UMaine faculty and students to present at Maine Sustainability and Water Conference

University of Maine faculty and students will participate in the 2024 Maine Sustainability and Water Conference Thursday, March 28 at the Augusta Civic Center from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. This annual forum, hosted by the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, is expected to bring more than 500 people of diverse backgrounds together to examine sustainability and water resource issues in the state.

The conference session “Community-Driven Resilience in Energy Transitions and Climate Adaptation” will be led by School of Economics associate professors Sharon Klein and Caroline Noblet. During the session, graduate student Faizan Saif and undergraduate student Louise Chaplin will facilitate a discussion on the Maine Community-Led Energy and Climate Action Network (MAINECAN), and graduate student Catherine Mardosa will facilitate a discussion on diversity in the Maine Climate Plan Update. Doctoral students Jasmine Lamb and Gary Fearon will help lead the section and will facilitate discussions. Lamb is the founder and chair of the Sipayik Resilience Committee, and Fearon is the Penobscot Nation Housing director. Other UMaine undergraduate students will assist Klein and Noblet throughout the session as part of their service-learning work. 

The session titled “Communication in Conserving Maine’s Lakes, Streams and Rivers” will be led by Katie Swacha, assistant professor of English, and Elizabeth Payne, lecturer in technical communication. The session will explore the diverse approaches to communication and collaboration that are used by watershed conservation groups throughout Maine.

 Presenters for the session “Developing a network to facilitate interdisciplinary approaches to healing Maine’s rivers” include UMaine graduate student Beth Yima Davis, who will share her findings on how Maine streams are impacted by large wood addition restoration projects, and Hamish Greig, associate professor of stream ecology, who will present on “A Food Web Perspective on Instream Habitat Restoration in Maine Rivers.”

 In the session “Maine Lake Resilience and Response to Regional and Climate Stressors,” doctoral student Amanda Gavin will present her research on the effects of climate change on Maine mountain ponds. Also in this session, postdoctoral student Jianheng Zhao will share findings on the economic benefits of Maine’s 2,700 designated “great ponds” and lakes. The Maine Water Resources Research Institute provided funding for both of these studies.

 Graduate student Ben Cotton will present his research into the use, change and management needs of Maine’s public waterfront facilities during the session “Protecting and Enhancing Access to the Coast for Commercial Harvesters and the Public.”

 Members of the UMaine community will also present during the conference poster session, with 14 separate posters highlighting student work. Presenting students include undergraduates Chaplin, Melissa Genoter, Melissa Godin, Ruth Griffith, David J. Libby, and Addie Stone and graduate students Deborah Alademehin, Paulina Alulema-Pullupaxi, Muhammad Drammeh, Jessica Hutchinson, Cade King, Carrie Loomis, Sonora Ortiz and Alaina Ring.