Author: Syme, Emily

Meet Solid Ground’s new Program Co-Coordinator: Brittany Hall! Inbox

Hey Farmers!
Just wanted to give a face to a new name you might see floating around to help with out Solid Ground Projects. Though we were so lucky and grateful to have Charlotte Ross for many years helping with the project, she has stepped down and Brittany Hall has taken her position!  Here’s a little bit about her and we hope you’re excited as we are to work with her!
Meet Brittany:
selfie of Britney
Brittany came to farming following a career in nonprofits where she wore many hats over the years, including: case manager, donations coordinator, volunteer coordinator, and wellness programs manager. Unbeknownst to her, the skills she learned in nonprofits would be valuable when she began farming in 2018. Since then she has been fortunate to learn from several farmers who have passed on their indispensable knowledge. She is passionate about food justice, providing healthy and organic produce to local consumers, and queering the food system. Brittany and her partner recently established Beets & Blooms Farm, an organic cut flower and vegetable farm in East Hampton, CT.
Using her background in farming and program management, Brittany comes to the Solid Ground team as Project Co-Coordinator, helping with farmer trainings; creating online programs that farmers can access from anywhere; and sharing the ingenious farm hacks she learns from local Connecticut farmers.

Long Island Sound teacher workshop planned for May 21

Come tour and learn about Copps Island Oyster Company, Sheffield Island Lighthouse, the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge and how to take your students on an interdisciplinary field trip that incorporates NGSS, history and science into an unforgettable educational experience for all grade levels.

Please see the flier attached here for details!

Date: May 21, 2022 – 9 a.m. – 3 pm. Registration required. Space is limited.

Workshop cost and registration:

Space is limited so it’s best to sign up ASAP. Complete the google form using the link below to register:

Cost: $10 venmo or check – details will be sent once registration is completed. Payment must be made to reserve your spot for the workshop.

Goodie bags with supplies to run your own field trip will be given out at the end of the class and may include seines, nets and other fun stuff!

Questions? Please contact Eva Bartush:

Post taken from CT Sea Grant

Webinar by CLEAR

UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research is hosting a webinar on “Planning and Funding Brownfield Site Investigations” on Wednesday June 1st at 1pm. This webinar will provide an overview of the different phases of site investigation (typically called Phase I, II and III), typical costs for each and potential funding sources, how to plan and request an RFP to have an investigation conducted by a contractor and what municipal or regional agency officials can expect in the resulting reports. Register at

Raising awareness to help sturgeon make a comeback in CT

UConn and Connecticut Sea Grant will unveil a sign at Hammonasset Beach State Park at 10 a.m.  on May 7 to raise awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered Atlantic sturgeon. The ceremony will take place at the beach house at Meigs Point.

The ancient and iconic Atlantic Sturgeon were once common in Connecticut waters. However, after overfishing, pollution, and habitat degradation the species is now endangered.

Fortunately, after ongoing research and conservation efforts there are signs the population is recovering and may be rediscovering its historic spawning grounds in the Connecticut River.

A new sign at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison will serve to educate others about the progress and goals of these conservation efforts and aid in this species’ recovery. Measures we can take include steps to take if sturgeon are accidentally caught while fishing, and to report sightings to CT DEEP. CT Sea Grant supported the work of UConn marine scientists in this project.

Joining CT Sea Grant staff at the event will be UConn scientists and CT DEEP fisheries staff who worked on the project; and CT DEEP Deputy Commission Mason Trumble.

    For more information, visit the project website.

    Link to pdf of sign in Spanish and English can be found here.

    Post taken from CT Sea Grant

    National Lyme Disease Awareness Month

    It’s National Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Before you venture outside, learn about the precautions you should take from @uconnladybug newest blog post linked below. The Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL) in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science offers tick testing. Visit here for more info:

    @uconnladybug blog post: One early spring afternoon three years ago I came home from my annual physical, pleased about my clean bill of health. Four hours later, I was admitted to the hospital with a temperature of 104 degrees, blinding headache, and muscle soreness. It took two days and many tests and retests to determine the cause. It was a tick-borne disease called anaplasmosis. That was the first time I ever heard of it. I had heard much about tick-borne Lyme disease (who in Connecticut hasn’t) but anaplasmosis? Who knew?

    The good news was that it was that my disease was treatable with antibiotics, and I fully recovered in just a few days. What was the source of my disease? In all likelihood, a tick I picked up while doing the spring clean-up in my garden. I vowed thereafter, I would be much more careful about ticks whenever I gardened, or ventured outside my yard into the woods to walk my dogs. I tell this cautionary tale as a reminder that ticks are all around us and this spring – and throughout the year – it’s important to take measures to protect you, your family, and your pets as well.

    Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes scapularis)

    To date, there are eight known tick-borne diseases in Connecticut. They are spread by only three tick species: the Blacklegged (“deer”) tick (Ixodes scapularis), the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum), and the American Dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis). The good news is that the measures you need to follow to avoid tick diseases are the same for all three species According to the CDC website Ticks and Their Body Buddies , there are steps to take before you go outdoors, after you come in, and  if, despite your best efforts, you find you’ve become a tick taxi.

    Adult female lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum)

    Before You Go Outside

    1. Know where ticks are mostly likely to be. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas or they can be carried in on animals. Make sure your furry children are treated with tick medicine.

    2. Treat clothing and gear before you spend time outside. Products sprays that contain 5% permethrin can be used on clothing, boots, camping gear and will stay on for several washings.  Alternately, some clothing and gear that contains permethrin are available for purchase.

    3. Use EPA- insecticide repellents. Always follow Product instructions. EPA advises children under three years of age not use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) or para-methane-diol, (PMD).

    4. Be sure to avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter. When hiking stay in the middle of the path.

    After You Come In

    1. Check your clothes, gear and pets for any tick stow-a-ways.

    2. Take a shower within two hours of coming inside. It may wash off any unattached ticks.

    3.Check your whole body for ticks. Use a mirror to check under arms, in or around ears, inside the belly button, back of knees, around the hair, between legs and around the waist.

    American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

    Oh _______! It’s a Tick!

    If, despite your best efforts you do find a tick has taken up residence on you or a loved one:

    1. Use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.

    2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you cannot remove the mouth easily with tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

    3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

    4. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by:

    5. Putting it in alcohol,

    6. Placing it in a sealed bag/container,

    7. Wrapping it tightly in tape.

    8. Save the tick and monitor the affected area for a rash or in case you develop a fever.

    9. If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.

    If you WANT to have the tick tested, Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic laboratory offers testing:

    Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.

    Kirby C. Stafford III, Ph.D. Vice Director, Chief Entomologist, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven has put together a Tick Management Handbook, which provides  comprehensive information on ticks to Connecticut residents:

    Garden season means tick season, but with a bit of prevention and a lot of attention, you can have a full year of garden joys –  without the tick-borne trip to the hospital that made me want to write this blogpost.

    Marie Woodward

    EFNEP/4-H Special Interest group with Danbury Public Schools

    EFNEP/4-H special interest group with Danbury Public Schools at Rogers Park Middle School has continued to meet throughout March and April. Teens tested their knife skills by using plastic knives to cut bananas and strawberries. Teens made fruit dip with cinnamon as a topping for their cut fruit. 


    To learn more about bacteria on surfaces and the importance of sanitizing work and kitchen surfaces, teens conducted an experiment with apples. One apple slice was kept in a plastic bag as the control, one apple was rubbed along cafeteria table and chair surfaces, another apple was rubbed along the cafeteria floor.  All 3 apples were kept in a cool dark space for 1 week.  Teens observed the bacterial growth from different surface areas.

    ‘Handbook for Increasing Ocean Literacy’ now available

    A Handbook for Increasing Ocean Literacy: Tools for Educators and Ocean Literacy Advocates, developed by the National Marine Educators Association, with the support of NOAA, is now available to help educators and other ocean advocates teach, learn, and communicate about the ocean.

    CT Sea Grant Education Coordinator Diana Payne is one of the editors of the book, along with Catherine Halversen, Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley (emerita); and Sarah Schoedinger, NOAA Office of Education.

    The handbook provides a much needed resource comprising two highly regarded tools to use alongside Ocean Literacy: The Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for All Audiences (NOAA, 2020) to advance ocean literacy.

    It contains both Scope & Sequence and NGSS alignment; available online with screen reader capabilities or order hard copy via email to NOAA Outreach

    The handbook can be found here.

    Post written by CT Sea Grant

    EFNEP/4-H Special Interest group with Danbury Public Schools

    UConn Extension in Fairfield County is leading a EFNEP/4-H special interest group with Danbury Public Schools at Rogers Park Middle School.  EFNEP educator Heather Peracchio is engaging students with Teen Cuisine curriculum and hands-on activities in grades 6-8th. During National Nutrition Month in March students enjoyed learning about MyPlate healthy eating and made a Colorful Coleslaw from the Teen Cuisine workbook.

    Canter Curriculum

    Interested in learning about horse nutrition? Sign up for Canter Curriculum. This asynchronous course will cover topics such as the digestive system basics, nutrients needed by horses, how to feed different types of horses, supplements, feeding guidelines, and common questions and myths.





    Sign up at Reach out to Dr. Jenifer Nadeau, Associate Professor- Equine Extension Specialist with any questions at