The Bangor Daily News reported University of Maine’s sustainable agriculture program is growing and studying winter rye, red fife wheat, triticale — a cross between wheat and rye — and other grains to increase local, organic bread-grain production. The research also will help Bangor native Alex Bennett, who is developing a drinking straw made from the stalks of the grain plants. He is selling straws grown and harvested in Germany and is preparing for his first Maine harvest, according to the article. Ellen Mallory, a professor with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and in the School of Food and Agriculture who heads the sustainable agriculture program, said UMaine researchers already are studying 10 varieties of wheat and other grains to see how they handle the Maine climate, so adding extra data points for Bennett was easy to accomplish — especially because he’s looking to change the discarded straw into a “value added product,” the article states. The Maine Public Broadcasting Network and Sun Journal also published the report.
Archive for the ‘Cooperative Extension’ Category
Summer camps at the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond were the focus of the Sun Journal article, “Bryant Pond primitive camps teach ‘life-changing’ skills.” The article focused on a two-week Bushcraft Camp. “Bushcraft is our one program that bridges the primitive skills with that of the Maine woodscraft or guiding skills,” said Ron Fournier, conservation education manager at Bryant Pond. “These campers not only learn primitive and traditional skills, but they plan a canoe trip and learn the ways of the traditional Maine guide on a one-week expedition.” Primitive campers immerse themselves in the natural world by learning and practicing outdoor survival skills and earth-based living, according to the article. “Our survivor-based programs focus on survival skills — both primitive and modern,” Fournier said. “These skills then are practiced in the way of team challenges to add in the fun and excitement. There’s a focus on team spirit or rivalry in survivor camps, unlike the noncompetitive primitive camps.”
Lois Berg Stack, a University of Maine professor of sustainable agriculture and ornamental horticulture specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WVII (Channel 7) about how to identify and properly remove Hogweed. Hogweed looks similar to Queen Anne’s lace, but can grow 8 to 10 feet tall, has a thicker stem, and blooms in a wider radius, according to the report. The plant’s sap can create a painful rash that can last for months, the report states. “As long as you have gloves and long sleeves and you’re not touching it with your skin, you’re perfectly safe,” Stack said. “It’s when you go in with bare arms and brush against it and accidentally get some of the sap on your arm and then get sunlight on it that you can have problems.” Stack recommends contacting UMaine Extension in your county if you suspect hogweed is growing in your yard.
Jim Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with WVII (Channel 7) about the best way to combat several garden pests. Dill said an ideal way to get rid of many common beetles is to remove them by hand or use a handheld vacuum cleaner. He said now is the time to go after pests. “The adults are out and they’re just starting to lay eggs. Later in the season that gets a little more difficult once the larvae are out,” he said, adding bigger pests, such as deer, can be kept out with a wooden or electric fence.
Barbara Murphy, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator and gardening expert, was a guest on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s “Maine Calling” radio show. Murphy, who has more than 20 years of experience teaching the UMaine Extension Master Gardener course, took part in the show that focused on midseason gardening, planting, pruning and picking questions.
The Bangor Daily News reported on the 10th annual Maine Beaches Conference held at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. Experts who spoke at the conference said human impact poses the greatest threat to the future of Maine’s beaches, according to the article. Kristen Grant, an extension associate at Marine Sea Grant, spoke about the role water monitoring plays in gauging the effect humans have on the condition of Maine’s beaches and waters. “With pollution comes rising sea levels, species endangerment and unsafe swimming conditions,” Grant said. “Monitoring the water quality started about 10 years ago and has been going on ever since. It’s a problem we’re constantly trying to address to the public.” Keri Kaczor, coordinator of the Healthy Beaches Program and a marine professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke about how the majority of pollution problems are concentrated at spots where rivers and streams deliver storm and wastewater runoff to the sea, the article states.
WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on a summer camp at the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond that focuses on connecting children with nature. The camp offers programs designed to increase ability and self-esteem for children ages 6-16. The campers learn a variety of outdoor skills, from survival to hunting and fishing, according to the report. Ron Fournier, conservation education manager at Bryant Pond, said he likes to see youths getting away from computer screens, making new friends and feeling comfortable in the outdoors. “I feel there is really a movement of kids getting reconnected to the outdoors and being able to get dirty and just having fun outside,” Fournier said. The camp has hosted record numbers this year, the report states.
A University of Maine Cooperative Extension bulletin was cited in the Parent Herald article, “Internet addiction disorder linked to health, family, emotional problems — what are the common symptoms?” Internet addiction affects people of many ages, but it is most likely to affect children’s development neurologically and physically when parents spend more time with screens than family, according to the article. The UMaine Extension bulletin, “Children and brain development: What we know about how children learn,” says connections are established as early as two months. Fewer connections — from parents to their children — may cause underdeveloped synapses that could lead to making fewer connections while growing up, according to the bulletin, prepared by Judith Graham, a human development specialist, and revised by Leslie Forstadt, a child and family development specialist.
David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and professor in the School of Food and Agriculture, was quoted in an Ellsworth American article, “Area blueberry growers hoping for rain.” Without more rain, this year’s blueberry crop — a $250 million industry in Maine — will be average, according to the article. “If we continue to get adequate moisture for the remainder of the summer, the crop in Maine could be about average at 90 million pounds,” Yarborough said. Last year’s crop totaled 104.42 million pounds, the article states. Yarborough said the harvest will start along the midcoast on July 27 and about one week later Down East.
WLBZ (Channel 2) also reported on the expected average crop, stating that according to wild blueberry experts at UMaine Extension, the porous soil in which the blueberries grow does not hold water well, and the small berries need an inch of water per week to thrive.
The Bangor Daily News reported The University of Maine System Board of Trustees approved spending up to $9 million for the future Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Center. The laboratory will help scientists study pest management and threats to human and animal health across the state, according to the article. It will be the only facility in the state able to identify ticks and test them for transmittable diseases, including Lyme. The lab also will be the base of research in the state for agricultural issues — from potato blight to salmonella in eggs to livestock diseases, the article states. “This is very important to the state of Maine,” said John Rebar, executive director of UMaine Extension. The lab, where about 20 scientists will work, is expected to be finished in 2016, Rebar said.