Middle schoolers invited to explore aquaculture during UMaine 4-H Science Saturday

January 11th, 2017 11:00 AM

Middle school students are invited to explore aquaculture and marine science research during the University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H Science Saturday, Jan. 21.

From 10 a.m.–1 p.m. in 101 Libby Hall, youth in grades six through eight will play games and perform experiments similar to those conducted in UMaine research labs. Topics covered will include DNA, the creation of waves and the business of aquaculture.

The $10 fee includes lunch. Registration should be completed online by Jan. 13. The maximum number of participants is 15; minimum is six.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jessica Brainerd at 581.3877 or jessica.brainerd@maine.edu.

UMaine Extension to celebrate farming at Maine Agricultural Trades Show, through publications

January 11th, 2017 9:52 AM

This month, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will celebrate farming in the state at the annual State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show.

Residents are encouraged to visit the UMaine Extension booth during the show, Jan. 10–12 at the Augusta Civic Center.

UMaine Extension offers a variety of farming resources, including several publications:

This series recognizes that the needs of farmers at each life stage are unique, as choices about farming practices, child rearing, business growth, and succession planning enter into decision-making. The series consists of five fact sheets.

Have you ever thought about moving to a farm and wondered whether it’s the right life for you and your family? Answering the questions in this four-page bulletin related to the realities of farming in Maine will help you decide.

Farm accidents can cause serious injury or death, and present tremendous financial challenges to small-scale farmers. Many accidents can be prevented through education. This series of 66 fact sheets forms a comprehensive farm safety library.

Visit the Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog for more farming and gardening information, including new bulletins:

Other seasonal publications include:

Master Gardener Volunteers served 35,000 hours for educational, food security projects in 2016

December 30th, 2016 3:25 PM

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is celebrating the 952 Master Gardener Volunteers who, combined, gave more than 35,000 hours of their time to a variety of educational and food security projects in 2016.

The team supported 80 community gardens, 86 school gardens, 103 demonstration gardens and 56 programs involving 1,579 youth in horticulture activities this year. Those involved with food security projects distributed 257,426 pounds of food to 142 food distribution agencies and countless neighbors in need as part of the Maine Harvest for Hunger program.

The Master Gardener Volunteers program provides participants with a minimum of 40 hours of in-depth training in the art and science of horticulture. Trainees receive current, research-based information from UMaine Extension educators and industry experts, and are connected with service projects that match their interests, skill set and availability.

All gardeners are encouraged to join the Master Gardener Volunteers team. Several counties are now accepting applications for local training programs starting this winter with application deadlines as early as Jan. 4.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 800.287.0274 or visit the UMaine Extension website.

UMaine Extension names new sustainable agriculture professor for Aroostook County

December 30th, 2016 2:42 PM

Sukhwinder Bali has been appointed University of Maine Cooperative Extension assistant professor and University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) assistant professor of sustainable agriculture.

Bali earned a master’s degree in soil science with a minor in botany from Punjab Agricultural University. She recently completed a second master’s degree in natural resource management from North Dakota State University. Bali has lived in Maine since September 2015.

Based in the Aroostook County Extension office, Bali will join a team of Extension and University of Maine at Presque Isle staff and will provide classroom instruction at UMPI. She will develop and conduct educational outreach and applied research with an emphasis on Aroostook County, work with other faculty to offer off-campus programs addressing the educational needs of commercial agriculture and teach academic courses in the UMPI sustainable agriculture concentration.

UMaine Extension also has hired Colt Knight as the new Extension livestock educator.

Knight grew up in West Virginia and has a background in livestock production and management. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona where he researched grazing patterns of cattle using precision agriculture technologies.

With UMaine Extension, his focus will be on developing and conducting educational programs and applied research projects statewide with an emphasis on livestock enterprises, animal health and nutrition, meat science, small-farm management and sustainable farming practices.

Knight will begin at UMaine in Orono on Jan. 9.

More about the Extension livestock program is available online or by calling 581.3188.

UMaine Extension offers tips on preserving, preparing cranberries

October 28th, 2016 11:24 AM

With fall comes the arrival of local cranberries — a favorite at holiday dinner tables. Cranberries can be added to many dishes, including breads, salads, relishes, salsas, chutneys, soups, grain-based entrees and desserts.

As the fruit becomes available, it’s recommended to buy extra berries and freeze for later use. University of Maine Cooperative Extension publishes information to help find, grow, use, preserve and store cranberries, as well as a variety of other in-season fruits and vegetables in Maine.

Visit extension.umaine.edu to order or download bulletins to fit the season. November favorites include “Canning and Freezing Quick Guides,” “Let’s Preserve: Apples,” “Vegetables and Fruits for Health: Cranberries, Winter Squash and Pumpkins” and “Safe Homemade Cider.”

UMaine Extension educator Kathy Savoie recommends getting up-to-date information on the best methods, canners, jars and seals to ensure a safe result before preserving food. Recommendations are available from local UMaine Extension offices or by calling 581.3188; 800.287.0274 (in Maine). More information, including upcoming food preservation workshops and how-to videos, is available online.

Community: Growing Maine — Treworgy Family Orchards

October 28th, 2016 9:47 AM

Read transcript

The latest installment of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s “Growing Maine” series tells the story of Patty and Gary Treworgy and their children on their second-generation orchard and family farm. Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant had a rough start after the first planting of apples failed. But with perseverance and by “starting small,” the farm grew to be a destination for over 35,000 visitors each year. The “Growing Maine” short documentaries highlight Maine food producers and farm families. The series helps consumers get to know their food sources better, as farmers and producers share their “behind-the-scenes” perspectives on how decisions are made.

Workshop to explore allies’ role in promoting social change

October 28th, 2016 8:57 AM

A presentation to deepen non-Native Mainers’ understanding of shared history with Wabanaki people will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, on the fourth floor of Colvin Hall at the University of Maine.

The free Maine Wabanaki-REACH Ally Workshop, which will be presented by non-Natives, will include discussion of awareness of white privilege and information about the role of an ally in promoting social change.

In addition to broadening understanding of Wabanaki people’s shared history with non-Native Mainers, goals include comprehending Wabanaki trauma and resilience associated with the history and strategies for healing, justice and compassion, including at the University of Maine.

Penthea Burns and Barbara Kates are facilitators. Burns is a senior associate at the Muskie School of Public Service and was involved in the development of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Burns co-directs Maine-Wabanaki REACH. Kates is a Maine community organizer for Maine-Wabanaki REACH. She has more than 25 years of experience providing professional and community education, directing family service programs and facilitating community meetings.

Space is limited and registration is required. For more information and to register, email barbara@mainewabanakireach.org or call 951.4874. Lunch will be provided.

UMaine to host Northern Maine Children’s Water Festival Oct. 11

October 6th, 2016 1:11 PM

More than 650 students from 12 middle and elementary schools throughout northern and central Maine will convene at the University of Maine on Tuesday, Oct. 11 for the biennial Northern Maine Children’s Water Festival.

The festival, which will be held from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. in the New Balance Field House, offers an opportunity for students to learn about the value of clean water and healthy habitats, and provides teachers with related educational materials.

Water resource professionals from Maine and other parts of New England will present about water, wetlands, human health and aquatic life. David Sturm, an instructional laboratory and lecture demonstration specialist at UMaine, will perform a physics demonstration focused on water.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in a water trivia game show and explore educational exhibits and presentations including, “Sea Farming in Maine,” presented by the UMaine Aquaculture Research Institute; “Vernal Pools: Cycles of Life,” by the Chewonki Foundation; “Bugs Down Under,” by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection; and “Every Drop Counts,” by Project Learning Tree.

The festival is provided at no cost to the participants. Attendance is limited, and schools are selected on a competitive basis.

The Northern Maine Children’s Water Festival is organized by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, UMaine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, UMaine Cooperative Extension 4-H, Maine Audubon, Penobscot County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Stillwater Environmental Engineering. Sponsors for the event include Patriot Renewables, IDEXX, ReEnergy Holdings, Brookfield Renewable Energy, the Maine Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), Maine Sea Grant, Casella Organics, Northeast Laboratory Services, Norlen’s Water Treatment, Maine Water Utilities Association, and Penobscot Energy Recovery Co.

More information is available online.

UMaine Extension publications offer tips for seasonal pastimes

October 5th, 2016 2:05 PM

It’s that time of year when the days are cooling, the apples are falling from the trees, and everyone is picking their favorite sports team.

Visit the Cooperative Extension online Publications Catalog for seasonal information, such as:

Fall also is a great time to plant trees and shrubs:

Maine Farmers Polled About Crop Damage Due to Drought

October 3rd, 2016 10:15 AM

Have you experienced crop damage or loss caused by dry/droughty conditions this growing season? Yes = 310 (53.91%); No = 97 (16.87%)A drought survey developed by University of Maine Cooperative Extension food system program administrator Richard Brzozowski, and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) agricultural services director Dave Colson, shows more than half of the 579 farmers who responded have experienced crop damage or loss due to the dry conditions this growing season.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (MDACF), Maine Farm Bureau, MOFGA, and UMaine Extension distributed the survey in early September to farmers and growers throughout the state.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) convened the state’s drought task force for the first time in 14 years in response to the dry weather.

Their most recent report shows 15 Maine counties with abnormally dry conditions, with Aroostook the only exception.

For more information about the survey results or the impact of the current dry conditions on the Maine food system, contact Brzozowski, 207.581.3222, richard.brzozowski@maine.edu.