Climate

Advancing Adaptation and Resilience in a Changing Climate

Journal examines role of ‘blue humanities’ in ocean literacy

humanizing the seas journal coverThis special issue of Parks Stewardship Forum, guest-edited by Connecticut Sea Grant Research Coordinator Syma Ebbin, looks at how the “blue humanities” can bolster the public’s ocean literacy and sense of stewardship for the seas. Articles in this issue make the case that the arts and humanities can and should contribute to marine conservation. In addition to her CT Sea Grant post, Ebbin is also associate professor in residence in the UConn Maritime Studies Program.

With a full title of Parks Stewardship Forum, The Interdisciplinary Journal of Place-Based Conservation, current and past issues can be found at these two websites: https://escholarship.org/uc/psf for scholarly reference and use; and https://parks.berkeley.edu/psf for online browsing and reading.

Featured theme articles in the current issue include two by Ebbin, “Humanizing the Seas: A Case For Integrating the Arts and Humanities into Ocean Literacy and Stewardship,” and “Immersing the Arts: Integrating the Arts into Ocean Literacy,” in which she discusses Connecticut Sea Grant’s arts support awards program. In addition, Colleen Franks, UConn research specialist, writes about the Connecticut Blue Heritage Trail in “Integrating Maritime Heritage and Ocean Literacy: Free-choice learning along the Connecticut Blue Heritage Trail.” In “Ocean Literacy and Public Humanities,” UConn Maritime Studies Professor Helen Rozwadowski argues that ocean literacy principles and the framework for carrying them out are well developed, but that the humanities and arts are largely — and needlessly —absent.

Original Post

Virtual Managed Retreat in the Age of Climate Change Workshop

salt marsh
Image by Judy Benson, Connecticut Sea Grant

When talking about community response to climate change issues, retreat is the “R” word. But it is already happening in coastal states throughout the country, including here in Connecticut. Is it a good or bad idea? Will we be forced to retreat due to sea level rise in 30 years or 50 years? What does it mean to a community and how do we manage it?

This workshop is intended to begin the discussion about managed retreat in the face of climate change. Dr. AR Siders, a national expert in managed retreat, will provide a national perspective. Attorney Marjorie Shansky will speak on legal issues. Other speakers will focus on issues and examples related to retreat in Connecticut.
 We would like to hear what you think and what questions you have about managed retreat.
LOCATION: ONLINE
DATE: November 13, 2020
COST: Free
Program runs from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm
To register visit http://bit.ly/CAA_register

Registration is now open for Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group’s VIRTUAL symposium

The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group’s 2020 Symposium will be held online on October 7th! 
Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group's virtual symposium
WHAT: Virtual Event: Realistic Solutions to Managing Invasive Plants
WHEN:  October 7, 2020;  8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
WHO:  Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG)
WHERE:  Webcast on your computer
NOTES:  CEUs for 11 organizations and Pesticide Recertification Credits available; all interested persons welcome
COST:
  • Early Registration $50 on or before September 14th
  • Regular Registration $65 after September 14th
  • Student Registration $25

MORE INFO: https://cipwg.uconn.edu/2020-symposium/

The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) 2020 VIRTUAL Invasive Plant Symposium will be held on Wednesday, October 7, 2020.  The theme of the symposium is: Realistic Solutions to Managing Invasive Plants. This 10th biennial conference will feature regional and local experts as well as citizen volunteers sharing practical solutions for invasive plant management and actions needed to promote native species and improve wildlife habitat.

The Keynote presentation, CIPWG: Past, Present, Future, will feature Donna Ellis, Peter Picone, Charlotte Pyle, and Todd Mervosh. An Invasive Plant Management Roundtable will focus on successes and issues in invasive plant management from a land trust manager, a state land manager, a homeowner, and a professional in the invasive species management field. Concurrent afternoon sessions will encompass Large Scale Invasive Plant Management, Small Scale Invasive Plant Management, Tools & Timing of Invasive Plant Management, Native Alternatives, Aquatic Invasives, and Japanese Knotweed Management. A large array of Continuing Education Credits will be available for Connecticut and other States.
CIPWG’s first virtual symposium will take the form of a webcast with recorded talks and live Q&A. Registrants will be emailed a link to the virtual symposium in advance of the event on October 7th, and a link to the recording on Friday, October 9th.
Sponsored By:
The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG)
Looking forward to seeing you!
Charlotte Pyle, for the CIPWG 2020 Symposium Planning Team

What to do during a drought

During a drought, it is important to conserve as much water as possible. Making small changes in our daily routines can go a long way. There are also other things we can do to help reduce the impact of a drought. Watch to learn more about what you should do. More information for residents are available from the Connecticut Institute of Water Resources.

Registration is now open for Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group’s VIRTUAL symposium

The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group’s 2020 Symposium will be held online on October 7th! 
Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group's virtual symposium
WHAT: Virtual Event: Realistic Solutions to Managing Invasive Plants
WHEN:  October 7, 2020;  8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
WHO:  Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG)
WHERE:  Webcast on your computer
NOTES:  CEUs for 11 organizations and Pesticide Recertification Credits available; all interested persons welcome
COST:
  • Early Registration $50 on or before September 14th
  • Regular Registration $65 after September 14th
  • Student Registration $25

MORE INFO: https://cipwg.uconn.edu/2020-symposium/

The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) 2020 VIRTUAL Invasive Plant Symposium will be held on Wednesday, October 7, 2020.  The theme of the symposium is: Realistic Solutions to Managing Invasive Plants. This 10th biennial conference will feature regional and local experts as well as citizen volunteers sharing practical solutions for invasive plant management and actions needed to promote native species and improve wildlife habitat.

The Keynote presentation, CIPWG: Past, Present, Future, will feature Donna Ellis, Peter Picone, Charlotte Pyle, and Todd Mervosh. An Invasive Plant Management Roundtable will focus on successes and issues in invasive plant management from a land trust manager, a state land manager, a homeowner, and a professional in the invasive species management field. Concurrent afternoon sessions will encompass Large Scale Invasive Plant Management, Small Scale Invasive Plant Management, Tools & Timing of Invasive Plant Management, Native Alternatives, Aquatic Invasives, and Japanese Knotweed Management. A large array of Continuing Education Credits will be available for Connecticut and other States.
CIPWG’s first virtual symposium will take the form of a webcast with recorded talks and live Q&A. Registrants will be emailed a link to the virtual symposium in advance of the event on October 7th, and a link to the recording on Friday, October 9th.
Sponsored By:
The Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG)
Looking forward to seeing you!
Charlotte Pyle, for the CIPWG 2020 Symposium Planning Team

Hurricanes and COVID – 19

Preparing for the 2020 hurricane season or severe storms during the COVID – 19 pandemic requires more planning than usual. 

First, make a “go kit” – a bag you can grab and go should you need to evacuate!  Pack a kit for each household member and pet with a 2-week supply of emergency food, water, medicine and a thermometer for storing refrigerated medicines, flashlights, chargers, cell phones, close contacts list, important documents (unless you store these in the cloud) and personal items.  Since the pandemic, you should pack hand sanitizer and/or hand wipes, gloves, disinfectant/disinfectant wipes, soap, and at least 2 masks per person for people older than two years. 

If you are exempt from wearing a mask for medical or behavioral reasons, discuss how to manage community requests with your health care provider.  If you require specialized care, discuss potential shelter, hospitalization or other options with your health care provider well in advance of approaching storms. 

Check with your town hall to learn about shelter admission policies since COVID – 19, occupancy limits, and perhaps new locations for both people and pets.  Bring copies of veterinary records such as a rabies certificate and vaccines, certificates of adoption or ownership, photos of you and your pet, and consider getting a microchip for your pet. 

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/covid-19/prepare-for-hurricane.html

Aquatic Invasive Species – Video Interview with Jim Straub Hosted by Lindsey Kollmer

Lindsey Kollmer, a summer intern with our Connecticut Sea Grant program and UConn Extension, interviews Jim Straub. They discuss the management of two invasive aquatic plants in Massachusetts, water chestnut and hydrilla, to potentially gain knowledge of successful techniques that can be used in Connecticut to control these plants.

Another Summer Chapter for a Climate Corps Student

By Sarah Schechter, UConn Class of 2021

In the fall of my sophomore year at UConn, I enrolled in EVST 3100 – “Climate Resilience and Adaptation: Municipal Policy and Planning.” This is a course about climate change that allows students to look at real world problems and learn how to solve them in a classroom setting. This course was followed by an independent study for the Climate Corps in the spring. Developing this background and experience with climate change, I was hired for a summer internship with UConn Extension and Connecticut Sea Grant. During the summer of 2019, I worked with Juliana Barrett on a video titled “Rising Waters: Planning for Flooding in Connecticut”. This video explains coastal and inland flooding and the impacts of climate change. Municipal officials and commission members viewing the video can use this information in planning for flooding in their communities. I traveled to sites on and around the Connecticut River as well as locations on the coast of Connecticut, and I visited historical societies in order to create a photobank of past floods as well as vulnerable areas and adaptations that are being made. This project allowed me to apply what I had learned about sea level rise and flooding through the Climate Corps, as well as expand my knowledge on the subject, which I will apply to future projects. 

Rising waters -Planning for flooding in CT video thumbnail

During the summer of 2020, I have been working with Juliana Barrett again, this time to complete a video about climate change, which will also be shown to municipal officials so that they can better convey the subject to their citizens. This summer internship was funded by The Rockfall Foundation and Connecticut Sea Grant. The video explains the science behind climate change. It discusses ways to adapt and mitigate issues associated with climate change as well. I have enjoyed working on this project as it has allowed me to learn more about how the climate emergency is impacting Connecticut, and I am excited to share this information with town officials and citizens within my home state. Throughout this internship, I also visited some sites along the Connecticut River, this time to take pictures of salt marshes, which are valuable, but fragile, ecosystems. The final product of this project is titled “Climate Change in Connecticut”.

 

Founders Memorial Park, Old Saybrook, CT
Founders Memorial Park, Old Saybrook, CT

As the summer of 2020 comes to a close, I have been contemplating what I can do next. I plan to utilize at least one of the videos I created throughout my internships as I write my honors thesis, which I will complete during the coming spring semester. My goal is to attend various town meetings and show one or both of the videos I created. I will survey the officials before and after viewing the videos, to gauge how understandable and useful the material is, and to find out how city officials plan to respond to climate change and/or sea level rise. I look forward to working on this project and continuing to expand my knowledge on the subject, while also educating others on the effects of climate change. 

Connecticut stays on guard against toxic algae blooms

Emily Van Gulick prepares a sample for examination under the microscope.
Emily Van Gulick prepares a sample for examination under the microscope. Photo: Judy Benson

Article by Judy Benson

If you’re a Connecticut shellfish farmer, your ears might perk up a bit when you hear the term HABs – harmful algal blooms.

Toxic HABs outbreaks, sometimes referred to as “red tide” or “brown tide” because of the discolored water that can occur along with it, have caused recent shellfish bed closures around the country, including states neighboring Connecticut.

Connecticut has remained relatively sheltered from HABs thus far, but there have been sporadic, rare closures in isolated portions of the state. So while shellfish farmers and regulators here keep watch for any warning signs just in case, the rest of us can keep enjoying fresh clams and oysters grown in local waters, either from a commercial farm or harvested from certified recreational municipal beds.

“People can eat shellfish from Long Island Sound with confidence,” said Gary Wikfors, director of the Milford lab of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

That’s because of the well-coordinated early warning system in place in Connecticut to catch an outbreak of the particular kinds of algae that can sometimes emit toxins harmful to clams, oysters and mussels, and sicken the people who eat them.

Algae, which range from seaweeds to tiny single-celled microalgae (also called phytoplankton), form the basis of the aquatic food chain. Among the thousands of different species, about 100 can contain or emit toxins into marine and freshwater bodies that can cause illness and even death in humans, pets and wild animals. Of these 100, a handful of are of greatest concern in Connecticut waters.

The mere presence of these types of algae isn’t a danger – most of the time a bloom occurs with no release of the toxin. But thanks to constant monitoring, there’s a system in place to respond quickly if that were ever to change. It’s a crucial part of ensuring the continued success of the state’s $30 million shellfish industry.

Read More

 

Discarded fabric, puppets are grist for marine-themed art

bull kelp in ocean looking up towards surfaceTwo artists using different mediums have been awarded 2020 Connecticut Sea Grant Arts Support Awards to create works conveying messages about human connections to the sea and the threats it faces.

The two artists were chosen to each receive a $1,000 award. The awards are funded by Connecticut Sea Grant and one is being matched by the Connecticut Department of Economic Development’s Office of the Arts.

Kathryn Frund of Cheshire and Felicia Cooper of Stafford Springs were both recommended for awards by an independent Review Panel as part of the competitive CTSG Arts Support Awards Program, now in its 11th year.

For her project, Frund will build a large contour map installation of Long Island Sound, using striped fabric culled from thrift stores. These will be laid out with curves and folds atop panels to convey the movement and dimensions of the marine waters in the estuary. By using discarded clothing to depict the shape of the Sound, Frund said, she hopes to raise awareness about excess consumption as well as the impacts of climate change. There may be opportunities as well for the public to donate cast-off clothing to help raise awareness of the impacts of our consumption and facilitating an extended conversation about sustainable consumer choices.

Cooper, for her part, will create a one-hour children’s puppet musical titled, “Ish,” based loosely on Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. The characters will travel in a submarine through the ocean, eventually encountering a great whale and becoming challenged to use their imaginations and resourcefulness to meet environmental challenges.

“The Review Panel was really impressed by the proposals of both artists on the basis of their aesthetic strength and relevance to CTSG’s mission,” said Syma Ebbin, CTSG’s research coordinator who initiated and leads the arts support program. “Frund’s work has the capacity to resonate with its audience and further our understanding of the impacts of our consumerism. Cooper’s work engages a young audience in a puppetry performance that aims to increase their awareness of ocean pollution problems and get them thinking about innovating creative solutions to these problems.”

The winning submissions were selected based on aesthetic quality, relevance to coastal and marine environments and Connecticut Sea Grant themes, as well as potential impact on non-traditional audiences. Artists who live in Connecticut or whose work is related to Connecticut’s coastal and marine environments or Long Island Sound are eligible.

Read more at: https://seagrant.uconn.edu/2020/07/24/discarded-fabric-puppets-are-grist-for-marine-themed-art/