James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald article about Maine seeing an increase in tick-bite illnesses other than Lyme disease. Cases of anaplasmosis and babesiosis, which can seriously affect health if undetected, are at or nearing record levels in the state, according to the article. Dill said the good thing about illnesses from ticks is they can be treated with antibiotics. “That’s why, when we have a tick bite, we always tell the individual to contact their physician, especially if people find a tick that is attached and it has started to feed,” he said. He also stressed the importance of having a dedicated tick laboratory at UMaine, which would be funded if voters support Question 2 on the November ballot.
James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in an Associated Press article about Northeast berry growers learning how to combat an invasive fruit fly — the tiny spotted-wing drosophila — that wiped out 80 percent of some farms’ late-season fruit two years ago. Growers in Maine, the country’s largest producer of wild blueberries, are spraying and harvesting sooner and planting earlier varieties, the article states. “You take a loss, but the loss is on green berries rather than having to put more pesticides out there,” Dill said. The Portland Press Herald, Yahoo! News and Fox Business carried the AP report.
WGME (Channel 13) spoke with James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, for a report about studies that show a correlation between lone star tick bites and severe allergies to red meat. Dill said the lone star tick is not established yet in Maine. “We’ve had a few cases of it, most of them seem to appear to be people who have traveled out of state and have come back in,” he said, adding Mainers should still take precautions such as walking in the center of a trail, tucking pants into socks, wearing tick repellent and wearing light clothing so the ticks can be seen easily.
The Sun Journal reported the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond is teaming up with Mahoosuc Pathways, an organization that promotes outdoor adventure and connects communities in the Mahoosuc Mountain range of western Maine and northeastern New Hampshire, to offer leadership training for 10 high school students. A Mahoosuc Pathways employee told the Sun Journal the two organizations are paying students to get leadership training by helping build trails on local public conservation lands in August. The project, called the Oxford County Conservation Corps, began two years ago, after Mahoosuc Pathways began looking for a way to get students involved in building and maintaining local trails.
James Dill, a pest management specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Dill spoke about common garden pests and diseases such as beetles, woodchucks and late blight and offered advice on easy ways to prevent damage. For beetles, Dill suggests plucking them off plants and placing them in a cup of water with liquid soap detergent, or using traps. The ideal solution for dealing with larger wildlife such as woodchucks and groundhogs is to trap and release them, Dill says.
The Portland Press Herald previewed the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s sixth annual Backyard Locavore Day on Aug. 9. Several UMaine Extension experts will be on hand during self-guided tours of six backyards in Freeport and Brunswick. Visitors can learn do-it-yourself strategies for becoming a locavore, or a person who eats food locally grown and produced. Demonstrations and talk topics will include vegetable and square-foot gardening, backyard composting, greenhouses and beekeeping. Each garden session will feature food-preservation methods, including drying, hot water bath canning and making herbal vinegars and jam. Complimentary food samples will be provided.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a Cooking for Crowds food safety training workshop in Augusta and Skowhegan twice during September.
The Augusta workshops will be offered 1–5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 and Tuesday, Sept. 23 on the third floor of the UMaine Extension Kennebec County office, 125 State St. The Skowhegan workshops will be held 1–5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16 and Tuesday, Sept. 30 at the UMaine Extension Somerset County office, 7 County Drive (off Norridgewock Avenue), in Skowhegan.
Crystal Hamilton, nutrition and food systems professional, will instruct volunteer quantity cooks on methods for safely preparing, handling and serving food for large groups of people, including at soup kitchens, church functions, food pantries and community fundraisers. The workshop meets the Good Shepherd Food Bank food safety training requirements. Guideline topics include planning and purchasing, storing food supplies, preparing food, transporting, storing and serving cooked foods, and handling leftovers.
Cost is $15 per person; scholarships are available. Register online or call 207.622.7546 (for Augusta) or 207.474.9622 (for Skowhegan). For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call Diana Hartley at 207.622.7546 or 800.287.1481 (in Maine) for the Augusta workshops, and Tammy Bodge-Terry at 207.474.9622 or 800.287.1495 (in Maine) for the Skowhegan course.
David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with the Kennebec Journal and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network about blueberry picking and this year’s harvest. Yarborough said the season started last week in central Maine, with reports of a good crop. Down East barrens will likely be ready for harvesting next week, he added. “The season is running a little later than usual because of the cold spring,” he told the KJ. “I think the pickings are pretty excellent.” He recommended picking berries that are fully blue. “When you pick your own, you know it’s fresh,” he said.
Brenda Mowdy, a 4-H community education assistant with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and 4-H members were featured in a WVII (Channel 7) report on the group’s work at the Bangor State Fair. “In order to be a state fair, you have to have an agricultural emphasis, and we are it,” Mowdy said of the organization that teaches youth about agriculture.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Volunteer training begins from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, at the Washington County UMaine Extension office, 28 Center St., Machias.
The 40-hour course provides intensive instruction on growing fruits and vegetables. In exchange for the training, participants volunteer their time and expertise in gardening-related community projects.
Cost is $220; limited scholarships are available. Monday, Aug. 25 is the application deadline. For more information, or to request an application or disability accommodation, call 800.287.1542 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.