Penobscot Bay Pilot reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a train-the-trainer workshop for those interested in leading 4-H National Youth Science Day (NYSD) experiments at their work sites. Designed for 4-H volunteers, teachers, library staff and after-school or childcare providers, the workshop will be available via distance learning at sites throughout the state in September and October. NYSD is held annually to promote programming that sparks interest and leadership in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
The University of Maine was mentioned in articles by the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News on climate change and the increase of ticks and Lyme disease. Both reports referenced a question on the November ballot that will ask voters to approve an $8 million bond that would support a laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for monitoring Lyme disease and other health threats related to mosquitoes, bed bugs and ticks. Research from UMaine’s Climate Change Institute also was referenced in the BDN article. A clinical research associate at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, which tracks tick populations in the state, said CCI research shows the state will grow significantly warmer by 2050.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on Maine AgrAbility, a USDA grant-funded state program that helps farmers with chronic health conditions and disabilities gain more control of their lives, continue to farm successfully and live independently. The program is a nonprofit collaboration of University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. The report focused on a farmer in Winterport who was helped by the program. Richard Brzozowski, project director of Maine AgrAbility and a small ruminant and poultry specialist with UMaine Extension, told WABI “You don’t look at the disability part. You think of what they can do; the ability part.”
Natalie Springuel of Maine Sea Grant spoke with the Bangor Daily News about the Downeast Fisheries Trail, which showcases the state’s fisheries heritage at about 50 sites, including historical societies, fisheries museums and places such as the Cherryfield Cable Pool, a favorite spot for Atlantic salmon fly fishermen, the article states. “A trend in travel is that people want to connect to the real thing on the ground,” said Springuel, the coordinator of the trail. “They want to connect with local people. They want to know how they make a living. They want to know how to lobster, and how to pull up a trap. They want really concrete experiences to understand a place on a deeper level, and then they want to taste it at the end. So yeah, I think the fisheries trail provides a deeper understanding of a place and its people.”
WABI (Channel 5) reported the order of bond questions for the November ballot was determined by a drawing in Augusta. A bond referring to funds for an animal and plant disease and insect control lab administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension was selected as Question 2. The question reads, “Do you favor an $8,000,000 bond issue to support Maine agriculture, facilitate economic growth in natural resources-based industries and monitor human health threats related to ticks, mosquitoes and bedbugs through the creation of an animal and plant disease and insect control laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service?”
Sarah Redmond, a Maine Sea Grant aquaculture specialist at the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, was interviewed for a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report about beer made with seaweed at the Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. in Belfast, Maine. David Carlson, the company’s owner, has been consulting with scientists including Redmond about using seaweed in the beverage. Redmond said if researchers can figure out how to farm seaweed on sea farms, then there will be a more sustainable source that could lead to innovation and new products, such as fertilizer, food ingredients, nutritional supplements or beer. NPR also carried the report.
Keri Kaczor, of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and coordinator of Maine Healthy Beaches, spoke with SeacoastOnline about the health of Maine’s beaches following the release of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s annual report on the water quality at beaches throughout the nation. Maine Healthy Beaches is a partnership between the UMaine Extension/Sea Grant, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and local municipalities. The statewide organization is dedicated to monitoring and keeping beaches clean. Kaczor said despite Maine’s low rank in the NRDC report, there are plenty of beaches in the state with nearly spotless records, and most of those beaches are in state or national parks where there is little to no developmen
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Professor Jane Haskell specializes in strengthening skills of group facilitators so meetings can be conducted effectively and efficiently. Fishermen and graduate students are among her more than 400 clients.
This summer, Haskell, who has authored a national facilitation-training curriculum, is working with members of Wabanaki Nations.
She’s also researching how to buoy skills of facilitators who assist refugees. Specifically, she’s studying how American-born, English-speaking facilitators and group leaders ask for feedback from refugees who have recently arrived in the United States.
Refugees, she says, may not have positive experience with regard to giving comments in a formal group setting and may not understand the concept from a Western perspective or framework.
Haskell and a colleague who specializes in immigration and refugees issues are exploring how to best partner with refugees so that their perspectives are heard and understood in Maine.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, heavy rainfall, flooding, high winds and rip currents. All of these can affect people who live on shorefront land. To help property owners take steps now to make their homes more resilient and less damage-prone over the long run, Maine Sea Grant has updated the Maine Property Owner’s Guide to Managing Flooding, Erosion & Other Coastal Hazards.
The online resource contains detailed information on navigating state and federal regulatory and permitting processes associated with actions such as elevating a house, moving a house back away from the water, restoring dunes, creating buffers and stabilizing coastal bluffs. Normandeau Associates Environmental Consultants worked in partnership with Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension to make this new information available. Now, not only can coastal property owners learn more about the hazards they face and what can be done to protect their property, they also can access step-by-step recommendations and permitting guidance.
Examples of property owners who have taken some of these steps are highlighted in case studies from across southern Maine. Information about a tour of resilient properties to be offered in September will be online.
Property owners in Maine’s coastal communities are encouraged to review this updated guidance document as soon as possible. By taking action now to prevent hurricane damage, public and private property owners can greatly reduce their risk of damage and avoid significant costs and delays associated with repairs and restoration.
The Bangor Daily News article, “UMaine researchers helping coastal communities weather the storms,” focused on a study being conducted by a team of UMaine researchers who are seeking to figure out the effects of climate change on coastal communities. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative. According to the article, the team worked with people from Lincolnville and Ellsworth over 18 months to develop plans to deal with overtapped culverts. The communities were selected as models to generate information that hopefully will have broader applications around the coast. “Culverts are the backbone of infrastructure. They’re super important to communities. When they fail, it can be very expensive and disastrous for homeowners or for businesses, or for people traveling on that road. People have lost their lives,” said team member Esperanza Stancioff, an associate extension professor at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant.