Lindsay Mower – Staff Reporter
Students in the Farmington Outing Club (FOC) are keeping happy this fall by staying outdoors as much as possible.
East Wilton native and Farmington Outing Club member Casey Taylor. (Photo by Maine Mountain Media)
East Wilton native and FOC member Casey Taylor, who has mostly been spending his Fall skateboarding in preparation for ski season, is very familiar with the outdoor activities available in Franklin County during this season. “Growing up here I had a really nature-based upbringing, by default. You’re taught to respect nature and to get outside and enjoy it with your friends,” said Taylor.
According to Taylor, FOC makes it easy to connect with others and get outside. “To find a group of people who are also interested in spending their time in nature is a beautiful thing,” said Taylor, “It’s just nice to be around people who do the things you do.”
UMF Outdoor Business Recreation Administration (ORBA) major and president of FOC Drew Bates says that UMF’s outing club is one of the main reasons why he fell in love with this area. “All my best friends were made at FOC,” said Bates. “Joining the club changed my life.”
Farmington Outing Club President Drew Bates whitewater kayaking. (Photo Courtesy of Drew Bates)
Bates says he has spent his fall outdoors biking on the trails at Titcomb in order to keep in shape while he also awaits the upcoming ski season. “Titcomb is where it’s at. They have some killer bike trails, which a lot of people don’t know, and it’s right down the road from campus which is cool too.”Also a member of FOC, Junior Biology major Jordan Kapiloff considers herself fortunate to be enrolled in the Entomology course offered at UMF, taught by Biology Professor Ronald Butler, where she gets to spend time outside doing field work and examining bugs.
Kapiloff, who admits she would much rather be outside than in a classroom, says taking this course has made her lab work much more enjoyable, and that she even gets outside to examine and collect bugs as a hobby when she’s not working on her class work.
“A bunch of my other friends have all been out collecting with me,” says Kapiloff, “We’ll go run around with our bug nets, and collect flowers and look at ants. It’s super fun and you get to be outside staying active, which is really cool.”
Jordan Kapiloff whitewater rafting with Conor Doherty. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Kapiloff)
Kapiloff also grew up in the Farmington area and attended Mount Blue High School, which, like Taylor says, naturally immersed her into the outdoorsy culture in the community.
“The Sandy River and Prescott Field are some of my favorite spots,” said Kapiloff. “I go down there with my friends almost every week, which is funny, because some students don’t even know the Sandy exists.”
Kapiloff expresses the reasoning behind her passion for the outdoors by explaining the meaning behind her bee tattoo. “These little things are absolutely vital to the way we live our life, and I find that so interesting,” said Kapiloff. “They are going extinct in certain places and I think that it’s so important to save the things that are small, and that may not seem that important, but that are actually very significant to the environment.”
Kapiloff says that getting involved with nature in a way that allows her to become a part of it, like she does in her Entomology course, is what keeps her happy and healthy. “I think that this class has helped to keep me in touch with nature and my surroundings this semester. It’s something that puts you outside of yourself and into the environment.”
Grace McNally, FOC member and senior Community Health Major, has been spending her Fall in the outdoors by working as an employee for Mainely Outdoors, the Fitness and Recreation Center’s outdoor excursion facility located on 144 Quebec Street in Farmington.
Mainely Outdoors guide Grace McNally enjoys the view. (Photo Courtesy of Grace McNailly)
“Over the summer I was working as an employee up at Grand Falls Hut for the Maine Huts and Trails non-profit organization. I learned so much about the outdoors and wildlife in Maine,” said McNally. “I wanted to stay outside as much as I could when classes started back up… I ended up getting hired by Mainely Outdoors, which has been the perfect opportunity for me.”
This past weekend McNally helped lead a six mile hike up to Stratton Brook Hut with a group of students, professors and community members. “It was a blast and everyone left happy and exhausted,” said McNally.
Naturally, Bates, Taylor, Kapiloff and McNally all plan on spending their winters outdoors as well. All alpine skiers, they hope to spend as much of their time as possible at Sugarloaf, and even may take a FOC trip up to the mountain in Carrabassett Valley.
Kapiloff advises anyone who has considered getting active outside and want to gain some experience in different areas of outdoor activities to come to a FOC meeting, which take place Thursday nights at 8pm in Thomas Auditorium.
“At the meeting you can get to meet people and learn about different things like skiing, snowboarding, biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, paddling and so on… Once you find your people and figure out what you like to do, you can just kind of branch out from there. It’s like a tree that you can just keep climbing.”
To stay involved with FOC and its members you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.
By Leah Boucher – Staff Reporter
UMF’s Thrifty Beaver Cooperative has recently completed changes in the location and services they offer in an effort to help hungry students and those who need new clothing for the winter.
The Thrify Beaver Co-op is now located in the basement of the Fusion Center. (Photo Courtesy of Danica Lamontagne)
Now located in the basement of the new Fusion Center building, students can receive any food in the food pantry for free and can participate in a clothing swap, where the number of clothes they bring in to donate is the number of clothes they can take from the store in return.
Originally developed by the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition (SCC), Thrifty Beaver expanded in the past year from a simple thrift store on the third floor of Merrill to a thrift store and food pantry in a more central campus location near the Olsen Student Center. Luke Kellett, UMF Sustainability Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Anthropology, hopes that this change will allow students to feel more comfortable if they are in need of food or clothes.
“We intentionally combined the food pantry with the campus thrift store to reduce the stigma of accessing a food pantry,” said Kellett. “We are now one of over 400 university/college food pantries in the US, so this is a rapidly growing trend which shows that higher education is taking food insecurity and hunger seriously, an issue which has generally seen very little attention up until the last few years.”
As this semester winds down and students run out of meals on campus, this co-op hopes to provide frozen meals for students in need with a new refrigerator/freezer they received due to a grant.
“Foods like frozen burritos, pizza pockets, and so on will be available for students to eat right away or store in their own refrigerators in their rooms or off campus,” said Kellett. “Not only will the food pantry have an increase of meals for the cold season, but Thrifty Beaver also sees an increase in the amount of clothes donated right before and during the winter months.”
Danica Lamontagne, a senior double majoring in Environmental Policy and Planning and Political Science, is a Thrifty Beaver student worker who is aware of the rising issue of student hunger and need for warm clothes. “It’s sometimes hard for students to access local food pantries or clothing swaps, and they might feel ashamed visiting one of those facilities,” said Lamontagne. “Thrifty Beaver tries to normalize itself as a comfortable, local resource to be a part of; student hunger and students with lack of appropriate winter clothing is a serious issue not only on campus but in this country.”
Kelly Toomey, a junior Secondary Education and Environmental Science major and student leader of the SCC, is trying to publicize the services offered within Thrifty Beaver and increase student interest.
“At the beginning of November, we partnered with Johnson Scholars. They handed out cookies in the student center with a free coupon to Thrifty Beaver, a map of how to get there, and a chance to enter a raffle to win a Narrow Gauge Cinemas movie pass or a Hannaford gift card,” said Toomey. “We also have new signs in the front and back of the Fusion Center and maintain a website and Facebook page for those who want to know more about what we offer.”
Kellett believes that there will be more student interest and involvement, as foot traffic will increase when the Fusion Center is finally completed. However, he knows time is needed for any type of major increase in the number of student visitors.
“I have talked to other universities who have food pantries, thrift stores, or similar co-ops such as Thrifty Beaver. They have all informed me that it takes time for new services to be accessed,” he said. “That means we need to be patient yet engaged in keeping the co-op visible and active on campus.”
The Thrifty Beaver Co-op is located in room 004 in the basement of the Fusion Center and is open Sunday, Monday, and Thursday from 3-8.
By Lindsay Mower – Staff Reporter
When Farmington native and Biology Major Hailey Mealey isn’t outside collecting bugs for the entomology course she’s enrolled in this semester, she will most likely be found crafting works of art for Hailey Jane Creations, the grassroots art business she started up last fall.
Biology Major and local artist Hailey Mealey. (Photo by Waylon Wolfe Photography)
Creating art has been a consistent outlet for expression for Mealey, though she became increasingly inspired to turn her passion into a way to sustain herself financially through the persuasion of her family, who encouraged her that people would most definitely be interested in buying her artwork. “I’ve always made art because it’s just something I super love,” said Mealey.
Mealey says she always thought that no one would be interested in her artwork. “My family would always try to convince me to sell my work, and I would be like, guys, no one wants to buy an eight-foot painting of an eyeball turning into a lizard,” she laughed, adding, “I don’t know a lot of people in the market for that.”
Having her high school art teacher at Mount Blue High School, Roger Bisaillon, as a mentor also played a pivotal role early on in encouraging Mealey that she had a gift that had potential. Bisaillon, who recently retired, and his wife are both successful local artists in Farmington. “I was really lucky to have him in class,” said Mealey. “He really guided me through that period of development and was always so supportive: he still is.”
After graduating from Mount Blue High School in 2014, Mealey studied Art Education at the University of Maine at Orono for a year before deciding to transfer back to her hometown university to pursue her passion for Biology. “Sometimes I get a little hometown-angsty being back in the area, but the Biology program is so great here and all the professors and students are so nice. There is a different atmosphere returning than having grown up here,” said Mealey.
Paintings from Mealey’s bug series. (Photo Courtesy of Hailey Mealey)
Though she is now studying Biology, Mealey hasn’t given up making art, she has even found a way to effortlessly combine her pair of passions. “I realized that what I was learning at Orono wasn’t what I loved about art… I love Biology. It’s just such a wide field, I can do so many things with it, and it’s inspired a lot of my artwork too.” Mealey smiles as she describes the bug series she has been working on, influenced by her love for the outdoors and the entomology class she is currently taking.
The idea to create her own business sprung to life around the time she left her job, according to Mealey. “I wanted to be able to focus on school, while still doing the things I enjoy, and I was just in a really unhappy place,” she said.
For Christmas Mealey painted some watercolor portraits of her and her siblings for her Grandparents and uploaded them to Facebook to demonstrate a custom gift she could make for someone else as a means to make some money. To her surprise, the post caught attention immediately. She began to successfully sell some of her work on Etsy, and has since launched her own website at haileyjaneco.com.
Mealey’s Maine inspired creations. (Photo Courtesy of Hailey Mealey)
Along with Mealey’s zany creations like eyeballs morphing into lizards, her creations take on many different themes. Facebook users may have stumbled across her popular watercolor designs in their newsfeed, like her rainbow painting of Bernie Sanders that she posted last year around the election, or her Maine-centric art. One of her more recent works features an outline of the state of Maine featuring a watercolor painting of ‘It’ from the Stephen King movie released earlier this fall painted inside.
As the holiday season approaches, Mealey has been balancing her class work with fulfilling custom orders. Although she will be busy for the next few weeks, she will be accepting orders again very soon. She can be contacted on her Facebook page under Hailey Jane Creations.
By Emily Mokler – Contributing Writer
UMF students gathered in the alleyways of downtown Farmington to create and perform art as part of the Water Bear Confabulum, an alternative arts festival hosted by the UMF Art Gallery.
The event included a 5k run, with proceeds benefitting local high school students attending UMF who have an interest in both the arts and the environment.
Photo Courtesy of Emily Mokler
Visitors saw the downtown change with art unfolding from UMF students and professionals. Students in a Drawing class drew each other in chalk, an exercise known as blind contouring. Abby Sanborn, a freshman Creative Writing, and Art major was one of the students drawing in the alleyway next to Renys with chalk. Each figure had distinct blocks of color.
Student working on a mural near the alleyway by the Homestead Bar & Bakery on Broadway. Photo Courtesy of Emily Mokler
“The point of the exercise is to draw what our eyes see, not what our mind sees,” Sanborn said as she rubbed the chalk into the wall, building up the vibrant color.
Following the sound of drums led to students dressed as animals, and statues of animals dressed like humans. AJ Mae, a freshman, wore a gown made of trash bags and set up an installation using reflective, everyday objects ranging from party masks to CDs.
“Different people see themselves in different places and in different ways,” said Mae. According to Mae, the installation was inspired by how “the media frames how we see ourselves, and distorts our expectations.”
Another alley had large charcoal drawings of landscapes, and visitors were asked to smudge the original work into whatever they wanted with bread. A volunteer spoke about exhibits in Bonney Woods. There were interactive installations about asking for phrases