Cyrus Fields – Laying the First Transatlantic Cable
Mary Morton Cowan
Tuesday, January 14, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Before the mid-1800s, the only way news could travel from North America to Europe was by ship. That all changed when the first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid. The project, led by Cyrus West Field, was one of the greatest technological achievements of the 19th century. It took unbelievable courage and persistence, struggling against overwhelming obstacles: failed attempts, millions of dollars lost, technological problems, ridicule, suspected sabotage, and more. Cowan presents a slideshow, based on her award-winning biography, Cyrus Field’s Big Dream: The Daring Effort to Lay the First Transatlantic Telegraph Cable—a true story that changed communications forever.
Mary Morton Cowan is a native of Maine and a graduate of Bates College. She focuses her writing primarily on nonfiction for young readers, and her books have won both national and local awards. She has also written nearly 100 articles, stories, and activities for young readers’ magazines, several of which have been reprinted in textbooks, anthologies, and reading comprehension manuals.
Tuesday, January 21, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Vernal Pools are a vitally important resource in our landscape for Maine amphibians, and an incredible food source for birds and mammals, but due to their seasonal nature are often overlooked. Join Alanna from the Lakes Environmental Association to learn more about these ephemeral pools created by rainwater and snowmelt, who counts on them in the woods, and how we can identify, assess and protect this special resource.
Alanna Doughty attended college in Alaska and then finished her Environmental Science degree in Orono, Maine. She went on to a Graduate program in Education from USM. A Maine native, she lives with her family in the house she grew up in in Sebago, converting to solar, managing the forest, and growing vegetables in their garden. This is her fifth year at LEA as the Education Director. She loves wetlands, and especially the magic of vernal pools.
The Poems of Spring
Thursday, January 23, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
When Shelley wrote the hopeful lines, “O, wind, if winter comes, / Can spring be far behind?”, he evidently never lived in Maine, where spring often seems to lag far behind winter. But the imagination can see further and deeper than the snow and ice and can warm us with images of the nascent spring. This class will read and enjoy a collection of poems whose subject is spring and be inspired that spring sails upon the winter wind.
Ken Gibbs has been a frequent and popular presenter at Senior College, offering keen, and often eloquent, insights into literary works. He is a retired Professor of American Literature at Worcester State University in Massachusetts
Fly Away Farm - From Woodlot to Productive Farmstead
Jenn & Justin Ward
Tuesday, January 28, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
While many people dream of simplifying and "living the good life", few accomplish this lifestyle. Join Jenn and Justin Ward as they discuss the beginnings of Fly Away Farm and their journey of homesteading in the mountains of western Maine. They will cover a range of topics including house building, off-grid living, solar power, greenhouses, gardens, fruits, seedlings, root cellars, maple sugaring, bees, raising animals and homeschooling 4 children. They will include photos of the homestead, an honest account of living on a family farm and the trials and tribulations they have encountered along the way.
Jenn and Justin Ward grew up in Maine and have been building their homestead since settling in Stow 25 years ago. They have spent their years planting, growing, and enjoying the fruits of their labors and raising their four children.
The Politics of the Right to Die
Thursday, January 30, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
When our family pets are old and sick, we put them out of their suffering. Yet, medically assisted suicide for individuals is rare, illegal in most states, and highly controversial. Maine is one of only nine states that have passed “Death with Dignity” laws. Should the right to control one’s own body include a right to die? Will euthanasia become more common?
Alan Schechter taught American constitutional issues, politics, and public policy at Wellesley College for 47 years, and retired in June 2009. the Wellesley in Washington Internship Program and to teach a course entitled "Washington Decision-Making" until his retirement. One of Professor Schechter's books, Contemporary Constitutional Issues, focused on the law and politics of six major domestic issues: voting rights, dissent and the war in Vietnam, crime in the streets, fair housing, public aid to parochial schools, and northern school segregation.
Professor Schechter has written articles on the Supreme Court and the Constitution which have been published in newspapers around the country. He is currently a Professor Emeritus at Wellesley College.
U.S. Global Engagement & the Military
Tuesday, February 4, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
The global balance of power is quickly evolving, leaving the United States at a turning point with respect to its level of engagement and the role of its military. Some policy makers argue for an “America First” paradigm, with a large military to ensure security, while others call for a more assertive posture overseas. Some advocate for a restoration of American multilateral leadership and a strengthened role for diplomacy, while others believe that the U.S. role should be more restrained, involving a more limited military. How does the military function in today’s international order, and how might it be balanced with diplomatic and foreign assistance capabilities? Can America’s military keep pace with the military advancements by China and Russia and the rise of near peers?
John Doughty is currently Vice President and Chief Investment Officer for R. M. Davis in Portland, Maine. He focuses on the Energy sector of the economy in his research and presents regularly on global economic and market trends to business partners in the community. Prior to joining R. M. Davis, John was a Vice President of Equity Research at Credit Suisse First Boston in New York. John earned his B.A. (cum laude) in History and Government and Legal Studies from Bowdoin College and his MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He also completed graduate course work in Middle Eastern Studies at that University. John is a member of the Economic Club of New York, the CFA Institute, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, the National Association of Petroleum Investment Analysts, and the Foreign Policy Association. He serves on the Pine Tree Council’s Investment Committee, the Maine Historical Society’s Board of Trustees, the World Affairs Council of Maine’s Board of Directors, and the Camden Conference’s Board of Directors.
Classic Movies - Key Largo
Thursday, February 6, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
The 1948 film Key Largo will be Margaret Reimer's offering for the winter session. This drama about the Florida Keys during a hurricane stars Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, and Lionel Barrymore, produced by Warner Brothers and directed by John Huston. Frank McCloud is a WWII vet, at loose ends after returning from the war and suffering from PTSD. He goes to Key Largo to find the family of a buddy--the man's wheelchair bound father and grieving widow--to tell them about their lost loved one's bravery in the war. While Frank is on the Key, a severe storm breaks out and life is complicated when a group of gangsters intrudes on the quiet inn owned by the family. This is a terrifically tense drama and a classic film noir.
Margaret Reimer is a frequent and popular presenter for our Senior College. Her PhD from Purdue University was on 16th Century English literature. She currently teaches in the Honors Program at USM where her courses include Classical Literature, History of the English Language, the Bible and Writing. Her selections from early film history warm up winters at Senior College.