NEW MSCN HEADER (With border)
Issue No. 14
April  2011
The MSCN Newsletter

Welcome to your April newsletter! 

Spring illustration


The calendar tells us spring has arrived; crocuses, tulips and daffodils are pushing up through the soil and preparing to bloom; and as I write this a snowstorm is forecast for April Fool's Day. As the old New England saying goes, "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute!"


In any case, we are pleased that winter is behind us and that spring and summer weeks stretch out before us. And, we are pleased to share this month's Maine Senior College news with you. April's issue brings a timely article from Coastal Senior College about a new gardening class, as well as a profile of Gold LEAF Institute's work-study student, and musings from Sunrise Senior College.

You'll also find information on attending a public briefing on Making Maine Work: The Role of Maine's Public University System that explores what our university system is doing to drive economic prosperity in the state.

A reminder: we are looking for this year's MSCN Poet Laureate as well as entries for the MSCN photo contest -- details are below.

Keep the great articles and photos coming!



Kali Lightfoot

Executive Director
Maine Senior College Network  
Coastal's "Pest Person" Teaches New Gardening Class

Bob Emmons of South Bristol says, "I know a rose from a peony, but I'm not a flower person. I'm a pest person. I know insects and diseases. I can identify the plants by what pests they have."


This makes him exactly the right person to offer a new course at Coastal Senior College this spring: "Mary, Mary, How Does Your Garden Grow? (If it's lousy, come to this class!)"  


For more than 30 years, Bob was Professor of Plant Science at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cobleskill. He taught entomology and plant pathology, and is an expert in integrated pest management. This approach means controlling pests using few or no traditional pesticides and relying instead on monitoring for pest problems, cultural techniques, resistant cultivars, nontoxic materials such as soaps and oils, beneficial insects, and other ecofriendly methods. This is the approach he'll emphasize in class.


SUNY at Cobleskill is a teaching and agricultural technology college. Through his work at SUNY Emmons has been involved in pest management projects throughout the country, conducting tree disease projects for the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and supervising student interns.


The course "Mary, Mary. . . , " he says, "will be real practical. We'll talk about Maine soil and do some soil testing. We'll discuss the usual suspects -- Japanese beetles, grasshoppers, slugs, squash borers, the hemlock woolly adelgid, late blight on tomatoes. I'll ask class members to talk about the problems they have, and we'll address those specific problems.


"By the end of the class," he adds, "we'll be getting into spring. Hopefully we can get outside to see if we can find some early insect problems or diseases."


Bob grew up in Winchester, MA, and graduated from Boston University intending to be a lawyer. He volunteered for the Army, and spent a year in Viet Nam. Ultimately, he decided to study plant science instead of law. He had to re-do a lot of his undergraduate work, then earned his master's from the University of New Hampshire (UNH).


Bob Emmons and son

Bob Emmons (right) of South Bristol hikes in Florida with his son, Lee, who lives in Damariscotta. This spring, Bob is teaching a new gardening class at Coastal Senior College that focuses on integrated plant management.

At UNH, Bob met his wife Holly, who was his lab partner in biochemistry class. Holly is the flower person in the family, he says. She's a floriculture specialist, and an expert in garden and floral design, who frequently gives presentations at the Damariscotta River Association. They taught in the same department at SUNY. During some summers their family vacationed in South Bristol, where Holly's parents had a home. In 2006, the couple moved to Maine.


Besides offering this new Senior College class, Bob volunteers at Chase Point Assisted Living in Damariscotta and the Carpenter's Boat Shop in Pemaquid. He's a math tutor at South Bristol School and serves on the boards of Communities Against Substance Abuse and the Rutherford Library in South Bristol. Bob is also the Saturday postmaster in South Bristol. He has won several awards for teaching excellence and has written articles for Horticultural Magazine and the New York Times.


Bob is looking forward to the new class. "It's always fun working with adults," he says. "They're the best students. They ask the best questions."


- Submitted by Janice Lindsay for Coastal Senior College, Rockland 

The Search Is On: Who Will Be The 2011 MSCN Poet Laureate?

Illustration of a man and a woman, each wearing a crownThe 2010 MSCN Poet Laureate Contest was so popular we are offering it again this year.

Do you write poetry? Are you a member of a Maine senior college? Then you could be the 2011 MSCN Poet Laureate! It's easy to enter -- just submit a piece of your work (one poem per person, please) to: MSCN, Attention: Kyle Allen, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104, or email your poem to Kyle at Be sure to include your name, contact information, and note which Maine Senior College you belong to.
The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2011. The winner will be announced and their poem will be included in the December MSCN Newsletter, and the 2011 MSCN Poet Laureate will receive an Amazon Kindle e-book reader. We are looking forward to reading some fine poetry!
Working With Sara:
Profile of a Student Worker

It's hard to imagine running the Gold LEAF office without its student workers, and one of them in particular. Sara Burton, a junior majoring in Early Childhood Education at the University of Maine in Farmington, has worked in the office for three years. She's Gold LEAF's longest continuous employee, works anywhere from eight to twelve hours a week, and is also a frequent occupant of the Dean's list.

student workerAround the office Sara does a little bit of everything: answering phone calls and e-mails, preparing correspondence, helping coordinate the production of the course booklet, communicating with the Senior College network, tending to the various filing, copying, and distribution jobs that attend office work, and assisting during Gold LEAF meetings and social events.

Though she admits it's a lot of work, Sara likes the job. For one, hours are flexible and she can work them around her class schedule. For another, she enjoys the people. "Everyone is so nice," she says. "I haven't met anyone I didn't like." But more than that, Sara values what she calls the "generational differences." From time to time, she says, Gold LEAF members have offered her "good advice and support in my personal life."

While Gold LEAF often employs more than one student worker through the university's work-study program, this semester Sara's the only student in the office, a fact that has increased her workload. She takes it all in stride though. In any event, her work for Gold LEAF doesn't seem to interfere with her outside-the-office life: she takes a full course load each semester, she's a member of the university's Dance Team that performs at sports events, next semester she'll do her student teaching, and -- incidentally -- she found time to get married this past October.

- Submitted by Richard Matthews for Gold LEAF at University of Maine at Farmington.
Calling All Shutterbugs:
We Want YOU to Enter
the MSCN Photo Contest

illustration of photographerCalling all shutterbugs! This year, in addition the Poet Laureate contest,  MSCN is also holding a photography contest. The theme of the contest is "Outdoor Maine": photos taken of the natural world in our beautiful state. If you are a member of a Maine Senior College you are eligible to enter. One entry per person; photos must be submitted in digital format. Please email your entry as an attachment to Kyle Allen at Be sure to include your name, where your photo was taken, and tell us which Maine Senior College you belong to. Deadline for entries is November 1. The photographer of the image judged the top pick will receive a digital photo frame, and the winner will be announced in the December MSCN newsletter.
You Never Know Who is Listening!

Talking heads illustrationSo many people in the Machias area of Downeast Maine have told me how much Sunrise Senior College means to them. Those of us old enough to enjoy the courses and the camaraderie know what a great time we are having laughing and learning together. But, have you ever wondered what the younger set in the community is thinking? 

Sunrise Senior College meets at the University of Maine Machias campus. We have a great relationship with this school. Recently, during our spring semester I heard and witnessed the impact we are having on the college-age students and their professors. 

Our senior college French class was in session.  Ably lead by Dick Hoyt, we were singing Alouette while learning the parts of the body. I was standing so I could see the hallway. As the college students were leaving their classes, they stopped and smiled at us. I hope they realized that learning is a lifelong pursuit and that just being yourself makes it fun. This is one woman's opinion, but if there is anything we can teach the younger generation it might be this: that being yourself and enjoying your life opens up every day as a learning experience. 

This semester we were once again offering Ukrainian egg decorating. I heard from a member of the class that they got this feedback from one of the college students passing by the door:  "Darn, I wish we could have a class like that and have so much fun."  Sorry, you need to be over 50; age does have its privileges. 

Speaking of age, there have been a few times when I have been asked by those 49 years old if they could please take an SSC course. I was tickled that someone would be so eager to be older just to take a senior college class!  Funny, I said, you sound like 50 over the telephone. We are building community here with people eager to join. This is a bit of good news that makes us look forward to aging and all its rewards.

- Submitted by Gail Peters for Sunrise Senior College, Machias

Making Maine Work:

The Role of Maine's Public University System


The Maine Development Foundation  and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce recently collaborated on a project called Making Maine Work: The Role of Maine's Public University System focused on exploring what our university system is doing to drive economic prosperity in the state.

I attended a briefing put together by Laurie LaChance, head of the MDF, that went into some depth on the project. It was fascinating and it is something that would be worthwhile for any Maine resident, voter, and taxpayer to hear.  Laurie is an excellent speaker (she did a presentation a while ago about the aging of Maine that was a wow!), and the information is comprehensive and really interesting. As I was listening to Laurie, I kept wondering how we might offer access to the presentation to the whole Maine Senior College Network. Then lo and behold, the Chamber and MDF announced a series of briefings at campuses around the state that any of you might attend. Whether or not your Senior College is connected to a campus, I encourage you to sign up for one of the sessions near you. If your Senior College would like to invite Laurie to speak in your area, let me know.  Below is more information from the Maine Development Foundation:

*There is still time to register. Please join us at the location that best fits your schedule and feel free to invite others in your region to join you. The cost is $10 per person (includes breakfast or lunch). Please register online at:

Meeting Schedule & Locations:
Tuesday, April 12, 7:30-9:00 a.m., University of Maine at Fort Kent
Tuesday, April 12, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m., University of Maine at Presque Isle
Wednesday, April 13, 7:30-9:00 a.m., University of Maine at Machias
Wednesday, May 4, 7:30-9:00 a.m., USM's Lewiston-Auburn College, Lewiston

*Please note that the Western Maine Legislative Caucus is hosting a session on Friday, April 8, 7:00-9:30 a.m., at the University of Maine at Farmington Olsen Student Center.  Pre-registration is not required.  For information about this session, please contact Tricia Cook of the Western Mountains Alliance (email: or phone: 778-3885).

If we are to attain the vision that we seek of "A High Quality of Life for All Maine People," it is imperative that we create an environment in which our private sector will invest and that we make sure that our public sector utilizes our limited public resources to the greatest effect for Maine's people. 
If you have any questions, please call MDF at 622-6345 or email Cheryl Miller at 

- Submitted by Kali Lightfoot, Maine Senior College Network
In This Issue
Coastal's "Pest Person" Teaches New Gardening Class.
Who Will Be The 2011 MSCN Poet Laureate?
Working With Sara: Profile of a Student Worker
Announcing the MSCN Photography Contest!
You Never Know Who is Listening
Making Maine Work: The Role of Maine's Public University System.
Don't forget to go to the Maine Senior College Network website to find out what is happening around the state!

Maine Senior College Network 
Maine Senior College Network

Acadia Senior College

Augusta Senior College
Bridgton Senior College

Coastal Senior College

Downeast Senior College

Gold LEAF Institute


Lewiston-Auburn Senior College

Midcoast Senior College

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Penobscot Valley Senior College


Senior College UMaine Hutchinson Center

St. John Valley Senior College

Sunrise Senior College 
Western Mountains Senior College

York County Senior College
The Maine Senior College Network Display Boards are available to any senior college that would like to borrow them. For more information, check out the link below.

About Us
Maine Senior College Network
P.O. Box 9300
Portland, Maine 04104-9300
(207)780-4317 (fax)

Kali Lightfoot
Executive Director
Anne Cardale
Director of Operations & Communications
Director of Conferences

Kyle Allen
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Please submit your articles and photographs to Kyle Allen at

Deadline:  Third week of each month for the following month's edition