A University of Maine at Presque Isle program that serves local residents over 50 and believes in "learning for life" will host its spring kick-off event at 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 15 in the Campus Center. This year's event will include special presentations by Maine Senior College Poet Laureate Dr. Alice Bolstridge as well as Daisy the therapy dog and her "person" Dr. Bonnie Wood.
Seniors Achieving Greater Education [SAGE] has worked for more than a decade to bring short courses in arts, sciences, and specialty areas to the region's senior community. SAGE is one of 17 senior colleges in the Maine Senior College Network, and one of two senior colleges north of Bangor.
At the March 15 event, participants will have the opportunity to socialize with SAGE members and learn all about upcoming SAGE classes. Dr. Bolstridge, one of UMPI's own SAGE members, is this year's Maine Senior Networks Poet Laureate and will be reading her poem Wild Apples during the SAGE kick-off event. In addition to the regular instructor presentations that typically take place during the kick-off, Dr. Wood and her dog Daisy will be on hand to share details about therapy dogs, how Daisy became certified as one, the test through Therapy Dogs International, the annual recertification process, and Daisy's two volunteer jobs in Presque Isle.
During the event, participants will get a detailed look at the courses and learning excursions being offered this spring. SAGE officials are offering more than a dozen opportunities – on topics ranging from World War II in the Pacific and Astronomy to Maine and the Acadian Connection. Learning excursions include trips to historic New Sweden, Salmon Brook Valley Maple Syrup Farm in Perham, and a Spring Birding Excursion with Dr. Jason Johnston, UMPI Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology.
Classes are an average of four weeks in length and will be offered between March 20 and May 8. Individual classes generally meet once a week for approximately two hours and are led on a volunteer basis by SAGE members and guests. Course formats range from lectures and discussions to field trips and hands-on learning.
SAGE has no entrance requirements, grades or tests, and no college background is needed. Another benefit is that course facilitators are local people who have a deep love and knowledge of the subject they are presenting.
The cost that participants pay for the education and interaction they get is minimal. Membership in Seniors Achieving Greater Education is $15 per semester or $30 annually (Sept. 1-Aug. 31). There are additional fees for field trips and lab courses. Full or partial scholarships to take part in the program are available through a simple, friendly, and confidential process. SAGE members also have free access to most events sponsored by UMPI's Campus Activities Board, the student-run activity committee, by showing their membership cards.
For more information, to register for a class, or to make a reservation for the March 15 kick-off, contact Mary Lawrence at 768-9502. To view spring course offerings, visit www.umpi.edu/sage.