Researchers at the Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) have broken new ground in the pursuit to better understand how sustainable science partnerships between municipalities and universities can be successful. The key ingredient: belief. In a large survey of Maine municipal officials, the factor that made stakeholders most likely to consider a problem-solving partnership with a university was personal belief that such a venture held value. Neither the severity of a particular local problem nor its financial burden on the community was as big an influence. To see the whole story, click here
Graduate student Jenny Shrum, a Ph.D. candidate in UMaine’s Ecology and Environmental Sciences graduate program and UMaine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), is working to better understand the relationship between weather and maple sap flow, and how Maine syrup producers will adapt to climate change. Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation and Maine EPSCoR through SSI and its Effects of Climate Change on Organisms (ECCO) research project. Shrum’s study has been featured by several media outlets, including Associated Press, Portland Press Herald and Boston.com. Click here for links to news pieces. And to see UMaine Today Magazine’s feature on Shrum, click here.
For social scientists, measuring opinion is a precise scholarship, a tool that must evolve if research is to advance. This is no easy task. Opinion scales must have uniformity, so studies can be compared. Change is a challenge. Researchers at the SSI are at the forefront of such change. In a recent paper, researchers with the Sustainable Behavior team questioned the full efficacy of the long-held gold standard for measuring personal views on the environment. Researchers thought something was missing. So, the team formulated an updated scale that adds a new evaluation tool, one designed to capture a broader ecological perspective or, more specifically, a person’s views on nature simply for nature’s sake. Read full story
The culverts under the streets and byways of Maine’s coastal communities were built to handle a predictable amount of precipitation – a regular load of storm water that changed little from year to year. But the new millennium has brought increases in both precipitation and storm severity. Around the state, culverts meant to last decades into the future are being damaged and destroyed. And the problem is only expected to intensify. The SSI’s Coastal Adaptation team is working closely with two Maine municipalities to find innovative and lasting solutions. See full story…
SSI researcher Tim Waring, along with colleagues from Arizona and Austria, has been awarded a grant to convene an international working group at National Institute of Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee. The working group will focus on evolutionary approaches to social-ecological systems change. The goal of the group is to break new theoretical ground on the factors that drive the emergence and persistence of sustainable behaviors and institutions. The group will meet twice yearly for two years.
SSI researchers Linda Silka, Laura Lindenfeld, Karen Hutchins and others have authored a journal article, “Moving Beyond the Single Discipline: Building a Scholarship of Engagement that Permeates Higher Education (pdf)“, for the Tamara Journal for Critical Organization Inquiry. The article uses the example of the Sustainability Solutions Initiative to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with engaged scholarship designed to address community problems. See more…
The deadline for submission of oral abstracts is Friday, January 10, 2014. The deadline for poster abstracts is Friday, March 7, 2014. Additional information on submitting oral and poster abstracts is available on the conference web page along with a list of potential sessions.
The 2014 Maine Water Conference will be expanded to include several sessions focused on sustainability issues in Maine. This expanded conference will take place on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at the Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, ME. Keynote speakers are Robert Kates, Presidential Professor of Sustainability Science at the University of Maine, and Mark Borsuk, Associate Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth College.
Clean Clams: Assessing Human Impacts and Protecting Public Health
Director, Bureau of Public Health, Maine Department of Marine Resources
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
1:30pm-2:30pm, 107 Norman Smith Hall
Kohl Kanwit received her Bachelors degree from McGill University and her MS from the University of Maine. She has worked with the Department of Marine Resources for 14 years, primarily on fisheries research and management. She was hired two years ago as the Director of the Bureau of Public Health and now oversees the Department’s shellfish sanitation and management programs.
Two Years in… or Even Cowgirls Get the Blues… or the Unhappy Tea Party… or a Glimpse at a Multidisciplinary, Multi-state Pollination Project
School of Biology & Ecology, University of Maine
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
1:30 – 2:30pm, 107 Norman Smith Hall
In this seminar, Drummond will discuss his work on a multi-disciplinary, five-year research project on the role of native pollinators in the wild blueberry agroecosystem. This project is part of a larger pollination project involving the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, University of Massachusetts, and the University of Tennessee. Pollination ecology, bee disease ecology, landscape ecology, botany, economics, anthropology, pesticide chemistry, and insect pest management are topics included in the research being conducted by the UMaine team. Pollination is the most important ecological process in production of fruits and nuts. The ecosystem service of crop pollination that the native bee community performs is a natural resource and one that some farmers protect and enhance through conservation practices. This seminar will discuss what cultural, sociological, economic, and ecological aspects of agroecosystems in Maine affect the perspectives of native bees and the actions growers may take.
Sponsored by the Senator George J. Mitchell Center, Sustainability Solutions Initiative
Can Food Become an Economic Driver for the Maine Economy?
Distinguished Professor, Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service, USM
Friday, November 15, 2013
3:15 – 4:15pm, 107 Norman Smith Hall
A number of recent studies done across the nation suggest that enhancing local food production can be an important contributor to economic development. The Maine food system, which includes both agriculture and the fisheries, has long been part of Maine’s traditional economic fabric. But do increased food production, enhanced processing capacity and alternative distribution systems hold any potential for Maine as economic drivers of a new economy? This proposition will be examined in light of the work of the Maine Food Strategy.
Sponsored by the Senator George J. Mitchell Center, Sustainability Solutions Initiative, and UMaine School of Economics