Our faculty and students are invested in an exceptional variety of multi-year research projects and presentations, demonstrating their innovative thinking and collaborative work. Many projects are transdisciplinary, such as the Hemlock Ecosystem Management Study, involving the participation of faculty across many disciplines.
Hemlock Ecosystem Management Study
The Hemlock Ecosystem Management Study (HEMS) investigates the relationships among biotic and abiotic variables on plant and animal biodiversity. It focuses on the effects of the invasive insect, hemlock woolly adelgid, and of recommended forestry practices within the north woods. With funding from the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR program, data is collected annually from research plots on five sites in central Maine. Project participants identify and record plants, decomposition rates, light availability, and other factors and compare the data across years. The information they gain will help Maine manage the effects of the hemlock woolly adelgid and inform recommended forestry practices that will sustain the north woods. Learn more by visiting the Hemlock Ecosystem Management Study website.
Wind Power Assessment
With both interest and controversy surrounding wind farms growing, it’s imperative that researchers provide information for sound decision-making. For that reason, Mick Womersley is evaluating the potential for wind-power generation at different sites across Maine. Mick’s Wind Power Assessment project was recently awarded $110,000 of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and has the potential to inform how wind power sites are selected in Maine. The study involves anemometers, small digital devices that measure and record wind strength. Mick and his crew of Unity students erect metal towers and attach anemometers, from which they later retrieve data that can help increase the accuracy of wind-power predictions in Maine.
If you listen to the radio around Unity, there’s a chance you’ve heard Professor of Philosophy John Zavodny. John and Unity College partner with WERU Community Radio to produce the monthly community-based public-affairs program, Mid-Coast Currents. Recent shows have included John speaking with guests about art, music, and humanitarian programs happening near Unity. John says community radio, especially a live call-in show like Mid-Coast Currents, is a great way to help people share ideas and efforts that benefit their neighbors. “I think people see it as an opportunity to get the word out about environmentally and socially responsible groups, programs, businesses, and people,” says John. “The radio works well for me because I’m interested in promoting other people’s projects.” Mid-Coast Currents airs the third Friday of each month at 10:00 a.m. on WERU, 89.9 Blue Hill and 99.9 Bangor.