Richard Kersbergen, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator on sustainable dairy and forage systems, was mentioned in a Valley News article about invasive bedstraw in New Hampshire. Bedstraw has became a concern for farmers as infestations crowd other plants and take over patches of ground and entire fields, according to the article. The problem with bedstraw is that it’s of little value for feeding livestock, the article states. The report cites Kersbergen’s four different control strategies, each with its own costs and limitations. His strategies include rotating fields, increasing nitrogen fertilizer, applying the herbicide glyphosate or trying one of the powerful new herbicide products that manufacturers say will be more effective against bedstraw. Kersbergen’s studies also show that if the prior year’s seed rain isn’t prevented, the money and hassle most likely won’t make a difference, the article states.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension was mentioned in the Wiscasset Newspaper article, “Wild blueberries are ripe for the picking.”
Maine’s wild blueberries ripen in midsummer and the picking is usually best following a wet spring, according to the article. UMaine Extension estimates there are more than 40,000 acres of wild blueberries statewide, the article states.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a free introductory workshop on designing, constructing and maintaining root cellars for winter food storage 5:30–7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office, 7 County Drive, Skowhegan. Register by Friday, Aug. 28. To register, or request a disability accommodation, call 474.9622 or 800.287.1495 (in Maine), or email email@example.com.
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.
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.