Archive for the ‘Story Ideas’ Category

Public Invited to Free Master Classes with Brass Artists

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The public is invited to a series of master classes in April, the first featuring trumpeter Bryan Davis, and others with Mnozil Brass as part of the University of Maine School of Performing Arts season.

Davis, a British trumpeter, based in New York City, will perform as a guest artist with the UMaine Jazz Ensemble in its at 7:30 p.m. April 25 concert at Minsky Recital Hall, admission is $9 or free with student MaineCard. Tickets are available at the Collins Center for the Arts or at the door.

The next day, Davis will offer a free public master class from 1–3 p.m., in Room 100 Class of 1944 Hall.

Also on April 26, the UMaine Jazz Ensemble and Davis will perform live on MPBN Radio’s Friday Night Jazz with Rich Tozier, 9–11 p.m.

The Austrian brass septet Mnozil Brass will perform at the Collins Center for the Arts at 3 p.m. April 28. For tickets, call the Collins Center box office, 207.581.1755.

The day before their concert, the Mnozil Brass artists will offer free public master classes from 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Room 100 Class of 1944 Hall. The public is welcome to come and observe the master classes; participants have to bring their instruments. Their April 27 master classes schedule is:

All Brass, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. — a fundamentals workshop for all brass players, led by Roman Rindberger, trumpet

Exhibit of Schagerl instruments, 12–1 p.m. — open for testing

Trombone, 1–2:30 p.m. — led Gerhard Füssl, trombone

Tuba, 2:30–4 p.m. — led by Wilfried Brandstötter, tuba

Jazz Combo, 4–5:30 p.m. — led by Leonhard Paul, trombone/bass trumpet

For more information on the School of Performing Arts concert and the master classes, or to request disability accommodations, contact Monique Hashey, 207.581.4721.

Natural Science Illustration Workshop Aug. 5–9

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole will offer a Natural Science Illustration Workshop from Aug. 5–9. Participants will have the opportunity to collect and draw live marine specimens and work with instructor David Wheeler’s collection of shells, bones and artifacts. Wheeler, who teaches at the Pratt Institute’s Center Extension Campus at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in New York, is a marine science illustrator whose artwork is in the permanent collections of museums, universities and marine centers in the country and abroad. He has made life-sized models of dinosaurs for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Osaka Museum of Natural History in Japan. Previous workshop participants have included high school and college students, K–12 educators, artists and illustrators interested in natural sciences, art, anthropology and archaeology. The cost of the five-day workshop is $370; registration deadline is June 1. Room and board at the Darling Marine Center are available for an additional fee. Course information and registration materials are available on the DMC website. For more information or to request disability accommodations, contact Linda Healy, 207.563.8220.

Marine Scientist Jeremy Jackson to Speak April 11

Monday, April 1st, 2013

The transformation of the world’s oceans due to overfishing, pollution and climate change will be the focus of a lecture at the University of Maine by a senior scientist emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution.

Jeremy Jackson’s lecture, “Ocean Apocalypse,” begins at 4 p.m. April 11 in Wells Conference Center, sponsored by the UMaine School of Marine Sciences. The lecture, followed by a reception, are free and open to the public. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.518.4385.

Overfishing, pollution and climate change are laying the groundwork for a massive transformation of the oceans with dire implications for biodiversity and human well-being. Jackson will speak about the fundamental changes humans need to make in order to save the oceans and themselves.

Jackson, the author of “Shifting Baselines: The Past and Future of Ocean Fisheries,” also is professor of oceanography emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He studies human effects on oceans and the ecology and paleoecology of tropical and subtropical marine ecosystems. He has written more than 150 scientific publications and is the author or editor of eight books.

Jackson has received many awards including the 2012 Darwin Medal from the International Society of Reef Studies, the Peterson Medal from Harvard University and the Paleontological Society Medal. Jackson and filmmaker Randy Olson co-founded the Shifting Baselines initiative in which filmmakers and marine scientists collaborate to bring marine environmental issues to the larger public.

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony For Cellulose Nanofiber Pilot Plant Part of 63rd Annual Paper Days

Monday, April 1st, 2013

A ribbon cutting to mark the opening of the nation’s first cellulose nanofiber pilot plant and a keynote address by U.S. Sen. Angus King will highlight the 63rd annual Paper Days at the University of Maine, April 3–4.

Innovation, with a focus on biobased nanoparticles and biofuels, is the theme of this year’s Paper Days, coordinated by the University of Maine Pulp & Paper Foundation and expected to draw more than 300 industry leaders, researchers and students from throughout the U.S. and Europe. An estimated 60 paper companies and engineering firms are expected to send representatives.

The event is designed to facilitate the connection between the university and industry by getting UMaine students and faculty, and industry representatives together to learn about the latest topics in the field and to network, says Jack Healy, executive director of the UMaine Pulp & Paper Foundation.

Following a luncheon and address by Larry Montague, president and CEO of TAPPI, there will be seminars on biobased nanoparticle opportunities led by Alan Rudie, Forest Products Laboratory; Robert Moon, Purdue University; and UMaine alumna Beth Cormier, Sappi Paper and Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance. All occur in Wells Conference Center.

Tours of Jenness Hall will focus on the Process Development Center, which is observing its 25th anniversary, and the Cellulose Nanofiber Pilot Plant, funded by a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Forest Service.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the pilot plant begins at 3:30 p.m. in D.P. Corbett Business Building. Expected to be on hand to offer remarks will be UMaine President Paul Ferguson; Michael Rains, USDA Forest Service; Theodore Wegner, Forest Products Laboratory; and Sean Ireland, TAPPI and Verso Paper Inc.

The pilot plant manufactures cellulose nanofibers (CNF), a wood-based reinforcing material that is increasingly of interest to researchers worldwide in the development of high-value materials. Last year, UMaine and the Forest Products Laboratory began a research collaboration on the conversion of wood components into novel nanomaterials; the incorporation of an array of nanomaterials into forest products to increase their functionality, durability and end-use performance; and development of new generations of high-performance wood-based materials.

UMaine is in a consortium with the Forest Products Lab, six other universities and numerous industrial partners pursuing research using CNF. Nanomaterial has applications in automobile components, paint and coating additives, composites and filtration media.

The Paper Days honors banquet begins at 6 p.m. in Wells Conference Center featuring a keynote address by Sen. King, and award and scholarship presentations.

Also being announced is a leadership gift by Sappi Fine Paper North America to help launch the UMaine Pulp and Paper Foundation’s $2 million fundraising campaign for scholarships.

The following day, Paper Days participants will tour the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute’s Technology Research Center in Old Town, Maine, followed by an industry panel discussion, “Biofuels in the Face of Changing U.S. Energy Availability.” At the luncheon that day, Frederick Clark of EKA Chemicals will speak on “The Business Case for Sustainability.”

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745; 207.949.4149; Pros Bennett, 207.581.2281

Nearly Four Decades of Research Data Shows Gulf of Maine Ecosystem Not Recovering From Sea Urchin Overfishing

Monday, March 25th, 2013

An ecological chain reaction triggered by the boom and bust of sea urchin fishing in the Gulf of Maine demonstrates the importance of comprehensive ecosystem-based ocean management, says a University of Maine marine scientist.

Conventional fisheries management regulates for a “maximum sustainable yield” for each managed species. However, this usually ignores strong interactions between predators and their prey that can affect the entire ecosystem, says Robert Steneck, a professor in the School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center.

Steneck and three university graduates pooled 36 years of Gulf of Maine ocean data to examine how a stable ecosystem state composed of green sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) and a pavement of crustose coralline algae switched, or “flipped,” to an alternate stable state dominated by erect macroalgae, or kelp and other seaweed.

When fishermen began abruptly removing large numbers of sea urchins from the Gulf of Maine in the late 1980s, the seaweed on which they grazed began to flourish, Steneck says. The abundance of seaweed, in turn, created a nursery habitat for Jonah crabs (Cancer borealis). The crabs, say the researchers, subsequently preyed on the sea urchins that remained.

The entire coastal ecosystem flipped and “locked” into a seaweed-dominated alternate stable state that has persisted for nearly 20 years.

In 2000 and 2001, Steneck and crew tried to “break the lock” of erect macroalgae by reintroducing 51,000 adult sea urchins into plots off the coast of Cape Elizabeth. But both years, large crabs migrated to the plots and wiped out the reintroduced urchins.

The consequences of sea urchin decimation “can be costly, and recovery may be difficult or impossible to achieve” for decades, Steneck says.

Fisheries management may need to focus on increasing the number of crab predators in order to return to a stable state of crustose coralline algae and sea urchins, he says.

The Gulf of Maine crab population increased in density because the seaweed nursery habitat became abundant and because, over time, commercial fishing has reduced the population of crab predators, including Atlantic cod.

Sea urchins, Steneck writes, were “highly abundant and a highly valued food” in 1987 when Maine fishermen began harvesting them along the southwestern coast before moving northeast toward Canada. The Maine harvest peaked in 1993, then declined rapidly.

In 1995, Maine’s sea urchin industry fishery was second only to that of the American lobster in value, Steneck writes. At that time, the local fishery supported more than 1,500 full-time urchin fishers.

Today, Steneck says the sea urchin fishery in the Gulf of Maine has declined 84 percent in value; no full-time fishers remain.

The study was conducted with nearly four decades of UMaine thesis research, starting with Steneck’s master’s thesis. Bob Vadas, UMaine professor emeritus, was Steneck’s thesis adviser. University graduates who co-authored the paper are Doug McNaught, assistant professor of marine ecology at the University of Maine at Machias; Amanda Leland, vice president for oceans at the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington D.C.; and John Vavrinec, senior research scientist with the Coastal Assessment and Restoration technical group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Sequim, Wash.

The paper, “Ecosystem Flips, Locks, And Feedbacks: The Lasting Effects on Fisheries On Maine’s Kelp Forest Ecosystem,” is featured in the January 2013 Bulletin of Marine Science and is recommended by peer scientists on the F1000Prime website.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

UMaine Honors Student Helps Draft Ethics Bill Being Considered by Maine Legislature.

Monday, March 25th, 2013

When Shelbe Lane graduates with honors from the University of Maine in May, she’ll be equipped with a bachelor’s degree in business management, a minor in legal studies and experience as the intern to chief legal counsel in the Governor’s Office.

All of which should serve her well this fall when she enters the University of Maine School of Law in Portland.

Lane’s philosophy helps explain how she accomplished so much in three years at UMaine: “If you see something you want to accomplish you should go after it,” she says.

The scope of her academic accomplishments could soon extend far beyond campus and impact public service in Maine for decades; she participated in drafting proposed ethics reform legislation for Maine politicians and officials.

After Lane completed her draft of the legislation in the fall, she submitted it for review and consideration to Michael Cianchette, chief legal counsel in the Governor’s Office. It then went to the desk of Gov. Paul LePage, the official sponsor.

The result is LD 1001, “An Act To Improve Laws Governing Financial Disclosure by Legislators and Certain Public Employees and Public Access to Information Disclosed.”

Sen. Emily Cain of Penobscot is presenting the bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Michael Beaulieu of Auburn and Sen. John Tuttle of York. Lane says she will testify for LD 1001 on March 27 before the Committee of Veteran and Legal Affairs.

The Patten native helped pen the proposed legislation for her Honors College thesis. “I picked an area that interests me and where I think real change could be made,” she says.

Lane decided to tackle writing ethics reform legislation after The State Integrity Investigation — an assessment of “transparency, accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms” — ranked Maine 46th of 50 states with regard to integrity in politics in its March 2011 report.

The investigation, a collaborative effort by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International, assigned Maine an F on its Corruption Risk Report Card.

“The fact we’re 46th out of 50 doesn’t mean we’re corrupt,” Lane says. “It means we don’t have the statutes in place to deal with things.”

Maine, she says, lags behind many other states and the federal government with regard to asset disclosure and conflict-of-interest regulations.

LD 1001 seeks to rectify that. If the legislation becomes law, legislators and some executive branch employees would have to include a description of annual income of $2,000 or more on disclosure forms and would have to report ownership interests of 5 percent or more in businesses. They also would be required to file disclosure statements electronically and post the statements on a publicly accessible website. In addition, they would have to report any involvement by them or an immediate family member as a responsible officer of a political party or committee.

“It’s not about being nosy; it’s about avoiding conflict of interest in the voting process,” Lane says of her honors thesis, whose working title was State-Level Government Transparency and the Maine Legislative Process.

“Citizens have an apprehension and concern about politicians and I hope maybe this will ease some concerns,” she says.

Lane, who turns 21 in April, credits UMaine’s Honors College with encouraging her to be analytical and search for solutions as well as providing her with unique cultural opportunities and interesting, varied courses.

Civic service is a priority for Lane, who in the summer of 2012 participated in Maine NEW Leadership — a free, six-day, nonpartisan university training program that seeks to empower and engage college women. It promotes public speaking, coalition building, networking, advocacy and running for public office.

The program strives to provide attendees with “a greater awareness of their leadership potential, skills, and opportunities in civic life and public office” and to prepare them to “emerge as political leaders.”

Lane says the program and its presenters inspired her. She wants to enact positive change in ways other than running for elected office, including perhaps someday working in an attorney general’s office.

Mary Cathcart, co-director of Maine NEW Leadership and a senior policy associate at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, knows about public service. The former four-term state senator and three-time representative believes in the importance of women motivating and supporting each other.

In 1988, Cathcart attended a Winning With Women speech given by Shirley Chisholm, a teacher, activist and congressperson who ran for president in 1972. When Chisholm asked those in the audience to rise if they planned to run for office, Cathcart’s friends encouraged her to stand. Not long after, Cathcart launched her distinguished career in public service.

“Women do make a difference,” Cathcart says, adding that women are buoyed when they can identify with successful role models. Cathcart says Lane is a bright young woman from a small town “who is growing up to be a very strong leader.”

Lane says she strives to be courageous, create opportunities and do her best. In the fall of 2011, she became the first Governor’s Office intern in Gov. LePage’s administration.

Honors College members are encouraged in their junior tutorials to study abroad or take part in an alternate learning experience. As Lane was carrying a 21-credit course load, studying abroad wasn’t feasible.

So she pursued the opportunity for an experience in the Governor’s Office and she landed an internship with Cianchette, Gov. LePage’s chief legal counsel.

Lane recounts a number of highlights, including Pardons Board hearings. She relished the internship so much she extended it for a month and wrote a handbook guide for future interns.

In order to graduate in three years with 120 credits, the commuter has taken as many as 21 credits a semester and enrolled in summer classes. She also earned 10 college credits when she was a student at Katahdin Middle/High School, where she was valedictorian of the Class of 2010.

Throughout her college career, Lane has also worked six to 10 hours a week at her father’s logging business in Patten, where she has been employed since she was 13.

During the 1.5-hour drive to Patten, which is home to about 1,000 people, Lane says she listens to music and frequently composes papers in her head.

A calendar and sticky notes help her keep everything on track.

“If it needs to get done, then it is written down on a list somewhere,” she says. “Sometimes, when things get crazy, that includes a note reminding me to take a little time off. I am a planner, I have an end goal and I like to challenge myself.”

Entering her final semester, Lane’s grade-point average was 3.89.

She says her friends and supporters also occasionally remind her to relax, which for her means cooking, reading magazines, gardening and watching movies with her fiancé.

After law school, Lane is considering specializing in employment law or mediation.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

UMaine Alumnus Discusses His Work to End Child Soldiering in Africa

Monday, March 25th, 2013

A University of Maine graduate dedicated to building cultures of peace to prevent new wars and advancing universal secondary education of youth in Africa will deliver the 2013 John M. Rezendes Ethics Lecture on campus April 2.

Arthur Serota, the 2008 winner of UMaine’s Bernard Lown ’42 Alumni Humanitarian Award, is executive director of the nonprofit United Movement to End Child Soldiering (UMECS), based in Washington, D.C.

His free, public talk, “To Look the Other Way or Not: Ethical Choices We Make,” begins at 3:30 p.m. in Hauck Auditorium in the Memorial Union. A reception will follow. For more information or to request disability accommodations, call 581.3263.

In 1966, Serota earned a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences at UMaine and in the ’80s, he lived and worked in the Republic of Zimbabwe, teaching, building schools and taking part in agricultural and reforestation projects.

After witnessing a rebel army invasion in Zimbabwe that included child soldiers, the Brooklyn, N.Y. native helped form UMECS. Its goal, Serota says, is to transition cultures of war to cultures of peace and thereby prevent additional wars, genocides and child soldiering. UMECS provides grassroots, school-based and community-based programs that seek to stimulate access to education, a sustainable culture of peace, female empowerment, environmental management and economic development.

UMECS and the Council on Foreign Relations estimate 300,000 child soldiers are involved in conflicts worldwide — many of them in Africa. In addition, there are many millions more youth directly affected by conflicts.

Millions of traumatized former child soldiers and other youth affected by conflict worldwide need rehabilitation and education in order to reintegrate into society, Serota says. “The decision to provide rehabilitation and education to children and youth affected by conflict and to build cultures of peace to prevent new wars are some of the ethical choices we make,” he says.

Taking part in efforts that save lives, focus on immediate and long-term needs, and transform situations detrimental to human dignity are ethical choices, says Serota, a human rights attorney who earned a law degree from Suffolk University Law School.

In 2000, Dennis Rezendes, ’57, established University of Maine Foundation funds to annually host a visiting scholar in ethics to honor his father, John and to engage staff, students and community members in ethical issues. Honors College and the Cultural Affairs/Distinguished Lecture Series Fund sponsor, in part, the John M. Rezendes Visiting Scholar in Ethics.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Upward of 120 Presentations Expected at 2013 GradExpo

Monday, March 25th, 2013

University of Maine graduate students will present their research, artistic works, projects and collaborations during the 2013 Graduate Academic Exposition, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday, March 28–29.

This year more than $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to graduate student participants.

The GradExpo will be held in the new Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center on the UMaine campus, and will include an open house of the facility.

The event will feature four areas of competition — poster presentations, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event. Upward of 120 presentations are expected at this year’s expo.

The poster and oral presentations will highlight the physical sciences and technology, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. The intermedia and fine arts exhibits will include art works, projects and performances. The PechaKucha competition, open to students in all academic disciplines, invites participants to share their work in a slide show lasting under seven minutes. Unlike the other presentations, the PechaKucha talks will be judged by the audience rather than faculty reviewers.

The expo will also feature a new roundtable discussion. This year’s talk will focus on cellulose nanotechnology, and five graduate students will address questions on the topic. The student presenters are Alper Kiziltas, Yucheng Peng, Esra Erbas Kiziltas, Melanie Blumentritt and Nadir Yildirim.

Photographs submitted in the first Graduate Student Photo Contest will also be featured.

Graduate students are invited to a screening of a feature film by Jorge Cham, creator of the online comic series “Piled Higher and Deeper” (aka “PhD Comics”) at 6 p.m. Thursday night. The awards gala at 6:30 p.m. Friday begins with light refreshments and a social.

Awards will include:

  • The Foster Center for Student Innovation Commercialization Prize, $100.
  • Three awards in each of the four presentation divisions from the Graduate Student Government, with faculty judges choosing winners based on academic worthiness, excellence of presentation and skill in making the work understandable to a wide audience, $600, $300 and $150.
  • The Graduate Student Photo Contest Award, presented to graduate students who submitted photos in the categories of graduate student life and graduate student research, $100, $50 and $25.
  • The Graduate Dean’s Undergraduate Mentoring Award, presented for effective undergraduate mentoring in research, $500, $250 and $100.
  • The President’s Research Impact Award, given to the graduate student and adviser who best exemplify the UMaine mission of teaching, research and outreach, $2,000.

Visitors will also vote for their favorite presentation, which will receive a cash prize.

“We are pushing for more community attendance this year,” says Charles Rodda, vice president of the UMaine Graduate Student Government. “This is the first event being held in the new Stewart Hall. Community members interested in the new intermedia facilities are encouraged to attend and will be offered tours and demonstrations.”

For additional information, to become a judge or to request disability accommodations, contact Charles Rodda, 207.210.4969.

Details about the GradExpo are online.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

UMaine’s Page Museum to Celebrate Maine Maple Sunday

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Children and their families are invited to join the Page Farm and Home Museum’s celebration of Maine Maple Sunday from 1–3 p.m., March 24 at the University of Maine. The event begins at the museum with a video, “The Maple Sugaring Story.” For youngsters in grades K–5, there will be activities, games and stories about syrup making — one of Maine’s oldest traditions and seasonal business enterprises.

UMaine’s sugar bush in the University Forest off College Avenue Extension, approximately 1.5 miles from the campus, will be open for tours. Visitors can see sap being made into syrup in the sugarhouse, sample syrup and take part in a “sugar-on-snow” party.

Preregistration is required. A $4 per person fee covers materials. Children must be chaperoned by an adult with transportation. For more information, to preregister or to request disability accommodations, call 207.581.4100.

University of Maine Spring Break Projects List

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Dozens of University of Maine students will spend spring break March 4–15 in far-away places doing volunteer work in schools, hospitals, animal shelters, orphanages, nature preserves, farms and building housing and a Honduran village’s first sewage system.

Here is a partial list of places and projects.

  • Honduras — Five student members of the UMaine chapter of Engineers Without Borders will return to Dulce Vivir on the outskirts of Dulce Nombre in Honduras to complete work started in 2008 designing and building a sewage collection system for a village of 120 people struggling with water contamination from overflowing latrines during the rainy season.
  • Nicaragua — REACH (Respect Education Action Community Hope) at UMaine is sending 12 students to Jinotega, Nicaragua March 2–15 under the auspicious of the Circulo de Amigas organization to help with library repairs and encouraging children to read. They’ll also help out in a home for disabled children and a maternity home.
  • Costa Rica — REACH (Respect Education Action Community Hope) at UMaine is sending 12 students to Mastatal, Costa Rica March 3–16 to assist local farmers with aquaponics and organic farming.
  • Belize — Thirteen students in the UMaine School of Nursing are partnering with International Service Learning to offer medical assistance in rural clinics in San Ignacio, Cayo District of Belize. They’ll work with physicians providing health care to underprivileged families and children.

The UMaine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism and UMaine Alternative Break are organizing dozens of students planning spring break trips in the United States. Projects include:

  • Helping children victimized by domestic abuse in Virginia
  • Improving housing conditions for low-income families in the coal camp communities of West Virginia
  • Assisting at a rescue camp for neglected and abused animals in Pennsylvania
  • Providing respite in Florida for vacationing families of children with terminal illnesses
  • Helping with disaster relief and rebuilding of homes in New Orleans
  • And maintenance and trail restoration in the Grand Canyon in Arizona and in the Moody Forest Natural Area in Georgia.

Contact: George Manlove, 207.581.3756