University launches new ‘UMaine Arctic’ program

ORONO – On a frigid day like Thursday, it seemed fitting that educators and researchers at UMaine spent the afternoon talking about the Arctic.

An event Thursday from 4:00-6:00 p.m. helped kickoff a new program at the university called UMaine Arctic.

It’s a collaboration between students, educators and scientists who are looking to understand more about Arctic processes and how they impact places like New England.

For example, one of the group’s organizers says changes in ocean conditions in the Arctic directly impact some of Maine’s biggest industries.

“What happens and changes in the Arctic affects the fisheries. In turn, the health of the fisheries affects the economics of the coastal communities, their social well-being and, you know, the tourists that come along, too,” said Christopher Gerbi, a professor in the UMaine School of Earth and Climate Sciences.

“So, there’s a direct connection from what happens in the Arctic down to the livelihood of many of the folks in Maine,” Gerbi added.

Gerbi is also the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.

The project has been in the works since fall of 2018, and officially went public Thursday.

To learn more about UMaine Arctic and how you can get involved, visit the group’s website.