Archive for the ‘County’ Category

Become a Community Resource for Food Preservation, Safety

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a 10-session Master Food Preserver training program starting June 19 and ending Sept. 25. Lectures, discussions and hands-on kitchen lab education will be conducted 10 Thursdays, 5:30–8:30 p.m., at Gorham Middle School, 106 Weeks Road, Gorham, and at the UMaine Extension Office, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth.

A Master Food Preserver is a UMaine Extension volunteer who has successfully completed the practical, research-based program on food safety and preservation. Volunteers agree to give back 20 hours of time for community-based projects within a year. Projects could include hands-on food preservation workshops, staffing educational displays and demonstrations and providing information at farmers markets, county fairs and other food-related events.

May 2 is the deadline to apply. Fees are on a sliding scale, from $125 to $330, based on household income. To request an application or disability accommodation, call 207.781.6099 or 800.287.1471 (in Maine). For more information, contact Kathleen Savoie, Extension Educator, 207.781.6099, ksavoie@maine.edu.

Applications are available online.

Industry Collaboration

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The University of Maine and the Maine Potato Board announced the creation of two new potato varieties — the Easton and the Sebec — that were developed over the past several growing seasons. The varieties are targeted at the french fry and potato chip industries.

“The University of Maine has the research and development capability and commitment for developing new potato varieties, from the lab to the field, which takes years. They understand what the growers and the industry are looking for and need. We, in turn, as a board, have the capacity to promote the varieties and maintain the quality of seed certification required for the integrity of the variety and the market. We are already fielding questions from growers around the country, as well as in Maine. Both of these new potato varieties are very promising. This type of result is what makes this partnership truly advantageous for the future of our industry.”
— Don Flannery, executive director of the Maine Potato Board

Reaching Across the State to Support Maine’s Agriculture Sector

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

With facilities in Orono, experiment stations throughout the state and University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff in every county, the University of Maine is uniquely positioned to support and expand Maine’s agricultural opportunities. Perhaps one of the strongest examples is the development and expansion of Maine’s wild blueberry sector. Blueberry Hill Farm in Jonesboro is the only university-based wild blueberry research facility in the nation. Research and development at the farm, together with on-campus research on new blueberry products and health benefits, have been a driving factor in the recent expansion of Maine’s wild blueberry industry. The majority of this effort is performed with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Similar activity supports the Maine potato sector, as well as other crops produced in the state.

“Thanks to comprehensive crop production research and development based at the University of Maine, Maine’s Wild Blueberry growers are leaders in the development and adaptation of knowledge-based cropping systems. Maine is the largest producer of Wild Blueberries in the world. Our five-year average is now over 85 million pounds.”
— Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine

UMaine Bioengineering Students Collaborate With The Jackson Laboratory, IDEXX Laboratories on Capstone Projects

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Three University of Maine student research teams in bioengineering are collaborating with The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor and IDEXX Laboratories Inc., in Westbrook on senior capstone projects.

Working under the supervision of Professor David Neivandt, director of UMaine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering, and coordinator of the undergraduate bioengineering program, the bioengineering seniors are involved in semester-long capstone projects in which they develop device concepts and methods to improve biological systems that benefit society.

“In the early stages of our classes, we have a lot of canned problems,” says Jeff Servetas, Hancock, Maine, of his bioengineering coursework. Now as seniors, the students are developing solutions to open-ended questions that have not been addressed before.

Two teams are working with IDEXX — one team will work to develop a device veterinarians could use to test for ear mites in dogs, while the other team’s focus is to design a method to provide precise, accurate and rapid quantification of spot density in the IDEXX SNAP® test for screening for diseases.

“I really feel like I’m making a difference,” says Servetas of the project. “If the work I do relieves pet owner of the burden, we’re making a difference.”

Tony DiMarco, vice president for research and development at IDEXX, says working with UMaine students in co-ops and on capstone projects is enjoyable. “The students are fantastic — they jump headlong into projects and thrive on working through complex design problems, using a systematic approach that reveals their intense training. It allows us to get a head start on new projects, or explore some new areas that we might not otherwise work on,” he says.

A third bioengineering team was asked by Jackson Laboratory to develop a device to keep mice warm during embryo transplant surgery, thereby improving the success rates.

The next project in the course will send the students to Dirigo Pines in Orono, where they will be working with the residents and staff to identify problems that can be addressed with engineering solutions.

Majoring in bioengineering at UMaine means majoring in problem-solving, says Coady Richardson of Madison, Maine. “I’ve always liked puzzles and solving problems. (Bioengineering) is the most challenging program on campus,” says Richardson, adding that working with Jackson Lab mentors has taught him how to effectively communicate about research.

Having a well-rounded “toolbox” of problem-solving and communication skills with which to address bioengineering challenges is a true boon, according to the students.

“We learn to be professionals,” says Haylea Ledoux of Bedford, N.H. While communicating in different “engineering languages” is important, being able to learn in different styles has made the most difference, she says.

“It’s a big test for us to prove to ourselves that we have the knowledge and are capable of doing this,” says Ledoux.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Workshop Introduces Systematic Approach to Innovation

Monday, April 7th, 2014

The University of Maine Foster Center for Student Innovation will offer a workshop Friday, April 11, for businesses and community members to learn a systematic approach to innovation. The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UMaine Hutchinson Center in Belfast.

Participants will learn about the Innovation Engineering (IE) system, which includes tools and methods for creating, communicating and commercializing meaningfully unique ideas. IE addresses the biggest threats to innovations at the beginning of the process, thereby speeding up innovation while decreasing risk.

This is a Blackstone Accelerates Growth-sponsored event. Blackstone Accelerates Growth (BxG) is developing innovation hubs in various regions of the state. Entrepreneurs leading startup and existing companies become part of a network to learn from each other and to cost-effectively access entrepreneurial support resources. The workshop costs $149 for business and community members. Lunch is included. Full scholarships are available for growth-oriented, for-profit companies. To learn more and to register, visit the Foster Center’s website.

Foster Center for Student Innovation Hosting Big Gig Finale April 8

Friday, April 4th, 2014

The University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation is hosting the Big Gig finale from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 8. Finalists from the last three Big Gig pitch-off events will compete for a $1,000 grand prize sponsored by University Credit Union.

The winner will be chosen by audience vote. Admission is free, but online registration is requested. Food and a cash bar will be available.

Finalists are John and Christine Carney of Thick & Thin Designs; Bruce and Kathy Chamberlain of Stone Fox Farm Creamery; and Jessica Jewell of Northern Maine Distilling Co.

The Big Gig is a series of business pitch events for entrepreneurs in Greater Bangor designed to bring together Bangor-Orono area innovators and entrepreneurs and offer networking opportunities. It was started by a partnership between UMaine, Old Town, Orono and Husson University and is supported by Blackstone Accelerates Growth. More information about Big Gig is online.

UMaine Environmental Horticulture Students Can Now Earn Degree in Turfgrass Science and Management

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

During their senior year, University of Maine students majoring in environmental horticulture can now earn an associate of science degree in turfgrass science and management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Under a new agreement, qualified students in the Environmental Horticulture Program at the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture will spend their senior year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture pursuing a concentration in turfgrass science and management.

In the Stockbridge School program, students study topics that include turfgrass management, pest and weed management, plant nutrients and equipment maintenance to prepare them for careers in turfgrass management with golf courses, athletic facilities, lawn care and park maintenance industries, according to the Stockbridge School of Agriculture website.

UMaine students will be accepted to the Stockbridge School after completing the first three years of their degree and maintaining at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average. Credits earned at the Stockbridge School toward the associate of science degree will also count for the completion of the bachelor’s degree at UMaine.

“Our faculty look forward to offering more diverse academic options to environmental horticulture students through this agreement with the Stockbridge School of Agriculture,” says Stephanie Burnett, UMaine associate professor of horticulture who, along with professor emeritus William Mitchell, spearheaded the agreement. “These students will be highly competitive in the job market with both a bachelor’s degree in environmental horticulture from UMaine and an associate degree in turfgrass management from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture.”

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Conference Focuses on ‘Living With Acquired Brain Injury’

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

“Living with Acquired Brain Injury” offering the latest information on research, innovation and services is the focus of a daylong conference Friday, March 28 at the University of Maine.

The free public conference, 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. in Wells Conference Center, is offered through a community-university partnership by UMaine and the Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Lunch and refreshments will be included.

Topics will include categories of acquired brain injuries, associated health conditions, environmental risks for traumatic brain injury in children and older adults, and new technology for detection and treatment.

For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact UMaine professor Marie Hayes, 207.581.2039. To preregister, contact Lewis Lamont, Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council, llamont4@roadrunner.com.

A conference brochure and more information about the presenters are online. CME and CEU credits are available.

Target Technology Incubator Earns Excellence Award

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) honored the University of Maine Target Technology Incubator at the 12th annual New England Higher Education Excellence Awards celebration March 7 at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.

More than 400 people attended the event, including leaders of education, business and government from across the six New England states.

Located in the Target Technology Center in Orono, Maine, the Target Technology Incubator received NEBHE’s 2014 Maine State Merit Award. Target Technology Incubator is a partnership of the University of Maine, Bangor Area Target Development Corporation, the town of Orono, and the state of Maine. The incubator provides scalable innovation-based companies with access to resources they need to grow and attain long-term success within an environment that fosters businesses development, commercialization and successful management practices.

In the past year, which was marked by slow job recovery in the employment market, the incubator’s tenants and its affiliates created more than 15 new jobs.

“The connection between universities and technology development is a hallmark of New England’s economy,” said NEBHE President and CEO Michael Thomas. “Incubators like this one allow a great idea to become a real value-producing company.”

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745;

Digital Journalism Class, BDN Collaborate on Bangor 2020 Project

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The future of Bangor, Maine, is the focus of a multimedia project that pairs University of Maine journalism students with mentors at the Bangor Daily News (BDN).

UMaine professor Jennifer Moore is leading CMJ 481: Digital Journalism students in the project called Bangor 2020. The journalism juniors and seniors are conducting research, doing journalistic fieldwork and producing news packages using a variety of technologies for the online, multimedia project in partnership with the BDN.

The goal of the course is to create a discussion about the future development of the Greater Bangor Area. The class is about providing students with a learning environment both in and out of the classroom, and experience working on a project that can significantly add to their professional portfolio and make them competitive on the job market.

The theme of the project is “livable cities,” a term associated with promoting economic growth while maintaining sustainable living environments.

“Students will gain valuable, hands-on experience reporting on important issues facing Bangor,” Moore says. “We’re focusing reporting and production in a ‘digital-first’ mindset that’s so important for anyone who wants to enter the world of professional journalism.

“Working this closely with mentors at the BDN — in a collaborative learning environment — is new in CMJ curriculum, and we hope to continue this relationship in future classes.”

Anthony Ronzio, BDN director of news and audience, says the course will “challenge the students into conceptualizing, analyzing and, ultimately, storytelling an issue of great local importance, with advice and guidance from professionals along the way. The final product would be of high enough quality to publish in the BDN.”

At the end of the semester, students also will give a public presentation to showcase their work.

“This project requires curiosity and hones the information-gathering skills that you need to satiate that curiosity. It also gives you, as a student journalist, a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the different ways to tell a story while sharpening the basic journalistic skills we’ve developed in our other courses,” says Jonathan Ouellette, a senior in the class.

Ronzio says UMaine’s journalism department and the BDN can learn from each other. “By working together, we can make a brighter future for UMaine journalism students and help the BDN adapt to the new journalism that must be done in the 21st century,” he says.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745