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UMFK to host state board of environmental protection first-ever St. John Valley meeting

February 22, 2002



The Maine Board of Environmental Protection will hold their first-ever St. John Valley public meeting on the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus on Thursday, March 7, from 9:00 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. in the Nadeau Hall Teleconference Center.


The daylong session will include presentations on global climate change, informal discussions with, and presentations by, UMFK faculty and students, and an open question and answer period for area residents.

UMFK Interim President Donald Zillman, and environmental protection board member Melford Pelletier of Wallagrass, who has been urging his fellow directors to visit the Valley, extended an invitation to the state board to visit the northernmost part of the state.

"The Board of Environmental Protection's visit to the area will benefit the board members, area residents, and our campus community. It will allow the BEP the opportunity to hear about issues facing our part of the state, provide people of the St. John Valley a chance to learn firsthand how the board conducts its business, and be a valuable hands-on learning experience for our students and faculty," said Zillman.

The BEP visit to UMFK was organized around an already planned public presentation by George Jacobson, professor of biological sciences and director of the Institute for Quaternary Studies at the University of Maine, who was scheduled to be on the Fort Kent campus as part of a year-long speakers series organized by Zillman.

Jacobson will present his findings on climate change and global warming and how his research indicates the St. John Valley and State of Maine will be impacted. He will speak before the board and members of the public from 9:00 a.m. through 10:30 a.m.

The U-Maine professor is part of an interdisciplinary research team at the Institute for Quaternary Studies, which draws together faculty with a wide range of international achievements in understanding global changes of the past, including the dynamic natural history of Maine and northeastern North America from the last ice age to the present.

Jacobson's research has focused on forest responses to climate change, and his studies have included sites in Maine, Minnesota, South Carolina, Florida, Sweden, and Chile. He has served as subject editor for several scientific journals, including Ecology, Ecological Monographs, and Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, and he has served on and chaired the scientific advisory panel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) paleoclimate program, as well as several other national and international research panels.

Following Jacobson's presentation, James Brooks, director of the bureau of air quality control for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, will speak about the Global Climate Change Action Plan he has worked on implementing with the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers.

Brooks is responsible for managing the direction, programs, and policies of the governor, commissioner and the bureau. He also participates in the development of Northeast States regional air quality management strategies.

His presentation will be followed by a working lunch with UMFK faculty and students, who will present on the university's environmental studies and forestry programs after the meal. John Tewhey, chairman of the BEP, will discuss the role and activities of the board with the students.

At 3:00 p.m., board members will hold an open question and answer forum for members of the public.

For more information on the State Board of Environmental Protection visit to UMFK, contact the president's office at 834-7504.