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Evidence for Sun-Climate Link Reported by UMaine Scientists

Contact: Paul Mayewski, Climate Change Institute, 207-581-3019,;
Nick Houtman, Dept. of Public Affairs, 207-581-3777.

ORONO – A team led by University of Maine scientists has reported finding a potential link between changes in solar activity and the Earth’s climate. In a paper due to be published in an upcoming volume of the Annals of Glaciology, Paul Mayewski, director of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, and 11 colleagues from China, Australia and UMaine describe evidence from ice cores pointing to an association between the waxing and waning of zonal wind strength around Antarctica and a chemical signal of changes in the sun’s output.

At the heart of the paper, Solar Forcing of the Polar Atmosphere, are calcium, nitrate and sodium data from ice cores collected in four Antarctic locations and comparisons of those data to South Pole ice core isotope data for beryllium-10, an indicator of solar activity. The authors also point to data from Greenland and the Canadian Yukon that suggest similar relationships between solar activity and the atmosphere in the northern hemisphere. They focus on years since 1400 when the Earth entered a roughly 500-year period known as the Little Ice Age.

The researchers’ goal is to understand what drives the Earth’s climate system without taking increases in greenhouse gases into account, says Mayewski. “There are good reasons to be concerned about greenhouse gases, but we should be looking at the climate system with our eyes open,” he adds. Understanding how the system operates in the absence of human impacts is important for responding to climate changes that might occur in the future.

Mayewski founded the International Transantarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE) and is the co-author of The Ice Chronicles: The Quest to Understand Global Climate Change, published in 2002 with Frank White. The United States’ ITASE office is located at UMaine.

Antarctic locations used in the paper include: Law Dome, a 4,576-foot high ice mound located about 68 miles from the coast facing the Indian Ocean and the site of an Australian research station; Siple Dome, a 2,000-foot high ice covered mound located between two ice streams that flow out of the Transantarctic Mountains into the Ross ice shelf, and the site of a U.S. research station; and two ITASE field sites west of Siple Dome where ice cores were collected during field surveys in 2000 and 2001.

The authors are Mayewski, Kirk A. Maasch, Eric Meyerson, Sharon Sneed, Susan Kaspari, Daniel Dixon, and Erich Osterberg, all from UMaine; Yping Yan of the China Meterological Association; Shichang Kang of UMaine and the Chinese Academy of Sciences; and Vin Morgan, Tas van Ommen and Mark Curran of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC in Tasmania.

Since at least the 1840s when sunspot cycles were discovered, scientists have proposed that solar variability could affect the climate, but direct evidence of that relationship and understanding of a mechanism have been lacking.

The ice core data show, the authors write, that when solar radiation increases, more calcium is deposited at Siple Dome and at one of the ITASE field sites. The additional calcium may reflect an increase in wind strength in mid-latitude regions around Antarctica, they add, especially over the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Calcium in West Antarctic ice cores is thought to derive mainly from dust in Australia, Africa and South America and from sea salt in the southern ocean.

That finding, they note, is consistent with other research suggesting that the sun may affect the strength of those mid-latitude winds through changes in stratospheric ozone over Antarctica.

The authors also refer to sodium data from Siple Dome ice cores that have been reported by Karl Kreutz, director of UMaine’s stable isotope laboratory. Changes in sodium appear to be associated with air pressure changes over the South Pacific.

Ice core data from Law Dome focus on changes in nitrate and may reflect changing wind patterns over Antarctica. The wind currents that bring nitrate to the continent, however, are less well known than those that carry sodium and calcium.

Researchers in the UMaine Climate Change Institute ( have focused on the relationship between solar variability and climate, particularly the use of isotopes in tree rings and ice cores to provide an indication of the sun’s strength. The ice core data reported in the paper demonstrates a direct atmospheric consequence associated with changing solar radiation.

UMaine Provides Web Training to State

Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571; Alan Parks, 581-1236

ORONO–When managers of Maine government’s websites needed help using specialized software to make their websites accessible to all users, they turned to The University of Maine’s Howard Mosher, UM Webmaster, and Alan Parks, coordinator of dissemination and technology at the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies and chair of UMaine’s Subcommittee on Universal Design for the Web. In early December, Mosher and Parks conducted a session for 5 of the state’s Web and network managers, training them on the use of Hiawatha Software Company’s AccVerify Professional software.

Both the university and the state of Maine use AccVerify to check and repair websites so that they are fully accessible according to the federal government’s “Section 508″ guidelines. websites that are accessible benefit all users, whether they have disabilities or not, but inaccessible websites may keep some users from being able to read some of the content. Since the university has been using AccVerify for many months, it seemed natural for the state Web managers to turn to UMaine for help.

After the workshop, Parks noted, “The state Web managers left feeling that AccVerify would be a great tool for all state Webmasters to use. It’s clear that it will help the state achieve full Web accessibility quickly.”

The same holds true for UMaine, which has a self-imposed deadline of April 2005 to make all of its sites accessible. The University’s Universal Design for the Web Subcommittee will conduct trainings for anyone at the university on Jan. 6 and Feb. 3. They will cover the elements of universal design for the Web and the use of AccVerify, which is a free tool for anyone who works on university websites.

More information about universal design for the Web and the training session is available at:

Beacon Leaving UMaine for Western Michigan

Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO–John Beacon, UMaine’s assistant provost and dean of enrollment management, is leaving UMaine to become vice provost for enrollment management at Western Michigan University. Beacon has been at UMaine since 1997. During that time, UMaine’s overall enrollment has increased from 9,213 to the current 11,358. The number of new first-time students enrolling at UMaine has increased by 60 percent during his tenure. Departments within Enrollment Management include: admissions, financial aid, student records, academic and career exploration , new student programs and the career center.

“UMaine has benefited greatly from John’s leadership in the recruitment, enrollment and retention of students,” says UMaine Interim President Robert Kennedy. “While the number of students has increased dramatically over the past seven years, John has managed a process that has allowed UMaine to maintain its academic standards and continue to recruit and enroll outstanding students.”

Beacon, who will begin work in Michigan on Feb. 1, has 37 years of experience in higher education. In addition to UMaine he has held leadership positions at the University of Nebraska, Oklahoma State University and Eastern Illinois University and Indiana State University.

“I have been privileged to have worked for UMaine these past eight years. The University has great leadership in President Kennedy and I will very much miss working with him and many other associates. Enrollment Management is in good hands, as the department directors and coordinators are among the best with whom I have ever worked. My wife and I take many cherished memories of Maine with us, along with friendships that will last us a lifetime,” Beacon says. A Western Michigan news release is at

Women and the Woods Program Seeks Women to Host “Kitchen Table” Gatherings on Woodland Issues

Contact: Vivianne Holmes, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, 207-353-5557,

ORONO–Women who own forest land have an opportunity to convene informal “kitchen table” gatherings with other women who own and manage forest lands in Maine. The Women and the Woods (WAW) program is seeking women to serve as hosts or facilitators for locally organized meetings throughout the state.

The purpose of these gatherings is to bring women woodland owners together to talk about stewardship, setting objectives, planning, working with a forester and getting access to resources, according to WAW organizers.

Women and the Woods is a program created in direct response to requests from women landowners who suggested they would benefit from a women-only forestry program. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the program is the result of a creative partnership between the Maine Forest Service, the Women’s Agricultural Network (WAgN) of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and Extension’s Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Forest Service staff will hold a free workshop on January 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Georgia Pacific Training Center in Old Town. The workshop will train and support hosts and facilitators in learning to create their own gathering. Volunteers will be asked to hold one gathering focused on land stewardship.

The goal of the Women and the Woods program is to increase the number of women woodland owners who are aware of the options for caring for their forestland in an environment that is supportive of women’s preferred learning styles. This includes opportunities for discussion, as well as networking with other women woodland owners and a preference for participatory, hands-on and/or outdoors activities.

This year, Women and the Woods will offer: 1) locally organized women-only network meetings throughout the state; 2) a demonstration day on low-impact harvesting and maple sugaring; and 3) a women-only multi-day conference focusing on all business aspects of woodland ownership including land stewardship, communicating with resource professionals, timber harvesting, estate planning and forest-related tax laws.

People who are interested in hosting or facilitating a gathering in their area and attending the training workshop on January 20 can contact Laura Sebastianelli, Extension adult education program coordinator, at 207-789-5808.

Physics Student Up for the Count

Contact: Nick Houtman, Dept. of Public Affairs, 207-581-3777,

ORONO–Paul Smitherman is counting on radon. The radioactive gas has been the subject of research at the University of Maine and elsewhere for more than 20 years, largely as a potential health risk in homes, schools and work places. No one, however, has yet to satisfactorily explain the behavior of what Smitherman, a U.S. Air Force veteran, calls “the radioactivity right outside your window.”

In June, 2004, Smitherman set up a monitoring device outside Bennett Hall on the UMaine campus to monitor radon continuously. Once an hour, day or night, rain or shine, a computer that Smitherman programmed retrieves data from the device and posts it and a graph of daily averages to a website ( His advisors are physicists Charles T. Hess and James McClymer.

As of mid-December, radon levels varied between 0.5 picocuries per liter (a measurement of radioactivity) and near 0. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the average outdoor radon concentration in the U.S. to be about 0.4 picocuries per liter.

“We live in a sea of (natural) radioactivity,” says Smitherman, a senior in the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, “but radon in the atmosphere is not fully understood.” While a few continuous radioactivity monitoring stations have been established around the United States such as at Princeton, New Jersey, most such efforts have been conducted for short periods of time.

Because weather conditions are thought to influence radon measurements, Smitherman hopes to shed light on the relationship between radon and factors such as air pressure, wind speed, relative humidity, temperature and precipitation. He is taking advantage of the department’s weather station mounted on the roof of Bennett Hall. Weather data can be seen at

At 41 years old, Smitherman is what admissions offices call a “nontraditional student.” Before coming to UMaine, the father of three served a four-year stint as a radar technician in the U.S. Air Force. As a civilian, he has lost jobs in the computer and paper industries in Maine as a result of economic trends. Now, he is studying environmental radioactivity to lay the foundation for a career based in science.

“I like math and really getting into a problem in detail. I feel so lucky to have found myself in a place where I can do that,” he says.

Radon is a breakdown product of uranium-238 and exists commonly in the soil and groundwater as an inert gas. Since it doesn’t react with other soil chemicals, says Smitherman, it can move through the soil and into the air or into homes where, at high enough levels, it can pose a health risk.

According to the EPA, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. The agency has designated January as National Radon Action Month to encourage homeowners to test the air in their homes. A University of Maine publication, Radon in Water and Air, is available on the Internet at

Other sources of natural radioactivity include potassium-40, a common component of soil and food, and cosmic rays. Because radon emits a positively charged alpha particle as it decays, it is relatively easy to detect.

Smitherman would like to continue studying radon in graduate schools. Another challenge, he says, is detecting neutron radiation. Since they have no charge, neutrons can pass easily through most materials. Neutron radiation technology has applications in homeland security where it can be used to inspect cargo.

Rollout Set for Statewide Sports Reform Report

Contact: Kay Hyatt at (207) 581-2761

ORONO–The highly anticipated report, Sports Done Right – A Call to Action on Behalf of Maine’s Student Athletes, will be unveiled Jan. 6, 2005 at the Augusta Civic Center. Superintendents, school board members, athletic directors, student-athletes and community recreation representatives are expected to attend the event, receive a copy of the report and learn how to use the recommendations to improve sports programs at Maine’s middle schools and high schools.

Expected to be a national model, Sports Done Right represents the work of a Select Panel of Maine citizens working collaboratively with the University of Maine and the Maine Center for Sport and Coaching. Through core principles and practices, as well as practices to avoid, the report describes healthy, well-conducted school sports and offers guidelines for developing and conducting such programs. Sports Done Right encourages schools and communities to determine locally if they wish to guide their sports programs according to this document and to sign on to the core principles and practices.

Maine school superintendents have been invited to send a team of representatives from their school district to the Jan. 6 event. During the morning sessions, Sports Done Right co-directors J. Duke Albanese and Robert A. Cobb, and other initiative leaders, will review the highlights of the report and discuss launching community conversations about conducting school sports programs that emphasize the importance of educating and shaping young student-athletes.

Funded by a congressional allocation, the goal of Sports Done Right is to shape a coaching and sports education initiative aligned with timely educational issues, the state’s learning standards and overall missions of schools.

AEWC Center Presents First Annual Director’s Awards

Contact: Roberta Laverty, Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center, 207 581 2110,

ORONO–Tom and Linda Patrick of West Boothbay Harbor and Robert Lindyberg of Orono have received the 1st Annual AEWC Center Director’s Awards at the University of Maine Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center. Director Habib J. Dagher presented the awards December 11 to the Patricks for their support of the center and to Lindyberg for his work as the AEWC Manager of Technical Services.

Dagher lauded the Patricks for their contributions to the center and to UMaine where they are alumni of the class of 1962 and members of the President’s Development Council. Dagher noted that, because of the Patricks’ support, the center has realized new funding and forged new partnerships. This support has been instrumental in acquiring $5 million for a major AEWC initiative with the U.S. Navy, Maine Marine Manufacturing, and Hodgdon Yachts, an East Boothbay company, to develop the Mark V.1, a special operations craft.

This project will showcase the AEWC Center’s research and development (R&D) capacities; it will position Hodgdon Yachts to bid on construction of a new fleet of Mark V.1 craft; and it has the potential to create an industry niche for Maine’s boatbuilders.

Lindyberg received a Director’s Award for his dedication and assistance to the AEWC Center during 2004. Lindyberg’s role in securing funding and managing the Mark V.1 project as well as his work strengthening and expanding AEWC’s industrial partnerships were noted as outstanding contributions during this critical time in the Center’s history.

“Linda and I have always been passionate supporters of the University of Maine,” said Tom Patrick. “As members of the President’s Development council and as small business owners, we saw opportunities to link AEWC’s international leadership in composite materials to businesses in the state. No better examples of which are a number of projects already underway and others being pursued by the partnership between AEWC and Hodgdon Yachts in Boothbay Harbor. For us to be honored, more importantly speaks for the university, its students who work at AEWC and the economy of Maine.”

Dagher noted that since the Patricks arranged for then UMaine President Peter Hoff and Tom Patrick to speak to a group of Boothbay students, ties between the community and the AEWC Center have flourished. This event had two significant results. First, as a result of Hoff’s and Dagher’s presentations, two Boothbay students, Adam Benedict and Zachary Jones, both made the decision to attend the university’s College of Engineering and have been employed as student research assistants at the AEWC Center.

A second result of this visit has been a partnership between Hodgdon Yachts and the AEWC Center. Hodgdon had previously been contracting with a testing laboratory in Nova Scotia to complete safety and durability testing of its work as required by its insurer. Since Hoff’s and Dagher’s visit to the community, Hodgdon learned of UMaine’s capacities and has been collaborating with the AEWC Center in its quality testing program.

Dagher also noted that the Patricks were influential in their advocacy for Maine’s June 2003 Jobs Bond Referendum which has funded expanded AEWC laboratory facilities adding capacities for resin infusion, wood plastic composites extrusion and special projects in product development. This expansion of AEWC laboratories (to 48,000 sq. ft.) houses R&D projects developing a new insulated, composite roof panel system, a new triangular strand lumber product that transforms pulpwood-grade logs into a construction material three times stronger than the original wood, and an oriented strand lumber (OSL) construction product that bonds wood strands together to produce studs, joists, beams and headers for the upscale housing market.


The AEWC Center is an ISO 17025 certified 48,000 sq ft state-of-the-art “one stop shop” for integrated composite materials research, development and testing. The center’s nine laboratories provide the State of Maine and beyond with capacities for the development of composite materials and structures from the conceptual stage through research, manufacturing prototypes, and subsequent testing and evaluation. Currently, over 100 AEWC employees (including academic researchers, engineers and scientists and other staff, as well as both undergraduate and graduate University of Maine students) are engaged in projects including the design, construction and evaluation of demonstration bridges and piers utilizing composite materials. They also focus on the development of composite materials for marine infrastructure and for disaster resistant housing, research for both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army, as well as development and testing of consumer products including decking materials, skateboards and an array of home and commercial construction materials. The Center has been granted 8 patents and has 5 more patent applications pending. AEWC has recently received the Governor’s Award for Accomplishments in Maine’s natural resource-based industries and an award from FAME for its outstanding example of the integration of business and higher education. The Center is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Office of Naval Research, the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Coast Guard and the Maine Technology Institute. Additionally, AEWC works with industrial clients on a contractual basis providing product development and testing services.

UMaine Writing Center Coordinator Harvey Kail Receives National Award

Contact: Harvey Kail, (207) 581-3829; George Manlove, (207) 581-3756

ORONO–University of Maine Associate Professor Harvey Kail recently received a national honor for his work encouraging student collaborations as coordinator of the peer tutoring program at the UMaine Writing Center at Neville Hall.

Kail received the 2004 Ron Maxwell Award for Distinguished Leadership in Promoting the Collaborative Practices of Peer Tutors in Writing recently at the 21st Annual National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW), held at Centenary College in Hackettstown, N.J.

The award recognizes accomplishment, dedication and leadership in collaborative learning in writing centers, encouraging students to take increased responsibility for their learning and promoting a collaborative peer tutoring environment.

Kail founded the UMaine writing center in 1979 — one of the first in the country — a year after he joined the faculty as an associate English professor. What began as an experimental way to improve writing abilities for non-English majors at UMaine has become a successful experiential learning tool for student tutors and a national model, according to Kail. The center helps as many as 600 UMaine students a year, from all academic areas, with the fundamentals of writing, critical thinking, organization and even tact and diplomacy in giving and receiving written and oral criticism.

Tutors hone their own writing and analytical skills, in addition to developing techniques that bring out the best in peers who take advantage of the writing center services. Many of the students in the peer tutoring program are undergraduates; other tutors are graduate students and center staff.

Student writing tutors get training through a class Kail teaches, ENG 395 — English Internship, after being nominated for the course by other faculty members.

“It’s a great experience,” Kail says. “I’ve heard from about 50 of our past tutors. They can talk in great detail, some from a distance of 15 or 20 years later, about what they learned here and how they applied it to their careers or graduate school and even their family lives.”

An educational concept that blossomed in the mid-1980s as America became concerned about the writing abilities of many young people, writing centers now are springing up in Europe, Asia and South Africa, Kail says.

Because students work with one another in a cooperative atmosphere, their shared experiences tend to be relevant and long-lasting. “It’s learning that sticks,” Kail says. “There’s really something that happens to people’s relationship to knowledge when they acquire it through helping other people.”

In addition to coordinating the writing center, Kail also teaches in the English department, has published on the subject of peer tutoring and composition and is involved with efforts to create and expand writing centers globally. He has also led seminars on peer tutoring in writing centers around the United States and in Germany, Hungary and Greece. Kail is an original participant in the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing, which sponsors annual conferences to bring faculty members together with student tutors from around the country.

Continuing his research in the field, Kail co-founded with colleagues at Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin, a national Peer Writing Tutor Alumni Research Project, which tracks the career development of former tutors from the three universities and shares research and pedagogy with writing centers worldwide.

Kail earned bachelors and masters degrees at the University of Toledo and a Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University. He lives in Orono.

University of Maine Museum of Art Exhibition, Jan. 21-April 2, 2005

Contact: For additional information please call 561.3350

ORONO–The University of Maine Museum of Art is pleased to present two new exhibitions at Norumbega Hall in downtown Bangor: A Maritime Album, an expansive, historical exhibit organized by the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia; and a sculpture installation entitled freezetag by Anya Lewis, originally from Bangor.

A Maritime Album

100 Photographs and Their Stories

Spanning the history of photography and man’s evolving relationship with the sea, A Maritime Album provides a rare, revealing view of American maritime culture, industry and society, capturing notable moments in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The vintage photographs that comprise this exhibition depict the complex, often deeply passionate relationships of mariners with their vessels and the sea, providing insight into our history as explorers and adventurers in this vast and unpredictable world. The exhibition showcases 100 black and white photographs of the fishing, sailing, and whaling traditions off international shores as well as naval encounters, shipbuilding ventures and intimate views of daily maritime life.

Photography was invented in 1839 during an age of optimism and growth in the United States. Geographic expansion and rapid industrial development showed a vigorous society on its onward march, and the camera was tailor-made to reflect the accomplishments of the era. Nowhere is this more vividly illustrated than in photographers’ documentation of maritime themes. The surviving photographic record, as presented in this exhibition, is powerful testimony to the ways in which the sea has permeated every aspect of national life, from the grand spectacle of naval fleet reviews to the lone fisherman adrift at sea.

A Maritime Album is organized by The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia. The images were selected by photographic historian John Szarkowski, retired Curator of Photography of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and are accompanied with text by Richard Benson, Dean of the Art School at Yale University.



Anya Lewis creates small, sculpted figures and places them in nearly empty, white rooms where they seem to be frozen in battle with unseen forces. Her installations focus attention on the subtle details of her characters which embody multifaceted emotions: desires, ambitions, frustrations, and fears. In her artist’s statement Lewis explained, “As players of the children’s game [freeze tag] unfreeze one another by touching, viewers draw upon empathy and intuition to metaphorically unfreeze the characters and explore their ambiguous narratives.” To each character Anya Lewis gives just enough information to begin to tell its story, leaving the conclusion up to the viewer’s imagination.

Museum of Art

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm. Sunday 11 am – 5 pm.

Admission: $3.00 per person. No charge for Museum Members and UM students with Maine Card.


From the North
I-95, Exit 185 (formerly 48) – Broadway, (Bangor, Brewer)
Turn left at light onto Broadway, Rt. 15
At the 4th light (1.2 m), turn right onto State St., Rt. 2
At the light at the bottom of the hill (.1 m), turn right on to Harlow St. (a one-way street)
Merge into left lane, turn left into parking lot of Norumbega Hall.

From the South
I-95, Exit 185 (formerly 48) – Broadway, (Bangor, Brewer)
Turn left at light on to Broadway, Rt. 15
At the 3rd light (1.1 mi), turn right onto State St., Rt. 2
At the light at the bottom of the hill (.1 mi), turn right onto Harlow St. (a one-way street)
Merge into left lane, turn left into parking lot of Norumbega Hall.

Bog Boardwalk has Become a Premier Outdoor Destination in the Bangor Area

Contact: Nick Houtman, Dept. of Public Affairs, 207-581-3777,

ORONO–The Orono Bog Boardwalk, a 4,200-foot long, four-foot wide ribbon of hemlock boards that starts in the Bangor City Forest, had about 21,000 person-visits from opening day on May 1st to closing day on November 28th, according to founder, University of Maine emeritus professor and outgoing director Ron Davis of Orono. That is an increase of about 5,000 person-visits over last year, when the boardwalk opened six weeks later in the spring.

This year, 79 percent of the visitors came from within 25 miles of the boardwalk, with residents of Bangor, Orono, Old Town, Hampden, Brewer, and Veazie being best represented, in that order. Eleven percent came from other parts of Maine, including its farthest corners. Nine percent came from outside Maine, including 44 other states, and the remaining one percent from 18 foreign countries. Many visiting groups of family and friends were mixtures of persons from nearby and away, indicating that the boardwalk is a favorite place to take visiting family and friends on an outing.

In its first two years of operation, the boardwalk has become a premier destination in the Bangor/Orono area for persons wishing to experience the beauty and fascinating plants and animals of a Maine bog. The boardwalk begins at the forested wetland edge in the Bangor City Forest, and after 800 feet crosses the town line into the University of Maine owned part of the bog in Orono. Along the way, it passes through changing vegetation and environments on its way to the open, peat moss carpeted center of the mile square Orono Bog.

Boardwalk visitors encounter a series of well designed, full color signs with illustrations of common species of bog plants and animals, and explanations to go along with them. Many visitors return to the boardwalk, again and again, to observe the colorful bog and to absorb its tranquil beauty over the changing seasons. The boardwalk is a wheelchair-friendly facility. Benches for rest and contemplation are provided at least every 200 feet.

The facility is operated jointly by the University of Maine, City of Bangor, and Orono Land Trust. There is no charge for use of the boardwalk, but a container is provided for those who wish to leave donations for its upkeep and educational programs.

The 21,000 person-visits in 2004 included over 100 institutional groups. Board walk volunteers guided many of them. Among the groups were classes from schools at all levels, indicating that the bog boardwalk has become an important educational facility in the Bangor area.

These field trips included sixteen University of Maine classes in biology, forestry, geology and wildlife as well as exchange students and groups from scientific conferences. Classes from community colleges, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and pre-school day care centers came to learn about bogs and other wetlands. A trip to the bog boardwalk provided a real world experience to reinforce classroom studies. In addition to educational institutions, Boy, Girl, Cub, and Brownie Scout troops, Job Corps, summer camps, and nature and garden clubs visited the boardwalk.

Outings to the boardwalk in 2004 from medical and rehabilitation facilities, institutions for mentally and physically disabled, correctional and behavioral disability centers, senior housing and clubs, physical fitness and other clubs indicate that the boardwalk is a therapeutic and revitalizing experience for many people.

Davis also reports that in 2004 two additional structures were added to the boardwalk facilities. These include a small log cabin for storage of maintenance tools and supplies, education and registration materials, first aid supplies, and an emergency cell phone. A screened porch on the cabin provides shelter for the docents, educational attendants who volunteer to staff the boardwalk during periods of heavy visitor use. Most of the materials for the cabin were donated to the boardwalk by Northeastern Log Homes.

The other new structure is a log outhouse. Most of the materials for the dual entry (one side is wheelchair friendly) outhouse were donated by Northern Log Homes and American Concrete. Both structures were built entirely by volunteers.

Davis, now 73, will retire as boardwalk director at the end of this year. In 2000, he came up with the idea of building a boardwalk to share his many years of experience in bogs and wetlands with children and adults from the Bangor area and beyond. He and a host of volunteers designed the structure, raised funds, obtained permits, and built the facility in 2002 and early 2003.

He continued his volunteer work as director during the rest of 2003 and all of 2004. He plans to continue as an active boardwalk volunteer. The new director is UMaine Professor John Daigle, who directs and teaches in the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Program. Daigle is a “great choice for new director,” says Davis.

The boardwalk is now closed for the season. The planned 2005 opening date is May 1st. A program of nature walks will be held again in 2005. More information about the boardwalk and its programs can be obtained at its website or from the director at 581-2850.

Volunteers for docent and maintenance assignments are welcome. Donations may be sent to the Orono Bog Boardwalk Endowment, University of Maine Foundation, 2 Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04469.


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