EVENTS: Bird migration walk set for May 15

Ecology Learning Center (photo: Unity College)

Enjoy a walk through the Unity wetlands along the raised esker at the Pine Preserve, in Unity, in conjunction with the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust, on Saturday, May 15, from 7 – 9:30 a.m.

The round trip walk is a mile and a half long and departs at the trailhead parking lot on Rte. 139, 2.3 miles west of Main St. Participation is limited and pre-registration is required. To register or for more information, visit https://www.ecologylearningcenter.org/workshops.

EVENTS: Permaculture in the Park begins new season

Ecology Learning Center (photo: Unity College)

Plant Giveaway and Permaculture Bed Building will kick off the Permaculture in the Park series at the Ecology Learning Center CommUNITY programming in partnership with the Unity Barn Raisers. The initial session will be held on Sunday, May 16, at 11 a.m., at Triplet Park, Wood Lane, in Unity. This month will feature learning permaculture gardening techniques such as building swales for water catchment, hugelkultur for using organic landscape debris, etc.

June will feature hot weather crop planting. July will be garden maintenance and August will cover harvesting.

There is a suggested donation of $15. RSVP at https://www.ecologylearningcenter.org/workshops.

Leadership luncheon to feature Dr. Khoury

Dr. Melik Peter Khoury (photo: Unity College)

Enjoy a fabulous lunch and meet Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, president and CEO of Unity College (UC). He will share his vision for the future of the college, his notable leadership path and lifelong experiences that prepared him for his current position on April 29, 2021 – 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Amici’s Cucina~ 137 Main St., Waterville.

Dr. Khoury holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine Fort Kent, an MBA from the University of Maine, and a doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

He is an energetic visionary, passionate about the environment, technology, education, and sustainability science. Under his leadership Unity College has successfully launched The Enterprise Model, which offers traditional and adult students educational opportunities through UC: Distance Education; UC: Hybrid Learning; and UC: Sustainable Ventures. In the process, Dr. Khoury has begun to break down the traditional barriers associated with higher education – making it more affordable, accessible, flexible, and relevant for students locally and around the world.

To register for this event please email Cindy@midmainechamber.com, check the website at www.midmainechamber.com, or call 873.3315.

Cost for the Leadership Luncheon is $20 per person for members; $25 at the door and for non-members. Lunch is included with the reservation.

Unity VFD to host bake sale

The Unity Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting a bake sale on Saturday, April 3, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Cone’z on Depot Street, in Unity. This fundraiser will feature homemade pies, cakes, cookies, bars, breads, rolls and dog biscuits. Stop by and pick out your Easter treats.

Shane Savage named CMGC developer of the year

Shane Savage (contributed photo)

Central Maine Growth Council has presented its 2020 Developer of the Year award to Shane Savage, R.Ph., co-owner of Savage’s Drug. The award was presented at Central Maine Growth Council’s Annual Meeting, sponsored by Central Maine Motors, Kennebec Savings Bank, MaineGeneral Health, and New Dimensions Federal Credit Union.

Shane has always had a passion for serving his community. Beginning his career as a pharmacy technician at the age of 16 at LaVerdiere’s drug, he worked for LaVerdiere’s through both college and high school. Savage is a graduate of Lawrence High School in Fairfield and Northeastern University’s College of Pharmacy, where he graduated with a B.S in Pharmacy. In 2012 he completed the Comprehensive Compounding Course at the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA) in Texas.

Savage has opened pharmacies in Fairfield, Oakland, Winslow and Unity. Beginning in 2004, Shane and his father purchased Unity Pharmacy and opened Fairfield Pharmacy later that same year. In 2005, Savage’s Drug opened their Oakland location, formerly True’s pharmacy, which followed with the Winslow location being built in 2009. Within the span of 5 years, Savage’s drug was able to expand into four locations throughout mid-Maine.

A second-generation pharmacist, Shane works alongside his father, John “Bud” Savage in their Fairfield store. Today, Savage’s Drug employs over 40 employees and provides a variety of local services, including vaccinations and on-site flu clinics, online prescription refill services, and local prescription delivery. In their Fairfield pharmacy, Savage’s Drug is home to a state-of-the-art compounding lab, where it has the ability to produce custom medications and doses for both pets and people.

More recently, Savage’s Drug has acquired Buddie’s Grocery, on Main Street, in Oakland. By opening their new location in Oakland, Savage’s Drug is expanding its operation and offerings on Main Street during an exciting time for the town. The downtown district welcomes heightened interest and investment, including undergoing a revitalization process that necklaces Main Street. In turn, Savage’s newest business operation is already making contributions to the downtown and will serve an additional draw for residences, visitors, and businesses.

Shane hopes to expand upon the custom medication aspect of his business, giving Savage’s Drug the ability to advocate for more customers from different medical backgrounds or needs. Savage’s Drug services Colby College through their Winslow location, including over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. His commitment to his community and customer service earned him the title of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year in 2014. Shane’s dedication to helping those in need is exemplified through his passion for expanding his service locations and consistently working to improve the lives of those around him.

“We are delighted to acknowledge Shane’s business expansion, impact on local and regional public health, and recent investments in Oakland’s downtown”, said Garvan Donegan, director of planning, innovation, and economic development at the Central Maine Growth Council. “Shane’s tireless work has proven to be a powerful engine for community health and revitalization by continuing to spark the importance of healthy and vibrant communities while preserving the character of an iconic downtown Oakland location. During these challenging times, Shane’s operation is a model for the dual commitments of community and economic health, which will be key to sustaining economic vitality in our commercial districts and improving quality of life during the pandemic recovery process”.

Central Maine Growth Council thanks Shane Savage for his contributions and looks forward to further expansion of Savage’s Drug from the region’s 2020 developer of the year.

Unity College earns national honor for sustainability in its curriculum

Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education recognizes America’s Environmental College in its Sustainable Campus Index

As America’s Environmental College, it’s important for Unity College to establish itself as a leader in sustainability — to not only talk the talk, but to also walk the walk, doubling down on its mission. As Unity College leans into curricular excellence in sustainability — a key contributor to the College reaching record enrollment, which has more than doubled over the past five years — the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has recognized the College for its contributions to sustainability in its undergraduate and graduate curriculum.

Designations such as these have garnered attention from students nationally, contributing to the unprecedented growth the College has seen in recent years. Many adult, place-bound learners are seeking a degree rooted in sustainability, and receiving this honor reaffirms for them that Unity College is on the right track with its Path Forward.

The AASHE 2020 Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top-performing colleges and universities from across the country overall and in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability, measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Criteria include sustainable learning outcomes, immersive experiences, internships in sustainability fields, and sustainability courses and topics within courses.

“We here at Unity College take pride in developing the next generation of environmental leaders, and being recognized by AASHE reassures us that not only is our mission more relevant than ever, but that our curriculum and our students are thriving,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “Through Hybrid Learning and Distance Education, we’ve taken strides to reach more students where they are, so now they can put our sustainability-minded education right to use in their own hometown. So it’s not only a win for our students, but for their communities as well. And a win for the environment, as it reduces the carbon emissions that students generate to receive a Unity College education!”

Unity College incorporates sustainability into every aspect of its functions, from academics to operations and planning. In fact, every single graduate program has at least one sustainability learning outcome, and all research-producing units are engaged in sustainability research. The College has also realized a reduction in building energy of more than 25 percent through efficient construction and retrofits. Meanwhile, 15 percent of electronic purchases, 80 percent of janitorial products, and 100 percent of copy paper meet recognized sustainability standards

“Sustainability is ingrained in our culture,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Jennifer deHart. “From orientation on, all of our students and staff understand the role that we all play in protecting our environment, and are aware of just how important it is to make the right decisions to limit our carbon footprint. And, sometimes changing the smallest habit can make a significant difference, like diverting 45 percent of our waste from landfills, including our food waste that is recycled into energy. If you do the math over years, it’s quite an accomplishment.”

The College’s sustainability curriculum is clearly both timely and desirable. Congratulations to all the Unity College students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have helped in leading the College’s sustainability efforts.

Group holds fundraisers to help purchase 230 Main St.

Courtesy of: The Ecology Learning Center

There will be a fundraising event to help the Ecology Learning Center secure a home at 230 Main Street, in Unity.

On Sunday, August 2, there will be a Moonrise Yoga Adventure and Sail, from 5 – 9 p.m., at Belfast Harbor. You can register at www.MaineYogaAdventure.com.

Donations will be accepted. If they reach 250 donors, it’s a triple match. Items may include musical instruments (piano, fiddles, guitars, etc.), books (nonfiction, fiction, classics). Contact info@ecologylearningcenter.org.

The Ecology Learning Center practices Zero Waste. They are a grassroots, nonprofit organization with no glossy brochures, and no marketing agent. All donations go to the capital campaign.

They need your help to purchase 230 Main St., in Unity.

Unity College offers innovative program called hybrid learning

With hybrid learning, students can choose when and where to live and learn. (photos courtesy of Unity College)

by Joel Crabtree

In the fight against COVID-19, many college students across America were forced to pivot away from the traditional, four-year residential model to remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester. For most students, this was a disruption not only in their education, but in their extracurricular and social lives, leaving them with more questions than answers.

What if the delivery model for a college education wasn’t so rigid, and had built-in pathways so that students could transition from face-to-face learning to well-designed online, remote, or hybrid learning immediately without losing a step in their education?

Unity College believes a college education should be all these things. Unity College: Hybrid Learning takes a major stride in supporting flexibility, affordability and accessibility for students while providing everything our students have come to expect from a Unity College education, and students can enroll in fall 2020 or any one of eight entry terms.

As he watched higher education evolve — it became clear to Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury that even more learners are now seeking a curriculum with that built-in flexibility.

This demand is heightened by unexpected events such as COVID-19, but it is also triggered by any number of economic or life changes that students may face. Because Unity College already invested in the infrastructure for quality online education five years ago and adopted nonstandard terms when Distance Education was launched, the systems are in place to offer Hybrid Learning.

“I’ve heard a lot of peers within our industry talk about returning to normal come this fall or next spring, but COVID-19 has made many of us question what ‘normal’ will look like when the dust settles, and those questioning the future include faculty, staff, and most certainly students,” said President Khoury. “While many students remain interested in the College’s traditional four-year residential programs or its exclusively online curriculum, the pandemic has inspired many students to look for a more fluid college experience, one that combines multiple modalities, schedules, and pedagogies.”

Hybrid Learning will give students the option to complete their degree through a mix of online, remote, onsite, and on-campus courses. With Unity College: Hybrid Learning, there is no set entry term, meaning students can apply year-round with eight entry terms and have the flexibility to accelerate or stop-out each term as their needs change.

Hybrid Learning will become the College’s fourth Sustainable Education Business Unit (SEBU), joining Flagship, Distance Education, and Sustainable Ventures. In this new SEBU, students can follow a curriculum that closely resembles a traditional four-year model if they so choose, or they can create their own path through eight five-week terms, with tuition differentiated based on the modality — $550 per credit hour for face-to-face courses, and $470 per credit hour for online courses. Students who take one three-credit course per term are considered full-time and are eligible for financial aid. With this flexible structure, housing and dining plan options will likewise be modular, tailored to the student’s needs.

“The first thing we look at when developing a SEBU is the audience, seeing who could benefit from this service, and how that audience differs from the other SEBUs,” added Dr. Khoury. “Each SEBU has a distinct focus and serves a different role within Unity College’s Enterprise Education model, working synergistically to fulfill the mission of Unity College. Unity College: Hybrid Learning is designed to be resilient to ever-changing internal and external uncertainties.”

Hybrid Learning will initially contain two distinct units: The School for Conservation Professions and the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For fall of 2020, the Hybrid Learning majors will include Conservation Law Enforcement, Captive Wildlife Care, Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, Environmental Science, and Environmental Studies. More programs are being developed and will be launched over the summer.

“With Unity College: Hybrid Learning, we’re going to emphasize skills and abilities that will really prepare students for their chosen careers, which makes these degree programs ideal for our launch,” added Dr. Erika Latty, Unity College’s Chief Learning Officer. “While Unity College: Hybrid Learning is its own distinct model for learning, students who enter into it can expect the same high quality education that our Flagship and Distance Education students experience, delivered by subject matter experts who are leaders in their fields.”

“One of the things that we always have to ask ourselves with every decision in higher education is the question of ‘what do students need?'” said Dr. Khoury. “We’re going to see a lot of schools offering unfunded scholarships, known industry-wide as discount rates, which have destabilized many schools. What we have done with Unity College: Hybrid Learning, is offer students an accredited, quality, private, non-profit education with true, published tuition rates. We’re going to forego the gimmicks that have mortgaged the future of higher education for decades, and instead blaze new trails, work hard on making it affordable, accessible, and flexible which has been a focus of Unity College since our inception. It’s exciting, but most importantly, it is going to help set a lot of students on the right course for their future.”

For more information on Unity College: Hybrid Learning, or to apply, visit unity.edu/hybrid-learning.

Joel Crabtree is Associate Director of Media Relations, Unity College – America’s Environmental College.

Unity College receives grant

 

photo: Unity College

Joel Crabtree
Associate Director of Media Relations

As the Unity College Wood Turtle Project approaches its five-year mark, Dr. Matthew Chatfield, Unity College Assistant Professor of Conservation Biology, his students, and Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Cheryl Frederick can rest assured their research to help protect the species will continue well into the future, thanks to generous grants from five organizations.

Students at Unity College.

The Dorr Foundation, The William P. Wharton Trust, the Davis Conservation Foundation, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, and the Wildlife Division of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, which has also served as a partner in the research, are supporting the project this year through grants totaling nearly $47,000.

“It is truly humbling and an honor to receive these grants and to know that these organizations are taking note of the important work that Dr. Chatfield and his students are conducting at Unity College,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “I, myself, have been impressed by the research our students have conducted in the Wood Turtle Project ”

The wood turtle has seen widespread decline through much of its range, and is listed as a species of special concern, vulnerable, threatened or endangered in 14 of the 17 states and provinces in which it inhabits. In Maine, the species is currently listed as a species of special concern.

Students with the project capture, mark, release, and recapture wood turtles using radio-telemetry to map and monitor their movement within their habitat. Each turtle found is tracked with a number, using the same system as the state of Maine because all of the gathered data is shared and used by The Wildlife Division of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

At least once a week, in fall and spring, students put on their waders and search for tagged and untagged turtles to collect that data.

Unity College has also recently taken a wounded wood turtle into its Animal Room, where students can learn how to care for the species, observe its behaviors, develop forms of stimulus and enrichment, and prepare educational presentations about it.

“My collaborators and I are grateful to the granting organizations for their support of the Wood Turtle Project and their interest in conservation, research and education,” said Dr. Chatfield. “Funds awarded through these recent grants are a huge step forward for the project as we will be able to continue foundational work we’ve initiated over the past few years and expand in new and exciting directions. Perhaps most importantly, however, we’re able to provide authentic research experiences to students interested in conservation, wildlife biology, and the protection of endangered species.”

Unity College new degree programs to focus on animal health, climate change

Online undergraduate programs offer students job-ready skills in growing markets

This fall, Unity College Distance Education launched two new undergraduate degree programs, which were created and designed to meet the growing interest of students and demand in the job market. The new programs, Animal Health and Behavior and Environmental Science and Climate Change, fit nicely into Unity College’s mission and offer students a wide range of careers after completing their degree online.

“These two programs are tailored to meet the needs of our students, giving them the job-ready skills they’ll need to be successful in either their careers or graduate programs,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “These two programs in particular are giving place-bound students – those who can’t uproot their lives and attend our Flagship campus – an opportunity to turn their passions into careers. From our Environmental Science and Climate Change program, graduates can pursue careers in solar and wind energy, geographic information system science, or in policy-making and advising. Our Animal Health and Behavior degree will give them the foundation to either work in animal shelters, wildlife preserves, and rehabilitation centers, or they can choose to pursue the pre-veterinarian track and ultimately become veterinarians.”

“These programs were chosen and designed specifically for working adults or those seeking a meaningful career change to either complete or earn their bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Erika Latty, Chief Learning Officer at Unity College. “There is high job market demand in these two fields, and our programs deliver a content-rich, high quality learning experience while providing for greater access and improved earning potential among students.”

Over the next 10 years, the projected growth for jobs like environmental compliance specialists, environmental technicians, environmental engineers, and energy engineers ranges from 6 to 12 percent, while the need for solar installers is projected to more than double.

“Solar and wind energy installation is a fast-growing field,” said Dr. Amy Arnett, Vice President of Unity College Distance Education. “This program is going to set students up with a very solid science background, which they can then apply to some really great job opportunities in renewable energy.”

Jobs for Animal Health and Behavior, including veterinary assistants and technicians, zoologists, caretakers, trainers, and veterinarians are projected to grow between 7 percent and 24 percent.

“Animal Health and Behavior is our answer to what many students have asked for. People want to work with animals,” said Dr. Arnett. “What we’ve created is a program that helps people understand animal science from both a physiological and behavioral perspective.”

For more on these new undergraduate programs from Unity College Distance Education, visit online.unity.edu.