More than 100 middle school students from across the state will be at the University of Maine this weekend taking part in the Maine Invention Convention state competition and 4-H@UMaine event.
The Maine Invention Convention is a statewide competition promoting important life and work skills for Maine middle school students, according to the competition’s website.
“The competition challenges students to identify real-world problems they can solve by inventing,” says Angela Marcolini, innovation engineering outreach coordinator and instructor at UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation. “Students are encouraged to focus on the innovation process more than the final product.”
The event is open to any Maine student in grades six through eight and takes the place of a traditional science fair. Throughout the school year, students identify and solve problems by using a four-step, systematic approach to innovation, the website states.
The students compete at a local level to determine who will attend the state competition at UMaine where they will be judged on categories related to innovation engineering, Marcolini says.
Around 80 students from 11 schools, as well as a few who are home-schooled, are expected to arrive at the New Balance Student Recreation Center starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 18.
The students will display their projects from 9 a.m. to noon and will be judged during that time. In the afternoon, the students, along with family and friends, will have the opportunity to attend 4-H@UMaine workshops and take a campus tour before the 4 p.m. awards ceremony.
The top three students in each grade will be awarded a medallion, the top winner in each grade will receive a $50 savings certificate from Bangor Savings Bank, and the overall winner will receive an additional savings certificate and two tickets to TEDxDirigo GENERATE, a conference that aims to celebrate innovation and creativity in Maine.
A people’s choice and 4-H choice award will also be given.
The Maine Invention Convention competition is a collaboration between the Foster Center for Student Innovation, University of Maine Cooperative Extension and an Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) Grant from the National Science Foundation through Bruce Segee, UMaine associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.
The event has existed for more than 20 years and was previously run by school departments, Marcolini says. This is the first year UMaine is running the program.
For more information or to request disability accommodations, call Marcolini, 207.408.1993. Information is also available online.
The 4-H@UMaine event is open to students age 12–17 and offers a chance for them to become familiar with college life and what UMaine has to offer. Around 75 students from around the state are expected to attend this year’s event.
Students, who will come to campus at 3 p.m. Friday, May 17, will stay in dorm rooms, eat at dining halls and attend workshops by UMaine professors in a variety of subjects before leaving at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18.
4-H@UMaine began in 2007 and is sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension with additional funding from the Maine 4-H Foundation and Bangor Savings Bank, according to Debra Kantor, UMaine Cooperative Extension educator.
“We’re very excited about partnering with the Foster Center for Student Innovation this year,” Kantor says.
For more information or to request disability accommodations, call Kantor, 207.474.9622. Information is also available online.
David Fuller, agriculture and nontimber forest products professional and fiddlehead expert with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Portland Press Herald about fiddlehead characteristics and this year’s harvest. A video of Fuller and the plants is also featured with the article.
A University of Maine study and Cooperative Extension specialists were cited in the Mainebiz article “Potato farmers innovate to find new markets.” The 2010 study found Maine’s potato industry could be well suited to grow stock for the bioplastic industry. John Jemison, water quality and soil specialist and Jim Dwyer, crops specialist with UMaine Extension, were also interviewed about the state’s potato industry.
David Fuller, agriculture and nontimber forest products professional and fiddlehead expert with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network about fiddlehead characteristics and this year’s harvest.
Lois Berg Stack, University of Maine sustainable agriculture professor and Cooperative Extension specialist in ornamental horticulture, was interviewed for the Portland Press Herald article “Help for salt-damaged lawns.” Stack says road salt can cause serious damage to plants and suggests planting salt-resistant varieties and avoiding salt-sensitive trees. She also suggests using raised beds or fences to protect roadside plants and thoroughly watering to rid salts from soil.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on a meeting held in Bangor to inform the public about the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s effort to bring more fresh and local foods to school cafeterias.
Frank Drummond, University of Maine professor of insect ecology and entomology, UMaine Extension professor and bee specialist, spoke with the radio station Q106.5 about the decline of honeybees. Drummond said several factors such as pesticides and a mite that spreads a virus are contributing to the decline.
The Morning Sentinel reported apple pruning will be the focus of a May 20 workshop in Farmington. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Franklin County is offering the workshop, which will be led by David Fuller, agriculture and nontimber forest products extension professional.
Leslie Forstadt, University of Maine Cooperative Extension child and family development specialist, is participating in an invitational forum May 13–14 in Philadelphia, Pa., aimed at restoring wellness to children and communities who have experienced trauma.
Forstadt, a co-facilitator of the Maine Resilience Building Network, will attend the National Summit on Adverse Childhood Experiences, where leaders will explore a number of topics, including research, pediatrics, behavioral health and public policy implications.
Forstadt says she looks forward to building nationwide connections and gaining knowledge that can be utilized to benefit Maine children, adults and families.
After conducting a statewide survey with multiple stakeholders, Forstadt and Mark Rains completed a report in 2011 for the Maine Children’s Growth Council titled “Working with Adverse Childhood Experiences: Maine’s History, Present and Future.”
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), include stressful childhood events like physical and emotional abuse and neglect, sexual abuse and exposure to substance abuse. These early experiences increase the risk of a number of causes of premature death and illness when these children become adults, including attempted suicide, drug and alcohol use, depression and obesity, according to the report.
Childhood trauma, Forstadt says, is a human issue as well as a clinical issue.
“This is about opening a conversation not by ‘what’s wrong with you?’” she says. “Instead, it’s about ‘what happened to you?’ Many (adverse) things happen to us as children and many people are incredibly successful and engaged in the world. The story becomes about what happens to help us build resiliency.”
Sue Mackey Andrews, also a co-facilitator of Maine Resilience Building Network, will present “The Maine Event: Addressing and Preventing ACEs Through Enhanced Statewide Capacity” during a policy and advocacy panel portion of the summit.
The Institute for Safe Families and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are co-hosts of the two-day summit. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy on Violence and Abuse, Futures Without Violence, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Prevent Child Abuse America and Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation are sponsors.
The Morning Sentinel previewed the upcoming Maple Grading School class that will be offered May 10–11 in Skowhegan. The class is for maple producers, bulk syrup buyers, state inspectors and others who need to grade or judge maple syrup. The school is sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, International Maple Syrup Institute, and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.