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Spreading Good Cheer

For Nancy Bunting, farming hasn’t always been a bowl of cherries.

But it has included harvesting thousands of pounds of the sour fruit for Allagash Brewing Company to use in its beer.

In honor of Bunting, the Portland brewer named its October 2014 limited edition copper-colored beer “Nancy.”

The sour red ale tastes like a medley of tart cherry, citrus and pie spice, according to Jeff Perkins, brewmaster at Allagash Brewing Company. Its aroma is described as a blend of cherries, bread crust and cinnamon.

Bunting says she’s blessed to work with Allagash and to be the namesake of a niche brew.

For more than two decades, Bunting and her husband Earl have experienced both blessings and challenges associated with farming.

They own Doles Orchard, situated atop a ridge in Limington where guests pick their own fruit — including cherries, raspberries, peaches, plums, pears, strawberries, elderberries, blueberries and 25 varieties of apples — as well as go on hayrides and enjoy homemade pies and preserves.

During off-seasons, Earl has worked in carpentry and Nancy has waitressed.

The Buntings’ relationship with Allagash began in 2010, when brewers at the Portland, Maine-based company inquired about purchasing their sour cherries to use making Coolship Cerise, a traditional, Belgian-inspired spontaneously fermented beer.

Since that time, the Buntings have supplied Rob Tod’s company with more than 6,000 pounds of cherries that they picked, packed and delivered in wooden apple boxes that they built.

Allagash brewers continued using the tart fruit in the Coolship Cerise releases. And they were so impressed with the quality of the cherries, they decided to build a beer around them.

“Their fruit inspired us to brew ‘Nancy,’” says Perkins. “Over the years, we’ve been honored to develop a relationship with Earl and Nancy and we have been so inspired by their approach to farming. Because the cherries were from them, it was appropriate to make reference to their farm.”

Bunting laughs recalling that Allagash initially proposed naming the distinctive brew after her husband.

“Then they found out there already was a beer named Earl,” she says light-heartedly. “I’m second fiddle to Earl.”

Allagash employees also were impressed with the rustic boxes in which the Buntings delivered the cherries and asked if they could manufacture crates to hold 24 bottles of beer. The couple has since sold nearly 6,000 of the stylish, practical containers to the company.

“Selling beer in wood crates is traditional in Belgium,” says Perkins. “We wanted to do something like that for our own beers sold at the brewery.”

Nancy says she enjoys the independence of being a farmer and developing niche markets — including homemade crates and boxes and slate coasters.

While building boxes two years ago, Nancy severed four fingers in a table saw accident. Emergency room care, surgery and follow-up visits took a financial toll, as the Buntings didn’t have health insurance. But they worked out a payment plan and Nancy devised ways to adapt and continue to work on the farm.

“I’m still amazed at how much I can accomplish relatively hassle-free,” she says, adding she has been humbled by the generosity and goodwill of family and friends.

She’s also been humbled by Allagash Brewing — which routinely gives back to the community by donating some of its profits to local organizations.

When Allagash officials asked her which group she’d like a portion of Nancy’s proceeds to be donated to, Bunting did some online research. Her daughter in California told her about AgrAbility — the nationwide U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded program established to assist farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers and farm family members impacted by a limiting health condition.

The Maine AgrAbility program is a nonprofit collaboration between University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. It assists farmers, fishermen and forest workers with challenges or limitations so they may continue to be productive and work safely — all of which Nancy could readily identify with.

And the Buntings already had a solid connection with UMaine Extension. For years, Nancy and her husband have sought expert advice from UMaine Extension educators about farming topics — from garden pests to egg production.

So Nancy asked Allagash officials to spread their generosity and good cheer to Maine AgrAbility.

Maine AgrAbility program coordinator Lani Carlson says since the project formed in 2010, it has provided technical information to 247 farmers and conducted on-site assessments and recommendations for 75 others whose agricultural businesses include dairies, Christmas tree farms, vegetable stands and hay sales.

Maine AgrAbility clientele, says Carlson, has included area farmers with chronic health impairments, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, as well as with aging-related issues, including arthritis and hearing loss.

To educate people about the program is a huge thing,” Nancy says. “I’m happy to be getting the word out about this great program and all the ways it can help people.”

To date, Allagash Brewing Company has gifted nearly $10,000 to the organization.

“We are greatly honored to receive this gift,” says Richard Brzozowski, director of the Maine AgrAbility program. “The money will help us in our mission to assist Maine farmers and growers who have chronic health issues or injuries to gain more control over their lives and to continue to farm successfully.”

Talk about a cherry on top.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

2015 Maryann Hartman Award Recipients Announced

Three Maine women and a teen who are leaders in social justice, community advocacy and cultural preservation will be honored at the 29th annual Maryann Hartman Awards on March 24 at the University of Maine.

This year’s Maryann Hartman Award recipients are Maria Girouard of Orono for her advocacy for the preservation of the cultural heritage and rights of the Penobscot Nation; Deborah Thompson of Bangor for her work on recognizing and preserving the rich architectural history of Bangor; and Florence Reed of Surry, for her initiative in creating Sustainable Harvest International, connecting Maine to the global community.

Girouard, Thompson and Reed join 88 distinguished Maine women who have been honored with Maryann Hartman Awards, named for the late UMaine associate professor of speech communication who was a renowned educator, feminist, scholar and humanist. Hartman Awards are given by UMaine’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program to recognize Maine women for their inspirational achievements in the arts, politics, business, education, healthcare and community service.

High school senior Nicole Maines of Portland will receive the Young Women’s Social Justice Award. She is the 17th recipient of the award, begun in 2001 to recognize young women who have distinguished themselves through their dedication and contributions to justice and social change.

The Maryann Hartman Awards Ceremony will be held 5:30–7:30 p.m., March 24 in UMaine’s Buchanan Alumni House. This year, the free public event is part of Women’s Leadership Week, a University of Maine 150th anniversary observance. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.1228.

Short biographies of this year’s award winners follow:

Maria Girouard
Maria Girouard, member of the Penobscot Nation, is an historian and environmental activist. She is the health and wellness coordinator for Wabanaki Health and Wellness, which serves all tribally enrolled Native Americans in Penobscot, Washington and Aroostook counties. Girouard also serves as a community organizer for the Penobscot Nation in the Maine-Wabanaki REACH, which is investigating and reporting on Wabanaki experiences with the Maine child welfare services. She is the former director of the Penobscot Nation’s Department of Cultural and Historic Preservation. Girouard’s activism work centers on water quality.

Deborah Thompson
Deborah Thompson has been a major force in the historic preservation movement in Maine for nearly 40 years. She was largely responsible for Bangor’s Historic Preservation ordinance, which was the first in Maine. In the 1970s and 1980s, she conducted an extensive preservation survey of Bangor that still informs local and state preservation commissions. She has since conducted several other surveys throughout the state. She is the author of Bangor, Maine, 1769–1914: An Architectural History and edited Maine Forms of American. She is currently at work on a book about Bangor architect Wilfred Mansur with co-author Earl G. Shettleworth Jr., director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

Florence Reed
Florence Reed is the founder of Sustainable Harvest International (SHI). In the early ’90s, Reed worked in environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, and launched SHI in 1997 in the basement of her parents’ home. Today, the successful nonprofit dedicated to environmental conservation and alleviating poverty is found in three Central American countries. SHI provides farming families in Central America with the tools and resources to overcome poverty, and focuses on efforts to preserve tropical forests.

Nicole Maines
Nicole Maines of Portland has been actively involved in challenging gender norms in Maine and nationwide. Maines advocates for the equal rights of all members of the LBGT community. At age 13, she was instrumental in helping defeat a bill in Maine that would have limited transgender rights. She has also set legal precedent in protecting the rights of transgender people’s use of public bathrooms and access to all school facilities, programs and extracurricular activities in a way that is consistent with their gender identity. Maines speaks nationwide about her personal experiences, and continues to advocate on behalf of transgender children and adults.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Signs of the Times

Continuing or accelerating warming of the atmosphere and ocean. Intense precipitation events. Rising sea levels.

These are signs of climate change, and all of them are affecting Maine people, according to Maine’s Climate Future: 2015 Update, a new report from the University of Maine.

Recent consequences include: a record number of reported Lyme disease cases; a white pine needle disease epidemic; erosion of beaches, farmland and roads; and a Gulf of Maine heat wave in 2012 that resulted in a glut of lobsters on the market and an ensuing price crash.

“This report goes beyond global and national climate change assessments to what is happening in Maine,” says one of the report’s authors, Ivan Fernandez, a professor in the UMaine School of Forest Resources, Climate Change Institute and School of Food and Agriculture.

“We want to encourage cost-effective adaptation by citizens, businesses and communities in Maine using the best available information and tools. Being informed about how climate change affects the state is vital to developing cohesive plans to lessen its negative effects and capitalize on resulting opportunities.”

The new report builds on the report Maine’s Climate Future 2009. In 2008, at the request of then-Gov. John Baldacci, the University of Maine Climate Change Institute began assessing climate-related changes in the state. More than 70 scientists contributed to that report.

The 2015 update, say its authors, highlights researchers’ grasp of past, present and future trends of changing climate in Maine given their understanding and the accumulating evidence in 2015.

It also provides examples of how Mainers, including community planners and business people, are adapting to existing realities and preparing for future expected changes.

Noted in the 24-page report:

It’s important for stakeholders to continue proactive and preemptive preparation, say the report’s authors.

“Mitigation is also important, even as we engage in adaptation, since little has been done to reduce the rise in greenhouse gas emissions,” Fernandez says.

While the Northeast is experiencing a bitterly cold and snowy winter of 2015, the average temperature on the planet in 2014 was the warmest in 135 years of record keeping. Last year was the 38th consecutive year that Earth’s yearly temperature was above average, and nine of the 10 hottest years ever recorded have occurred since 2000.

While it may not feel like it now, the average annual temperature in Maine has warmed about 3 degrees since 1895.

Sean Birkel, Maine State Climatologist and a research assistant professor with the Climate Change Institute, analyzed Maine’s future climate using models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — which account for both natural and human impacts.

His findings indicate by 2050 the annual temperature in Maine will rise another 3–5 degrees F.

Also, Maine’s warm season — when the average daily temperature is above freezing — has increased by two weeks since 1914 and is expected to lengthen another two more weeks by 2050.

The longer warm season, which now extends from mid-March to late November, has translated into longer growing seasons for farmers. In the future, it could mean the prime time to tap maple trees for sap will be in early February.

Warming temperatures also have provided a more suitable environment for ticks and their hosts, resulting in the northward spread of Lyme disease in Maine.

Reported cases of the bacterial infection hit an all-time high in the state in 2013, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control

The global climate system changes that have resulted in the temperature rise also have impacted the seasonal distribution and amount of precipitation in Maine.

Since 1895, total annual precipitation in the state has increased by approximately six inches, or 13 percent; most increases occur in the summer and fall. Precipitation is expected to increase another 5–10 percent across Maine by 2050.

Precipitation also has become more frequent and intense. In the last century, nine of 11 meteorological stations in Maine have registered the highest frequency of extreme events — defined for this analysis as two or more inches of rain or snow falling in a 24-hour period — in the last decade.

In August 2014, a record-breaking 6.44 inches of rain flooded Portland streets. The downpour caused $200,000 in damage to infrastructure in Brunswick, including culverts and roads. In May 2012, six inches of rain fell in Auburn in 24 hours. Due to erosion and nutrients flushing into Lake Auburn, an excessive algae bloom developed, oxygen levels plummeted and many trout died.

The report’s authors say the warming ocean surface water, which puts more water vapor into the atmosphere, is one factor that fuels extreme precipitation events, including this winter’s record snowstorms.

The report also points to adaptation efforts by agencies and communities in Maine that highlight the importance of communication and coordination regarding the climate change challenge.

In 2013, Gov. Paul LePage established the Environmental and Energy Resources Working Group to develop a coordinated strategy to address climate change issues.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s report from that working group recommended greater coordination among state and federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, Native American tribes, municipalities, researchers and UMaine to improve the state’s “ability to respond and adapt to changing physical conditions in the environment due to climatic influence.”

In spring 2014, the UMaine School of Policy and International Affairs, the Maine National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard co-hosted a conference that addressed political, military, economic and environmental challenges and opportunities related to diminished sea ice in the Arctic.

And last fall, at a University of Maine Climate Change Institute conference, researchers unveiled online tools, including the Climate Reanalyzer, to help community planners develop local solutions for specific consequences they are likely to experience.

“The University of Maine is uniquely capable of exploring the challenges associated with climate change in our state through research, education and community engagement and the complex themes encompassed in climate change-related studies are closely aligned with the recently developed signature and emerging issues related to climate change and marine science,” says Paul Anderson, director of the Maine Sea Grant program, which helped produce the report.

“Maine, the nation and the world stand at a crossroad imposed by our changing climate, but we have an amazing opportunity to reduce uncertainty about the future of climate and its impact and in so doing understand, address and deal with the challenge through rational and productive action,” says Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute and another author of report.

Other authors of the report are: Catherine Schmitt, communications director, Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine; Esperanza Stancioff, educator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Maine Sea Grant; Andrew Pershing, chief scientific officer, Gulf of Maine Research Institute; Joseph Kelley, professor, UMaine School of Earth and Climate Sciences, Climate Change Institute; Jeffrey Runge, research scientist, UMaine School of Marine Sciences, Gulf of Maine Research Institute; and George Jacobson, UMaine Professor Emeritus, Climate Change Institute, UMaine School of Biology and Ecology.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Follow a Researcher

Connecting K–12 students in Maine and around the world with researchers in the field is the goal of a new program offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension with support from UMaine’s Climate Change Institute (CCI) and the Maine 4-H Foundation.

Follow a Researcher aims to give students a glimpse into a scientist’s world by providing live expedition updates and facilitating communication between the youth and scientist.

“Science isn’t just white lab coats and pouring things into beakers,” says Charles Rodda, a doctoral student at CCI and the program’s first researcher. In his case, science means putting on crampons, scaling glaciers and drilling ice cores in Peru and Tajikistan to conduct research focused on abrupt climate change.

In March, Rodda and fellow CCI graduate student Kit Hamley will travel to Peru to collect snow and ice from glaciers high in the Andes. During the summer, he will travel to Tajikistan to join an international team that will retrieve and research samples from the world’s largest nonpolar glacier.

While in the field, Rodda will interact with participating classrooms and students by sharing prerecorded weekly videos and live tweeting in response to questions.

“We’re interested to see what they’re interested in,” Rodda says. “We of course are focused on the science, but we’re hiking in some of the most beautiful regions on Earth.”

To interact with students, Rodda will use the inReach Explorer, a global satellite communicator created by Maine-based company DeLorme. The tool allows him to text or tweet directly to students from the glacier. It also will track his movements and generate an online map so students can follow his trek in nearly real time. To document his journey, Rodda also will take several cameras, including a GoPro; a solar panel and battery pack to charge electronics; an iPad; satellite receiver; and memory cards.

In advance of the weekly question-and-answer sessions, prerecorded videos of Rodda explaining aspects of the expedition and research will be released. The videos were created to spark discussion among students and are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.

Rodda, who has participated in several outreach events around the state as a UMaine Extension 4-H STEM Ambassador, says having a science-literate society is important and getting students interested at an early age is essential.

“I think that’s the time — middle and early high school — when students seem to decide if they’re going to be interested in science or not. There’s great research happening here at the University of Maine and we want to make sure students know about it,” he says.

Multiple schools from around Maine, as well as schools in Iowa, Ohio, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Montana and North Carolina have already signed on to take part in the program, which is funded by the Maine 4-H Foundation. Rodda and Hamley plan to visit participating Maine classrooms after they return from Peru in April.

In Peru, Rodda and Hamley will look at signals that have been captured in the ice during El Nino events, or warming in the waters of the equatorial Pacific. They hope to see what El Ninos look like in climate records to determine if those events may be a trigger that shifts the climate system in Central and South America from one phase to another. Rodda completed preliminary research in Peru in 2013.

This summer in Tajikistan, Rodda will work with researchers from around the world to drill a long core that will be split among teams from the University of Idaho, Japan, France, Germany and Austria who will study a variety of the core’s characteristics. Rodda will focus on the ice’s chemistry makeup while others will focus on topics including physical measurements or biological signals, he says.

In advance of Rodda’s Peru trip, youth in grades six through eight took part in a UMaine 4-H Science Saturday workshop where they were challenged with determining how to keep ice core samples frozen and intact for research. Students were given ice and materials and were tasked with designing a container that would keep ice frozen under a heat lamp for a specific amount of time.

In reality, Rodda says bringing ice cores home from Peru is more like “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.” It involves horseback riding, long car rides, even longer airplane rides, and a lot of dry and blue ice, which he describes as heavy-duty freezer packs.

“It’s a great way to get students on campus to sort of demystify the university and show them some of the cool stuff we do at the university and in the sciences,” Rodda says of 4-H Science Saturdays, which are offered by UMaine Extension.

“Follow a Researcher is part of a big effort to connect youth in Maine with current university students. It may be the first time a youth has contact with someone who is going to college, or their first connection to a university,” says Laura Wilson, a 4-H science professional with UMaine Extension. “STEM Ambassadors are working in areas all over the state, from an after-school program in Washburn to programs offered in urban areas of Lewiston and Portland.”

Organizers would like to continue Follow a Researcher after the pilot year, as well as expand it to other disciplines throughout the university.

“By connecting youth to campus, we may be inspiring them to explore higher education, and perhaps come to UMaine in the future,” Wilson says.

Teachers interested in following Rodda on his expeditions may call Jessica Brainerd at 800.287.0274 (in Maine), 581.3877; or email jessica.brainerd@maine.edu. More about Follow a Researcher is online.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

In Alga, Steneck and Team Reveal More Than a Century of Environmental Information

University of Maine marine scientist Bob Steneck is part of an international team that has unlocked an underwater time capsule in the North Pacific that has been monitoring the climate for centuries.

The time capsule is the long-living, slow-growing alga Clathromorphum nereostratum that creates massive reefs in shallow coastal regions of Alaska’s Aleutian archipelago. These solid calcium carbonate structures have fine growth rings — similar to tree growth rings — which Steneck says contain historical environmental information.

The team used a cutting-edge microisotopic imaging technique to reconstruct 120 years of seasonal changes in ocean acidification (pH) in the region. The technique uses lasers to measure isotope ratios of the element boron at the scale of tenths of millimeters.

The technique, Steneck says, provides researchers with a detailed historical timeline, including rate of ocean acidification both seasonally and over hundreds of years. The scientists learned that since the late 19th century, the ocean has been acidifying at a rate that corresponds with rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

“The next frontier is to determine millennial records so we get a better sense of what was normal for ocean acidification in cold water coastal zones,” Steneck says.

The alga grows approximately 1 millimeter every three years, so plants collected last year that are nearly half-meter thick could easily be more than 1,000 years old, he says.

“These and similar types of coralline algae are living in all oceans,” says lead researcher Jan Fietzke of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany. “Thanks to laser ablation techniques, in the future we can use other samples to look much further back into the past…”

In fact, UMaine postdoctoral associate Doug Rasher is currently in Scotland analyzing specimens that he and Steneck collected last year in Alaska.

The team’s seasonal analyses also indicated strong variations of pH in each year.

The researchers, who also hail from the United Kingdom and Canada, say the annual variation is likely due to large kelp forests in the region that consume large amounts of carbon dioxide in the spring and summer as they grow.  The kelp forests then completely die back each winter.

“In a sense, these ecosystems are breathing by inhaling CO2 each summer and releasing it every winter,” says Steneck, who is based at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center in Walpole.

Each year, more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, some of which is absorbed by the ocean as carbonic acid. This, in turn, decreases the pH and increases acidity of the ocean, say the researchers.

Steneck says 90 percent of marine resource value in Maine involves shellfish, including lobsters, scallops, oysters and clams. Lobsters and other organisms depend on high pH to create limestone shells and it takes metabolic energy to make limestone.

When the ocean is more acidic, the metabolic cost necessary to make shells increases, he says. Some energy that would normally be allocated to organisms’ immune systems could be compromised, possibly increasing their susceptibility to disease.

Lobsters afflicted with shell disease increased fivefold between 2010 and 2012 in Maine; in southern New England during that time, scientists and lobstermen indicated that one in four lobsters caught was diseased.

Steneck says being able to determine if acidification in a specific coastal area might be affected by extreme rainfall events or sewage treatment, for example, could help create more localized ocean management policy.

To retrieve specimens for the research, Steneck dove in 34-degree water off the Aleutian Islands and used a jackhammer to cut off chunks of the Clathromorphum nereostratum. The chunks were loaded into cargo nets, airlifted to the surface, towed to the boat and lifted aboard with a crane. Onboard, Steneck cut the chunks into pieces for research.

A paper about the findings will be published Feb. 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

UMaine Working With Information Security, Law Enforcement on Theft of Computer Containing Student Roster Data

A University of Maine laptop computer and media card used by a faculty member were stolen from a checked bag on an airline flight earlier this month, potentially exposing the personal information of 941 students enrolled in physics courses dating to 1999.

University of Maine System General Counsel has notified the Office of the Maine Attorney General of the information breach, as required under the state’s Notice of Risk to Personal Data Act.

Feb. 10, the laptop and media card were reported stolen from a checked bag on a flight from Seattle to Boston. The loss was reported to the airline and Massachusetts State Police.

As of Feb. 18, there has been no indication that the data has been used.

The laptop and media card contained student roster data. The records of 604 students enrolled from 1999 to 2007 included names, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, email addresses, grade data and course information. Records for 337 students enrolled from 2000 to 2014 included names, and course name and year.

The 604 whose records included Social Security numbers will be offered one year of free identity protection. Those services, to be provided by Experian Information Solutions at UMaine’s expense, include credit monitoring, alerts regarding credit changes and identity theft insurance.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

UMaine to Host First Marathon and Half Marathon, Offer Training

For years, the University of Maine has hosted popular races such as the Black Bear Triathlon, the Healthy High 5k/10k and the Black Bear Attack Adventure Race. This summer, UMaine will host its first full and half marathon as part of the Black Bear Race series.

The inaugural Black Bear Marathon and Half Marathon will take place at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, June 21.

“We believe that the marathon and half marathon will be the biggest events in our already exceptionally popular race series,” says Lauri Sidelko, director of the Student Wellness Resource Center and co-director of the race.

The 26.2-mile course is a double loop of the 13.1-mile course that begins on the UMaine campus and travels through Orono and Old Town and back to the university’s bike path. The marathon is a certified course, which gives runners the opportunity to qualify for larger races, such as the Boston Marathon.

The race begins at 7:30 a.m. and has a six-hour limit for the marathon course. An early start at 6:30 a.m. is available to those who prefer an extra hour to complete the marathon. The early start is not available for the half marathon. A 7:15 a.m. start also is available for wheelchair entrants.

Registration is open online. Until March 30, fees are $85 for the full and $60 for the half. After March 31, fees are $95 and $75, respectively. The first 1,200 runners to register will receive a logo race shirt, and the first 500 also will receive race logo running socks. Medals will be given to all registered runners who cross the finish line. Participants must be at least 14 years old on race day, as recommended by the Road Runners Club of America.

A race expo and packet pickup will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on campus Saturday, June 20. More information, including the exact location, will be available online.

In advance of the race, Campus Recreation is offering Black Bear Marathon Training for runners who are interested in participating, but would either prefer some coaching or training with others. Participants will run weekly as a group with an experienced trainer and will be given a detailed training plan, handouts on various race topics and $10 off race registration. Training starts Saturday, Feb. 7 at the New Balance Student Recreation Center. To join, runners must currently be able to run at least three miles without stopping. More information on the training is on the Campus Recreation website.

The Black Bear Race series is run by the Student Wellness Resource Center. Proceeds from the Black Bear Marathon and Half Marathon will provide scholarships to Campus Recreation summer camp participants, as well as support student projects and opportunities offered through the wellness program. Race organizers also plan to form a fundraising partnership with charitable organizations to give back to the community.

More about the race is on the Black Bear Marathon and Half Marathon website and Facebook event page. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact race directors Sidelko at sidelko@maine.edu, 581.1423; or Thad Dwyer at thad.dwyer@umit.maine.edu. Those interested in volunteering as part of the race committee, at packet pickup or on race day should contact Sidelko.

 

Cetinić Featured in Oceanography Society Report on Progress of Women in the Field

 Ivona Cetinić plays with son Veles
on a beach in Rhode Island
after her four-week research cruise
aboard R/V Endeavor (in background)
in summer 2014.


University of Maine researcher Ivona Cetinić is one of four Maine scientists featured in The Oceanography Society’s “Women in Oceanography: The Next Decade,” a supplement to the December issue of “Oceanography” magazine.

The special report released Jan. 26 reviews progress in career advancement for female oceanographers over the last 10 years and where additional attention is needed.

Three oceanographers from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences — Beth N. Orcutt, Patricia Matrai and LeAnn Whitney — also contributed to this second volume. The first was published in March 2005.

Orcutt and Cetinić, a research associate in the School of Marine Sciences at UMaine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole, joined forces to articulate the continuing challenges that women face in the field: tos.org/oceanography/archive/27-4_supp_orcutt.html.

“The ratio of women to men at higher ranks in oceanography still lags, even though women have comprised roughly half of oceanography graduate students during the past decade,“ says Orcutt. “We not only looked at recent trends but tried to identify some of the reasons behind this advancement lag.”

“While there have been positive improvements over the past 10 years, such as increasing numbers of female professors, there are still signs of barriers to women advancing in their careers,“ says Cetinić.

“We hope that our analysis is useful to students and early career women oceanographers, who will have the tools to break the glass ceiling that still exists in oceanography.”

More than 200 autobiographical sketches in the supplement provide a broad view of oceanography. The scientists describe rewarding aspects of their careers, as well as challenges and how they balance work and personal lives.

“I love being an oceanographer. I see the ocean as my playground, and gliders, sensors, and filters as my toys. My play buddies are some of the smartest people in the world,” Cetinić says.

“I wake up every day happy and looking forward to facing issues and solving problems that help us to better understand nature and ultimately to be better inhabitants of this planet.”

“Women in Oceanography: The Next Decade” is available online.

The Oceanography Society was founded in 1988 to disseminate knowledge of oceanography and its application through research and education, to promote communication among oceanographers, and to provide a constituency for consensus building across all the disciplines of the field. It is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization incorporated in the District of Columbia.

The Darling Marine Center, the marine laboratory of the University of Maine, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015. It is located on the Damariscotta River Estuary in Maine’s midcoast region, 100 miles south of the Orono campus. Resident faculty and students are associated with UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences. Their research interests range from biogeochemistry, remote sensing and ocean optics to invertebrate taxonomy and ecology, deep-sea biology, phytoplankton physiology and marine archaeology.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, an independent not-for-profit research institution on the coast of Maine, conducts research ranging from microbial oceanography to large-scale ocean processes that affect the global environment. Recognized as a leader in Maine’s emerging innovation economy, the Laboratory’s research, education, and enterprise programs are spurring significant economic growth in the state.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

UMaine at 150

The University of Maine is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015 with events on campus and statewide, and an interactive website to encourage community engagement by the many constituents of the state’s land and sea grant university.

In a Jan. 23 letter to the community, UMaine President Susan Hunter noted the significance of this anniversary for the state and its many constituents — an opportunity to celebrate UMaine’s legacy and to understand how that history informs the university’s future.

“The University of Maine’s 150th anniversary observance will reaffirm the teaching, research and economic development, and outreach mission of a 21st-century land grant institution, and its potential to change lives,” President Hunter said in her community letter.

“For 150 years, the University of Maine has had a leadership role in the state. Because Maine’s potential is our purpose, UMaine serves as the state’s major research and cultural hub, linking our resources with the needs of industries and businesses, schools, cultural institutions, Maine government and communities. In this, our 150th year, there is more recognition than ever that the land grant university can — and must — play a key role in enhancing the quality of life for citizens all across Maine and beyond,” Hunter said.

President Abraham Lincoln signed the first Morrill Act establishing the land grant mission with the goal to provide “practical education that had direct relevance” to people’s daily lives.

The Maine legislature passed a bill to create Maine’s land grant institution on Feb. 24, 1865. Gov. Samuel Cony signed it the next day.

The first board of trustees, chaired by Hannibal Hamlin of Bangor, addressed the Maine people three months later, noting that “it is by the union of scientific knowledge with physical industry, that labor becomes most productive, and the laborer gains.”

UMaine welcomed its first class of 12 students in September 1868; the first graduation was held in 1872.

Today, UMaine enrolls more than 11,200 undergraduate and graduate students from throughout Maine and the U.S., and more than 65 countries, and has more than 105,000 alumni worldwide.

UMaine’s 150th anniversary events began with the School of Performing Arts benefit production, “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine,” Jan 23.

Other 150th celebration events during this anniversary year:

More information about these and other anniversary events will be on the 150th website.

The 150th website provides news, archival photos and historical information, and opportunities for members of the UMaine community and its many constituents to share their memories of the university.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Smith’s Research Hot Topic for ScienceInsider

Top 10 lists are compiled annually — last year there were lists for best books, Seinfeld characters, movies and restaurants. In 2014, an article about a University of Maine professor’s research made a best-read list.

Michelle Smith, assistant professor in the School of Biology and Ecology, co-authored a paper about teaching approaches.

Aleszu Bajak penned “Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective, Too, Study Finds,” for ScienceInsider about the research that Smith and others conducted with lead author Scott Freeman of the University of Washington, Seattle. The piece was ScienceInsider’s third most popular of the year, just behind pieces on plagiarism and Ebola.

The researchers re-analyzed 225 studies that compared grades of students enrolled in undergraduate science, engineering and mathematics courses taught in a typical lecture format with the grades of students in STEM courses that utilized active learning methods.

Freeman, Smith and others found students in classes that incorporated active learning techniques were 1.5 times more likely to pass than those in traditional lecture format classes. In addition, they found students in active learning sections earned grades nearly one-half a standard deviation higher, or, for example, a B rather than a B-, than students listening to a lecturer.

The well-read study, “Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics,” was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

In Bajak’s ScienceInsider article about the study, Harvard University physicist Eric Mazur was quoted saying the research is important and that “it’s almost unethical to be lecturing if you have this data.”

He continued, “It’s good to see such a cohesive picture emerge from their meta-analysis — an abundance of proof that lecturing is outmoded, outdated, and inefficient.”

Also in December, Smith and Farahad Dastoor, lecturer of biological sciences, were highlighted in a National Science Foundation story titled “Rules of engagement: Transforming the teaching of college-level science.”

Thanks to Smith and Dastoor, 800 UMaine students in three introductory biology sections utilize clickers (response devices) and engage in small group conversations rather than sitting and listening to information dispensed by a “sage on a stage.” Smith “is helping to re-envision science education on her campus as well as across the country,” says the article.

In 2013, Smith became principal investigator on four projects and co-principal investigator on another that were granted $6.8 million in total funding from the National Science Foundation; UMaine’s portion was $1,012,269. The projects are aimed at improving nationwide science instruction and assessments. The studies are collaborative with other universities and involve UMaine administrators, faculty, postdoctoral and graduate students, undergraduates and area K–12 teachers.

Contact: Beth Staples 207.581.3777


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