David Fuller, an agricultural and non-timber forest products professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed by the Portland Press Herald for an article about the increase of garlic in Maine gardens. According to UMaine Extension, about 100 farmers around the state grow garlic and that number is on the rise, Fuller said. He added Mainers are now growing about 70 different varieties. Fuller also spoke about the Maine Garlic Project, a research study he started in 2010 with crops specialist Steven Johnson. The study, which concluded last year, was intended to encourage more garlic production in the state among both farmers and home gardeners. “You start talking garlic with some people, and they just don’t stop,” Fuller said of the passionate farmers he has met.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Eat Well Nutrition Program will be offered 9:30–11 a.m. Tuesdays from Sept. 16 through Nov. 4 at the UMaine Extension office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.
This program is free for income-eligible adults with dependent children. Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the program, which includes hands-on food preparation, budgeting information and tips on how to shop at farmers markets and grocery stores. Eat Well Program graduates save an average of $36 per month on food bills, according to UMaine Extension.
To register, call 207.781.6099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information or to request a disability accommodation or an interpreter, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine)
by Mitch Mason, 4-H Youth Educator
other project staff: Kristy Ouellette, Sarah Sparks, Trent Schrieffer, Laura Wilson
What makes an airplane fly? How do rockets get into space? These are questions being asked of hundreds of young people in southern Maine this summer. The young people are part of a 4-H aerospace project called 4-H Summer of Science:Flight Command which takes place at 15 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites in southern Maine. The goals of the program are to increase science literacy, decrease summer learning loss and to encourage youth to eat healthy meals during the summer.
There are six weekly lessons in the 4-H Summer of Science:Flight Command project. Even though it is summer time, it is really important for students to keep learning. Many students forget their school lessons during the long summer days. It is documented that 4-H participation during elementary school increases the likelihood of taking elective science classes in high school so involving youth in 4-H science at an early age is important. In Maine, only 50% of 8th grade students and 51% of 5th graders were proficient in science in 2012.
The science lessons are quick (25-30 minutes) and are conducted at SFSP sites so that children can do a simple, fun science lesson after lunch. The SFSP program is a national USDA program and provides children ages 18 and under a healthy meal five days a week during summer. In Maine, community partners (such as schools and non-profits) prepare and deliver the healthy meals. The number of youth at each SFSP site can range from 8-75 (the teens usually work with small groups of 8-12 youth).
One unique aspect of the 4-H Summer of Science is that the lessons are given by 15 4-H Teen Leaders, who attended 1 ½ days of training given by 4-H staff and who receive a small stipend for their work. Teens often relate better to younger students than adult staff and they know that science is important. Sahra, 17, says, “science is a part of everything we do on a daily basis” and Naumu, 15, states that “science is important for kids to learn because it help them to understand about the environment and oceans.” The teens also appreciate that they are part of a healthy lifestyle for young kids; “People often take the habits they learn in childhood with them to adulthood. If we can teach children to eat well and to exercise then they are more likely to continue to do those things as they grow older”, says Brad, 16.
Since 2011, more than 1,400 kids have participated in a 4-H Summer of Science weekly series. Past themes have included Bubble Science, Properties, and Food Science. The program has also led to new partnerships; in 2014 UMaine 4-H helped to recruit and train three 4-H teens to assist with a summer reading program at SFSP sites conducted by the city of Portland. The program is paid for by funding from Maine 4-H Foundation, the John T. Gorman Foundation and the 4-H Youth Voices, Youth Choices program.
WABI (Channel 5) reported the order of bond questions for the November ballot was determined by a drawing in Augusta. A bond referring to funds for an animal and plant disease and insect control lab administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension was selected as Question 2. The question reads, “Do you favor an $8,000,000 bond issue to support Maine agriculture, facilitate economic growth in natural resources-based industries and monitor human health threats related to ticks, mosquitoes and bedbugs through the creation of an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service?”
The Portland Press Herald spoke with Extension educator Donna Coffin about the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Piscataquis County handing out free tomato plants. In June, staff members and volunteers handed out 220 cherry tomato plants and donated 50 to prisoners at the Charleston Correctional Facility, hoping to inspire new vegetable gardeners, the article states. “The idea is if they start with one tomato, it is not as intimidating,” Coffin said.
Richard Brzozowski, a small ruminant and poultry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was interviewed about large garden pests for the latest column in the Portland Press Herald’s Maine Gardener series. Brzozowski said once gardeners notice damage, the first step is figuring out who is responsible. If tracks aren’t visible, he suggests spreading flour on the ground to identify the animal. He adds the two best solutions, no matter what kind of animal is causing damage, are getting a dog that can roam the grounds or putting up a fence.
Check out the WLBZ interview with Amy Witt about the rain barrels at the Tidewater Garden!
To hungry critters, your garden is the best food source in town
UMaine Extension Educator, Richard Brzozowski talks about identifying tracks and electric netting in this Portland Press Herald article. Read about the animals that eat your garden and what you can do about it.
Current reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension is seeking six to eight volunteers to collect beach profile data for Pine Point in Scarborough in an effort to monitor monthly changes in sand erosion. No prior scientific knowledge is needed. The collected data will be submitted to the Maine Geological Survey and will be used by state geologists who will review and analyze the information to produce reports every two years regarding the effect of climate change on Maine’s beaches, according to the article. The Southern Maine Volunteer Beach Profile Monitoring Program is a project of Maine Sea Grant.
Elissa Koskela, an assistant coordinator of the Signs of the Seasons program coordinated by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant, wrote an opinion piece for the Portland Press Herald about the decline of the monarch butterfly population. Signs of the Seasons is a phenology program that helps scientists document the local effects of global climate change through the work of volunteer citizen scientists who are trained to record the seasonal changes of common plants and animals in their communities.