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UMFK to offer largest variety of summer courses for all ages and all interests

April 25, 2003


The University of Maine at Fort Kent will offer its most extensive summer programming in recent memory, as the campus prepares to deliver a large number of courses and unique sessions, both on and off campus, from mid-May through the end of August.

Included in the summer session will be several special interest classes, three environmental studies excursions, a camp for youth, and two Elderhostel program offerings.

"Again this summer, UMFK has tried to meet the needs of our students, public school teachers, as well as the Saint John Valley residents with its summer course offerings. In addition to regular courses in business, English composition, and mathematics, UMFK will offer specialized research trips, and other interesting offerings," said Donald Raymond, registrar.

Area residents and visitors to the area alike can learn about the local flora in a six week course that will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 12:00 noon to 3:30 p.m., beginning May 14 and running through June 18.

The class entitled "Local Flora of Northern Aroostook", is an introductory field study of local plants, including wildflowers, trees, shrubs, ferns, mosses, fungi, and lichens. Students will conduct hands-on experiments, becoming familiar with the plants growing in area bogs, forests, and along the riversides. Discussion of the life histories and the common uses for the plants will be incorporated into classroom activities.

Veteran UMFK professor of biology and environmental studies, Steve Selva, a world-renowned lichenologist, will be the instructor.

Another course will examine the St. John Valley from a slightly different perspective. "Political and Economic History of the St. John Valley", will look at the most recent century and a half of regional and local history. The course will provide the American context of the Acadian experience and bring the Acadian aspect into a contemporary setting, taking into account historical background and environmental concerns.

The class will be instructed by Guy Dubay, a well-known and well-respected local historian and genealogist, and former educator. It will run from May 12 until June 19, daily, Monday through Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

For those who prefer to capture the beauty and history of the region through the lens of a camera, UMFK will be offering an "Introduction to Photography" class.

The course will provide students with knowledge and experience in photography, including how to select the right equipment and film for various applications, an understanding of how the equipment works, basic photography mechanics, and techniques for effective photographic composition.

Instructor Steven Young, an accomplished local photographer will lead the course on Monday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., beginning May 12 and running through June 16.

Sites of the Valley will also be the subject of a course entitled "Painting the Maine Landscape". The class will look at the local landscape through the eyes of a painter. Students will combine the actual practice of painting with an introduction to the history of landscape painting in Maine.

The art course will be taught by talented artist Therese Provenzano, who recently returned to her native St. John Valley after winning great acclaim for her work in New York and other parts of the country where she has exhibited.

It will run two weeks, from May 12 through 23, daily Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Another course will focus on the St. John Valley's native tongue. French Review is a course designed for people who wish to improve their communication skills and grammar skills in French, and also French teachers in the public school systems.

Participants will walk away with a better understanding of French grammar and language, better pronunciation, and better understanding of available literature in French/Francophone World.

The class will be instructed by Lise Pelletier the week of July 7 through 11, daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Two additional summer session offerings will allow students and community members a more adventurous opportunity to interact with the natural environment.

Separate classes in canoeing and kayaking will be held in July, using local rivers in the St. John Valley as a natural classroom.

The hands-on courses will be taught by Curt Harvey. Canoeing instruction will take place on July 12, 19 and 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon each day. Beginning kayaking will be taught on the same days from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

In addition to the unique classes offered on and around the UMFK campus, three special environmental excursions will allow students and community members the opportunity for hands-on study at Baxter State Park, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and in the Scandinavian country of Sweden.

The week-long expedition to Baxter State Park will be held June 21 through 26.

Students enrolling in the course will hike several peaks, learn about the distribution and evolution of mountain, lake, and forest plant and animal communities. Study and activities will be conducted throughout the day.

UMFK assistant professor of forestry, Jeff Dubis, will lead the course, which is open to both university students and members of the community.

The North Atlantic expedition to Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada will be held August 18 through 29.

This course will be an exciting and educational visit to Atlantic Canada's western highlands and coastal lowlands. It will feature hiking excursions, study of island ecology, local flora and fauna, and geology. Also part of the class will be activities such as sea kayaking, whale watching, a tundra expedition, visiting archaeological sites, and visits to two national parks.

Professor of biology Steve Selva will teach the course, accompanying the interested students and community members on the eleven-day adventure.

A third excursion to Alpine Sweden will take place between August 8 and August 16.

The field course will introduce students to the alpine natural history, glacial landforms, and reindeer husbandry of the western Jamtland region of Sweden. Daily hikes will be made into the countryside to study alpine ecology and the effects of glaciation on ecosystem development.

Deborah Eustis-Grandy, a visiting professor at UMFK will deliver the course.

Adults 55 and over will have two special course offerings designed especially for them as the Elderhostel program returns to UMFK this summer. Local residents under age 55 interested in taking the course should contact Don Eno in the academic outreach office at 834-7835 to register.

The first of two sessions, entitled "The Forests of New England: Ecology and Literature", from July 13 through 18, will take a look at the ecology of the forest itself, including tree identification, notable wildlife, and what influences the woods have had on the works of selected "classic" New England authors.

Activities will include walks among the spruce and birch trees, along the streams and back roads. The course will combine classroom seminars and interesting field trips, professor-lead literature reviews, and group discussions about selected authors.

A second Elderhostel program "History and Culture of the St. John Valley", will be held from August 24 through 29, and look into the past of the northernmost corner of Maine, and how today's residents are keeping their heritage alive.

Participants will visit historical sites and speak with local experts on how the region was settled by Europeans, as well as learn about pre-colonial cultures. Other areas of focus will be the woodsmen and trappers, railroads, and vast potato fields.

The very young, ages six through ten, will also have programming designed especially for them as UMFK again offers its popular "French Immersion Camp" for youth. Two sessions are planned this year, one in Fort Kent, one in Madawaska.

The Fort Kent camp will be held from July 21 through 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The Madawaska camp will take place August 4 through 8 during the same hours.

Lise Pelletier will teach at both locations. Children will learn the basics in conversational French for everyday use appropriate to their age. Daily themes, use of games, songs, hands-on creation of materials will be incorporated into camp activities.

A complete UMFK summer session course guide is inserted in this week's (Wednesday, April 16 edition) St. John Valley Times.

For more information on summer programming at UMFK or to register for a course, contact the registrar's office at (207) 834-7520 or toll free at 1-888-TRY-UMFK.