University of Maine News
Natalie Springuel of Maine Sea Grant spoke with the Bangor Daily News about the Downeast Fisheries Trail, which showcases the state’s fisheries heritage at about 50 sites, including historical societies, fisheries museums and places such as the Cherryfield Cable Pool, a favorite spot for Atlantic salmon fly fishermen, the article states. “A trend in travel is that people want to connect to the real thing on the ground,” said Springuel, the coordinator of the trail. “They want to connect with local people. They want to know how they make a living. They want to know how to lobster, and how to pull up a trap. They want really concrete experiences to understand a place on a deeper level, and then they want to taste it at the end. So yeah, I think the fisheries trail provides a deeper understanding of a place and its people.”
The Associated Press and the Portland Press Herald reported the Maine Ocean Acidification Committee will hold its first meeting on Aug. 1 at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center (DMC) in Walpole. The committee is studying the effects of ocean acidification on the state’s environment and economy. “Maine is taking the lead on ocean acidification on the Eastern Seaboard. We understand that it is a real threat to our marine environment, jobs and way of life,” said Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle, House chairman of the commission and sponsor of the bill that created the panel. Devin also is a researcher and shellfish hatchery manager at DMC. The Maine Public Broadcasting Network and WLBZ (Channel 2) carried the AP report.
The St. John Valley Times reported an Aug. 14 “fact-finding conference” will address the past, present and future efforts of local organizations, including the Franco-American Centre at the University of Maine, to preserve the history and cultural heritage of the upper St. John Valley. The conference, put on by l’Association Française de la Vallée St-Jean, will be held at the St. David Catholic Church. The public is invited to attend and participate in the discussion.
Samuel Hanes, an assistant professor of anthropology, received a $28,444 grant from the National Science Foundation for the proposal, “Social capital and policy networks: Exploring the factors that influence adoption of pollinator conservation.”
The project aims to better understand obstacles and influential factors growers face when attempting to diversify pollination sources.
According to the proposal, insect pollination produces about $19 billion worth of crops in the U.S. annually. Farmers rent commercial honeybees to supply most of their crop pollination but the number of hives in the U.S. has dropped by more than 30 percent since 1980, leading to interest in alternate pollination sources.
The project will look at factors affecting lowbush blueberry growers’ use of wild, native bees to supplement honeybees.
UMaine graduate student Kourtney Collum will conduct the doctoral dissertation research project under Hanes’ supervision, and as part of UMaine’s anthropology and environmental policy doctoral program.
Collum will examine the factors that influence farmers’ adoption of pollinator conservation practices through a comparative study of blueberry growers in Maine — where there is an adequate honeybee supply — and Prince Edward Island, Canada — where there is a severe honeybee shortage.
The researchers will look closely at growers’ interaction with and perceptions of agricultural agencies and programs, as well as effects of agricultural policies and overall farm management, according to the proposal.
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.
Bill Livingston, an associate professor of forest resources at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Bangor Daily News article titled, “‘We need laborers’: Maine forest-products industry urging teachers to steer students its way.” The article focused on a field trip to Jackman taken by 25 teachers as part of a four-day professional development workshop organized by the Maine TREE Foundation and Project Learning Tree. The goal of the workshop is to enhance educators’ level of knowledge and perceptions of the forest-products industry so they can teach their students about the industry and present it as a viable career option, the article states. “They’re not out there trying to promote a specific use of the forest. They’re out there to show the range of the uses of the forest and help teachers understand that better,” Livingston said of the program organizers. The Sun Journal also carried the BDN report.
Jimmy Jung, vice president for enrollment management at the University of Maine, was interviewed for a Bangor Daily News article about Study Group, a company that recruits international students, and its work with two campuses in the University of Maine System. According to the article, the company signed a contract with the system with a goal of recruiting 50 students to UMaine. Jung said even though the goal hasn’t been met yet, the university has been pleased with its partnership with Study Group. “When we first signed the contract, we’d really missed that recruitment cycle already,” said Jung, adding that close to 40 is “not a bad number.” He said he expects it will take UMaine five to 10 years to establish all the contacts necessary to get a robust international student program going, the article states.
The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece “The shock of a husband’s death — and the loss of all Social Security benefits” by Sandra Butler, a professor of social work at the University of Maine, and Luisa Deprez, a professor and department chair of sociology and women and gender studies at the University of Southern Maine. Butler and Deprez are members of the Maine Regional Network, part of the Scholars Strategy Network, which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications.
The Associated Press advanced a July 31 public meeting in Penobscot to provide information on the science of shellfish aquaculture. State officials will also inform the public about the ecological impacts of aquaculture, according to the article. Maine Sea Grant staff are facilitating the meeting and officials with the Maine Department of Marine Resources will lead discussions. WLBZ (Channel 2) and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network carried the AP report.
John Piotti, executive director of the Maine Farmland Trust, was interviewed by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network about his Maine Policy Review article, “Farming’s Future Depends on Continued Innovation.”
University of Maine political scientist Mark Brewer was interviewed for a Portland Press Herald article about independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler being endorsed by Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, a group that advocates “for personal responsibility, practical legislation, enforcement of laws, and increased manufacturer responsibility.”
“Put it this way: Very few people in Maine are using Second Amendment issues to make up their mind between Eliot Cutler and Mike Michaud,” Brewer said.
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).
The RSVP program at the University of Maine Center on Aging was awarded a one-year $14,340 grant by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Paula Burnett, RSVP program director, submitted the proposal to the Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS) within Maine’s DHHS.
RSVP is part of the national Senior Corps — volunteers age 55 and older who serve nonprofit groups, schools and government agencies within their communities. The program is sponsored by UMaine Center on Aging with support from OADS, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the United Way of Eastern Maine and other local funding sources. OADS funding for RSVP partially supports the salaries of two employees.
Volunteer opportunities are available at 40 partnering agencies in Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington counties. About 200 volunteers, who average 75 years of age, are taking part in the program.
RSVP recruits volunteers in four major areas of impact: education, aging in place, access to care, and veteran and military family support services.
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Jemison spoke about common weeds in the garden and gave advice on how to combat them. He said an efficient way to remove weeds is to use a shovel and get all of the roots, then dispose of the plant in the trash or woods. Jemison added the best thing a gardener can do is stay ahead of the game and not let the weeds go to seed.
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 Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, for a report about the viability of Maine gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler’s campaign in the wake of recent finance reports. Brewer said Cutler’s defense of having to finance his own campaign because of Maine’s election laws is valid, but he added the figures don’t look favorable for the campaign in the coming months. “For me, the more important takeaway is that if it wasn’t for money he was willing to loan himself, he wouldn’t have any money,” Brewer said.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on a recent trip of Houlton High School students to the University of Maine. The students are participants in the Bridge Year Program, an educational collaborative involving UMaine that aims to increase the number of Maine students who earn a college degree by giving them access to college classes during their junior and senior years in high school. Bridge Year Program students can earn enough credits during their last two high school years to start their college careers as sophomores, according to the report. During the trip, the students learned about UMaine engineering programs.
University of Maine President Susan Hunter has announced that Vice President for Human Resources Megan Sanders also will serve as chief of staff in the Office of the President, effective Aug. 1.
Sanders replaces Julie Hopwood, whose tenure as senior advisor to the president and chief of staff ends July 31.
“I am delighted that Meg has agreed to serve as vice president for human resources and chief of staff,” said Hunter. “She is a skilled, capable member of the cabinet and has a proven track record of working collaboratively to build consensus across multiple constituencies. The chief of staff position will play an important role in ensuring that UMaine continues to achieve the goals described in the Blue Sky Plan, namely continued focus on enrollment management strategies to attract more students to campus, implementation of Signature and Emerging academic and research programs that enhance the national competitiveness of the university, and continued attention to the research and development enterprise, a key economic driver within the state.”
Sanders’ appointment as chief of staff coincides with Hunter’s tenure as University of Maine President. As chief of staff, Sanders will serve as a liaison between the President’s Office and UMaine constituents, and assist the president in managing inquiries and responses that impact the university, among other duties.
“Vice President Sanders will also assist me in ensuring that UMaine remains a collaborative and dynamic member institution of the University of Maine System,” said Hunter.
Sanders joined the University of Maine community in 2012, serving as assistant and associate director of human resources, and associate vice president for human resources and administration. She was named vice president for human resources on July 1, 2014.
Prior to joining UMaine Human Resources, Sanders practiced law for five years at one of northern New England’s largest law firms, focusing on general litigation, and labor and employment matters. Sanders graduated from the University of Maine School of Law (magna cum laude), and has a bachelor’s degree in history and psychology from Bates College (summa cum laude).
The University of Maine Division of Marketing and Communications, which previously reported to the senior advisor to the president and chief of staff, will now report to Provost Jeffrey Hecker.
The Maine Edge published a report about an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that documents nearly 15 years of vernal pools research and management by the University of Maine’s Aram Calhoun who is leading an interdisciplinary team at the Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), a program of the Sen. George J. Mitchell Center. In the article, Calhoun and three co-authors analyze a timeline of action and scholarship that spans from 1999 to the present. In that time, the professor of wetland ecology and director of UMaine’s Ecology and Environmental Sciences program has collaborated closely with academic colleagues, government at all levels, nongovernmental organizations, landowners, developers and concerned citizens in an effort to create an environment in which these small, but significant, wetlands can flourish.
WLBZ (Channel 2) spoke with University of Maine President Susan Hunter for a report on University of Maine System trustees approving a five-year plan aimed at closing the system’s budget deficit. “Our goal is to really make education accessible, affordable — certainly very high quality — and have it relevant and have people in Maine really want to get educated, because they see it as the best way forward,” Hunter said.