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Julian Epps and Bill Giordano at LongGreenHouse

Julian Epps and Bill Giordano at LongGreenHouse

How can universities contribute to a healthy planet? One way is to partner with local organizations, as explored in a grant won by the University of Maine to become a Campus for Environmental Stewardship, with Still Water Co-director Joline Blais one of the team leaders.
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Joline Blais at ESTIA 2016At the 2016 ESTIA conference, Still Water co-director and New Media professor Joline Blais used her keynote address to acknowledge a number of the most important practitioners who have contributed to her creative projects over the past decade.
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11orono lgh Digital Humanities 11 illTo coincide with Digital Humanities Week 2011, Joline Blais joins permaculture experts Julia and Charles Yelton, social media hackademic Craig Dietrich, Rural Maine Partners’ Claudia Lowd, and members of the Wabanaki community in hosting “Social Media and Sustainability” at LongGreenHouse, a clearinghouse for sustainable culture on the edge of the U-Me campus.

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As the final speaker in the panel discussion “Re-Imagining Globalism: Maine in the World’s Economy” at Bates College on Jan. 25, 2008, Peter Riggs, Executive Director of the Forum on Democracy and Trade, concluded his talk on climate change and international relations with a call for a new kind of creativity:

“Probably the most exciting part of looking ahead to what is a climate-constrained world, is the opportunity of new art forms to emerge. If cinema was the artform of the twentieth century, I submit to you that the artform of the twenty-first century is going to be–and it’s performance art by the way–restoration ecology.”

The talk was featured in Maine Public Radio’s “Speaking in Maine” series; mp3 and podcast available.

For reference, here’s a longer transcription of Riggs concluding remarks.

“Finally, since we are in a liberal arts school, I think probably the most exciting part of looking ahead to what is a climate-constrained world, is the opportunity of new art forms to emerge. If cinema was the art form of the twentieth century, I submit to you that the art form of the twenty-first century is going to be–and it’s performance art by the way–restoration ecology. Because we’re going to get really good at understanding how to rebuild ecosystems on their timescale and their timeframes, and that interrogative process of what ecosystems need to flourish, particularly in a time of atmospheric change, will teach us a lot. And I personally look forward to more engagement on the art and science of restoration ecology, because I really think that’s the future.”

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Bill Giordano hosted the Penobscot Valley Permaculture Meetup by giving a tour of the LongGreenHouse grounds.

Visitors feasted on Young Me’s cheesecake, potato salad made with our own duck eggs, sample a variety of greens in the polyculture bed, and strategized solutions for the persistent university stormwater run-off that flows into the north corner of the site.

We may be seeing the emergence of a permanent pond, with drainage to the street culverts.

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Join facilitator Bill Giordano
at LongGreenHouse
Wed, May 27, 3:30 pm
5 Chapel Road, Orono

Sheet-mulch gardening is a no-till method for making raised beds. Abundant organic materials such as grass cippings, animal bedding, leaves, manure, newspaper, cardboard, mulching hay, straw and more can be layered on top of earth rather than yearly tilling. All materials break down and become nutrients for the soil food web. Sheet-mulched beds maximize soil health and minimize watering, mineral leaching weeding, and human input for years to come!

Come get your hands in the soil and your heart closer to the earth!

Planting treesLocal plant supplier Fedco has donated over fifty fruit trees and other plants to help with LongGreenHouse’s planting marathon this weekend.

More plantingOld and young permaculturalists, from both the Wassookeag home school and the university and Native communities, drew on this generous gift to populate the first catchment of food forest in the LongGreenHouse plot on the southern edge of the U-Me campus.

Thanks, Fedco!

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During the month of May, we’ll be planting a dozens of fruit trees, hundreds of berry plants, flowers and annuals at LongGreenHouse and sneaking onto university grounds, along the Food Corridor. Main gardeners will include Bill Giordano, Joline Blais, Isis Bell, and gkisedtanamoogk, with help from 3-yr old Ellie.

If you help us plant, you will earn funds in our local currency, which you can then spend on our eventual harvest. More important, you will be helping us seed a food forest that will spread through the campus, ensuring local food security, and you will be learning some permaculture techniques, like sheet mulching, guild building, and berry pyramid building.

Some key dates are below:

Main Tree planting: May 2-7

Kiwi & Berry Shrubs: May 11 & 16

Strawberry Pyramid: May 19 or 21

Other fruit Trees: Last two weeks of May.

For more info, contact Bill or Joline

Snow has finally melted and LongGreenHouse has begun Spring Cleaning.

We’re clearing constrcution debris from deck construction, preparing for sealing the cedarwood, raking aand pruning, and getting our garden beds ready.

We’ll be planting spinach in the cold frame and lots of seedling in the greenhouse.

Tony, Debbie and Joline will be leading the seedling workshop for Wassookeag students and neighbors on Thurs April 9. Stop by to see what we’re doing, help plant, or trade seeds.

Stay tuned for our May 1-2 fruit tree and shrub workshop!

Science teacher Tony Sohns will be teaching classes for homeschoolers at LongGreenHouse on Thursdays starting this week. Renowned for his work with Bangor’s Discovery Museum, Tony’s energy, knowledge, and interaction kids is outstanding, and we are lucky to have him involved with our community.

Tony will be teaching two sessions. The second 8 week session will run March-April.


Here are the schedules and rates for session 2:

  • 4 – 6 year olds 10:00 – 10:45 $48.
  • 7 – 9 year olds 11:00 – 12:00 $56.
  • 10 – 13 year olds 1:00 – 2:30 $56.

There is a limit of 15 per class. For more information please contact Debby Bell-Smith via info AT wassookeag DOT org

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