Chefs often go to the docks to select fresh catch to prepare their evening seafood dinners.
In the near future, area chefs and the public may routinely be getting fresh, sustainable fish from a Maine-based indoor fish farm.
A number of locals are working toward that future, including middle-school students, educators, marine scientists, businesspeople, funders, and a fisherman who helps run a cooperative. Participants involved in this cutting-edge indoor fish farming technology project will gather at Herring Gut Learning Center in Port Clyde on Thursday, Feb. 6.
Following are snapshots of the participating organizations:
School of Roots at the Herring Gut Learning Center, Port Clyde, Maine
The School of Roots, a student-run aquaponics business established in 2010, is managed by middle-school youth in RSU 13’s Alternative Education Program at the Herring Gut Learning Center. The students learn academic concepts while developing, marketing and selling products to grocers, restaurants and community members. They previously test-marketed and sold black sea bass produced by Acadia Harvest and are now premarketing Acadia Harvest’s California yellowtail. Feb. 6, the students will help harvest the fish; they plan to have them all sold within 48 hours of harvest.
For more information on the School of Roots, visit herringgut.org/schoolofroots.html?id=1.
For more information on Herring Gut Learning Center, visit herringgut.org.
Acadia Harvest Inc., Brunswick, Maine
Acadia Harvest was formed in early 2011 as RAS Corporation. Acadia Harvest (AHI) is working at the University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin, Maine, to develop new technologies in land-based, indoor sustainable fish farming, known as recirculating aquaculture systems. Principals Chris Heinig (CEO), Tap Pryor (chief scientist) and Ed Robinson (chairman) have been growing and test marketing high-quality, nutritious, affordable fish, both California yellowtail and black sea bass. By 2016, they anticipate having their first commercial-scale production facility in Maine to initially produce 250 to 450 metric tons of fish annually. With a SBIR Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation, the company has experimented with marine worms and various forms of algae in the recirculating aquaculture system to achieve an environmentally friendly “zero-waste” facility. AHI has a purchase option on a parcel of land in Gouldsboro, on the site of a former naval facility at Corea. The construction of a first-phase production facility would involve a multi-million dollar investment and the creation of 10–15 new jobs for the area.
University of Maine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, Franklin, Maine
UMaine’s Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research, directed by Nick Brown, is a business incubation facility and a center for applied aquaculture research, development and demonstration. CCAR is assisting Acadia Harvest in its development of recirculating aquaculture technology by providing sophisticated aquaculture business incubation facilities, recirculation technology and marine research expertise. CCAR also will provide juvenile fish from its state-of-the-art hatchery for Acadia Harvest.
For more information about UMaine’s CCAR, visit www.ccar.um.maine.edu/index.html.
Port Clyde Fresh Catch: A Maine Fishermen’s Cooperative, Port Clyde, Maine
Port Clyde Fresh Catch is the country’s first community-supported fishery. It’s part of a movement seeking to do for small-scale local fishermen what community-supported agriculture does for farmers. On Feb. 6, Glen Libby and the Port Clyde team will process the California yellowtail grown by Acadia Harvest.
For more information about Port Clyde Fresh Catch, visit portclydefreshcatch.com.
Both Maine Technology Institute and Coastal Enterprises, Inc. have provided funding that has been instrumental in Acadia Harvest’s development of indoor fish farming technology.
Maine Technology Institute (MTI), Brunswick, Maine
The Maine Technology Institute is a private nonprofit organization chartered by the state to “invest in innovation” in seven key sectors. MTI funds entrepreneurs, growing businesses and research institutions engaged in research and development of innovative technologies in Aquaculture & Marine, Agriculture & Forestry, Biotechnology, Precision Manufacturing, Advanced Composites, Information Technology and Environmental Technology. In addition to a competitive grant and loan program, MTI also makes equity investments in promising technologies. Since its founding in 1999, MTI has invested more than $178 million in the Maine economy, bringing in more than $250 million of additional investment to Maine, and creating high-quality jobs and long-term value for the state.
For more information about MTI, visit mainetechnology.org.
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), Wiscasset, Maine
CEI, a 501(c)(3) private, nonprofit Community Development Corporation (CDC) and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), is among the leading rural finance entities in the Northeast. Founded in 1977, and headquartered in Maine, CEI has provided $1.05 billion in loans and investments, and business and housing counseling services to more than 43,082 people, helping to create economically and environmentally healthy communities in New England, upstate New York, and throughout rural America.
For more information about CEI, visit ceimaine.org.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Finding more efficient ways to serve Maine landowners by incorporating social work strategies — including effective communication and resource- linking skills — into forest management is the goal of a collaborative project between researchers at two schools in the University of Maine College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.
Jessica Leahy, an associate professor of human dimensions of natural resources in the UMaine School of Forest Resources, is leading the study that tests social work approaches to conservation in the Cumberland County town of Baldwin and surrounding communities. Researchers hope to determine if these strategies could lead to more effective outcomes to landowners’ challenges as opposed to using traditional forestry solutions, such as management plans and outreach materials.
“Social workers are good at listening to people — understanding their needs and connecting people to appropriate resources,” Leahy says. “That’s why we need social workers to help landowners; to listen to what they’d like to do with their land, and then connect and coordinate services from natural resource professionals.”
There are more than 85,000 families in Maine that own at least 10 acres of woods, Leahy says. Their needs can be addressed by UMaine, the Maine Forest Service and others if those organizations can provide services that work for landowners, she adds.
Many conservation problems are related to social and economic factors. While foresters and other natural resource professionals help landowners make decisions about land management, they may not be equipped to handle the challenges landowners face that involve family dynamics. A social work approach could be the answer to solving these conservation problems, Leahy says.
“Foresters specialize in land management and trees, but landowners are often dealing with human issues such as how to afford their taxes and how to talk to their family about what they’d like to happen with their land after they pass away,” she says. “Landowners also often don’t know what a forester can do for them nor do they know how to coordinate all the potential natural resource professionals that are there to help them.”
Leahy, the project’s forestry expert, hired Doug Robertson and Chris Young, students in the UMaine School of Social Work. Both Robertson, a senior in the bachelor’s of social work program from Benton, Maine, and Young, a first-year graduate student of social work from Bangor, Maine, grew up around Maine woodland owners. They’re interested in connecting with landowners through the project and learning more about the land that many families rely on and how community organizations can help.
Pam Wells, a licensed clinical social worker, is supervising the students and translating the social work aspect of the project. She is also a landowner who recognizes areas where social work and forestry intersect.
“Pam often talks about how challenging it is to find, understand and coordinate the various assistance programs that are out there for landowners like the Tree Growth Tax Law, Natural Resources Conservation Service cost-share programs and programs offered by the Maine Forest Service,” Leahy says.
Kevin Doran and Andy Shultz of the Maine Forest Service are also helping with the study.
The one-year project, which began in Sept. 2013 and runs through August 2014, received a $6,500 Maine Community Foundation grant. The project’s social work approach to conservation has been untested to date, Leahy says.
“It’s an innovative, highly experimental, never-been-done-before project that is bridging forestry and social work together in an effort to better engage and serve rural families who own forestland in southern Maine,” she says.
Part of the project will include the development of a forest-specific wraparound case management process that will be implemented with one landowning family. The wraparound process in social work recognizes that all aspects of someone’s life — social, economic and ecological — are related. This understanding is then used to help the individual by focusing on incremental progress, involving community support and using science-based interventions, according to Leahy.
The focus of the project will be on measuring and evaluating the outcomes of the approach to improve future efforts.
“Ultimately, we hope more landowners will be empowered to be stewards of their land, and that will lead to healthy forests, healthy rural economies and healthy families,” Leahy says.
Other aspects of the community project include assisting the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine with succession planning efforts, offering peer-to-peer learning experiences such as suppers and forums, organizing workshops for natural resource professionals to increase their cultural competency and researching community interest in creating a low-income wood bank — similar to a food bank — for the Baldwin area.
Upcoming peer-to-peer learning events include the project’s second woods forum and community supper Feb. 7, a workshop on estate planning for landowners Feb. 27 and a Forester’s Institute brown bag lunch on cultural competency April 11.
Robertson and Young are looking for a family to work with on the project. Interested families must live in Sebago, Hiram, Cornish, Limington, Baldwin or Standish and own at least 10 acres. To participate or for more information on the project or scheduled workshops, call Robertson, 207.435.4798, or Young, 207.992.6182.
Kepware Technologies, a software development company focused on communications for automation, announced it is donating $30,000 worth of software to the University of Maine’s Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) Program. Kepware will outfit each of the 12 computers in the programmable logic controller lab with licenses for its professional-grade suite. About 100 students in the EET program will use Kepware’s software for required classes, which the other 370 full-time students in the School of Engineering Technology can also take as electives. Kepware Technologies’ office is located in Portland, Maine. The full news release is available online.
The University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation is seeking motivated, innovative Maine college students and Maine companies that want to make a difference for the state through the Blackstone Accelerates Growth (BxG) Innovate for Maine Fellows program, supported by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
The BxG Innovate for Maine Fellows program connects the best and brightest Maine college students with the state’s most exciting, growing companies as a way to grow and create jobs in Maine through innovation and entrepreneurship. The program, which is now accepting applications, offers paid internships that place students with companies to receive training in innovation and entrepreneurship, and real-world job experience. Other benefits include potential academic credit and networking opportunities with Maine businesses and other students.
Applications are also available for Maine companies looking for summer interns. Trained innovation experts guide and mentor both the student and the company for the duration of the project.
The application deadline for both fellows and companies is March 1, 2014. More information and applications for the Innovate for Maine program are online.
Mary Ellen Camire, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine, spoke to the Portland Press Herald for an article about the potato industry and supporters in Congress pushing to scrap a policy that prevents women from buying potatoes with vouchers they get through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program. Camire, who has researched the nutritional value of and consumers’ attitudes about potatoes, said potatoes are inexpensive, keep for long periods, are low in sodium and contain more protein and fiber than many other vegetables. She said she supports increasing the availability of potatoes to families.
The latest column in the Portland Press Herald’s Maine Gardener series included information on programs offered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff. Lois Berg Stack, an ornamental horticulture specialist with UMaine Extension, will teach soil science for gardeners April 15–16 at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Brunswick, and a beginning beekeeping course will be offered at the UMaine Extension’s Cumberland County office in Falmouth on Thursday nights from Feb. 13 to March 13.
Is a purple potato more appealing than a white one?
Kelly Koss, a University of Maine student pursuing a master’s degree in food science and human nutrition, plans to find out.
Since many children in the United States do not eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, Koss has decided to test whether they are more apt to eat a veggie that has a novel, bright color. Koss is seeking 100 children from 8 to 10 years of age to take part in a 50-minute study during February vacation. Participating children will be asked to sample two cooked potatoes (one purple, one white), as well as raw cauliflower (orange and white) and raw carrots (yellow and orange), then answer several questions.
The study will be conducted in the Consumer Testing Center in Hitchner Hall on the UMaine campus. Volunteers who complete the study will earn $10. Mary Ellen Camire, professor of food science and human nutrition in the School of Food and Agriculture, is Koss’ adviser.
All of the vegetables are grown naturally and are not artificially colored, Koss says. Children who are allergic to cooked potatoes, raw cauliflower, raw carrots, dairy, eggs or ranch dressing are not permitted to participate. If interested, and for more information, contact Koss at 207.581.1733 or email@example.com.
WABI (Channel 5) interviewed Oliver Wahlstrom, a seventh-grader who plays varsity ice hockey at North Yarmouth Academy and who earlier this year verbally committed to attend the University of Maine and play hockey, in 2019.
Wahlstrom, 13, told WABI that he wants to enroll at UMaine because he loves the school, is not a city guy and that the Black Bear coaching staff is “unbelievable.”
The Bangor Daily News wrote about Saturday morning’s scheduled opening of the renovated University of Maine New Balance Field House.
The public will get its first look at the nearly $5 million in renovations at Saturday’s Penobscot Valley Conference-Eastern Maine Indoor Track League.
WVII (Channel 7) talked with University of Maine sophomore Matt Dexter about his summer plans — taking part in the 4K for Cancer.
For 42 days, Dexter and 33 other college students will team up to complete a 4,000-mile team run from San Francisco, Calif. to Baltimore, Md. Their goals are to raise awareness of cancer and raise money for cancer research.
“It’s important to me because my mother passed away from cancer in 2008. I realized I wasn’t alone and there’s a lot of people out there who are affected by this terrible, terrible disease,” says Dexter, who is majoring in psychology.
Along the way, Dexter and his teammates will visit hospitals and give college scholarships to young adults fighting cancer.