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Specialist in plant ecology appointed to Libra professorship at UMFK

January 17, 2003


Deborah Eustis-Grandy, a biologist specializing in plant ecology, and specifically the biology and ecology of bogs and peat-lands, will spend the spring semester teaching and guest lecturing on the campus of the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

A former chair of the science department at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics and a 1983 alumna of UMFK, Eustis-Grandy will offer courses and workshops reflecting her expertise in bog ecology. Her work on campus and in the community is funded through a University of Maine System Libra Professorship.

"Bringing Dr. Eustis-Grandy on board for the spring semester supports the goal of UMFK to provide a high quality education. Her expertise supports the stated goal of the university that it serve the unique cultural, sociological, economic and physical environment of northern Maine and in particular the St. John Valley. She brings a set of experiences that make her uniquely qualified to help the University of Maine at Fort Kent complete its goal of providing a superior education," said Brad Ritz, associate professor of business and economics and chair of the natural and behavioral sciences division.

Specifically, Eustis-Grandy will instruct three courses during her visit at UMFK. She will teach two existing courses, ecology and zoology, which are core in the biology and environmental studies degree programs and also teach an advanced elective course in wetland ecology.

The specialized course will allow her to share her research and experience in the areas of bog geochemistry, hydrology, and wetland plants with upper level UMFK students. A product of glaciations, bogs and peat-lands are a common feature in the St. John River Valley.

In addition to her teaching requirements, Eustis-Grandy will present a seminar on her Finnish bog research as part of the environmental studies program speaker series. The seminar will be of interest to a broader audience of students, faculty and interested members of the community.

Her research on Finnish peat bogs was recognized by support of a Fulbright Fellowship.

Eustis-Grandy will also serve as a guest lecturer in the teaching of science course for students in the education degree program, where she will draw on her experience as a former science faculty at the Maine School of Science at Mathematics to discuss strategies for teaching science to elementary and secondary school students. She will also be available to discuss her experiences as a science teacher with students and faculty on an informal basis.

"Dr. Eustis-Grandy has experience creating and working in educational settings requiring a multidisciplinary approach to learning. She also possesses knowledge of advanced secondary science education from her experiences as a founding member of the science faculty at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics. In addition, she has experience founding an expedition for MSSM students. UMFK is currently in the process of re-establishing a similar experience for its students in the environmental studies program," said Kim Borges-Therien, assistant professor of environmental studies.

In addition to being a founding member of the faculty and the expedition program at the MSSM, Eustis-Grandy was also instrumental in planning an annual symposium on the cultural and natural history of the North, and served as the school's co-webmaster.

Her experience working with the web led her to start her own business in 1999. Eustis-Grandy continues to run Lakka Productions, a web site design, multimedia production, and digital video company based in her hometown of Mapleton.

Prior to owning her own business and teaching at the MSSM, she spent five years as an assistant professor of environmental science at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.

In 1988, Eustis-Grandy spent a year in Joensuu, Finland conducting her bog research on a Fulbright Fellowship.