Archive for the ‘News Releases’ Category

UMaine Faculty Member Establishes Professorship in School of Earth and Climate Sciences

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

A professorship in petrology and mineralogy has been established in the University of Maine by UMaine research professor Edward Grew.

The Edward Sturgis Grew Professorship will allow for the hiring of a tenure-eligible faculty member in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences in the 2016 academic year. The professorship will focus on teaching and research in igneous and/or metamorphic petrology, geochemistry and mineralogy, and will be part of the Geodynamics, Crustal Studies and Earth Rheology research group.

Grew, a research professor of geological sciences, also established an Earth Sciences Endowment Fund in the University of Maine Foundation to support the educational and research activities of students.

This is the second professorship created in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture through private donations in the past two years. In 2013, Farm Credit of Maine (which merged with Farm Credit East on Jan. 1, 2014) established a term professorship in agricultural economics and agricultural finance. Xuan Chen was appointed to the professorship to teach production economics, assist with agricultural and natural resource-based industry cost-of-production studies, and lead the UMaine’s Farm Credit Fellowship Program.

Farm Credit East, a nearly century-old cooperative, has a long history of hiring UMaine graduates.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

UVAC Members Win LifeFlight of Maine Human Patient Simulator Challenge

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Three student members of the University Volunteer Ambulance Corps (UVAC) at the University of Maine recently won a competition that involved caring for a simulated pediatric patient at the annual Midcoast Atlantic Partners EMS Seminar in Rockport, Maine.

Melissa Dufault, Alana Silverman and Ryan Buckley competed against several medical response teams with years of service and experience, including seven EMS instructors and paramedics. Joseph Kellner, UVAC chief of service, served as paramedic backup for the team.

“We were up against some of the best providers in the state; all the way from EMT-basics to paramedics. Our team of two EMT-basics and myself, an unlicensed attendant, were the underdogs to say the least,” said Buckley, a marine science major from Milton, Massachusetts, who has been with UVAC for about a year.

The LifeFlight of Maine Human Patient Simulator Challenge tasks teams with the same basic emergency scenario that differs slightly depending on the license levels of team members. This year’s scenario was a pediatric male that had fallen from a skateboard and was unresponsive. The competition is designed to test skills and how well teams assess the patient by responding to the patient simulator as they would in a real emergency.

“We competed against close friends, admired mentors and current instructors,” said Dufault, a nursing student at Eastern Maine Community College who has been with UVAC since spring 2012. “It was an immense honor to stand in front of all the competitors I had looked up to for a long time.”

The contest was administered by LifeFlight of Maine and was held as a benefit fundraiser for the Maine EMS Memorial in Augusta. The team chose to donate its $200 cash prize to the memorial in the name of Matthew Jetton, a UVAC alumnus and flight paramedic who died when the helicopter he was riding in crashed while transporting a burn patient to a Portland hospital in 1993.

The team also won a response bag from Maine-ly Tactical & Uniforms and two days of free simulator training for UVAC provided by LifeFlight of Maine.

“The free simulator training is a chance to train and do patient assessments in a controlled environment where students can allow themselves to make mistakes with no risk of patient harm,” says Dufault of Turner, Maine. “The simulators can blink, talk, breathe; they also have pulses just as a normal patient.”

Dufault says the training will be especially helpful for new members who have no prior experience.

“As a person in the medical field, it is important to stay current. The knowledge of the medical profession is always expanding. This training gives our members an opportunity to train on certain scenarios that don’t occur often so we are prepared when the real thing happens,” says Silverman, a UMaine biology major with a pre-med concentration from Oakland, Maine, who has been working with UVAC for four years.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these three,” Kellner said. “It is a testament to the quality of care that UVAC providers bring to the University of Maine.”

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

Celebrating UMaine with 150 Years of American Music

Monday, December 8th, 2014

In recognition of the University of Maine’s 150th anniversary, more than 75 students in the School of Performing Arts will bring to the stage selections from the Great American Songbook in a concert that aims to raise awareness of the school and funds for outreach programs.

“150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine” will feature performances by a full big band, string orchestra and singing groups, as well as 13 featured vocal soloists. The musicians will perform classic songs made famous by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Michael Buble.

The student-run production takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23 in the Collins Center for the Arts. Proceeds benefit the UMaine School of Performing Arts student initiatives and outreach programs.

Ben McNaboe, a fourth-year music education major from Yarmouth, Maine, is the show’s music director and conductor. Morgan Cates, a fourth-year business administration major from Camden, will host the event.

In January 2014, McNaboe led a similar student-produced fundraiser, “An Evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics,” that featured a 60-piece pops orchestra and 40 vocalists. The musicians performed to a sell-out crowd at the 500-seat Hauck Auditorium and raised about $10,000, according to McNaboe.

“The money raised from this fundraiser goes directly to outreach student initiatives in the School of Performing Arts that both get our students off campus and into communities near and far, as well as bring community members and younger students to our campus for enrichment programs through our courses and performances,” McNaboe says, adding the event will support two tours in 2015 that will reach schools and communities throughout Maine and parts of Canada.

When determining a theme for the show, organizers sought music that would be appreciated by audience members across generations.

“Much like the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, the big band music of the American Songbook has a similar timelessness to it. We see this even more today through artists like Michael Buble who are actively working to preserve and keep this music present,” McNaboe says. “This program features so many wonderful songs and many that everyone in the audience is sure to recognize.”

The concert will feature a special guest artist, UMaine alumnus and Broadway performer Merritt David Janes, who is currently on a national Broadway tour of “The Phantom of the Opera.” Janes graduated from UMaine in 2004 with a degree in music education and concentrations in voice and trumpet.

“DJ has experienced much success since leaving UMaine, and it’s a great opportunity to have an artist of his caliber perform on stage alongside our students,” McNaboe says. “It’s just an unbelievable experiential learning experience for us all.”

While on campus, Janes will teach a free master class on musical theater that is open to the public. University and area high school students will perform for and be coached by Janes at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22 in Minsky Recital Hall.

“The performance quality of last year’s show was really remarkable,” McNaboe says. “What we did last year was raise the bar. We showed ourselves and our faculty that we could produce a full-fledged pops concert. We showed we were able to pull off something truly amazing, make a difference in our programs in SPA, and reach the community like, I believe, never before.”

Tickets for “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine” are $25, $12 for students with a valid MaineCard. Tickets are available at the Collins Center box office, by calling 581.1755 or online. For more information about the performance or to request a disability accommodation, call 581.1755. The event’s snow date is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

Maximum Impact

Monday, December 8th, 2014

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is monitoring infrastructure repair efforts around Atlantic City, New Jersey, where Superstorm Sandy killed 73 and caused billions of dollars in damage when it barreled ashore a little more than two years ago.

In January, Brian Olsen, assistant professor of biology and ecology, will start gauging the restoration of tidal marshes and birds along the same stretch of coastline impacted by the most deadly and destructive storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — which works with other agencies to conserve migratory birds for the public good — awarded Olsen a $1.4 million grant to conduct a 22-month study on the recovery of birds associated with tidal marshes from Virginia to Maine.

The area is home to 56 percent of the world’s salt marsh specialist vertebrates, including a number of at-risk migratory birds, he says.

“A thorough understanding of Hurricane Sandy’s effects on tidal marsh wildlife is needed to help direct remediation funds where they will have the greatest impact,” Olsen wrote in the project overview.

For the study, he’ll utilize four years of data — the two immediately prior to Hurricane Sandy and the two immediately following it.

The data, he says, will provide an unprecedented opportunity to document the superstorm’s short-term impacts on tidal marshes — including reproduction and survival rates of threatened species.

“By noting which marshes within the storm’s path were most impacted, we will be able to identify what makes a marsh resilient to change,” says Olsen.

“We hope that information will help us to increase the resiliency of the region’s marshes to future challenges.”

The data also will inform long-term impact projections of future storms on the resilience of willets, clapper rails, Nelson’s sparrows, seaside sparrows and saltmarsh sparrows. Olsen and his colleagues will integrate the estimates into population viability analyses to benefit conservation planning and restoration efforts.

The universities of Delaware, Connecticut and New Hampshire are participating, as is the State University of New York, Syracuse.

In November, Olsen began participating in a University of Connecticut-led, two-year $820,000 study on the effectiveness of Hurricane Sandy restoration projects on tidal marshes and their wildlife. The goal is for direct conservation actions to be applied where they’ll most benefit increased resilience of green infrastructure.

“We view the tidal marshes of the Northeast U.S. as a sort of shadow infrastructure for the nation. They are the water filters and storm buffers and fish hatcheries for every major coastal city from Portland [Maine] to Boston to D.C.,” Olsen says

“Since the 1600s, however, New York and New Jersey alone have lost thousands of acres of this green infrastructure … at precisely the same time that our need for the marshes increased. If only a fraction of that lost habitat had been maintained, the impacts of Hurricane Sandy on traditional human infrastructure would have been much different. We’re trying to reverse the trend.”

One task will include incorporating models for sea-level rise and storms into a modeling framework. This — in combination with other predicted effects of climate change, urban growth and conservation of tidal wetlands and adjacent uplands — will guide adaptive decision-making and management.

“The health of wildlife populations gives us a glimpse into the health of our green infrastructure,” says Olsen, who also is an assistant professor with UMaine’s Climate Change Institute.

“If we can understand what makes these marshes resilient to disturbances, we can understand how to preserve their benefits to society as economically as possible.”

Part of Olsen’s portion of the study includes monitoring restoration and control sites in Connecticut and northward during the 2015–16 field seasons. The University of Delaware and State University of New York are also participating.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Maine AgrAbility Earns Grant to Assist Farmers with Disabilities

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the Maine AgrAbility Project a $701,828 grant to continue assisting farmers, loggers and fishermen with disabilities and chronic illnesses so they may remain active in production agriculture.

Richard Brzozowski, University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist and project director, said the grant will fund the project for four more years. The USDA awarded 21 grants totaling $4.1 million to land grant universities.

Maine AgrAbility works directly with farmers, loggers and fishermen, as well as agricultural service providers, by offering educational workshops, on-site assessments and technical assistance. The free resource is available to agricultural workers, and their family members, with a physical, cognitive or illness-related disability or chronic health condition.

AgrAbility is a nonprofit partnership between University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. The program collaborates with other agencies, including Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation. More information about Maine AgrAbility project is available online at, or by contacting Lani Carlson, AgrAbility Project coordinator, 207.944.1533,

Weaving Connections

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Weaving baskets is a family tradition for Molly Neptune Parker and her grandson, George Soctomah Neptune.

So too is attending the annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Holiday Market at the University of Maine.

Parker, 75, has been selling her signature baskets and sharing her weaving technique since the beginning of the market, which marks its 20th year in December.

Neptune, 26, has been there just as long. It’s just that when he was 6, he was more interested in romping around the museum.

This year, the grandmother and grandson will be two of the accomplished Peskotomuhkati (Passamaquoddy) artists at the 20th annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Holiday Market, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Collins Center for the Arts.

Gretchen Faulkner, director of the UMaine Hudson Museum, says she will recognize inaugural artists, including Parker, who have made the market a destination event.

Parker is a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow recipient. For decades, the master teacher in both the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance and Maine Arts Commission Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program, has mentored basketweavers, including Neptune, whom she raised on the Passamaquoddy Reserve in Indian Township.

Neptune learned early and learned well. He was 4 when he asked his grandmother to show him how to weave a basket. She suggested he wait a bit longer.

“She kept saying, ‘When you’re older, when you’re older,’” recalls Neptune. “I wasn’t willing to wait for my Gram.”

So when he spied his aunt, Virginia Wiseman, at summer camp, he talked his way into the basketweaving lesson she was offering to junior high-age children.

When asked if he knew how to weave, the 4-year-old Neptune says he quipped, “Of course I do, my Gram’s Molly.”

Soon after, Neptune had made his very first basket, which he presented to his Gram. She still has it.

Neptune was 7 at a show in Nashville when he first sold baskets he had made.

“I wouldn’t accept checks,” says Neptune. “I made $40 that day. I was loaded. And I was amazed how quickly I spent it. I accept checks now,” he jokes. “And major credit cards.”

Neptune, who started giving basketweaving lessons at age 11, is an educator at Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor. At noon Dec. 13 at the holiday market, he’ll demonstrate how he creates his stunning intricate baskets embellished with basketry birds and flowers.

“George is a perfect example of the next generation of basketweavers who came to the show with his family and who is now a master artist,” says Faulkner.

Neptune says he and Parker believe they put a small piece of their spirit into each of their baskets. Thus, he says, they believe a person does not select a basket; it’s the other way around.

“You buy a basket because it’s chosen you,” says the 2010 Dartmouth College graduate who majored in theater.

These days, Neptune’s baskets like a lot of people.

“He is something else,” Parker says of her grandson. “He makes beautiful baskets. He has good ideas and manages to do exactly what he’s thinking.”

Neptune says if he can imagine a basket, he can usually bring it to life. And he cherishes the process. By using the same weaving techniques that his great-grandmothers Irene Newell Dana and Frances Neptune Richards did, as well as some of the very same tools, Neptune feels connected with them.

Faulkner says 50 Maine Indian artists are scheduled to showcase their one-of-a-kind art forms alongside Neptune and Parker. Storytelling, traditional music, drumming and dancing also will be featured at the free, open-to-the-public event.

At 11:30 a.m., just prior to Neptune’s demonstration, author Lee DeCora Francis will read from her book “Kunu’s Basket: A Story from Indian Island,” in the Hudson Museum’s Maine Indian Gallery.

The story’s general theme might seem a bit familiar to Neptune. Kunu, the boy in the story, has watched his father and grandfather make baskets on Indian Island and wants to make one of his own. While it’s more difficult than Kunu anticipated and he gets frustrated, with his grandfather’s guidance, Kunu perseveres and finishes the project.

Following Neptune’s presentation, Penobscot Nation Cultural and Historic Preservation Director James Francis will deliver a gallery talk at 12:30 p.m. about a new Hudson Museum exhibit, “Katahdin, Greatest Mountain.”

Francis, a masters of fine arts in intermedia student at UMaine, collaborated with Stanley Levitsky, Duane Shimmel, Nate Aldrich and Berkay Tok on the installation. It features a 3-D solid relief model of Katahdin, digital images and audio, and a new Penobscot song recorded in 5.1 surround sound specifically for the installation, says Faulkner.

This past spring, Francis and other members of Penobscot Nation were among those who took part in a 16-day trip that retraced a trek that Henry David Thoreau described in “The Maine Woods,” published 150 years ago. On “CBS Sunday Morning” Francis shared that his ancestor, Joe Polis guided Thoreau on that journey.

Schedule of featured events

10 a.m. Welcome ceremony, Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis

10:30 a.m. Traditional Penobscot songs, Chris Sockalexis, Penobscot

11 a.m. Brown ash-pounding demonstration, Eldon Hanning, Micmac

11:30 a.m. “Kunu’s Basket: A Story from Indian Island” reading, author Lee DeCora Francis, Penobscot, Hudson Museum Maine Indian Gallery

12 p.m. Fancy basket-weaving demonstration, George Neptune, Passamaquoddy

12:30 p.m. Gallery talk on “Katahdin, Greatest Mountain,” James Francis, Penobscot

1 p.m. Canoe paddle-carving demonstration, Barry Dana, Penobscot

1:30 p.m. Penobscot regalia project and beadwork demonstration, Jennifer Sapiel Neptune

2 p.m. Burnurwurbskek Singers

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

UMaine Archaeologist Honored for ‘Pioneering Interdisciplinary Studies’

Monday, November 24th, 2014

An international group dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of all people is honoring Daniel H. Sandweiss, an archaeologist at the University of Maine.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) elected Sandweiss a Fellow for his distinguished contributions to archaeology.

Alan Leshner, CEO and executive publisher of Science, says Sandweiss’ notable discoveries include his “pioneering interdisciplinary studies of early colonization of South America and the origins of El Niño.”

Sandweiss, a professor of anthropology and quaternary and climate studies and cooperating professor of Earth and climate sciences and global policy, has been at UMaine since 1993.

“I am honored by election as a AAAS fellow,” he says. “It would not have been possible had I not found such a collaborative, interdisciplinary group of colleagues in UMaine’s Climate Change Institute and across campus.”

Sandweiss has authored and contributed many chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles including 10 in Science, the AAAS journal. His recent papers include: “Paleoindian Settlement of the High-Altitude Peruvian Andes” with Kurt Rademaker, Gregory Hodgins, Katherine Moore, Sonia Zarrillo, Christopher Miller, Gordon Bromley, Peter Leach, David Reid and Willy Yépez Álvarez, in Science; “The Effect of the Spanish Conquest on Coastal Change in Northwest Peru” with Daniel Belknap in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; and “Archaeological Contributions to Climate Change Research: The Archaeological Record as a Paleoclimatic and Paleoenvironmental Archive” with Alice Kelley in Annual Review of Anthropology.

His numerous other positions and affiliations include being chief cooperating curator at the UMaine Hudson Museum and founding editor of Andean Past. He has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Society for American Archaeology and as Northeast regional vice president and member of the Board of Directors of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.

Sandweiss is one of 401 Fellows elected in 2014. Each Fellow will be presented with a certificate and a blue-and-gold rosette at the AAAS annual meeting at 8 a.m. Feb. 14, 2015, in San Jose, California.

The election of AAAS Fellows began in 1874; the AAAS Council annually elects Fellows whose “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications are scientifically or socially distinguished.”

Eight other UMaine scientists have previously been elected AAAS Fellows: Susan Brawley, Edward Grew, Irving Kornfield, Joyce Longcore, Paul Mayewski, Malcolm Shick, Bruce Sidell (deceased) and Bob Steneck.

Sandweiss, whose tenure home is in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is the first UMaine AAAS fellow on record outside of UMaine’s College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

UMaine Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society Finishes Second at National Quiz Bowl

Monday, November 24th, 2014

How old is a deer that has all its teeth and three cups on the four premolars?

Eighteen months old.

Which species of tree was the Carolina Parakeet’s primary food source?

The bald cypress.

Which university rapidly and successfully fielded a variety of far-ranging wildlife questions — including law, policy and forestry — to place second among 22 teams from the United States and Canada at The Wildlife Society’s 2014 National Quiz Bowl?

The University of Maine.

Marie Martin, Abigail Feuka, Caitlin Gunn, James Petersen and Karla Boyd — undergraduate members of the UMaine Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society — proved their expertise during a six-hour Jeopardy!-like competition in October at the 21st Wildlife Society Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

At the National Quiz Bowl, they were asked to view a live snake and provide the name of the species. They also were challenged to rattle off Latin animal phyla names, distinguish species of birds by their auditory calls, identify trees and answer policy questions, says faculty adviser Faren Wolter, a certified wildlife biologist.

UMaine’s second-place finish is even more impressive, says Wolter, considering it was the first time in a number of years that the Black Bears participated in the national competition.

“That speaks volumes about how well our students were prepared,” Wolter says, adding she was equally impressed with the poise and collegiality of UMaine contestants.

Team captain Martin says the squad’s composure and runner-up finish indicates the quality of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology that rewards naturally curious individuals. “It is because of our natural propensity towards that information that we were so successful,” she says.

Boyd, awildlife, fisheries, and conservation biology major with a conservation biology concentration, says UMaine’s quiz bowl participants were wonderful ambassadors for the university.

“Most schools were nervous and competitive, and we went up and wished everyone well, but didn’t put any stress on ourselves to come out on top, and we still did really well,” says the resident of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

The Lumberjacks of Humboldt State University in California bested Maine in the championship round. The Lumberjacks, who take a three-credit course to prepare for the competition, tore through the field en route to their 10th title in the 17 years.

UMaine outscored State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) to advance to the final. It was victory for the Black Bears; Wolter says SUNY ESF topped the Black Bears at a regional conclave earlier this school year at Pennsylvania State University.

The UMaine students’ varied wildlife interests — including fisheries, insects and statistics — buoyed the Black Bears’ expertise and balance, Wolter says.

Petersen, for instance, needs to hear only a fraction of a second of a birdcall to identify the species, says Wolter of the wildlife ecology major from Summit, New Jersey.

Petersen, who is on track to graduate in December, says he appreciated other aspects of the annual meeting as well, including the resume critique.

His teammates, including Gunn from Hampden, Maine, agreed the myriad of chances to network and learn at the conference were beneficial.

“I had the opportunity to have my resume critiqued, attend a trapping workshop and, overall, I was highly intrigued by the speakers and posters on current research being conducted around the globe,” says Gunn, a wildlife ecology major with a wildlife science and management concentration.

Feuka, who is slated to graduate in 2016 with a degree in wildlife ecology and a minor in Earth sciences, also valued the chance to interact with experts.

“My favorite part of the conference by far was meeting a so many accomplished scientists, policy specialists, game wardens, managers, professors and students all in one place,” says the resident of Perry, Michigan. “It was a wealth of knowledge and experience all in one place, and I was able to make some great connections because of this.”

The Wildlife Society, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is an international network. It seeks to “inspire, empower, and enable wildlife professionals to sustain wildlife populations and habitats through science-based management and conservation,” according to its website.

The 33 members of the UMaine Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society meet weekly. The group, founded December 1964, is open to all majors and was formed so students could gain experience and skills in wildlife science as well as to network and learn about graduate school and employment opportunities.

The UMaine group recently teamed with the Unity College Chapter of the Wildlife Society to bring a speaker from Tigers for Tigers to Maine. Tigers for Tigers is a coalition of colleges with tiger mascots that works to preserve wild tigers through national and international education, research and service learning projects.

Members of the UMaine student chapter also regularly repair duck nesting boxes at area refuges, participate in the annual Maine Cooperative Owl Survey organized by Maine Audubon and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and collect biological data from moose killed in the annual fall hunt.

Students interested in learning more about the UMaine chapter are encouraged to contact Abigail Feuka at, check out the webpage at or follow on Facebook at

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Discovering Maine

Monday, November 24th, 2014

A new geographical and historical interpretation of Maine, from the end of the last ice age to the year 2000, culminates a 15-year scholarly project led by University of Maine researchers.

The Historical Atlas of Maine, will debut in two book launch events: Dec. 10, 6–8 p.m., at Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine; and Dec. 11, 3:30–5 p.m., Buchanan Alumni House at the University of Maine.

The atlas also will be the subject of a Maine Historical Society lecture by UMaine historian Richard Judd, Dec. 9, noon–1:30 p.m., 489 Congress St., Portland.

The folio-size atlas is edited by Judd and UMaine geographer Stephen Hornsby, with cartography by Michael Hermann. University of Maine Press, a division of UMaine’s Raymond H. Fogler Library, published the volume.

Historical Atlas of Maine tells the principal stories of the many people who have lived in Maine over the past 13,000 years — the history of Native peoples, European exploration and settlement, the American Revolution, Maine statehood, agricultural and industrial development, and the rise of tourism and environmental awareness.

The 208-page atlas features 76 two-page plates with a rich array of 367 original maps, 112 original charts and 248 other images — historical maps, paintings and photos — in addition to its text. The result is a unique interpretation of Maine, a rich visual record of the state’s history, and a major achievement in humanities research.

“The atlas is beautiful and that’s important,” says Hermann, founder and lead cartographer of Purple Lizard Maps, who worked on the project for 14 years. “A lot of atlases are dry and use a cookie cutter shape of a state throughout. We wanted to get away from that format. People are going to be impressed by the atlas’ accessibility. It is scholarly research presented in a beautiful, interesting, readable way that calls you to turn to the next page — and the next.”

In 1997, UMaine Professor of English Burton Hatlen had the idea to compile an historical atlas of Maine that would showcase the mission of a land grant institution and the strength of humanities scholarship.

“I agreed with him that this could be a contribution to Maine and that we could set the bar for other state historical atlases,” says Hornsby, director of UMaine’s Canadian-American Center. “Maine could set the standard.”

Primary funding for the atlas project included $160,000 in seed money from the Maine Legislature in 1999 and a $293,500 National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 2003.

Planning for the atlas began with multiple meetings and contacts with scholars — most from UMaine, with others from universities and colleges across the United States and Canada — who focused on those subject areas important to understanding Maine history. With many of the broad areas identified, preliminary research and compilation of historical information, including archival images, were methodically organized.

With Hatlen’s death in 2008, Hornsby and Judd led the final years of the scholarship, largely focused on historical geography, with significant assistance from UMaine graduate students.

Digital files of archival maps of Maine were gathered from archives from Ottawa, Canada, and Washington, D.C., to London, England, and Paris, France. Many important historical maps were made available by the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine.

The two-page, full-color illustrated plates detailing the environmental, economic, social and cultural interactions that shaped the state and the region represent the extensive scholarship of 33 contributors. The atlas is arranged in four chronological sections, starting with the arrival of hunter-gatherers as the ice sheets retreated more than 10,000 years ago and continuing into European contact in the early 16th century and the colonial period. Part II includes Maine’s statehood in 1820, agricultural settlement and the rise of its natural resource-based industries.

With the emergence of industry came urbanization. Part III explores this period of Maine history, including the 1910 federal census that first recorded that a majority of Maine people were living in urban areas. Part IV covers much of the 20th century, with declines in traditional resource-based and manufacturing industries in the state, and the growth of the service economy.

“The Historical Atlas of Maine is an articulation of Maine. The book comes from Maine’s land grant university and is meant to be a gift returned,” says Michael Alpert, director of the University of Maine Press. “It celebrates Maine.”

Three themes run through the atlas: the importance of Native peoples, Euro-American exploration of Maine, and exploitation of its natural resources and rise of environmental awareness in the state — including the shift from being a utilitarian, resource-based economy and society to today’s paired focus on tourism and environmental protection. While those threads also are found elsewhere in the history of the United States, in Maine these three themes “developed their own unique pattern in the particular geographical context of Maine and continue to shape the state,” according to Hornsby and Judd.

The Historical Atlas of Maine will change the way people look at Maine history, says Judd, UMaine’s Colonel James C. McBride Professor of History, and a nationally recognized scholar and author on environmental history. It reflects international scholarship detailing the influence of French-American culture, starting with settlement of the upper Saint John River, and little-known segments of Maine history, including 19th-century Wabanaki petitions and land treaties.

“The atlas brings history to life in a truly multidimensional way and will put Maine on the map in more ways than one,” Judd says. “This is a pioneering effort in terms of scholarship — a new form of presenting materials, and it will have an impact nationwide.”

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.374


UMaine Community Charitable Projects to Benefit Those in Need

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Editor’s note: This is not a complete list; additions will be made.

Several University of Maine student, staff and faculty groups are leading charitable efforts this holiday season in an effort to give back to the community.

The UMaine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism is collecting Thanksgiving turkeys for Crossroads Ministries Food Pantry in Old Town, and will hold a holiday food drive at IGA in Orono on Dec. 6. Turkeys can be dropped off by Nov. 24. at the Bodwell Center, 311 Memorial Union, or at Crossroads Ministries on Wood Street in Old Town.

The Black Bear Exchange, UMaine’s food pantry and clothing exchange, will provide Thanksgiving meals to its clients who will be in the area for the holiday.

The Bodwell Center also is collecting gifts for the Holiday Sharing Program, which serves more than 450 children in the local community. The program is a partnership between the center, Crossroads Ministries, Toys for Tots, Orono-Old Town Kiwanis, Orono Health Association, and many student and staff groups on campus.

Gifts can be dropped off at the Bodwell Center or Crossroads Ministries. The deadline for gift donations is Dec. 10. For more information about the Holiday Sharing Program, contact Jennifer Aldrich, community engagement coordinator at the Bodwell Center, at 207.581.3097.

The UMaine Office of Human Resources is holding an Adopt-A-Family program this holiday season. For more than 20 years, UMaine’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) held a similar program to help UMaine families that are most in need. This year, Human Resources is looking to continue the tradition.

Supporting a family can be done by department or individually. Family information will be shared with participants once the office is notified of the commitment. The office also is seeking nominations for families that would benefit from the program, and so far has more donors than eligible families. Families will remain anonymous.

To sign up to support and/or nominate a family, contact Kasey Richards at or 207.581.2366 by Wednesday, Nov. 26.

The Classified Employees Advisory Council (CEAC) recently collected and delivered several items to the Black Bear Exchange. The group continues to accept donations, and has boxes located around campus including in Alumni Hall, rooms 201 and 218; Fogler Library’s east entrance; Chadbourne Hall, rooms 122 and 226; and the Graduate School’s front desk in Stodder Hall.

Several UMaine fraternities and sororities also are getting involved by hosting clothing and food drives.

Kappa Sigma held its annual Coats for the Cold drive, where they collected coats to be sold for $5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 21 and 22 at the Kappa Sigma house, 4 Munson Road on campus. Proceeds go to the Fisher House Foundation for aiding military families. HerCampus will be selling baked goods by donation during the sale, with all proceeds also benefiting Fisher House. Leftover coats will be donated to the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.

Alpha Tau Omega is hosting Blue and Gold Christmas, a competition-based philanthropy event that collects clothes, books, nonperishable food and monetary donations for Crossroads Ministries. Teams of students from Greek Life and other organizations will be given a tree to decorate, along with a donation box. Teams score points for donations and tree decorations. The trees, which will be on display in the Memorial Union from Nov. 23 to Dec. 7, will be judged by university officials.

Pi Beta Phi and Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) will host the annual Pi Phi/FIJI Christmas event from 4–6 p.m. Dec. 12 at the FIJI fraternity house, 79 College Ave. Donations for the Bodwell Center and Crossroads Ministries will be collected during the Christmas-themed reception.

The Kappa Delta Pi International Honors Society is collecting new or gently used winter clothing for children, such as jackets, gloves, hats, scarves, boots and snow pants. Donations will be accepted at 102 Shibles Hall until Dec. 5. All donations will be brought to a Salvation Army Coats for Kids drop box.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747