A team of researchers from the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center won the Best Paper Award from the Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers at the 19th Offshore Symposium, Feb. 6 in Houston. The paper, “VolturnUS 1:8 — Design and Testing of the First Grid-Connected Offshore Wind Turbine in the U.S.A.,” was written by Anthony Viselli, Habib Dagher and Andrew Goupee, and outlines UMaine’s design, fabrication, deployment and testing of the prototype, deployed in June 2013 off Castine, Maine. The prototype serves to de-risk the technology as it transitions to a commercial project planned for 2017.
Archive for the ‘Blue Sky News’ Category
A team of University of Maine scientists studying nearly 11,700-year-old ice cores from Greenland found that history is repeating.
Paul Mayewski, director and distinguished professor of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, says today’s climate situation in the Arctic is equivalent to, but more localized, than the warming during the Younger Dryas/Holocene shift about 11,700 years ago.
Mayewski led the research team that examined Arctic ice formed 11,700 years ago during a rapid climate transition from the Younger Dryas (near-glacial) period to the Holocene era (period of relative warm since then). Ice cores, in essence, are timelines of past climates.
The abrupt shift then included a northward shift in the jet stream, an abrupt decrease in North Atlantic sea ice and more moisture in Greenland. These changes resulted in milder weather, fewer storms and initially more than a doubling of the length of the summer season around Greenland, the team says.
“It is highly unlikely that future change in climate will be linear as evidenced by the past and by the recent, abrupt and massive warming in the Arctic,” Mayewski says. “Understanding and ideally predicting the likelihood, timing and location of future nonlinearities in climate is essential to realistic climate prediction, adaptation and sustainability.”
The ice formed during that one-year onset of the Holocene climate “sheds light on the structure of past abrupt climate changes and provides unparalleled perspective with which to assess the potential for near-term rapid shifts in atmospheric circulation and seasonality,” Mayewski says.
Additional exploration of the ice cores, with respect to the length of seasons, is expected to yield information about precursors for abrupt climate shifts. “Identifying and using the precursors will fill an essential void in climate prediction models by testing for sensitivity in the context of past analogs,” the researchers say.
In the university’s W.M. Keck Laser Ice Facility, the researchers had the first-ever ultra-high-resolution look at ice cores formed during the swift shift from the near-glacial period to the current period of relative warmth. The ice core samples were removed from a depth spanning 1,677.5 meters to 1,678.5 meters, or from 11,643 to 11,675 years ago.
Mayewski has led more than 50 expeditions to the Arctic, Antarctica, Himalayas, Tibetan Plateau, Tierra del Fuego and the Andes. He has shared his research with numerous media venues including “60 Minutes,” “NOVA,” BBC, “Fresh Air” and “The Diane Rehm Show.”
The research team includes Sharon Sneed, Sean Birkel, Andrei Kurbatov and Kirk Maasch, all from UMaine. The researchers’ findings are included in the article, “Holocene warming marked by abrupt onset of longer summers and reduced storm frequency around Greenland,” published in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of Quaternary Science.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Michelle Hale of Bangor has been named project leader of Maine Career Connect, a Bangor-based nonprofit program of the University of Maine Rising Tide Center.
Maine Career Connect, funded by a $284,093 grant from the National Science Foundation, will work to network a consortium of employers in central and eastern Maine with newly relocated professional families, with an emphasis on spousal employment.
Hale has a decade of experience in nonprofit work, most recently with United Way of Eastern Maine, where she coordinated local community initiatives. She has a bachelor’s degree in social work and is completing a graduate certificate in business at the University of Maine. Hale also is a participant in the 2014 Bangor Region Leadership Institute.
Maine Career Connect will work with newly relocating professionals and employers of the region to ensure successful integration into the community. Dual career spouses will have access to high-level professional networking with employers that align with their professions in an effort to accelerate their job search process.
Professionals will receive networking assistance, both in seeking employment and also building social connections. Customized portfolios of vetted local resources will be offered to help families meet their particular needs outside the workplace.
The program, based on an innovative model adopted by Tech Valley Connect in Troy, N.Y., will benefit the region by helping to attract and retain talented professionals in a variety of fields.
For more information on Maine Career Connect, call 949.0098.
Contact: Michelle Hale, 207.949.0098; Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center is offering a six-day residential non-partisan training program to educate and empower undergraduate women to become civic and political leaders.
The 2014 Maine NEW Leadership Summer Institute will be held at the University of Maine from May 30 to June 4 at no cost to participants. Graduating seniors are also eligible to apply.
Tailored to reflect Maine’s political culture and climate, the program is based on a curriculum developed by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Participants engage with a variety of women leaders in politics and civic organizations, interact with faculty-in-residence, spend a day at the Maine State Legislature and participate in a hands-on political action project. The program aims to create opportunities for women to become engaged and experienced in public speaking, coalition building, networking, advocacy and running for office.
Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered by March 21, 2014. Program and application information can be found at the 2014 Maine New Leadership Summer Institute website. For more information, contact Eva McLaughlin, the program coordinator at email@example.com or 207.581.1646.
Chefs often go to the docks to select fresh catch to prepare their evening seafood dinners.
In the near future, area chefs and the public may routinely be getting fresh, sustainable fish from a Maine-based indoor fish farm.
A number of locals are working toward that future, including middle-school students, educators, marine scientists, businesspeople, funders, and a fisherman who helps run a cooperative. Participants involved in this cutting-edge indoor fish farming technology project will gather at Herring Gut Learning Center in Port Clyde on Thursday, Feb. 6.
Following are snapshots of the participating organizations:
School of Roots at the Herring Gut Learning Center, Port Clyde, Maine
The School of Roots, a student-run aquaponics business established in 2010, is managed by middle-school youth in RSU 13’s Alternative Education Program at the Herring Gut Learning Center. The students learn academic concepts while developing, marketing and selling products to grocers, restaurants and community members. They previously test-marketed and sold black sea bass produced by Acadia Harvest and are now premarketing Acadia Harvest’s California yellowtail. Feb. 6, the students will help harvest the fish; they plan to have them all sold within 48 hours of harvest.
For more information on the School of Roots, visit herringgut.org/schoolofroots.html?id=1.
For more information on Herring Gut Learning Center, visit herringgut.org.
Acadia Harvest Inc., Brunswick, Maine
Acadia Harvest was formed in early 2011 as RAS Corporation. Acadia Harvest (AHI) is working at the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin, Maine, to develop new technologies in land-based, indoor sustainable fish farming, known as recirculating aquaculture systems. Principals Chris Heinig (CEO), Tap Pryor (chief scientist) and Ed Robinson (chairman) have been growing and test marketing high-quality, nutritious, affordable fish, both California yellowtail and black sea bass. By 2016, they anticipate having their first commercial-scale production facility in Maine to initially produce 250 to 450 metric tons of fish annually. With a SBIR Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation, the company has experimented with marine worms and various forms of algae in the recirculating aquaculture system to achieve an environmentally friendly “zero-waste” facility. AHI has a purchase option on a parcel of land in Gouldsboro, on the site of a former naval facility at Corea. The construction of a first-phase production facility would involve a multi-million dollar investment and the creation of 10–15 new jobs for the area.
University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, Franklin, Maine
UMaine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, directed by Nick Brown, is a business incubation facility and a center for applied aquaculture research, development and demonstration. CCAR is assisting Acadia Harvest in its development of recirculating aquaculture technology by providing sophisticated aquaculture business incubation facilities, recirculation technology and marine research expertise. CCAR also will provide juvenile fish from its state-of-the-art hatchery for Acadia Harvest.
For more information about UMaine’s CCAR, visit www.ccar.um.maine.edu/index.html.
Port Clyde Fresh Catch: A Maine Fishermen’s Cooperative, Port Clyde, Maine
Port Clyde Fresh Catch is the country’s first community-supported fishery. It’s part of a movement seeking to do for small-scale local fishermen what community-supported agriculture does for farmers. On Feb. 6, Glen Libby and the Port Clyde team will process the California yellowtail grown by Acadia Harvest.
For more information about Port Clyde Fresh Catch, visit portclydefreshcatch.com.
Both Maine Technology Institute and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. have provided funding that has been instrumental in Acadia Harvest’s development of indoor fish farming technology.
Maine Technology Institute (MTI), Brunswick, Maine
The Maine Technology Institute is a private nonprofit organization chartered by the state to “invest in innovation” in seven key sectors. MTI funds entrepreneurs, growing businesses and research institutions engaged in research and development of innovative technologies in Aquaculture & Marine, Agriculture & Forestry, Biotechnology, Precision Manufacturing, Advanced Composites, Information Technology and Environmental Technology. In addition to a competitive grant and loan program, MTI also makes equity investments in promising technologies. Since its founding in 1999, MTI has invested more than $178 million in the Maine economy, bringing in more than $250 million of additional investment to Maine, and creating high-quality jobs and long-term value for the state.
For more information about MTI, visit mainetechnology.org.
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), Wiscasset, Maine
CEI, a 501(c)(3) private, nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), is among the leading rural finance entities in the Northeast. Founded in 1977, and headquartered in Maine, CEI has provided $1.05 billion in loans and investments, and business and housing counseling services to more than 43,082 people, helping to create economically and environmentally healthy communities in New England, upstate New York, and throughout rural America.
For more information about CEI, visit ceimaine.org.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Finding more efficient ways to serve Maine landowners by incorporating social work strategies — including effective communication and resource- linking skills — into forest management is the goal of a collaborative project between researchers at two schools in the University of Maine College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.
Jessica Leahy, an associate professor of human dimensions of natural resources in the UMaine School of Forest Resources, is leading the study that tests social work approaches to conservation in the Cumberland County town of Baldwin and surrounding communities. Researchers hope to determine if these strategies could lead to more effective outcomes to landowners’ challenges as opposed to using traditional forestry solutions, such as management plans and outreach materials.
“Social workers are good at listening to people — understanding their needs and connecting people to appropriate resources,” Leahy says. “That’s why we need social workers to help landowners; to listen to what they’d like to do with their land, and then connect and coordinate services from natural resource professionals.”
There are more than 85,000 families in Maine that own at least 10 acres of woods, Leahy says. Their needs can be addressed by UMaine, the Maine Forest Service and others if those organizations can provide services that work for landowners, she adds.
Many conservation problems are related to social and economic factors. While foresters and other natural resource professionals help landowners make decisions about land management, they may not be equipped to handle the challenges landowners face that involve family dynamics. A social work approach could be the answer to solving these conservation problems, Leahy says.
“Foresters specialize in land management and trees, but landowners are often dealing with human issues such as how to afford their taxes and how to talk to their family about what they’d like to happen with their land after they pass away,” she says. “Landowners also often don’t know what a forester can do for them nor do they know how to coordinate all the potential natural resource professionals that are there to help them.”
Leahy, the project’s forestry expert, hired Doug Robertson and Chris Young, students in the UMaine School of Social Work. Both Robertson, a senior in the bachelor’s of social work program from Benton, Maine, and Young, a first-year graduate student of social work from Bangor, Maine, grew up around Maine woodland owners. They’re interested in connecting with landowners through the project and learning more about the land that many families rely on and how community organizations can help.
Pam Wells, a licensed clinical social worker, is supervising the students and translating the social work aspect of the project. She is also a landowner who recognizes areas where social work and forestry intersect.
“Pam often talks about how challenging it is to find, understand and coordinate the various assistance programs that are out there for landowners like the Tree Growth Tax Law, Natural Resources Conservation Service cost-share programs and programs offered by the Maine Forest Service,” Leahy says.
Kevin Doran and Andy Shultz of the Maine Forest Service are also helping with the study.
The one-year project, which began in Sept. 2013 and runs through August 2014, received a $6,500 Maine Community Foundation grant. The project’s social work approach to conservation has been untested to date, Leahy says.
“It’s an innovative, highly experimental, never-been-done-before project that is bridging forestry and social work together in an effort to better engage and serve rural families who own forestland in southern Maine,” she says.
Part of the project will include the development of a forest-specific wraparound case management process that will be implemented with one landowning family. The wraparound process in social work recognizes that all aspects of someone’s life — social, economic and ecological — are related. This understanding is then used to help the individual by focusing on incremental progress, involving community support and using science-based interventions, according to Leahy.
The focus of the project will be on measuring and evaluating the outcomes of the approach to improve future efforts.
“Ultimately, we hope more landowners will be empowered to be stewards of their land, and that will lead to healthy forests, healthy rural economies and healthy families,” Leahy says.
Other aspects of the community project include assisting the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine with succession planning efforts, offering peer-to-peer learning experiences such as suppers and forums, organizing workshops for natural resource professionals to increase their cultural competency and researching community interest in creating a low-income wood bank — similar to a food bank — for the Baldwin area.
Upcoming peer-to-peer learning events include the project’s second woods forum and community supper Feb. 7, a workshop on estate planning for landowners Feb. 27 and a Forester’s Institute brown bag lunch on cultural competency April 11.
Robertson and Young are looking for a family to work with on the project. Interested families must live in Sebago, Hiram, Cornish, Limington, Baldwin or Standish and own at least 10 acres. To participate or for more information on the project or scheduled workshops, call Robertson, 207.435.4798, or Young, 207.992.6182.
Kepware Technologies, a software development company focused on communications for automation, announced it is donating $30,000 worth of software to the University of Maine’s Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) Program. Kepware will outfit each of the 12 computers in the programmable logic controller lab with licenses for its professional-grade suite. About 100 students in the EET program will use Kepware’s software for required classes, which the other 370 full-time students in the School of Engineering Technology can also take as electives. Kepware Technologies’ office is located in Portland, Maine. The full news release is available online.
University of Maine graduate students in the College of Education and Human Development teamed up with Tri-County Technical Center (TCTC) to develop and implement support for the pre-technical program.
TCTC offers 10 career and technical programs to high school students from six schools in Piscataquis and Penobscot counties. The pre-technical program serves students facing challenges in traditional educational settings, offering such fields as culinary arts, metal manufacturing and automotive technology.
In a study of TCTC’s pre-technical programming, UMaine Human Development graduate students enrolled in HUD 553: Program Planning and Evaluation identified understaffing and insufficient funding as the primary challenges to expanding the center’s sustainable agriculture efforts. In the UMaine course, taught by adjunct instructor and TCTC Student Services Coordinator Brian Welsh, the graduate students worked with TCTC staff and administration to develop a recruitment and selection process for field placements, resulting in two students interning with the pre-tech program, and helped secure $6,500 in funding through Lowe’s/Skills USA to build a greenhouse this spring to expand the sustainable energy program.
The University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation is seeking motivated, innovative Maine college students and Maine companies that want to make a difference for the state through the Blackstone Accelerates Growth (BxG) Innovate for Maine Fellows program, supported by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
The BxG Innovate for Maine Fellows program connects the best and brightest Maine college students with the state’s most exciting, growing companies as a way to grow and create jobs in Maine through innovation and entrepreneurship. The program, which is now accepting applications, offers paid internships that place students with companies to receive training in innovation and entrepreneurship, and real-world job experience. Other benefits include potential academic credit and networking opportunities with Maine businesses and other students.
Applications are also available for Maine companies looking for summer interns. Trained innovation experts guide and mentor both the student and the company for the duration of the project.
The application deadline for both fellows and companies is March 1, 2014. More information and applications for the Innovate for Maine program are online.
The University of Maine International Programs’ Study Abroad Fair will be held Thursday, Jan. 30 to inform students about the variety of programs available for all majors to study, intern, research or teach abroad. The fair will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bangor Room of the Memorial Union, and is free and open to all UMaine students, faculty and staff. Information will be available on UMaine’s direct exchange and recommended programs, as well as scholarships and financial aid. Former UMaine study abroad and current exchange students will be available to answer questions. More information on UMaine’s study abroad program is available online.