Expanding Access to Financial Literacy Resources with Naiiya Patel

Naiiya PatelHey! I’m Naiiya Patel and this summer, I am working as the Financial Literacy for Youth and Young Adults intern at the UConn Extension New Haven County Center. The financial education program is run by Faye Griffiths-Smith. She teaches workshops across Connecticut educating the public and providing professional development opportunities related to important financial literacy topics such as budgeting, savings, credit, debt, being prepared for the unexpected, and money management. The resources presented in workshops provide necessary financial education on how to make informed decisions regarding finances. The workshops extend beyond teaching high school and college students.

Recently, we have been working with veterans, retirees, and refugee groups throughout Connecticut. The main goal is to provide this information as early as possible to Connecticut residents so that they can practice smart habits regarding their important financial decisions like buying a home or car, creating an emergency fund, or preparing for retirement. As an intern, I work behind the scenes to help make sure the workshops go smoothly. I assist in script refinement and supplemental research work regarding the specific topic we are teaching. Recently a bigger project we are working on is an online game for college and high school students. I update and crossmatch Connecticut data regarding salaries, taxes, apartments, and other expenses create a simulation of what it is like to navigate financial decisions as a young working adult. My internship also involves promoting various financial health and wellbeing topics by developing social media messaging on Twitter and Facebook. Part of my marketing work for the program involves a separate independent project where I will develop short educational videos on financial literacy topics such as a cash flow budget. 

Places to Learn About and Enjoy Horses in Connecticut

Jennifer riding a horseJenifer Nadeau, an Equine Extension Specialist and an Associate Professor for the Department of Animal Science at UConn in Storrs, will be leading an outreach program about Places to Learn About and Enjoy Horses in CT. Come learn about the famous horses found in Connecticut as well as where to find horse-related attractions on July 21st at 11Am. We will also have a list of places you can go to take a trail ride or a lesson.


Helping Youth Understand One Health Concepts

Hi! My name is Jillian Bowen (’25 CAHNR), and I am a sophomore pathobiology major at UConn! This year, I am working as the 2022 One Health summer intern with UConn Extension in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR). UConn CAHNR Extension is an outreach program committed to educating communities about agriculture, climate, food, sustainable landscapes, and health by connecting the public to university resources and research. My job as the One Health intern involves developing programs for UConn 4-H concerning the concept of One Health, which is the intersection of human, animal, and environmental wellbeing, and has become increasingly more relevant in recent years. These lesson plans and activities are centered around One Health issues, such as mosquito and tick safety, antibiotic resistance, and zoonotic diseases. 

With an ever increasing human population and globalization making travel easier than ever, our interactions with animals and the environment has created many more opportunities for diseases to spread between animals and humans, and allowing for these diseases to be spread more quickly. In addition, changes in the environment have made animals more susceptible to disease as well. All of these factors mean that One Health is more important than ever, and achieving optimal health outcomes for all of these facets of life requires input from the local all the way to the global level. This is why educating the public about One Health is so necessary – individual steps to work towards a healthier planet can make a big difference. It is something that I am extremely passionate about, and I strongly encourage you to check out our website at https://onehealth.cahnr.uconn.edu/ for more information.

Buzzworthy News: Bug Week Approaches!

insect imageDo you think that creepy crawlers are cool? How about ones that fly? Are you fascinated with insects and want to learn more about them in a fun way? As the vegetable entomology extension intern, I am working closely with Dr. Ana Legrand to create exciting outreach content for the upcoming Bug Week event ranging from informative posters and infographics to video content of the insects we see in the field. I am starting this internship off virtually focusing more on the creation of graphics that detail processes and advantages of integrated pest management as well as insect identification. We plan to document the interesting insects that visit the field not only during the working, daylight hours, but also the nighttime, giving the world a grasp on the differences (and similarities) of the diversity of insects that visit a single ecosystem.
 Bug week is a program designed around family participation and education, highlighting the importance of insects and their role in natural and human-made ecosystems and gives participants an opportunity to observe insects up close with the assistance of trained professionals. Last year, due to the ongoing pandemic, Bug Week was extended to Bug Month for the entirety of July, giving ample time to appreciate some awesome insects with a photo contest, fun facts, and activities both online and in person. This year’s line up will include crafts fun, family oriented crafts, recipes, and more that will be able to be accessed through the website. Be sure to keep your eyes open for buzz-worthy content for the 8th annual Bug Week!
Article by Reilly Stiefel
You can view all the upcoming Bug Week Programs, taking place the week of July 17th at https://bugs.uconn.edu/

Greenhouse Biological Control Conference in August

UConn Extension is hosting a Greenhouse Biological Control Conference on August 16th.

Hosted by: Leanne Pundt and Rosa RaudalesUConn Extension

Target audience: Commercial growers producing ornamentals or vegetable transplants in heated greenhouses.

Location and Parking Information: Jones Auditorium, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, 123 Huntington Street, New Haven, CT. The entrance to Jones Auditorium is on the north end of the building, on the side away from Huntington Street.  In addition to the parking lots on campus, there is street parking on Huntington Street and East Rock Road. Click on Directions to Jones Auditorium for more details.

Registration:  $30 per person. Registration includes boxed lunch and five pesticide recertification credits for Connecticut and New England states for presentations marked with ♣. Online registration at Greenhouse Training Store. If you would like to pay by check, please contact Leanne Pundt (860 626 6855 or leanne.pundt@uconn.edu). Registration will end at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 12, 2022. The registration fee is refundable 48 hours before the event. Please note that we have a maximum capacity of 70 attendees. Walk-in registrations are not an option.


Time Description Speaker
9:00 – 9:30 AM Registration and Coffee.
9:30 – 10:30 AM Update on Banker Plants   How to create sustainable BCA systems so you have an environment to support and maintain BCAs at a higher level before pest problems become an issue.  Ron ValentinDirector of Technical Business

Anatis BioProtection

10:30 – 10:45 AM Break
10:45 – 11:45 AM Releasing Natural Enemies Suzanne will discuss how to effectively release your natural enemies so your biological control program can be effective.  Suzanne Wainwright EvansBuglady Consulting
11:45 -12:30 PM Tips on How to Effectively Integrate Biological Controls and Chemical Controls:

Elwood will discuss the challenges of developing and integrated biologically based program. 
Elwood RobertsTechnical Specialist

Plant Products/Biobest

12:30 – 1:15 PM Lunch
1:15 – 2:15 PM Enhancing Use of Biological Fungicides in a Biologically Based IPM Program:

Michael will discuss how to best apply and use biological fungicides to create a more resistant plant. 
Michael BrownbridgeBiological Program Manager

Disease Control, BioWorks

2:15 – 3:15 PM Grower Case Studies: What’s working? Suzanne will discuss proven biological control programs that are working for growers across the country based upon the latest research.  Suzanne Wainwright EvansBuglady Consulting
3:15 – 3:30 PM Discussion/Questions 

Five pesticide recertification credits have been requested for this program. 

If you have questions about registration or refunds please contact Carla Caballero at carla.caballero@uconn.edu. If you have any questions about the program or payment, please email Leanne Pundt at leanne.pundt@uconn.edu.

Disclaimer:  Program format is subject to change based on the University of Connecticut and the State of Connecticut’s COVID 19 guidelines and policies. If access to the venue or seating capacity changes, the program will be changed to a virtual format.

This Program is Co-Sponsored by: USDA CCPM project number 2021-70006-35582

An Equal Opportunity Employer and Program Provider. If requested by a program participant at least two weeks in advance, every effort will be made to provide special accommodations. If you are an individual with a disability and need accommodations, please contact Carla Caballero at carla.caballero@uconn.edu.

UConn Extension Attends National Urban Extension Conference

UConn Extensionists Mary Ellen Welch, Jacqueline Kowalski, Jeantyl Norze and Heather Peracchio attended the National Urban Extension Conference at Rutgers Camden May 23-26. Educators and directors from across the country came together to share best practices in Extension and vision the future of Urban Extension. Norze led a presentation on “Academic Structure Versus Urban Extension Needs: Keep Tradition or Innovate” and Peracchio presented on “Reimagining Youth Nutrition Education and Teaching Outdoors During Covid-19”.

Norze and Peracchio had an opportunity to tour Philadelphia’s Common Market and view Myocopia Mushrooms growing practices. Common Market provides locally grown produce to Philadelphia’s highest need citizens where food access is limited. Myocopia Mushrooms grows a variety of unique mushrooms and sells them to restaurants and at local farmers markets.  Kowalski toured Bartram Gardens, the oldest surviving botanical garden in the United States.  This public garden is in Southwest Philly and is also the home of Sankofa Community Farm,  a 3.5 community farm celebrating the agriculture of the African Diaspora.  Additionally, the Gardens serve as an open green space in space in a formerly industrialized area of the city.


The conference concluded with a meeting for the Northeast Region Urban Extension personnel.  This meeting provided the opportunity for the group to discuss opportunities to strengthen regional partnerships and collaborations.

What is SNAP-Ed? Intern Jenna Zydanowicz Explains

Jenna ZydanowiczMy name is Jenna Zydanowicz, I am a rising junior, and an Allied Health Science major. I have a passion for nutrition, engaging with the community, and trying to promote healthy lifestyles. I love being able to educate families, children, and adults on the importance of nutrition and still eating well on a low income budget. I am an intern for UConn School and Family, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- Education Program (SNAP-Ed). The purpose of the SNAP-Ed program is to assess, develop, implement, and evaluate tailored direct nutrition education to SNAP recipients at multiple diverse sites in numerous Connecticut towns. We provide fact-based and tailored online information to support healthy eating and physical activity. A few of our direct education reaches parents of young toddlers, preschoolers, and parents with children ages 5 to 18. We also reach adults, senior centers, food pantries and mobile food distribution to provide recipes and information related to healthy eating for those in need. We facilitate access to affordable healthy foods by partnering with experts at UConn and in the community. We use multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach target audiences and provide easy access to nutrition information. We provide many different types of nutrition related resources such as recipes, handouts, food samples, and access to our Healthy Family CT website. A few goals the SNAP- Ed program have are to increase the target audience’s knowledge and skill to achieve healthier diet and access local and affordable healthy food, improve their willingness to consume a healthier diet while encouraging an increase in physical activities, and increase their diet quality.

Website: https://healthyfamilyct.cahnr.uconn.edu/

Top 10 Cool Season Tips to Get You the Best Yard

bentgrass stand dormant in hot summer, may be mistaken for disease activityClean up Gently

In the spring, remove any large debris from the lawn that may have the potential to smother and kill your grass as it starts to resume growth in the spring.  Once excess debris is removed, rake your lawn to remove any dead grass.

Get Rid of Bare Spots

Reseed any bare patches with grass seed to reduce spaces where weeds can grow and help to create a dense and consistent turfgrass surface to match the rest of the lawn’s lush look.

Don’t Cut the Grass too Short

Mowing the lawn too short can cause it to “stress”, which in turn will prevent it from flourishing.  The height of cut should be maintained at least 3 inches tall.  Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade during the mowing process.   Grass clippings should be returned to the turfgrass surface. As the leaf clippings degrade, they release nutrients back into the turfgrass lawn.

Sharpen Mower Blades and Clean Up

Sharpen mower blades and clean mowing equipment of debris. When cleaning off equipment, make sure that grass clipping stuck on the underside of the mower is not rinsed where they can get washed into stormwater drains.

Water (If needed)

During the growing season, consider watering lawn areas, if there have been no measurable rain. Lawns require about an inch of water/week, therefore deep and infrequent watering will keep the lawn healthy during the hot summer months. Water early in the morning to allow the turfgrass roots to absorb the water, but also time for the leaves to dry.

Lawns that are not irrigated will become dormant and “rest” during the hot summer months, but will resume active growth when hot summer temperatures turn cool.

Different turfgrasses require different watering or nutrients to persist.  Consider turfgrasses that utilize less water or fertilizer in lawns with little activity. Some grasses are better suited to full sun, others better suited to partial shade.  Fine fescues can survive with few inputs and do well in dry partial shade conditions.

Feed Your lawn

Like people, turfgrass lawns, require nutrients protect itself against insects, weeds or diseases that grow in the turfgrass canopy.  Fertilize when turfgrass is actively growing so that the lawn will benefit from each fertilizer application.

Fertilizing your lawn is important, especially if the lawn may thin out due wear damage from active children and pets.

Fertilizers that release nutrients slowly over time (slow release) can extend the duration of feeding.  Quick release fertilizers provide a quick response and do not provide a consistent slow release of nutrients.  Slow release fertilizers can be synthetic or organic.

Older lawns typically require less fertilizer than younger lawns.  Overtime older lawns can release nutrients back into the soil.

Attract Pollinators to your Garden

Pollinators will be attracted to all flowering plants, including weeds in the lawn.  If pollinators are to be protected, mow the lawn to remove the flowers before any herbicide is applied.  Pollinators will not travel to weeds to collect pollen if the flowers have been removed.

Clean and Polish

Make sure you have cleaned and lubricated all the garden tools you have been using before storing them away.

Give Your Lawn What It Wants

Fertilizing your lawn is absolutely necessary if you find that it is struggling to grow. Completing this process in the early spring will jumpstart the growth of your grass.

Hire the Professionals

Hire a professional landscape contractor or lawn care company to help manage your lawn.  These professionals are trained to make environmentally friendly adjustments that will help you grow a healthy lawn.


Visit s.uconn.edu/fertadvisor for more tips on how to maintain the perfect yard.


Northeast CT Farm and Food Guide

grown connected logoGrown ConNECTed has released a new Guide to Farm Fresh Food in Northeastern CT  for 2022. This guide is an attempt at creating a comprehensive listing of farms selling directly to consumers in the Northeastern CT region and that your constituents can use to find local food, grown and raised in Northeastern CT.  A digital copy available online can be accessed at https://media.cahnr.uconn.edu/extension/ag-food/farm-fresh-guide/index.html

magazine front cover

Transformative Life Experiences with Environmental Education

nrca students in waterUConn’s Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA) offers several educational programs for both children and adults, including the Conservation Ambassador Program, Conservation Partnership program, and Teacher Professional Learning program. Environmental education is a crucial part of working towards a more sustainable world. The first step in making positive environmental changes both locally and worldwide is making sure that the public is knowledgeable on issues and their possible solutions.

This summer, I am working with the NRCA as their Environmental Education Intern through the UConn Extension program. In this position I will help organize and teach the UConn Pre-College Summer Environmental Conservation course. This involves preparing lessons and activities for high school students covering a range of topics such as green infrastructure, forestry, wildlife techniques, and water quality. Through this program, I hope to inspire students to continue their education in environmental topics, and also to place value on conservation and sustainability issues. At the end of the program, the students will have come up with an environmental project to complete in their own community. I hope that through this position I will push future college students to continue to value the environment and take action in their communities. In addition to preparing materials for the course, I am also assisting NRCA with analyzing databases with information on programs from the previous years, to be able to better understand participation, demographics, and project topics. This will help NRCA create informed goals when it comes to improving their programs and catering them to the public.

By Abigail Bar, UConn Extension Intern