The Maine maple syrup that enhances the flavor of pancakes and ice cream also adds to the statewide economy.
University of Maine economist Todd Gabe says, including multiplier effects, Maine’s maple industry annually contributes about $49 million in revenue, 805 full- and part-time jobs and $25 million in wages to the state’s economy.
Multiplier effects occur when an increase in one economic activity initiates a chain reaction of additional spending. In this case, the additional spending is by maple farms, businesses that are part of the maple industry and their employees.
“The maple producers were really helpful in providing me with information about their operations, which allowed for a really detailed analysis of their economic impact,” says Gabe, whose study was released in February.
Each year, the industry directly contributes about $27.7 million in revenue, 567 full- and part-time jobs, and $17.3 million in wages to Maine’s economy, Gabe says.
Maple producers earn about 75 percent of the revenue through sales of syrup and other maple products, including maple candy, maple taffy, maple whoopie pies and maple-coated nuts, he says.
Retail sales at food stores and the estimated spending of Maine Maple Sunday visitors on items such as gasoline and meals accounts for the remainder of revenue. This year, Maine Maple Sunday will be celebrated Sunday, March 23 at 88 sugar shacks and farms across the Pine Tree state.
Maine has the third-largest maple industry in the United States. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, maple syrup is produced in 10 states — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin.
In 2013, Maine accounted for 450,000 gallons, or 14 percent, of the 3,253,000 million gallons produced in the U.S. Vermont (1,320,000 gallons) and New York (574,000) were the top two producers. Among the three top-producing states, Maine had the highest growth rate (25 percent) of production between 2011 and 2013, Gabe reports.
In Maine, the maple production industry appears to be dominated by a few large operations; the 10 percent of maple farms with 10,000 or more taps account for 86 percent of the total number of taps in the state, he says.
While the maple producers that participated in Gabe’s study had an average of 4,109 taps, almost 40 percent of Maine’s maple producers had fewer than 250 taps. The study participants have been tapping trees and boiling sap for an average of 24 years.
Depending on temperature and water availability, the length of the sap flow season varies; in 2013 it ran from March 4 to April 12 in Maine.
Close to 40 percent of the maple producers that are licensed in Maine returned surveys for the study, which received financial support from the Maine Agricultural Development Grant Fund and the Maine Maple Producers Association.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
University of Maine graduate student Noah Oppenheim was interviewed for a Hawaii News Now story about marine scientists and students attending the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu who participated in dives to clean up debris littering a coral reef. Oppenheim, who is pursuing dual degrees in marine biology and marine policy at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, helped remove trash from the reef, including fast food containers, bits of plastic, aluminum cans, a car battery, an outboard motor and an automobile tire.
The Weekly carried a report on the Penobscot Valley Senior College and the spring courses it is offering starting March 11. The college is affiliated with the University of Maine Center on Aging and the Maine Senior College Network. It offers noncredit courses and learning opportunities such as local history, painting and health care for people 50 years and older.
Phys.org published a report on an observation protocol that can document college instruction and student learning of STEM that was developed by Michelle Smith, assistant professor in the University of Maine’s School of Biology and Ecology and member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education. Over a two-year period, Smith and three researchers from the University of British Columbia, tested and validated the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) by which observers document instructor and student behaviors in two-minute intervals during the class period. The results can help inform professors of their behaviors and the behaviors of students during class.
Fred Knight, former director and dean of the University of Maine School of Forest Resources, passed away Feb. 25, 2014 at 88 years old. His obituary is available online.
Robert Rice, a professor of wood science and technology at the University of Maine, spoke with the Bangor Daily News for an article about innovation playing an important role in the future of Maine’s pulp and paper industry. The article states an integral part of the innovations occurring at Old Town Fuel and Fiber is the mill’s collaboration with UMaine and its Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI). The relationship gives the mill the opportunity to take advantage of R&D capabilities it wouldn’t necessarily have access to. Rice said there are no huge changes in technology that will suddenly appear, but he thinks the industry’s economics have the potential to change over time with the addition of new conversions and methods.
Sabrina Vivian, a third-year ecology and environmental science major at the University of Maine, was quoted in the Maine Public Broadcasting Network report titled “UMaine students press again for fossil fuel divestment.” Vivian was one of several students in the University of Maine System group Divest Maine that met with the UMaine Trustees Investment Committee to urge the system to stop investing endowment funds in the coal, oil and natural gas industries. Vivian told the committee “people have great power and can have immense impacts on the environment.” She urged the officials to consider creating a timeline for divesting funds from the top fossil fuel companies that are currently being supported. Vivian is a member of UMaine’s Green Team, a student organization that supports sustainable and environmentally friendly efforts on campus.
The University of Maine will be the first stop on the Camden International Film Festival’s five-month Aging in Maine screening tour.
A selection of short films titled “Golden Shorts” will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, in DP Corbett on the Orono campus. A question-and-answer discussion with Len Kaye, director of UMaine’s Center on Aging, will follow.
Kaye said beneficiaries will be Mainers “who will leave the film screenings better informed of the issues, places to turn for help and the emerging opportunities associated with Maine’s ranking as the oldest state in the nation.”
The tour, which will show award-winning documentary films in 11 communities around the state from March through July, is designed to engage audiences in intergenerational dialogue around issues of aging and dementia-related illness. More information, including a complete list of films and tour dates is available online.
Seventeen University of Maine nursing students and one faculty member will travel to Belize on March 1 to help administer medical aid to villages throughout the province of San Ignacio during spring break.
On their medical mission trip, the students of the UMaine group Nursing International will bring 250 pounds of medical supplies, most of which was donated by the Partners for World Health.
After fundraising $2,000, the group purchased over-the-counter medications such as vitamins and ibuprofen to donate as part of their weeklong stay. Fundraising also helped pay for the extra luggage costs and gift bags the students plan to give children in the rural areas they will visit near the Guatemala border.
In Belize, the group will work with the local health ministries and International Service Learning. The students plan to blog about their experience.
This is the third year UMaine Nursing International students have traveled abroad on medical missions. The trip is open to all nursing majors. For three senior nursing students, this will be the second time they’ve visited Belize.
“I have freshmen through seniors doing the trip,” said Susan Wheaton, a School of Nursing lecturer and the faculty adviser traveling with the students to Belize. “It has required lots of team building. We need to have freshmen working with the seniors because they have not had the nursing training and assessment so early in their nursing academic career.”
Future missions for UMaine Nursing International are expected to include Cuba and Haiti. The group’s motto is “Healing is an International Language.”
A University of Maine professor helped develop an observation protocol that can document college instruction and student learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Michelle Smith, assistant professor in UMaine’s School of Biology and Ecology and a member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education, designed the classroom observation protocol with three researchers from the University of British Columbia.
Over a two-year period, Smith and her colleagues developed, tested and validated the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) by which observers document instructor and student behaviors in two-minute intervals during the class period.
“Many observation protocols ask observers to rate instructor quality, but the COPUS focuses on how students and instructors are spending the time,” says Smith.
The resulting data, which can be put into pie chart form, informs professors of their behaviors and the behaviors of students during class. The information is valuable in light of research that indicates undergraduate college students learn more in courses with active-engagement instruction.
A total of 13 student behaviors are documented, including listening to instructor/taking notes, working in groups, answering a question with the rest of the class listening, and engaging in whole class discussion.
A total of 12 instructor behaviors are codified, include lecturing, asking a clicker question, listening to and answering student questions with class listening, guiding ongoing student work during active learning task, and one-on-one extended discussion with one or a few individuals.
Educators can use the information to better understand how they utilize classroom time, as well as identify possible professional development needs. Observation data can also be used to supplement faculty tenure/promotion documentation, Smith says.
Several Maine middle and high school teachers helped Smith and her colleagues test and modify the protocol. “The local teachers were enormously helpful,” says Smith. “They are very dedicated to partnering with UMaine to enhance the STEM education experience for all students.”
The researchers’ article, “The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS): A New Instrument to Characterize University STEM Classroom Practices,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of CBE-Life Sciences Education. The article was highlighted as an Editor’s Choice in the Feb. 7, 2014 edition of Science magazine.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777