Any sentence with the word “spring” in it is a welcome diversion from the winter doldrums. So let’s use the word as often as we can to snag our attention from the bone chilling temperatures and high heating costs.
The Penobscot Valley Senior College has released its spring catalog. Spring classes start in March so spring into action and enroll. OK the last one doesn’t count — but don’t you feel better hearing all about spring?
In fact, PVSC is like spring cleaning for your brain. Last one, I promise.
Affiliated with the UMaine Center on Aging, PVSC is one of more than a dozen senior colleges in Maine. Annual membership is $25 per individual and $40 for two people living at the same address. Classes are $30 each. Membership has benefits, such as advance notice of courses, invitations to free one-day programs, a free annual meeting luncheon with a guest speaker and the ability to enroll in other senior colleges’ classes.
Open to people 50 and older, with classes generally located on the University of Maine, Orono and Bangor campuses, PVSC is a way for older people to gain some knowledge and make new friends while having a great time.
The classes are two-hours long, held Thursdays or Fridays and run six weeks, with morning or afternoon sessions. No previous college experience is required, there are no tests and no grades. Just have fun.
Here is an example of topics offered by PVSC:
• The Footprint of Climate Change with Gordon Bromley. In this class, you will explore climate change on scales great and small, from the theory of ice ages to short-lived, abrupt events. Scientific means of data collection, the use of examples from current research at UMaine, and discussion of major questions in climate science, including the ramifications of our own great climate experiment — global warming, will be covered.
• Maine Wildlife with Bucky Owen, Jerry Longcore and Bill Krohn. The course will cover the past and current status, ecology and management of selected Maine wildlife. Included will be discussion of beaver and wetlands, Maine’s carnivore community, seabirds, large raptors and our own backyard. Ample time will be available for class input.
• A Compilation of Short Stories with Paul A. Lucey. If you love to hear captivating tales, this class is for you. It’s a portfolio of short stories describing colorful characters and dramatic events encountered by the writer in a 90-year lifetime. Included are his experiences as a Marine Corsair pilot in World War II, a helicopter pilot in Korea, principal of a high school in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district and a pilot in Alaska.
• Progressivism and Protest in U.S. History with Ned and Diane Smith. This class looks at our fascinating history to examine how progress and change are often brought about by social movements. Discussion topics include abolition, women’s suffrage, the social gospel movement, the Progressive Era of the late 1800s, the birth of labor unions, and workers’ rights, civil rights, immigrant rights and gay rights.
• Goddesses of the Near East with Kay Retzlaff. What woman doesn’t want to channel her inner goddess? What man isn’t mesmerized by them? Here’s a class that will give you the scoop on the gals of ancient times. You’ll focus on the goddesses at the root of the Western literary tradition, starting with Inanna of Sumer, and discuss how her character changed in later incarnations after Sumer was conquered and take a look at similar goddesses in various religions in the area, such as Isis of Egypt, Astarte of Syria and Ishtar of Assyria.
For information, go to and click the Penobscot Valley Senior College banner on the right or The message phone number is 992-0135. Registration deadline is Feb. 21.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, or go to