Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Ph.D. candidate, part-time faculty member win $10,000 Top Gun prize

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) and the University of Maine announced the winners of the Top Gun Showcase.

Nadir Yildirim, a graduate of UMaine’s innovation engineering program and a Ph.D. candidate in forest resources; and Simin Khosravani, a part-time faculty member in the UMaine Department of Mathematics & Statistics, were awarded a $10,000 cash prize for the Orono-based company Revolution Research Inc.

The company uses cutting-edge technology to develop eco-friendly products for the construction and packaging industries made from locally supplied and bio-based materials, according to the MCED news release.

Revolution Research is a spin-off company of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center where Yildirim conducts his research.

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Students present service-learning projects

Monday, May 9th, 2016

The University of Maine’s Campuses for Environmental Stewardship groups will present student service-learning projects from 12:30–3 p.m. Thursday, May 5 in the Bangor Room, Memorial Union.  Students, faculty and community members will be in attendance.

Projects conducted this semester focused on issues of importance in the state including: sustainable tourism, mining activities, Penobscot River water rights, and the creation of a national park in northern Maine.  The projects are part of a multi-state collaborative to support curricular innovation and environmental stewardship.

Sandra De Urioste-Stone, a professor of nature-based tourism, led the class, SFR 493: Sustainable Tourism Planning. Students in her class worked to develop a regional sustainable tourism plan for the communities of Bethel, Newry, Rumford, Norway and South Paris.

Thirty-two undergraduates and eight graduate students took the course taught by John Daigle, a professor of forest recreation management. The students worked on the research project, “Mining in Maine: Characterization of Public Perceptions and Mineral Reaction Rates under Maine’s Environmental Conditions,” which is being led by Amanda Olsen, an Earth science professor; Jean MacRae, a civil and environmental engineering professor; and De Urioste-Stone.

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Dr. Thomas Fox ’80 named 2016 Distinguished Alumnus in SFR

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

foxDr. Thomas Fox is the Honorable Garland Gray Distinguished Professor of Forestry in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech. He is also the Co-Director of the Forest Productivity Cooperative and the Virginia Tech Site Director for the NSF Center for Advanced Forestry Systems. The overall goal of his research and outreach program is to increase the productivity, sustainability and profitability of managed forests in the United States and in Latin America. He works with pine and Eucalyptus plantations in the southeast and throughout Latin America. He also works in hardwood stands in the Appalachian Mountains.  He is active in the IUFRO Planted Forest Task Force and is Chair of the IUFRO Division 8 Forest Soils Working Group.

He served as chair of the NCASI Sustainable Forestry Task Force and received a distinguished service award from NCASI.  Dr. Fox served as Chapter Chair of the Suwannee Chapter of the SAF, as Science and Technology Chair of the Appalachian SAF, and as the chair of the SAF Forest Soils Working Group.   He also served on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Forestry Association and has been active in the Florida Forestry Association and the Georgia Forestry Association. Dr. Fox teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in forest soils and silviculture.  In 2010, Dr. Fox was a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor at Pontificia Universdad Catolica de Chile in Santiago, Chile where he worked on issues related to climate change and carbon sequestration.

Dr. Fox received a B.S. in Forestry and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Pulp and Paper Science from the University of Maine, a M.S. in Forest Soils from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Florida.  Prior to joining the faculty of Virginia Tech, Dr. Fox was the Manager of Research and Productivity for Rayonier for 12 years. In that role he coordinated research and technology transfer activities designed to optimize the financial returns from 2 million acres of timberland in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.  Prior that that, he also worked for Weyerhaeuser in Washington and International Paper in Maine.

Dr. Fox is a Registered Professional Forester in Maine and Georgia, a SAF Certified Forester and a SSSA Certified Professional Soil Scientist. He received the Stephen Spurr Award for Research from the Florida SAF and the Barrington Moore Award for Research in Biological Sciences from the Society of American Foresters.  He is a Fellow in the Soil Science Society of America and the Society of American Foresters.   He is married to Christina Fox, who is also a forester and has two boys age 13 and 10 who are being forced to learn dendrology.  He enjoys hiking and sailing.

The School of Forest Resources is pleased to recognize Thomas Fox as the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus.

Aaron Weiskittel receives Outstanding Researcher award in College of NSFA

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Aaron-Weiskittel-223x300The University of Maine College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture will honor faculty in economics, agronomy and forestry during a ceremony at 3 p.m.
April 25 in Nutting Hall.

The recipients are:

  • Outstanding Teacher: Caroline Noblet, assistant professor, School of Economics
  • Outstanding Public Service: Gregory Porter, professor of agronomy, School of Food and Agriculture
  • Outstanding Research: Aaron Weiskittel, associate professor of biometrics and modeling, School of Forest Resources, Irving Chair of Forest Ecosystem Management

Weiskittel joined UMaine in 2008 and has garnered nearly $5 million in competitive extramural funding for his research, published more than 65 articles in forestry and scientific journals and authored a book titled “Forest Growth and Yield Modeling.” He is globally regarded as an authority on forest biometrics and modeling and is the associate editor for three journals of forestry.

New forest growth and yield models, which Weiskittel recently unveiled for Maine’s Acadian forests, are vital tools for scientists and land managers to predict future wood supplies, wildlife habitat and ecological conditions.

“Forest growth models are only unveiled every few decades in most regions. So, Dr. Weiskittel’s accomplishment represents a significant milestone in forest management. He is literally on a path that will significantly improve forest management efforts across the region,” said Robert Wagner, director of the Center for Research on Sustainable Forests and the Henry W. Saunders Distinguished Professor in Forestry.

“Dr. Weiskittel’s research accomplishments exemplify the highest performance we hope for in professors at a land grant university.”

Preparing for the next spruce budworm infestation – Dr. Robert Wagner

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Eastern spruce budworm outbreaks occur every 30 to 60 years. During the last outbreak from 1970 until 1985, the insect killed 20–25 million cords of spruce-fir wood, or 21 percent of all fir trees in Maine. Already severely damaging trees in southern Quebec, the insect is on track to begin defoliating trees in Maine over the next several years. In advance of the outbreak, the University of Maine partnered with the Maine Forest Service and Maine Forest Products Council to form a Maine Spruce Budworm Task Force to keep forest landowners and government officials informed.


Donald VanHassent ’79 named 11th Maryland Forest Service Director

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Acting Forest Service Director Donald VanHassent has been appointed as the 11th Maryland State Forester. Don has done a tremendous job leading the forest service handling intricate land deals, assisting with licensing and legislative issues, marketing forestry-related industries, programs and services, maintaining Maryland’s sustainability certification all the while strengthening Fred Besley’s legacy. Don received a B.S. in Forestry from the University of Maine in 1979.  Congratulations, Don!

Mindy Crandall cited in Morning Sentinel article on state’s forest products industry

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Mindy Crandall, an assistant professor of forest landscape management and economics at the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources, was cited in the Morning Sentinel article, “Maine’s forest products industry weathering paper industry woes.” Despite a recent series of paper mill closings, the forestry industry remains an important part of Maine’s economy, according to the article. Some area forest products manufacturers and experts are hopeful that the sector will continue to thrive, despite the recent hits to the paper industry, the article states. Maine also could benefit from expanding its markets for biomass and renewable energy, Crandall said. Biomass is a viable market for low-grade material — trees that are too small to be used for saw timber or trees that may not be a good species for wood products — but that can be used to create energy, the article states. Eliminating that material from the forest is critical to sustainability practices, according to Crandall, and it frees up the forest for bigger, healthier trees to grow for lumber and other uses. Crandall added that ensuring Maine’s forest products sector remains viable also means continuing to invest in the state’s remaining paper mills. The Portland Press Herald also published the article.

Congratulations to Robin Avery, 2016 Outstanding Professional Employee of the Year!

Thursday, March 17th, 2016


Robin Avery, Operations Manager for the University Forests, has been awarded the Outstanding Professional Employee of the Year Award.  His nomination package included support letters from both current and former students and the Certified Logging Professional Program director.  Needless to say Robin is very deserving of the award.  He will receive the award at an awards luncheon at Wells Conference Center on April 8th. Congratulations!

Maine Spruce Budworm Task Force to release risk assessment, response plan

Monday, March 14th, 2016

In advance of the next predicted eastern spruce budworm outbreak, officials with the University of Maine, Maine Forest Service and Maine Forest Products Council have published a risk assessment and disaster preparedness plan to keep forest landowners, government officials and the general public informed.

The report includes an assessment of the last outbreak and how to prepare for the coming flare-up using research and information from experts and landowners.

Gov. Paul LePage and members of the Maine Spruce Budworm Task Force will unveil “Coming Spruce Budworm Outbreak: Initial Risk Assessment and Preparation & Response Recommendations for Maine’s Forestry Community” in the Cabinet Room of the State House in Augusta at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 16.

“Maine assembled an impressive team of experts in advance of this spruce budworm outbreak to learn from the last outbreak and take steps to help minimize damage from this one,” LePage said. “I commend members of the Maine Spruce Budworm Task Force for their time, expertise and recommendations on how to address the infestation. The last spruce budworm infestation cost Maine’s forest-based economy hundreds of millions of dollars and had a devastating effect on the forest products industry in Maine.”

The Maine Spruce Budworm Task Force formed in 2013 to determine the economic and ecological effects another outbreak might have on the state and a strategy to minimize those effects. Leading the task force were Robert Wagner, the Henry W. Saunders Distinguished Professor in Forestry and director of the Cooperative Forestry Research Unit (CFRU) at UMaine; Patrick Strauch, executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council; and Doug Denico, director of the Maine Forest Service.

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International Experience Travel Scholarship – Applications due March 31st

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Thanks to the generous donation from Lee and Sunny Allen (class of ’76, ’78), the School of Forest Resources (SFR) has funds available to support student development through international travel.  Undergraduates in SFR majors (FTY, PRT, FBB) or EES students in the Forest Ecosystems option, and graduate students with an SFR advisor are encouraged to apply.

Funds may be used for travel between May 1st, 2016 and May 1st, 2017 to develop cultural awareness and global perspectives.

Please see accompanying flyer and application.


International Travel Application