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UMPI’s Distinguished Lecturer Series presents Dr. David Hart

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host Dr. David Hart, Director of the Senator George J. Mitchell Center and the Research Leader for Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative, as the next speaker in its 2011-2012 University Distinguished Lecturer Series.

Dr. Hart will speak at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4, in the Campus Center about Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative: Linking Knowledge with Action to Create a Brighter Economic, Social and Environmental Future.

He will discuss how the Sustainability Solutions Initiative, funded in part by a $20 million, five-year National Science Foundation EPSCoR grant, is helping Maine’s universities and colleges to better develop – in collaboration with Maine communities – real-world solutions for key sustainability issues in the state.

The Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) is an innovative program in which Maine’s universities and colleges are drawing upon the power of partnerships to help create new and better jobs, strengthen communities and protect the environment. In projects ranging from Aroostook to York County, SSI is helping to address issues including renewable energy development, the future of Maine’s forests, water resource management and town planning.

UMPI has been an SSI partner since the first year of the project in 2009. Led by Professors Jason Johnston, Dave Putnam, Kim Sebold, and Chunzeng Wang, UMPI’s SSI project has focused on modeling evolving ecological, cultural, and economic systems and on renewable energy resources of the Aroostook River watershed.

“In essence, SSI is working to support data-driven, evidence-based decision-making processes that integrate economic, environmental and social goals. My lecture will illustrate how SSI is building the capacity of Maine’s universities and colleges to tackle pressing problems in collaboration with communities,” Hart said. “Our ultimate goal is to help create a brighter future for Maine’s people.”

In addition to his work with the Senator George J. Mitchell Center and the Sustainability Solutions Initiative, Dr. Hart serves a professor in the University of Maine’s School of Biology and Ecology.

Dr. Hart came to the University of Maine in 2006 to help create innovative programs that combine interdisciplinary research teams with diverse stakeholders to contribute more effectively to the solution of sustainable development challenges in and beyond Maine. In collaboration with faculty from more than 25 disciplines and numerous external partners throughout Maine, he helped launch new programs that ultimately led to the SSI.

Prior to this, Dr. Hart spent several decades conducting research designed to understand, protect, and restore freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds. During this period, he taught and conducted research at the University of California, Davis, University of California Berkeley, Michigan State University, University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, and the Patrick Center for Environmental Research at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

Dr. Hart received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He earned his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis. His awards include an NSF National Needs Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Ruth Patrick Scholarship, a Fulbright Senior Scholarship and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship.

The University’s Distinguished Lecturer Series was established in 1999. Each year, the UDLS Committee sponsors five to six speakers who come from Maine and beyond, representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints. While the emphasis tends to be on featuring visiting academics, it is not exclusively so. The speakers typically spend two days at the University meeting with classes and presenting a community lecture.

This lecture is free and the public is invited to be a part of this special evening. For more information, contact the University’s Community and Media Relations Office at 768-9452.