactions they experienced at work were not perceived as problematic because the interactions occurred among peers. Several participants said they enjoyed some of the workplace flirting and joking.
One participant said she and her co-workers at an an ice cream shop talked about sex because most of the workers were ‘‘at the age where people are starting to become sexually active so that’s a big deal.’’
Upon reflection, some respondents said they have redefined some experiences during adolescence as sexual harassment, and some participants — both men and women — felt they may have offended co-workers in the past, according to the researchers.
Based on the findings, the researchers suggest sexual harassment training and policies would be most effective if they were better tailored to workers at particular life stages, and further research should be considered.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
The University of Maine was named one of the 2014 Top Campuses Worth Traveling For by FlipKey.com, the vacation rental company of travel site TripAdvisor.
The company used industry research and traveler feedback to compile the list of the country’s 50 must-see colleges and universities known for attractions, architecture, history and beautiful campuses.
UMaine was included on the list, specifically for the campus plan that was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed the grounds of New York City’s Central Park and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Other universities that made the list include Notre Dame, John Hopkins University, MIT, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Duke University and Cornell University.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on Maine AgrAbility, a USDA grant-funded state program that helps farmers with chronic health conditions and disabilities gain more control of their lives, continue to farm successfully and live independently. The program is a nonprofit collaboration of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. The report focused on a farmer in Winterport who was helped by the program. Richard Brzozowski, project director of Maine AgrAbility and a small ruminant and poultry specialist with UMaine Extension, told WABI “You don’t look at the disability part. You think of what they can do; the ability part.”
Steve Coghlan, an associate professor of freshwater fisheries ecology at the University of Maine and an Argyle Township resident, wrote the opinion piece, “Plan for a landfill in Argyle Township is the result of ‘tyranny of the majority’” for the Bangor Daily News.
Bill Davids, chair of the University of Maine Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the John C. Bridge Professor, was a Tuesday morning guest of host Don Cookson on The Pulse Morning Show on AM 620. Davids talked about how UMaine engineers and students are helping NASA test Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) technology. HIAD — a spacecraft nose-mounted “giant cone of inner tubes” stacked like a ring toy — slows a spacecraft as it enters a planet’s atmosphere. The technology may make it possible for a spaceship large enough to carry astronauts and heavy loads of scientific equipment to explore Mars — 34,092,627 miles from Earth — and beyond. Davids said the minimum three-year project is a wonderful opportunity for the university, as well as the two full-time doctoral candidates and six undergraduate students taking part in the testing.
The Portland Press Herald reported the number of out-of-state students enrolled in the University of Maine System is on the rise. As of Aug. 10 commitments from out-of-state students — who pay nearly three times the in-state tuition — were up 12 percent over the same time last year, according to the report. The University of Maine attracted about 16 percent more out-of-state students this year, with 941 expected to start this fall, the article states. The Associated Press and WLBZ (Channel 2) cited the Press Herald article. The Maine Public Broadcasting Network, SFGate and WABI (Channel 5) carried the AP report.
Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Reuters article about Sen. Angus King officially endorsing independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler. The article referenced the 2010 Maine governor’s race when Cutler posted a late-season surge following a similar endorsement from King. According to the article, many observers say Gov. Paul LePage and Democratic candidate Mike Michaud may be less susceptible to pressure from a third-party candidate this year. “People have been informed by the 2010 race and are very wary of splitting the non-LePage vote,” Brewer said. Yahoo News and Business Insider carried the Reuters report.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension was mentioned in a Portland Press Herald article about changes in U.S. Department of Agriculture standards that require organic beer to be brewed with organic hops and how those changes are inspiring more Maine brewers to grow hops. According to the article, UMaine Extension is testing several organic hop varieties to see which thrive and can make tasty brews in Maine.
A documentary about climate change that features a University of Maine explorer has won an Emmy Award.
Paul Mayewski, director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, appeared in the ninth and final episode of Years of Living Dangerously, which aired weekly from April to June on Showtime.
Developed by David Gelber and Joel Bach of 60 Minutes, Years of Living Dangerously won Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards held Saturday, Aug. 16, at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles; it is scheduled to be broadcast at 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, on FXM.
“Years of Living Dangerously offers a critical view of climate change and its impacts that drive right to the heart of the issue: ‘How does climate change impact one’s life today,’” says Mayewski. “We clearly need many more such views of critical issues.”
Actors Matt Damon, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as journalists Lesley Stahl and Thomas Friedman and scientist M. Sanjayan, were among the documentary’s correspondents. They traveled the planet to examine stories about impacts of climate change. In addition to detailing devastation in New Jersey wreaked by Superstorm Sandy, they explored drought and lost jobs in Plainview, Texas, worsening wildfires in the U.S. and civil unrest heightened by water shortage in the Middle East. Sanjayan and a film crew joined Mayewski and his team of CCI graduate students in 2013 for the nearly 20,000-foot ascent of a glacier on Tupungato, an active Andean volcano in Chile.
Mayewski’s team was in Chile to collect ice cores from the melting glacier that serves as the drinking water supply for Santiago’s 4 million residents. Temperature there is rising, greenhouse gases are increasing and winds from the west that have traditionally brought moisture to the glacier have shifted, Mayewski says. By understanding trends, he says it’s possible to better predict where climate events will occur so plans can be made.
For decades, Mayewski has made discoveries in Earth’s remote regions. “When you go all over the world, you get a global view,” he says. “By nature, I’m an optimist. That is tempered with this problem. I do believe there will be a groundswell of people, or governments, or some combination so that there will be a better future in store.”
The impact that hemlock tree die-offs have had — and continue to have — on freshwater forest ecosystems is the focus of a research project at the University of Maine.
Hamish Greig, a UMaine assistant professor of stream ecology, and Jacquelyn Gill, an assistant professor of terrestrial paleoecology at the Climate Change Institute (CCI) and the School of Biology and Ecology, are leading a research team that is studying past and present declines of the conifers known for their dense shade. The resulting biomass the dying trees introduce into the watershed, as well as the other tree species that take their place on the forest floor, affect freshwater systems, including streams and lakes.
Understanding those implications is particularly important in Maine, where hemlocks are now being threatened by the same exotic pest that, in recent years, has decimated the tree species in the southeastern United States.
“People in Maine have a huge affinity to their rivers and lakes. It’s huge economically; it’s huge socially, and through recreational activities,” says Greig, who is joined on the research team by research assistant professor Krista Caps, postdoctoral scientist Robert Northington, as well as several graduate, undergraduate and high school students.
About 5,500 years ago, the hemlocks of eastern North America sustained a massive die-off that lasted about 1,000 years, brought on by severe drought and the hemlock looper, a native pest, Gill says. Today, the tree species has been nearly decimated in the southeastern United States by the hemlock woolly adelgid, an exotic insect from Asia.
Maine’s cold winters typically protect against exotic pests. However, warmer temperatures have allowed exotic pests to thrive and move north. Since 2004, the hemlock woolly adelgid has been in southwestern Maine. This year, it has made it as far north as Owls Head, according to the researchers.
“As the climate warms, there won’t be anything preventing the woolly adelgid from hitting our hemlocks in Maine as hard as they’ve been hit elsewhere,” Gill says.
As part of their study, the research team has set up 36 livestock water tanks as experimental freshwater mesocosms, or isolated experimental environments. Hemlock needles, along with rhododendron and maple leaves, have been added to the ecosystems to observe what happens when a hemlock dies.
The mesocosms allow the scientists to study these isolated environments as they develop over time — in this case, into the fall.
“You can’t really control something in a natural lake,” Greig says. “And if you do experiments in the lab, you’re really simplifying things down to two or three species of invertebrates. By having this happy medium, we can have natural complexity with the controlled replication of a true experiment.”
Next, Gill and Northington will study radiocarbon-dated records from the bottom of lakes and bogs in southeastern, coastal and central Maine regions to help understand how aquatic systems were affected by hemlock die-off in the past. By linking the paleo record with a modern experiment, the team hopes to will new light on hemlock’s role in changing ecosystems.