University of Maine News
The Bangor Daily News spoke with Nicole Langlois, a University of Maine swimmer, about her battle with breast cancer. Langlois will graduate Saturday with a degree in kinesiology.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on a meeting held in Bangor to inform the public about the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s effort to bring more fresh and local foods to school cafeterias.
Arbiter Online, Boise State University’s independent student media, reported University of Maine Associate Professor Laura Lindenfeld was invited to speak about sustainability with an interdisciplinary research group at Boise State. On May 3, Lindenfeld spoke about bridging the gap between university studies in sustainability and the community.
Frank Drummond, University of Maine professor of insect ecology and entomology, UMaine Extension professor and bee specialist, spoke with the radio station Q106.5 about the decline of honeybees. Drummond said several factors such as pesticides and a mite that spreads a virus are contributing to the decline.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network and Recharge News reported on the University of Maine’s unveiling Wednesday of a floating platform of VolturnUS, a first-of-its-kind offshore wind turbine. The turbine will be deployed off Maine’s coast at the end of the month and is expected to be the first grid-connected floating wind turbine in North America and the first concrete-composite floating turbine in the world.
The Bangor Daily News included information on the University of Maine’s 211th commencement ceremonies in an article on college graduations across the state.
The Morning Sentinel reported apple pruning will be the focus of a May 20 workshop in Farmington. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Franklin County is offering the workshop, which will be led by David Fuller, agriculture and nontimber forest products extension professional.
When Mainers hear the term “local seafood,” a few words come to mind more than others — healthy, fresh, good, “Maine” and lobster. But ask those same people what they think when they hear the term “sustainable seafood” and the answers are less clear, varying from “I don’t know” and “nothing” to “it takes a long time to get” and “harvested.”
University of Maine Associate Professor Laura Lindenfeld and doctoral student Brianne Suldovsky, who are affiliated with UMaine’s Department of Communication and Journalism and Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, are conducting a social research project to understand how consumers, especially in inland Maine areas, perceive seafood, and whether they view local and sustainable seafood as important.
The research team, along with Teresa Johnson, assistant professor of marine policy at UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences, also hopes to learn what infrastructure exists for Maine’s seafood market, and how communication can be improved between producers, distributors and buyers.
The one-year Seafood Links Project, funded by Maine Sea Grant, focuses on surveys and interviews with consumers, restaurants, culinary schools and grocery stores in the Bangor and Portland areas.
Lindenfeld says the project is targeting the Bangor area and its connections, as well as looking at Portland as a model city supportive of local seafood.
“By comparing the Bangor area with the Portland area, we can look at a city where restaurants and markets are advancing seafood in interesting ways, with a lot of conversation across the industry,” Lindenfeld says. “What could we do in Bangor that would make sense and how could we learn from that experience to transfer that to other inland areas?”
With a large network of people involved in the seafood industry, the researchers decided to focus on looking into the decision-making process at restaurants, culinary schools and grocery stores.
Lindenfeld says it is important to come into the project with an open mind and not presume to know how the network is working and what consumers want. To get a sense of what questions to ask whom, the team started with a round of consumer surveys.
The team found people were interested in the question of where their seafood comes from.
“People said ‘Wow, I’ve never thought of this before. You’re right, we market beef, we market potatoes and vegetables and fruit with an origin, but we don’t talk about where the seafood comes from in our restaurants.’ Why should seafood be treated differently than other kinds of food?” Lindenfeld says.
Lindenfeld and Suldovsky have found the issue of food origin is complicated when it comes to seafood.
“It’s not as simple as this steer came from that farm in The County,” Lindenfeld says.
Suldovsky says from what she has learned of the process, fishermen come to a dock to sell their product to buyers who then send the seafood out to be processed, most of the time to Canada. Packaging then says the seafood came from Canada when it was actually caught in Maine.
“How do you successfully market that or communicate that it’s processed in Canada, but it’s caught in Maine?” Suldovsky asks. “And do consumers even care? To them is Canada the same thing as local?”
The preliminary round of surveys gave the team a look at the public’s perceptions of sustainable seafood, which is seafood that is either caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term effects on oceans and the environment.
“There’s just no cohesive understanding or meaning with the word ‘sustainable’ and yet you have grocery stores like Hannaford marketing sustainable seafood because consumers are demanding it,” Suldovsky says.
Lindenfeld stresses the importance of knowing how people feel about terms such as “sustainable” and whether it matters for marketing.
“We may be promoting products in ways that absolutely do not resonate with what people care about most,” Lindenfeld says.
The next set of interviews for the project will include a representative sample of people in Maine’s inland areas that remain underserved as opposed to coastal areas.
Lindenfeld says they hope to understand which terms imply what, and what people value and communicate the findings to the seafood industry.
They also hope these interviews will give them a picture of the network of fishermen, buyers and distributors looks like and how these relationships and communication between them can be improved.
Lindenfeld sees communication within the network, especially in the Bangor area and near coastal communities such as Bar Harbor and Belfast, as a possibility for improvement.
“A lot of people (in the Bangor area) will order from Portland or the midcoast area. Individual trucks will drive up, drop the seafood off once a week and go back down when there are suppliers on the coast right here who may not even know who to talk to,” Lindenfeld says. “So to us it’s this big gap in communication that can be overcome. There’s remarkable resources, there are incredible people, well-meaning people who want to support each other, who care about the state and the region. A little bit of communication research could go a long way.”
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.381.3747
Leslie Forstadt, University of Maine Cooperative Extension child and family development specialist, is participating in an invitational forum May 13–14 in Philadelphia, Pa., aimed at restoring wellness to children and communities who have experienced trauma.
Forstadt, a co-facilitator of the Maine Resilience Building Network, will attend the National Summit on Adverse Childhood Experiences, where leaders will explore a number of topics, including research, pediatrics, behavioral health and public policy implications.
Forstadt says she looks forward to building nationwide connections and gaining knowledge that can be utilized to benefit Maine children, adults and families.
After conducting a statewide survey with multiple stakeholders, Forstadt and Mark Rains completed a report in 2011 for the Maine Children’s Growth Council titled “Working with Adverse Childhood Experiences: Maine’s History, Present and Future.”
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), include stressful childhood events like physical and emotional abuse and neglect, sexual abuse and exposure to substance abuse. These early experiences increase the risk of a number of causes of premature death and illness when these children become adults, including attempted suicide, drug and alcohol use, depression and obesity, according to the report.
Childhood trauma, Forstadt says, is a human issue as well as a clinical issue.
“This is about opening a conversation not by ‘what’s wrong with you?’” she says. “Instead, it’s about ‘what happened to you?’ Many (adverse) things happen to us as children and many people are incredibly successful and engaged in the world. The story becomes about what happens to help us build resiliency.”
Sue Mackey Andrews, also a co-facilitator of Maine Resilience Building Network, will present “The Maine Event: Addressing and Preventing ACEs Through Enhanced Statewide Capacity” during a policy and advocacy panel portion of the summit.
The Institute for Safe Families and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are co-hosts of the two-day summit. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy on Violence and Abuse, Futures Without Violence, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Prevent Child Abuse America and Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation are sponsors.
The Bangor Daily News, WABI (Channel 5), WLBZ (Channel 2) and WVII (Channel 7) were among several news organizations to report on the University of Maine’s unveiling Wednesday of a floating platform of VolturnUS, a first-of-its-kind offshore wind turbine. The turbine will be deployed off Maine’s coast at the end of the month and will be the first grid-connected floating wind turbine in North America and the first concrete-composite floating turbine in the world, according to Habib Dagher, director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center. North American Windpower also carried a report.
KeepMEcurrent.com spoke with University of Maine Associate Professor of Sociology Kim Huisman about her Maine Mother-Daughter Project. The project aims to provide a framework for healthy relationships between generations and promotes critical thinking for mothers and daughters.
The latest post on the Bangor Daily News blog “Backstage at PTC” announced the Penobscot Theatre Company’s 2013–2014 season. The season will include “One Blue Tarp,” a new play by Travis Baker, Orono playwright and UMaine English lecturer.
The New Hampshire Union Leader reported University of Maine student Molly Mendola was given the Union Leader Hero Award after helping save struggling swimmers at a beach last summer. The award honors New Hampshire residents who risked their lives in the previous year to save someone else.
The Maine Edge reported on the recent visits of therapy dogs to Fogler Library. The dogs were brought in to ease students’ stress during finals week.
Maine Sen. Angus King mentioned a University of Maine project in a recent interview with Environment & Energy Publishing (E&E). Angus said he is “really excited” about a project at UMaine to generate power from biomass pellets.
The Morning Sentinel previewed the upcoming Maple Grading School class that will be offered May 10–11 in Skowhegan. The class is for maple producers, bulk syrup buyers, state inspectors and others who need to grade or judge maple syrup. The school is sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, International Maple Syrup Institute, and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.
The latest issue of the Penobscot Times included articles on the commencement ceremonies that will be held May 11 at the University of Maine. The articles included tips for attending the ceremonies, such as parking and seating, as well as scheduled speakers and award winners. The issue of the weekly newspaper also included a front-page photo taken during the third annual St. Baldrick’s head shaving event on Maine Day in the Steam Plant Lot on campus. About 70 members of the UMaine community shaved their heads to raise money for children with cancer. UMaine Circle K, a Kiwanis-affiliated college service organization, held the event.
The University of Maine Professional Employees Advisory Council (PEAC) has named Dwane Hutto, Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) project manager, and Barbara Ouellette, Honors College coordinator of student academic services and budget, the winners of the 2013 Outstanding Professional Employee Award.
The PEAC selects winners based on the employee’s actions and achievements beyond work responsibilities that positively affect their field, the university and community.
Each winner is awarded $1,000 in recognition of his or her contributions, and will be honored at the Employee Recognition and Achievement Reception and Awards Program May 21.
As project manager, Hutto oversees FBRI’s administrative functions, coordinates project work and collaborates with the institute’s executive director to ensure the efficiency of operations.
Hutto joined FBRI in 2008 after working for three years in the UMaine Process Development Center as group leader in pulping.
FBRI members credit Hutto with being instrumental in helping increase the institute’s support staff from three professionals to six, designing and overseeing the construction of new office space in Jenness Hall, and getting students interested in engineering through department tours and his involvement with the Consider Engineering program.
Hutto is also working with a local middle school teacher to bring engineering principles to the classroom and is designing a workshop to provide hands-on experiences, according to Amy Luce, FBRI technology research center manager who nominated Hutto for the award.
Ouellette, who has served the university for more than 30 years, is responsible for coordinating student academic services and handling the Honors College budget. She has served as an adviser to the dean, and is credited with guiding and supporting the college and interim dean after last year’s unexpected death of Honors College Dean Charlie Slavin. Ouellette also advises and teaches students in the Explorations Program, and acts as a liaison between the Honors College and other colleges on campus.
Ouellette aided in the selection of a new Honors College dean, has served on the Associate Deans and Directors Committee, trained Honors associates, served on Honors thesis committees, worked on the Honors College publication “Minerva,” and coordinated and attended the annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference.
In addition to her work at UMaine, Ouellette has been involved in the community, volunteering in the NICU at Eastern Maine Medical Center, quilting blankets for children in crisis, serving as a Maine Swimming Association official, and being a United Way team and unit leader.
Ouellette’s professionalism, knowledge, commitment and compassion has greatly influenced the Honors College culture and community, says Melissa Ladenheim, adjunct associate professor in Honors who nominated Ouellette for the award.