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Ecology & Environmental Sciences Program

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Laura Wood Wins both 2010 Bickford and Boyle Prizes

The John F. Boyle Prize recognizes the top graduating senior in the Ecology and Environmental Sciences program.  This year’s winner was Laura Wood from Scarborough, Maine.  Like Julia McGuire in 2006, Laura also won the Bickford Prize, emblematic of the top student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.

Laura’s summer experiences reflect her desire to constantly learn.  After her first year at UMaine she did a Student Conservation Association internship at Wind Cave National Park.  The following summer she worked as an intern in an innovative regional waste management and recycling firm, New England Organics, where she got to apply the skills from her academics in the real world.  And last summer she was an intern at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.

This work at the Wells Reserve was part of Laura’s “Congressional trifecta.”  She came to UMaine as a George Mitchell Scholar, having been recognized in high school as an exceptional student.  During her Junior year she was chosen for a Morris K. Udall Scholarship, a most competitive national scholarship which recognizes the top environmental students in all American colleges and universities. ( ) Then Laura went one step further and earned an Ernest Hollings Fellowship through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  This combination is unprecedented among UMaine students.

The University of Maine News Release on Laura’s recognition:

Scarborough Student Named Top Graduate in UMaine College

April 30th, 2010

ORONO: Laura Wood of Scarborough, Maine, has been named the Outstanding Graduating Student in the University of Maine College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.

She will graduate May 8 with honors and a bachelor’s degree in ecology and environmental sciences. She concentrated in natural resource management and minored in anthropology.

“It’s been the best experience,” says Wood, talking about her academic career at UMaine. “I’m exactly where I want to be because of all the connections I made here.”

She came to UMaine as a Mitchell Scholar and a UMaine Top Scholar.

Her numerous scholarships included the James E. Totman Fund Scholarship and the Maine Difference Scholarship. Last year, she was named a Udall Scholar and, in 2008, a NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Fellow.

As a Hollings Fellow, she assisted in research related to salt marsh restoration monitoring, bird surveys and snail microhabitat movements at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wells, Maine. Her honors thesis also focused on salt marshes: “Returning the tide to Gulf of Maine salt marshes: evaluating plant, soil and hydrologic response to restoration.”

In spring 2009, Wood studied tropical rain forest management at the School for Field Studies in Queensland, Australia.  In summer 2008, she was an environmental intern with New England Organics, Portland, Maine, and in summer 2007, a resource management assistant with the Student Conservation Association at Wind Cave National Park in Hot Springs, S.D.

“Summer internships are the most important thing,” Woods says. “They gave me opportunities to experience natural resource management from the species level to the human waste and large ecosystem levels.”

On campus, Wood has been actively involved in numerous volunteer efforts, including two years with Alternative Spring Break. She was a member of the Green Campus Initiative and Alpha Zeta.

After graduation, she will move to Minnesota, where she hopes to be involved in watershed management research, then pursue graduate school to study environmental management.

“I want to gain more experience in research and then go into the classroom to share it,” says Wood.

Wood is the daughter of Gregory and Donna Wood.

Image Description: Laura Wood

2009 John F. Boyle Prize

The Boyle Prize is awarded each year to the top graduating Seniors in the EES program.  Endowed by family and friends of John F. Boyle and by EES program faculty members and Alumni, the prize is emblematic of significant academic accomplishment by young environmental professionals.  This year’s Boyle Prize was shared by Mary Beth Parent and Steve Fletcher. Here both are receiving their awards from program coordinator Mark Anderson at a recent awards reception.

Image Description: Steve Fletcher

Image Description: Mary Beth Parent

Steve Fletcher Wins 2009 Dunham Prize

EES Senior Steve Fletcher was awarded the Dunham Prize, one of the top awards in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.   Steve was graduated in May with a B.S. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Concentration in Soil and Water Sciences.  Steve’s advisor was Dr. Sue Erich in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences.

The Wallace C. and Janet S. Dunham Prize was established in the University of Maine Foundation for the benefit of The University of Maine with a gift from Wallace C. Dunham, Dean Emeritus, and Janet S. Dunham, MEd ’77.  …The scholarship winner(s) shall be the undergraduate student(s) in the college who have overcome adversity to achieve personal growth and academic success, who have a positive outlook on life, and who show the potential for further accomplishment.

The Dunhams also endowed a scholarship specifically for the EES program.  We thank them for their continued generosity to the University of Maine.

Image Description: Steve Fletcher

Laura Wood Named Udall Scholar

We were excited to learn that Laura Wood, Junior from Scarborough, Maine is one of two UMaine students to be named a 2009 Morris K. Udall Scholar.  The Udall Scholarship is the top national recognition for students pursuing environmental studies at American colleges and universities.  Congratulations Laura!

Image Description: Laura Wood

2008 John F. Boyle Prize

The John F. Boyle Prize is awarded annually to the top graduating Senior in the Ecology & Environmental Sciences Program.  The 2008 winner was Abigail Bline of Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire.  Abby’s concentration in the program is Resource and Environmental Policy and her academic advisor is Professor Mario Teisl of the School of Economics.

Image Description: Abigail Bline

2006 John F. Boyle Prize

April 26,2006 Erica Bickford from Kittery Point, Maine and Julia McGuire of Augusta, Maine were honored with the John F. Boyle Prize.  This award recognizes the top students graduating from the EES program.  Erica and Julia are both members ofPhi Beta Kappa and are in the UMaine Honors College.  Erica’s concentration in EES is Wetland and Aquatic Ecology and she is earning a Minor in Mathematics.  Julia’s concentration is Resource and Environmental Policy and she is earning a minor in Spanish.  This same evening, Julia was awarded the Bickford Prize for the top Senior in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.

May 14 saw commencement for eleven EES Majors

Image Description: Erica Bickford and Julia McGuire

Image Description: Commencement 2006

Image Description: Commencement 2006, Bessie Wright

Julia McGuire – Udall Scholar

Julia (center) with her parents at a reception in Colvin Hall, home of the UMaine Honors College.

Julia McGuire, of Augusta, Maine, was awarded a 2005 Morris K. Udall Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship.  These highly competitive national scholarships are awarded to “college sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated outstanding potential and a commitment to pursuing careers related to the environment…”  Congratulations Julia!

Image Description: Julia McGuire and her parents

Brooke Halgren – German Study Scholarship

Brooke Halgren, Senior in EES, was awarded a German Study Scholarship by the German Academic Exchange Service to carry out research for her capstone (in EES and in German) in Germany this spring.  Her project is entitled, “Ernst Haeckel Biologist and Artist:  Contributions to Evolutionary Biology.”  The exchange service, know by its German acronym as the DAAD, said of this, “The award reflects the committee’s recognition of your academic accomplishments and the significance of the project that constitutes your research agenda.”

Congratulations Brooke!

Image Description: Brooke Halgren

New Dunham Scholarship Endowed

We are excited to announce that the former Dean of the College, Wallace C. Dunham, and his wife, Janet S. Dunham, have endowed a new scholarship for the EES program through the University of Maine Foundation.  The Wallace C. and Janet S. Dunham Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program Scholarship will be awarded to incoming students “…who demonstrate academic excellence.  Preference shall be given to students who are graduates of New Jersey or Vermont high schools, because Wallace is a native of New Jersey and Janet is a native of Vermont.”

We are most appreciative of the generosity of Wally and Janet Dunham.  The legacy of Wally’s hard work and innovations as Dean of the College and Director of the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station continue to be felt today, well after his retirement.  This scholarship endowment and the Dunham Prize, also endowed in the University of Maine Foundation, demonstrate the Dunhams’ ongoing commitment to students and to the University of Maine.  We are deeply grateful for this gift.

If you would like to contribute to the Dunham Scholarship endowment and the support it will give to EES students in the future, please contact Amos Orcutt, President and CEO of the University of Maine Foundation.  (

Image Description: Wallace and Janet Dunham


Contact Information

Ecology & Environmental Sciences Program
246 Nutting Hall
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: (207) 581-3176 | Fax: (207) 581-9552E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System