Fiddlehead Festival Back Again in Farmington

Alexis Wyman-LaBelle Contributing Writer

    The Maine Fiddlehead Festival is set to come back to Farmington for the eighth annual event in a new location with live music and activities on campus on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The new location for the festival is the Roberts Learning Center Courtyard and extending into the High Street parking lot, with use of the amphitheatre.

   The event is sponsored by the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition (SCC), Farmington Farmers Market and community members. This year’s theme is The Joy of Fermentation, with many different talks and demonstrations. Talks will include different topics such as: Sourdough and Hard Cheese, Kombucha,  Shoyu mushroom ferment, miso, sauerkraut, and an overview presentation on what fermentation is and does to preserve and enhance food, as well as its nutritive qualities.
   “We also hope to have a tasting area for folks to share their home fermentation projects,” said Casey Brackett, a Permaculture Consultant and Community Member,who has been actively involved with planning the event.
   During the festival, there will be performances of live music in the amphitheater by local artists like Sagittarius Rising, Merry Plinksters, Food Stamp Kidz, Franklin County Fiddlers, Invite the Wild, Jonboy Nemo, Crooked Bill, and Nuclear Salad.

  There will be a live cooking demo from Ashley Montgomery, a UMF professor and Assistant Dean of Testing and Learning, on how to prepare fiddleheads.

   The organizing group is excited about the event this year. “It’s also the first day of the outdoor farmers market,” said Brackett. “Vendors will be selling all kinds of food and farm related goods.”

   “In addition to the vendors, there will also be children’s activities, and baby animals,” said Luke Kellet, coordinator of SCC. The festival is expected to have baby goats, lambs, chickens, rabbits, and baby emus.  

   The event usually brings about 300-500 people coming to explore. “This year, we’re expecting a larger group to attend,” said Brackett. “We reached out to fermentation fans.”
   The tradition of the festival began eight years ago on a rainy day. It was organized by a large group of UMF professors, local business people, community food activists as well as others. “It was sparsely attended,” said Brackett, “but everyone who came was extremely enthusiastic.”

   The general idea for a celebration about local food stemmed from the growing threats to the safety of some food products in today’s society. The committee got together and decided it would be best to celebrate the locally grown food and to emphasize positive things about agriculture in the small community of Farmington.

  The rain location will be the Landing. The SCC meets every Friday during the semester from 11:45-1:00 pm in Education Center 113. For questions, the person to contact is Luke Kellet (, the group is open for anyone to join.

Wilson Scholar Talks About Her Personal Symposium Project

Robert Drinkwater Contributing Writer

   Symposium is right around the corner and that means many of the Wilson Scholars are preparing to present their research on that day, and Tegan Bradley, a junior at UMF is doing a project for symposium titled Hair: A Graphic Narrative.

   For this project, she is making a personal narrative in the form of a graphic novel about hair and how women modify their hair for others approval. “It’s about a woman’s feminine identity with hair,” said Bradley.

   When creating this graphic novel Bradley started with a twenty page rough draft. “It was important to get the words out,” said Bradley, “I had to choose out scenes and story board it.” Eventually her rough draft became fifty pages, “It took me three weeks for the first draft and two or three weeks to storyboard it,” said Bradley.

   Bradley hopes that in doing this project women will analyze their own relationship with their hair. Bradley also said that men and women will wear their hair in a way that society will say is normal. “I want women to take ownership of it,” said Bradley, “Not because it’s what everyone else wants.”

The Wilson Scholarship is for undergraduates and requires students do a research project independent of a class. Every Wilson scholar has a faculty advisor, and Bradley’s is English professor Sabine Klein. “I think it’s amazing,” said Klein, “Her artwork is really good. She is working consciously, it is verbal and visual at the same time.” Klein also mentioned that Bradley writes from  her own personal experience from shaving her head. “It tells a story well suited to the graphic narrative. It talks about how we look.”

   Klein stated that she hopes that this project will make people think about how looks are heavily gendered and she also hopes that people will look at the graphic novel as a genre, “It’s interesting exploring the graphic novel as a personal narrative,” said Klein.

   Bradley has expressed her excitement about the whole project, “You can’t just take a creative writing class and create a graphic novel,” said Bradley, “I’ve always wanted to do this.”

  Some of the other symposium projects include Hope Lash’s The Power of The Prostitute and The British Empire, Forest Meader’s What magma chambers can do fo you – a geologic study of the Twin Lakes Pluton, Colorado, and James Fox’s Snowpack Measurements and modeling in Temple Stream watershed.

   Symposium day will be held on April 24th. There will be no classes that day.

Let Me Hit Your Juul, Bro

Nolan Pakulski Contributing Writer

   Vaping, a habit growing in popularity across the nation as well as among UMF students, is prohibited under school policy, a regulation seemingly unknown to the student population. UMF is a federally funded institution and must comply with federal laws restricting the use of substances. Therefore substances such as cigarettes, nicotine vapes and marijuana vapes are forbidden on campus.

    “They’re not to be on campus. You can’t have them in dorms. [Campus] is smoke free property,” said Officer Sandy Burke of Public Safety. Around campus are green signs that say campus is a tobacco free zone and vaping falls under that category.

   But among students it seems to be a normal thing to vape on campus. “I think it’s quite popular,” said Burke. “I’ve seen some students walking around with them.” If found in possession of a nicotine vape, Public Safety will confiscate the device.

   Marijuana vapes likewise cannot be used or possessed on campus. It is similar to tobacco’s regulations in policy but marijuana is federally illegal, even if the user is 21 years of age making it legal by Maine state law. Marijuana possession on campus can result in a fine or a court summons. Generally though, Public Safety will confiscate the marijuana and potentially issue a fine. But according to Burke, consequences may reflect the frequency at which an individual is caught with substances as it “depends on [how] many times. Then you get a summons.”

   Vaping has become increasingly popular in the U.S. since its introduction into the market in 2007. So much so that the Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, has proclaimed it to be an “epidemic.”

   In most vapes is a substance known as “e-liquid” that according to the FDA contains nicotine, “varying compositions of flavors”, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and other chemicals. These chemicals are heated and turned into a vapor which the user inhales into their lungs.
“It’s just like any other drug, its addicting” said Burke. Currently there is little regulation on what goes into the “e-liquid” which makes it dangerous to the consumer.

   E-liquid comes in a variety of flavors ranging from mint, synthetic tobacco, and even Swedish Fish. The flavor is part of why it’s so appealing to consumers who otherwise would not have started using nicotine products in the first place, as flavoring eliminates the unappealing aspect of smoke from traditional tobacco products. The FDA cites, from a 2013-2014 study, that in 81% of vape users, “the availability of appealing flavors as the primary reason for use”.

   A startling study conducted by the FDA, researchers found that 3.62 million middle and high schoolers in 2018 used e-cigarettes. The FDA classifies e-cigarettes/vapes as being “non combustible tobacco products”. Although the vapor is produced through combustion, it is still harmful to the user’s lungs. Vaping and the smoking of marijuana, creates an effect on the lungs known as “popcorn lung”, in which parts of the lung become scarred and more narrow, which can cause breathing issues in those afflicted with the condition.

Anonymous User Spreads Positivity Around The UMF Campus

Kara Doane Contributing Writer

    A new UMF compliments profile on Instagram allows students submit compliments for students and faculty around campus, subject to the approval of the account creator, who is currently remaining anonymous.

   Through a direct message interview, the creator of the account said, “ I want to remain anonymous, because I don’t want people to praise me for making this account. I just want people to be happy.” The profile typically gets three to five submissions a day, where sometimes people will submit two or three compliments about their friends.

   The first post made by the account is from March 28, reading, “Made this account to compliment people around campus! DM me your submissions and I will post them anonymously!” Since this post, there have been 79 positive posts about members of the community.

   The account user has been listening to the buzz around campus about their endeavors.“I’ve heard people talking about my account around campus and that it makes them really happy to see all of the posts. My hope is that this account will spread more positivity around campus.” As many hold preconceived judgments of others, this account can help them see the good side in people, especially those who they wouldn’t normally get along with. “I have seen such a wide range of people being complemented which is really awesome,” said UMF Compliments.

  The most liked and commented post on the page features junior Norma Williams, posted on April 2nd: “Norma Williams is more than what is talked about. She is a caring individual with a lot to give and people don’t recognize that enough. She’s faced things no one should have to and for that she is strong.” This post had 52 likes and 7 comments.

   Williams said this post “was sad but true, it was nice to see that people know what I’ve been through.”

   Posted on April 9th was a compliment for CA Crystal Macomber, “Crystal is such an amazing person. She always makes people smile! She’s a great friend and an amazing CA and I’m so proud of everything she’s doing!” Macomber texted friends to see who had submitted the compliment about her. All who responded denied having sent it in. “It feels really good that someone is noticing all the hard work that I am doing,” said Macomber. “Especially because one of my best friends didn’t submit the compliment.”

   Faculty may also be featured on the page. Assistant Director of Upward Bound, Elyse Pratt-Ronco’s post on the page has the caption, “Elyse has done so much for me while I’ve been here at UMF, the grief group has saved me.”

   While the UMF Compliments account want to be kept anonymous, close friends of the individual are aware of their identity as the account user. Those few people are asked to keep the identity under wraps.

  Anyone who wants to submit a compliment can DM @umfcompliments on Instagram. Make sure to follow the profile to keep up on the positivity around campus.   

Artistic Excursion To the MFA

Artistic Excursion To the MFA

By Audrey Carroll Contributing Writer


The museum not only focused on modern art– it also focused on ancient artifacts, too. (Photo by Emily Mokler)

Recently, Associate Professor of Art History and UMF Gallery Director Sarah Maline brought her Contemporary Art class, her World Film class and guests to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, MA. Entrance fees to the museum had been generously paid by a donor for Maine students and accompanying faculty.

   Emma Pierce, a sophomore Visual Arts major and Graphic Design minor, felt as though the time flew by. “That museum is so big that you can get lost in it,” said Pierce.

   Similarly, Emily Mokler, a senior Creative Writing major, and a guest on the trip was astounded by the vastness of the museum. “You could easily spend a couple of days in there, and still not see everything— it was that big,” said Mokler. “I feel like I saw maybe 10 percent of the place.”

   Since the MFA is so large, it occupies artworks of all kinds. This ensures that any attendee is likely to find

This designer look has broken the boundaries of gender through fashion. (Photo by Emma Pierce)

an exhibit or a specific piece of artwork that captivates them. For Mokler, this exhibit was that of the Egyptian mummies. “There was this climate controlled room, where they had different mummies from ancient Egypt,” said Mokler, “and they had hieroglyphs from the tombs. . .They structured these rooms so that you could see them laid out, and you could still see the colors— you know, some red and some blue.”

   For Pierce, the piece that captivated her was “The Postman” by Vincent Van Gogh. “First of all, Van Gogh is my man,” said Pierce. What struck her about “The Postman” is how one can see the paint coming off of the original canvas. “Because he used a lot of paint… it gives it [the painting] texture, and it also shows where he put the brush— which is surreal,” said Pierce. “It’s almost like you were there with him.”

   Pierce’s acknowledgement of the details of the artwork at the MFA, details that one can only witness in person, is exactly why Professor Maline takes this trip with her classes every semester. “The MFA offers us a chance to experience ‘live art,’” said Professor Maline via email, “The opportunity to experience live art— in your own physical presence— is so important. Very different from seeing it onscreen or projected. You see scale, texture and color in a different way.”

   Though the trip is always a fun success, Professor Maline often experiences a moment of anxiousness during the outing. “We always have one student lost— either at the MFA at closing time or at Quincy Market after dinner— thank goodness for cell phones,” said Maline, “20 years ago when I first ran this trip we didn’t all have cells, so it was very stressful.”

   Upon returning home from the MFA, Professor Maline’s students will complete a critical analysis paper of an artwork that they viewed on the trip. For this assignment, students “describe [an artwork] very closely, analyze it, then compare it to another artwork that is related conceptually— though not necessarily culturally or temporally,” said Maline.

   Pierce is writing her analysis essay on a piece from the exhibit “A Gender Bending Fashion Show.”  This exhibit displayed geometrically oriented neon lights surrounding outfits created by a variety of designers that “challenge the rigid definitions of dress based on gender,” said Pierce. This piece was designed by Viktor&Rolf for Tilda Swinton— an actress who “has a gender non-conforming style,” said Pierce.

   This trip is a fun and educational experience for all, especially for the students in Professor Maline’s classes. “I recommend this trip to the patient and the open-minded,” said Pierce, “I would recommend it if you’re willing to experience art in the most open way— otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy it as much.”

   Even for guests, exploring the MFA and Quincy Market was interesting and relevant. The excursion to Boston alone offered a different atmosphere for students to escape to. “This trip is great if you want to experience a change of pace,” said Mokler.

   The trip to the MFA is taken once a semester. To attend, a student may either enroll in a class taught by Professor Maline or pay a $30 travel fee at the Student Life office on campus to attend as a guest.