2010-2011 Speaker Series

Speaker Bios

October 13, 2010
Climate Change: Perspective and Realities, Surprises and Opportunities.

Paul Mayewski PhD. Director and Professor, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine -Dr. Mayweski is a world-renowned glaciologist and climatologist. He will discuss his research findings from around the globe including Greenland, Antarctica, the Himalayas, Tibet and Tierra Del Fuego.
His research has documented abrupt changes in the world's atmosphere, produced naturally and by human activity. This includes his early discovery of ice loss in the Himalayas and Antarctica. Thanks to Prof. Mayewski's research, the University of Maine has become celebrated for its important ice core data, demonstrating atmospheric conditions dating back hundreds of years.
Dr. Mayewski is the co-author of the popular book The Ice Chronicles, and has been featured on such media outlets as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Popular Science, 60 minutes, and NOVA. He has also been honored with numerous international scientific awards.
Research Highlight Examples (>300 pubs):
• Documented changes in atmospheric chemistry produced naturally and by humans.
• Early discovery of recent Antarctic and Himalayan ice loss.
• Discovered behavior of abrupt climate change events in the atmosphere.
• Developed integrated understanding of multiple controls on climate and unique role of human impact.
• Pioneered use of instrumentally calibrated ice core records back hundreds of years and first global reconstruction of past atmospheric conditions.
• Demonstrated associations between climate and disruptions to civilization.
Exploration Highlights (selected):
• Leader of more than 50 expeditions to remote regions such as: Antarctica, the Arctic, Himalayas, Tibetan Plateau, Tierra del Fuego.
• Leader of the first expedition into Northern Victoria Land, Antarctica and first glaciological expedition to Nun Kun Massif, Ladakh, Indian Himalayas.
• Leader of the first multi-disciplinary oversnow scientific expedition to the South Pole.
• Record for traversing unexplored Antarctic territory.
Major Scientific Projects Organized and Led (examples):
GISP2 (Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2, 25 American institutions); ITASE (International Trans Antarctic Scientific Expedition, 21 nations);  CADIP (Central Asian Deep Ice Coring, 7 nations).
Honors (selected): First Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research; International Glaciology Society Seligman Crystal; Mayewski Peak, Antarctica; Honorary Doctorate, Stockholm University; Fellow, Honoree, Lowell Thomas Medal from Explorers Club; Fellow, American Geophysical Union; Fellow, American Society for the Advancement of Science; Academic Member, Joint Key Laboratory of Cryosphere and Environment (Chinese Academy of Sciences); Honorary Research Associate Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand, Maine Environmental Hero.
November 10, 2010
Words for the Wild
Gary Lawless. Gulf of Maine bioregion poet and publisher, Gary Lawless is a nationally recognized poet and has published 16 poetry collections, 12 in the U.S. and 4 in Italy including Caribouddhism and Poems for the Wild Earth. His writing deals with issues of environmental and social justice, and listening to the voices of the underprivileged and overlooked.
Gary has traveled throughout the world including to Italy, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Cuba, reading and sharing his poetry and leading workshops. He has also led writing classes for several nontraditional audiences, such as artists with disabilities at Spindleworks in Brunswick, the homeless population at Preble Street in Portland, refugees living in Lewiston and Portland, and war veterans back from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Gary and his partner Beth Leonard own  Gulf of Maine Books an independent bookstore in Brunswick, Maine.

Dec. 8, 2010

Last of the Kennebec Log Drives

Dave Calder. Former log driver, he grew up in the Skowhegan area and started working on the river drive at the age of sixteen. Dave worked on the drive 10 years until it ended in 1976. Following that, he worked in heavy construction until he retired. Dave has written some songs and stories about river driving which he performs on occasion. Aside from writing he enjosy reading, gardening, some traveling, and time with his grandchildren.  Dave lives in Canaan with his wife, Maureen, their dog and three goats. 

January 18, 2011
Merrymeeting Park: Prehistory to Present
Chris Gutscher. Chris was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. He joined the Navy at 17 and served aboard a destroyer in the Pacific. After being discharged he worked in Greenland for the D.E.W. Line and later had a brief stint as a commercial photographer. He and his wife Dianne were married in 1969 and moved to the shores of Merrymeeting Bay where they built their home. Chris worked as a builder/contractor and is now retired.
He first became interested in the land that was Merrymeeting Park in 1975, as it was just upstream from his home. Since then he has made many important discoveries (at least to him) and can now trace the land back to its prehistoric inhabitants. He’s written two booklets about the land and produced a video on Merrymeeting Park.
Chris is an avid bicyclist using his many bikes both on and off road. He plays saxophone in various local bands and enjoys high-end two-channel audio.


February 9, 2011
Roadkill to Classroom: The Art & Science of Taxidermy
Rock Agostino & Anne Gorham, Creative Maine Taxidermy. These master taxidermists form an important part of FOMB’s education program of “critter visits” as they breathe new life into wildlife killed on the road or in other ways. Learn about taxidermy from these licensed judges of this art and science and get a guided tour of FOMB’s wonderful collection.
Rock and Anne began Creative Maine Taxidermy in 1979 after graduating from Unity College, Rock with a degree in Wildlife Fisheries Science and Anne with a degree in Wildlife Science. Both are self taught in the art of taxidermy. Rock started at the age of 12 and Anne began learning in college.
CMT offers all phases of taxidermy: fish, birds, game heads and life size mammals. They emphasize quality custom mounts and treat each animal as an individual and with the respect it deserves. Particular attention can be given to habitat on which the animal is mounted. Rock and Anne have competed in state and national competitions winning numerous awards, best of shows and the Carl Ackeley Medallion for Outstanding Taxidermy [for a Brook Trout].
This led to judging competitions in PA, NY, CT and ME. Anne is a member of the State Advisory Board for the Licensing of Taxidermists. Creative Maine Taxidermy is located in the southern Maine town of Lyman.

March 10
An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso,
of the World’s Most Amazing and Mysterious Fish

Join Friends of Merrymeeting Bay (FOMB) on Thursday, March 10, 7pm at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick for the 6th presentation of their 14th annual Winter Speaker Series. This program, “An Exploration of the World’s Most Amazing & Mysterious Fish” features James Prosek, artist, author and activist who follows the incredible, ubiquitous and endangered eel from New Zealand to Maine, Japan and the Sargasso Sea.

Eels are our only catadromous fish species, spawning in the ocean and living in freshwater rivers for 15-50 years before attempting to out-migrate back to their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea. The American eel, ranging from northern South America to Greenland and up the Mississippi is but one of many species worldwide with similar life cycles. Unfortunately, most all are threatened due primarily to over-fishing (the sweet, succulent and caloric eel was in large part responsible for the survival of America’s first settlers) and from turbine mortality caused as they attempt to out-migrate through hydro-electric dams.
James Prosek made his authorial debut at 19 with Trout: an Illustrated History featuring seventy of his watercolor paintings of North American trout. Prosek has written for The New York Times and National Geographic Magazine and won a Peabody Award in 2003 for his documentary about traveling through England in the footsteps of Izaak Walton. He co-founded a conservation initiative called World Trout in 2004 with Yvon Chouinard, owner of Patagonia clothing company. Prosek’s new book Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World's Most Amazing and Mysterious Fish, has just been published concurrently with his National Geographic article on the subject in their September 2010 issue. He is now working on a book of paintings of Atlantic fishes for Rizzoli and a project about naming nature. Prosek is a curatorial affiliate of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale, and a member of the board of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.

April 13, 2011
Green Business: Doing Well by Doing Good
Gary Hirshberg is the husband of freelance writer Meg Hirshberg and the father of three yogurt eaters.  He is Chairman, President, and CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer and the author of  Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World (Hyperion Books, 2008).  Gary is a frequent speaker on topics including sustainability, climate change, the profitability of green and socially responsible business, organic agriculture, and sustainable economic development.

Since 1983, Gary has overseen Stonyfield’s phenomenal growth, from its infancy as a seven-cow organic farming school to its current $360 million in annual sales. Stonyfield has enjoyed a compounded annual growth rate of over 24% for more than eighteen years, by consistently producing great-tasting products and using innovative marketing techniques that blend the company’s social, environmental, and financial missions. In 2001, Stonyfield Farm entered into a partnership with Groupe Danone, and in 2005, Gary was named managing director of Stonyfield Europe, a joint venture between the two firms with brands in Canada, Ireland, and France.

Previously, he directed the Rural Education Center, the small organic farming school from which Stonyfield was spawned. Before that, Gary had served as executive director of The New Alchemy Institute – a research and education center dedicated to organic farming, aquaculture, and renewable energy. Prior positions include serving as a water-pumping windmill specialist and an environmental education director with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He also authored books on wind-power and organic gardening.

Gary serves on several corporate and non-profit boards including Applegate Farms, Honest Tea, Peak Organic Brewing, The Full Yield, Climate Counts, SweetGreen, RAMp Sports, Stonyfield Europe, Glenisk, and the Danone Communities Fund.  He is also the chairman and co-founder of O’Naturals, a natural fast food restaurant company.

In addition to receiving eight honorary doctorates, Gary has won numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership, including Global Green USA's “1999 Green Cross Millennium Award for Corporate Environmental Leadership” and was named a Gordon Grand Fellow at Yale.  In 2009, Gary was named one of “America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs” by Business Week, Stonyfield was chosen “Business of the Year – Manufacturing” by Business NH Magazine and Stonyfield won an EPA Clean Air Excellence award.  Gary also is featured in 2009's successful documentary, "Food, Inc."  In May 2010, Stonyfield Farm was honored as “Business of the Decade – Manufacturing/Technology” by Business NH Magazine.


May 31, 2011
Fish Friendly Turbines ?

Alexander M. Gorlov, PhD. Alex Gorlov is a Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston and inventor of the Gorlov Helical Turbine. He was born in Moscow in 1931 into the family of a prosperous lawyer. His father was arrested and died in prison in 1938 during Stalin’s purges. His mother also spent a number of years in concentration camps in Russia.

During WWII, Gorlov was in a children’s home in a small northern town about 1,000 miles from Moscow. In 1961 he received a Ph.D. in engineering and had a successful scientific career in Moscow for a number of years.

The year 1971 was a turning point in Gorlov’s fate. One day that August he went to the summer house of his friend Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel prize winner and outspoken critic of the communist system. At Solzhenitsyn’s request, Gorlov was supposed to pick up a car part. Solzhenitsyn was not at home but Gorlov surprised three plain clothes KGB agents searching the house. From this incident evolved a chain of events in which the authorities attempted to cover up the embarrassing situation by representing Gorlov as a burglar. The story received international attention and Gorlov’s professional life in Russia became untenable forcing him in the end to emigrate. This period in his life Gorlov described in his only non-technical publication:
Incident at a Summer House (A Chance Encounter at Solzhenitsyn's Dacha).


Harnessing Renewable Energy (Hydro, Wind). Mechanical and Structural Analysis and Design.


2001, THOMAS A. EDISON PATENT AWARD by ASME for inventing the Helical Turbine.

The turbine has been twice included in the technology exhibition at Boston Museum of Science.

2002, Honorary Citizenship in the Republic of Korea for help on Development of Tidal Energy in Jindo County                      

      3.   2001, Nomination for the LEMELSON-MIT PRIZE for Invention and Innovation                        

      4.   GOLD and two BRONZE Medals for Achievements of National Economy (USSR)  


REGISTRATION:   PE (Massachusetts).


-Ph.D. and Post Doctorate in Theoretical Mechanics. Moscow Institute of Transport Engineers (MIIT)
-B.S. and M.Sc. in Bridge and Tunnel Engineering (MIIT).


Present       Professor (Emeritus) of mechanical engineering, Northeastern University
1976-2000 Professor and Director, Hydro-Pneumatic Power Laboratory, MIE Department,    
                  Northeastern University, Boston MA
1965-1974 Senior Engineer then Chief Specialist, CAD Systems for analysis and design of Hydro Power Stations, Industrial Structures and Bridges. Central State Research Institute on Automation of Design (TSNIPIASS), Moscow, USSR


  • Bridges and tunnels in Moscow, Gorky, Kursk, Yar

  • Metro (subway) in Moscow and Leningrad

  • Hydro Power Plant and Tunnels for Aswan Dam Hydro Project in River Nile in Egypt

  • Hydro Power Plants on rivers Khram, Langanury (Georgia) and  Sevan Lake (Armenia)

  • Introduction of Helical Turbine for extracting Tidal Energy in Uldolmok Strait (S. Korea)

Over 100 periodical technical papers. Books: ”Macro-Engineering and the Earth”, 1998
(Energy Chapter); “Plates on Elastic Foundations”, 1968.
 Also, non-technical memoir book: “Incident at a Summer House”, 1980.
PATENTS:  25 US and International patents on renewable energy and mechanical systems

RESEARCH GRANTS on Renewable Energy, 1982-2007: From DOE, NSF, ONR, Allied Signal Co., New England Power Co., Central Maine Power Co., WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanography Institute)


  • Major areas of Innovation Activity:  Renewable Energy and Environment

  • Development of efficient turbine for extracting energy from free (without dams or dikes) water flows and waves in ocean, rivers, canals etc. The principal invention – the Helical Turbine for ultra low or zero-head fluid flows. The Turbine is certified by a number of US and International patents. It is proved to be one of the most efficient fluid machines for harnessing energy from non-ducted water currents, waves, and winds.

  • Apparatus for harnessing ultra low-head hydropower by means of air turbines.

       Principal Invention – Hydro-Pneumatic System for converting kinetic energy of water current into energy of compressed air and then extracting it by air turbines.   
Fields of Helical Turbine Application:

  • Electric power production from ocean currents, winds and waves

  • Production of hydrogen fuel by electrolysis of water in situ at floating power farms

  • Direct water pumping for irrigation

  • In situ water desalination at ocean power farms

  • Ship propulsion

  • Wind Power Systems using the Helical Turbine

  • Other areas of Invention and Innovation

  • Mechanical System For Arresting Terrorist Truck-Bomb Attack against Nuclear Reactors, Power Plants, Oil Refineries, Embassies etc.

Invention is certified by several US patents. It received the certificate of the US Department of State with recommendation to use this machine for protection of American Embassies abroad.

  • Railroad Tunnel under the Bering Strait

  • Railroad System for Land Transportation of Ships over the Panama Isthmus as an alternative to a new Panama Canal

  • Bicycle Flywheel System for storage of kinetic energy

  • Inflatable Space Antenna for power and radio signals transmission

Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler
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