Author: Desch, Melanie

Master Gardener Photo Contest

Infographic with details of how to sign up. Information repeated in paragraph.Help us build a Master Gardener Calendar, 2024, for release in Fall of 2023!

If you are a gardener, farmer, or enjoy spending time outside then you probably have a collection of photos waiting to be shared with the world. Our calendar might be the perfect opportunity to showcase your vision of the plant world to other garden fans. Enter the contest today for the chance to see your photo published and shared with Master Gardeners across the state.

Photos will be judged by Master Gardener volunteers involved in the calendar design and selections will be published in our 2024 Master Gardener Calendar.  All entries will be shared on our website for a period of time so we can acknowledge participants!

Photo Submissions will close July 21st, 2023 at 5pm.

More Info Here:

Did You Know? Ants

Ants around ant holeWhile ants can be a nuisance, they are actually considered beneficial predators when they are in places where they are not disrupting plant growth. They prefer sandy, dry soils and that is probably why they are in this area. Compost is not an effective means of killing ants, but if a sandy soil is amended with sufficient compost as to make soil more moisture- retentive, ants may move elsewhere.

Ants are difficult to control because colonies are located in chambers many feet below the soil surface. Any control method outside of soil amending, would involve using baits that ants would bring deep into the chambers and share with fellow ants.

A dense turf cover with grass kept 3 inches high or a little higher would go a long way in discouraging ants from an area.  Watering to keep soils moist during peak ant activity may encourage ants to relocate.

You may want to choose an area to maintain as a quality turf, and let the ants remain in the rest of the area.   See link below for ant control options, many of which include chemical control products, which you can elect not to use.

There is much more information about ant management at the following link:

-Pamm Cooper

UConn Summer Riding: Community Polo Lessons 2023

4 students riding on horses. Infographic explains the ext written in this announcementPolo lesson registration is now open! Lessons are available to Intermediate or Advanced Level riders who can maintain control of their horse at the walk, trot and canter, and comfortable on different levels of horses.

Session 1: Jun 5 – 24
Session 2: Jun 26 – Jul 14
Session 3: Jul 17 – Aug 4
Session 4: Aug 7 – 25

Polo Fundamentals I
Polo Fundamentals II
Intermediate Polo


Payne named to Global Group of Ocean Literacy Experts

Diana Payne, white woman with medium length brown hair and black t-shirtThe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has established an international Group of Experts on Ocean Literacy, with 20 members from diverse disciplines, stakeholder groups, geographical regions, and with a focus on gender balance. The group includes Connecticut Sea Grant Education Coordinator Diana Payne.

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO) selected for its new Group of Experts on Ocean Literacy 20 renowned professionals from diverse and relevant disciplines and interested parties, reflecting the multi-stakeholder nature of ocean literacy and taking into consideration geographical and gender balance. UNESCO made the announcement in an article posted on its website on May 18.

Experts were selected following a call to Member States and partner organizations and suggestions from the IOC/UNESCO Secretariat. The Group has yet to elect a Chair and Vice-Chair to guide its activities together with the Secretariat.

“Ocean Literacy is a fundamental tool to advance ocean sustainability. The IOC/UNESCO is becoming a leading force in promoting Ocean Literacy across different regions and countries,” said Francesca Santoro, Senior Programme Officer for Ocean Literacy at the IOC-UNESCO Secretariat. “We look forward to working with the Group of Experts to bring their diverse expertise together with different perspectives and approaches.”

Payne said promoting ocean literacy is a core mission of the Ocean Decade, a UN-sponsored initiative that began in 2021 that she has been part of.

“Ocean Literacy is the foundation of the success of the Ocean Decade, as environmental literacy is to all we do in Sea Grant,” she said. “I’m honored and humbled to be named to the IOC-UNESCO Ocean Literacy Group of Experts. There is so much important work to be done to fundamentally change humanity’s relationship with the ocean.”

Read the complete article here. 

Play Breadwinner and Learn about Financial Literacy

Are you interested in learning more about financial literacy?

Want to practice budgeting and making sound financial decisions as an adult in Connecticut?

Play Breadwinner!

Breadwinner was created with the purpose of teaching others about how to manage your money in the Connecticut workforce. The hope is to get teenagers and young adults to practice budgeting and understand what goes into a singular month of living. You begin with finding an occupation and learn how much of your gross income you take home after taxes. All the data is based off of starting salaries in each occupation. From there you work through housing, utilities, and various expenses in the life of an adult. Test your ability to budget and learn what you value the most when making financial decisions.

The Breadwinner game app is in its testing phase and its creators would appreciate your feedback. UConn Extension financial literacy program is working on improvements and how to adjust the game to fit the needs of its target audience. If you play along and find areas of improvement or have suggestions for what to include, add them to the survey at the end. Play the game through the end and click the “Please help us improve the game” on the final results page to fill out the survey. If you are curious about learning more about the UConn Financial Literacy Program, please reach out to Faye Griffiths-Smith at

-Naiiya Patel

Japanese Knotweed Management

hedge of Japanese knotweedJapanese knotweed, Polygonum cuspidatum, is an aggressive invasive plant that grows vigorously along roadsides, wetland habitat, and utility rights of way.  It may take years to control as new growth from rhizomes occurs even if the original plants are killed. Cutting back repeatedly is helpful, but works better when an herbicide is applied to open wounds on the plant after cutting. If you are struggling to manage Japanese Knotweed in your area, take a look at the recommendations at the link below and keep up with treatments to stop the spread!

WTNH Channel 8 airs story on CT shell recycling program

Man sorts oysters on the coastWTNH Channel 8 news broadcast a story about Connecticut Sea Grant’s shell recycling initiative on its April 19 show. CTSG’s Tessa Getchis, aquaculture extension specialist, and Michael Gilman, shell recycling coordinator, were interviewed for the piece, titled “Connecticut oyster recycling program reinvigorates reefs.”

Watch the story here.