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Study to Focus on What the Public Wants in Outdoor Recreation

Sandra De Urioste-Stone, assistant professor of nature-based tourism, and John Daigle, associate professor of forest recreation management, have received a $34,499 grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry for the study: “How Well Are We Serving the Outdoor Recreation Public?” The purpose of this study is to investigate perspectives on outdoor recreation preferences and priorities, and perceptions on tourism development to help the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and other outdoor recreation managers to better understand current demand and improve decision-making. An online survey will be used to test conventional wisdom and open up new thinking regarding what the public wants and how they can best be served. In addition, study participants will be asked questions about their attitudes and beliefs about developing sustainable tourism in their communities. Data collected will be used to develop the 2015–20 Maine State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). The plan requires that an analysis of outdoor recreation demand, supply, trends, and ultimately priorities be documented.

Research Objectives:

The survey population for this study seeks to entice responses from both the general residents of Maine as well as nonresidents who have recreated in Maine and have paid some type of recreation fee for fishing, hunting, camping reservations, etc.

While the data collected on recreational preferences and behaviors will benefit the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the questions related to sustainable tourism will have new scientific significance. Questions on sustainable tourism will utilize an attempt to revalidate the Sustainable Tourism Attitude Scale, a published psychometric instrument that has not yet been implemented on a statewide scale.

UMaine, O’Brien Medical Collaboration Results in Patented Device

O’Brien Medical announced it has been granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its Electronic Tuning Fork, or ETF. The device offers a significant improvement over current methods used by doctors to detect diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a common precursor to diabetic limb loss.

The development of the ETF was made possible through a collaboration with Dr. Todd O’Brien, president and founder of O’Brien Medical, and the University of Maine.

More than five years ago, O’Brien approached UMaine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center for help developing a proof-of-concept ETF, and then worked with Bruce Segee of UMaine’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to develop the beta and commercial versions of the device.

Segee calls the project a perfect example of how the university can help grow the Maine economy.

A Maine electronics manufacturer has been selected to produce the ETF, and O’Brien expects the device will be available for purchase in late 2014.

The full news release is available online.

UMaine, Ward to be Featured in ‘State of the State’ TV Program

Jake Ward, the University of Maine’s vice president for innovation and economic development, will be featured on an upcoming episode of the Maine Center for Economic Policy’s television show, “State of the State.” The weekly talk show focuses on Maine issues and is hosted by MECEP staff. The new episode will focus on research and development and will look at the university’s role in the growth of two Maine companies — Acadia Harvest and Kenway Corp. The episode will air on Time Warner Cable’s Channel 9 at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17 and Thursday, April 24. A podcast of the full program also will be available on MECEP’s website. More information about the upcoming show can be found on the MECEP blog.

Become a Community Resource for Food Preservation, Safety

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

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

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

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

WLBZ, WVII Cover Big Gig Finale at Foster Center

WLBZ (Channel 2) and WVII (Channel 7) attend the Big Gig finale at the University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation. Finalists from the last three Big Gig pitch-off events competed for a $1,000 grand prize sponsored by University Credit Union. Jessica Jewell of Northern Maine Distilling Co. was named the winner. The other finalists were John and Christine Carney of Thick & Thin Designs, and Bruce and Kathy Chamberlain of Stone Fox Farm Creamery. UMaine student Christine Carney told WLBZ the experience and getting to connect with people in the community has been invaluable. 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.

UMaine’s Oldest A Capella Group Becomes the First Student Performing Arts Organization to Endow a Scholarship With the University of Maine Foundation

With an initial $2,500 donation, The Maine Steiners, the University of Maine’s oldest a cappella group, became the first performing arts student organization to establish an endowed scholarship fund with the University of Maine Foundation.

The Maine Steiners Vocal Music Scholarship Fund will promote ensemble singing at the University of Maine, according to the group’s business manager Morgan Cates.

“We wanted to find a way to support involvement with the School of Performing Arts for years to come. It is our goal that this scholarship will give students the opportunity to get involved with the arts who otherwise may not have had that opportunity,” Cates says.

The $2,500 gift along with an $8,000 pledge met the $10,000 goal established for new endowed funds with the addition of matching funds from the University of Maine Foundation’s 80th anniversary matching gift program. The gift included $500 for immediate distribution of the first scholarship in fall 2015.

“We are very appreciative of the Maine Steiners for their commitment to this much needed scholarship support and their vision for the future of the performing arts at UMaine,” says Foundation President Jeff Mills. “This fund represents a significant contribution for a student group.”

Ongoing fundraising for the scholarship fund will occur with the creation of limited edition engraved steins in a “Fill the Steins!” campaign. Steins are currently in production at UMaine’s Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center in partnership with the Intermedia MFA Program.

The campaign will offer a different stein design annually for the next four years. The first stein will be unveiled in the coming weeks, with subsequent designs offered every January. Each of the 25 annual steins cost $100.

In addition, the Steiners’ next album “Thank You for the Sing!” will be out this month. It is the Steiners’ first album since 2010. The group has spent more than 60 hours in the IMRC Center’s studio, recording tracks in collaboration with audio engineer Duane Shimmel.

“Thank You for the Sing!” will include arrangements of classics such as “Live Like We’re Dying” and “A Little Less Conversation.” A launch party for the album will be held at the IMRC Center April 25. All seven current Steiners perform on the album.

Gateway Mastering, owned by Grammy award-winning mastering engineer Bob Ludwig, will master the tracks. Shimmel and Cates are the producers.

These efforts are in addition to the Steiners’ preparation for their annual spring tour, which will happen in May and take the group across the state and as far as New York.

In addition to Cates, who is from Camden, Maine, the other Steiners are: five other members from Maine — Cain Landry and Forrest Tripp of Saco, Avery Topel of Windham, Derek Willette of Hampden and Mike Knowles of Charlotte; and Rob Laraway of Tilton, N.H.

Anyone interested in the spring tour performance locations or in supporting the fund by purchasing an album or stein can contact steiners@umit.maine.edu or go online (mainesteiners.com). Albums are $10 and will be available at Bull Moose Music and the University Bookstore, and at all Maine Steiners live performances.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745;

Workshop Introduces Systematic Approach to Innovation

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.


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UMaine News
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
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