Climate

Advancing Adaptation and Resilience in a Changing Climate

Fall Updates from Extension

The changing seasons are a reliable time marker, and this fall, UConn Extension is experiencing our own transitions. It’s an exciting time as new educators join the team and continue implementing our statewide programs. Catch up on our latest updates: s.uconn.edu/fall-news

Job Opening: Fairfield County Master Gardener Coordinator

Position Description

UConn Extension Master Gardener Coordinator

Lower Fairfield County

The UConn Extension Master Gardener Program is seeking applications for the position of Master Gardener Program Coordinator for Lower Fairfield County, based at the Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens in Stamford, CT. This is a 16-hour-per-week position and is a temporary, six month appointment.

Renewal is optional pending coordinator review and availability of program funding.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to: provide leadership for the Master Gardener Program in southern Fairfield County. Successful candidate will coordinate staffing of program mentors, volunteers and interns; work with UConn Extension center/county based faculty and staff, as well as university based faculty and staff as needed. Will also need to work with allied community groups and Extension partners such as the CT Master Gardener Association; train and supervise interns when classroom teaching is completed; arrange for and conduct Advanced Master Gardener classes each year; develop and coordinate outreach programs and projects with community organizations in southern Fairfield County, including the Bartlett Arboretum. They will prepare annual reports on program activities, impacts, incomes, outcomes (number of clientele contacts); and communicate effectively with the state coordinator, other county coordinators, and the Bartlett Arboretum staff. Monthly reports shall be communicated to the state coordinator and topical information may be shared with others as requested.

Preference will be given to candidates who are Certified Master Gardeners, or with a degree in horticulture, botany, biology or equivalent experience. Interested applicants should possess strong organizational, communication and interpersonal skills and be able to show initiative. They should be able to demonstrate experience in working collaboratively as well as independently, and be willing to work flexible hours including some evenings and weekends. Must be familiar with Microsoft Office and familiar with the online class experience.

Volunteer experience is desired.

Submit letter of application, resume and names of three references to:
Sarah Bailey, State Extension Master Gardener Coordinator at sarah.bailey@uconn.edu
Please put Master Gardener Coordinator Position in the subject line.

Screening will begin immediately.

Community climate planning projects underway in four CT cities

Doreen Abubaker, of the Community Placement Engagement Network and West River Watershed Partnership, talks to a group at the New Haven Folk Festival about climate change impacts in New Haven and the upcoming Climathon
Doreen Abubaker, of the Community Placement Engagement Network and West River Watershed Partnership, talks to a group at the New Haven Folk Festival about climate change impacts in New Haven and the upcoming Climathon. Photo: Steve Hamm.

Four Connecticut cities have joined a pilot project to boost community participation in climate change planning.

Community activities in Bridgeport, New Haven, New London and Norwich are being led by Connecticut Sea Grant with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and will focus on climate risk communication and planning for community resilience. The pilot project received a $75,000 NOAA investment in Fiscal Year 2022, which will be administered by Connecticut Sea Grant.

“Equity is central to how we conduct business at the Department of Commerce — and how we plan for the future,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “By developing and refining techniques for engaging vulnerable populations, this project will help ensure that communities in Connecticut are in charge of their climate future.”

In New Haven, Connecticut Sea Grant has hosted two information booths and workshops at community events—all leading up to a “Climathon” on Oct. 29 to engage residents in understanding and reducing climate vulnerabilities in their neighborhoods. Steve Hamm, one of the founders of Reimagining New Haven, a grassroots group working on the Climathon, describes the Fair Haven neighborhood where the Climathon will be held as “ground zero” for climate change in New Haven.

“We hope to make New Haven more resilient, equitable and just by engaging with a diverse set of people from our communities to catalyze action—drawing on scientific expertise, local voices and the arts,” Hamm said. “We welcome everyone to come to the Climathon and to help make changes.”

A similar series of community climate events is being planned for Bridgeport in the spring.

Connecticut Sea Grant is also partnering with leaders from local NAACP chapters, Indigenous and tribal communities, racial justice and arts organizations on events planned this fall in Norwich and New London. Participants will consider climate change impacts in the context of other community challenges such as housing, education, mental health, racial justice and food security, and develop actions to address them.

Key components of activities in all four communities include practical incentives for participation, such as offering transportation and gift cards, scheduling events at optimal times for working families and using locally owned businesses to provide food and refreshments.

“Connecticut Sea Grant is well-positioned to support this pilot project because we work alongside communities every day to connect NOAA’s climate products and services to those who need them,” said Sylvain De Guise, Connecticut Sea Grant director. “But, we’ve got to get better at working with the communities who need these services the most. Populations that are most impacted by climate-related hazards like flooding and storm surge need to be at the table if we are going to be successful.”

The pilot project aligns with efforts at the state level to develop policy recommendations through an equity lens. Connecticut’s Equity & Environmental Justice Working Group, part of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change, was instrumental in organizing officials and environmental justice experts for a 2021 NOAA roundtable where participants shared their lived experience with climate planning and the barriers and challenges associated with getting a seat at the policy table. Activities to involve vulnerable communities in climate and resilience planning were a primary recommendation of the listening session that informed the pilot project.

“I am so pleased to see this pilot provide the resources needed to break down those barriers and try some of the approaches highlighted in the Council process,” said Rebecca French, director of the Office of Climate Planning in the Office of the Commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “I look forward to learning how the state can continue to improve our work in this space.”

“Climate hazards such as flooding and storm surge threaten communities across Connecticut,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “This pilot project will help give vulnerable communities the tools they need to meaningfully inform climate planning, and allow people to take an active role in becoming climate-ready and resilient.”

This pilot project builds on NOAA’s commitment to sustained engagement with underserved communities, and is part of an investment in seven pilot projects happening across the country. Each regional pilot is responding directly to feedback received from partners during climate and equity roundtable discussions that NOAA conducted in 2021. Pilots are taking a unique, place-based approach to helping vulnerable communities better understand, prepare for and respond to climate change.

Learn more about upcoming pilot project announcements and NOAA’s ongoing environmental justice efforts.

UPCOMING EVENT:

Climathon
October 29, 1-6 p.m.
Martinez School
100 James Street
Fair Haven, CT
Contact: https://reimaginingnewhaven.org/contact-us
Register for this free event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-haven-climathon-tickets-434198518457
Climathon information: https://reimaginingnewhaven.org/our-projects/f/our-design-charrette

Online Environmental Courses Available

wetlands with blue sky and cloudsThe Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) is the new home to a suite of online certificate trainings. The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) offers online certificate courses for new and existing land use officials charged with protecting our environment. DEEP asked CLEAR to host them to expand reach and access. DEEP issues a Certificate of Achievement upon successful course completion. The courses are not limited to municipal officials. DEEP encourages participation by anyone interested in learning about land use in Connecticut—all courses are free. Online training modules from CLEAR’s Land Use Academy and Adapt CT, as well as links to training schedules for the New Farms and Farmers and the Geospatial Training programs are also available.

DEEP Certificate Trainings

  • Aquifer Protection Program Technical Training
  • Municipal Inland Wetlands Agency Comprehensive Training Program
  • Hazardous Waste Management Training
  • The 21st Century Resilient Business: How Managing Chemicals Can Help You Weather the Storm (in development)

We offer several online courses, in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), for new and existing land use officials charged with protecting our environment. DEEP issues a Certificate of Achievement upon successful course completion. The courses are not limited to municipal officials; DEEP encourages participation by anyone interested in learning about land use in Connecticut—all courses are free.

Register at https://s.uconn.edu/course

10 Ways to Volunteer with UConn 4-H

UConn 4-H Legends soccer group
The UConn 4-H Legends.

No matter how much time you have, volunteering with UConn 4-H makes a difference by helping youth explore and discover the skills they need to lead for a lifetime. There are lots of ways to get involved! Please note, your volunteer experience and/or opportunities may be happening virtually or in-person. Contact UConn 4-H for more information and apply to be a UConn 4-H volunteer today at s.uconn.edu/helpus.

Help youth lead a club

  • Assist a youth club leader with organizing meetings, speakers, and other logistics.
  • Assist and/or mentor a 4-H volunteer who is serving as a project leader.

Teach a skill

  • Organize a club, or share your skills by teaching a club meeting workshop, devoted to your area of specialty.

Judge projects

  • Serve as a judge for 4-H exhibits, competitions or performances, providing encouragement and suggestions for improvement.

Plan or help at an event

  • Volunteer at a county/state special event; from set-up or clean-up to serving food or taking registrations, there are a lot of ways to get involved.

Serve on an advisory board/committee

  • Sit on a local advisory or county governing board to help determine program priorities.

Help with a specific 4-H project

  • Advise a 4-H member in their project work: help youth identify and set goals, create and implement a plan, and reflect on what they learned and would do differently next time.

Assist with program delivery

  • Volunteer at an after school program, a summer program, camp program event or club meeting.

Volunteer on a fair organizing committee

  • Volunteer at a local fair – be inspired by the talents and creativity of the next generation while promoting the country’s largest positive youth development organization!
  • Work in the food booth or help in the 4-H exhibit hall or at the 4-H show ring.

Utilize your professional skills

  • Share your technical skills and knowledge to develop subject matter for curriculum/project sheets.
  • Utilize your professional skills to assist with with creating marketing tools, graphic art, word documents, webpages, videos, online training modules, etc.
  • Intern at your local Extension office with the 4-H program, a great resume builder.

Share your experiences

  • Share your hobby/passion – inspire a young person as a guest speaker or short-term instructor.
  • Share your career path – invite a 4-H’er to shadow you for the day.
  • Share your educational path/give a testimonial – how did you get to where you are? (If you are a college student – how did you choose your school, what are you pursuing, what are you aspiring to do?)

Apply to be a UConn 4-H volunteer today at s.uconn.edu/helpus

UConn 4-H is the youth development program of UConn Extension. 4-H has access to research-based, age-appropriate information needed to help youth reach their full potential through UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR). The mission of 4-H is to assist all youth ages five through 18 in acquiring knowledge, developing leadership and life skills while forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive, and contributing members of their families and communities.

UConn 4-H uses the thriving model in our Extension youth development programs, and these align with all the strategic initiatives in CAHNR. These include climate adaptation and resilience; promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion; enhancing health and well-being; ensuring sustainable agriculture and food systems; and fostering sustainable landscapes at the urban-rural interface. Learn more at s.uconn.edu/4-H.

Help Wanted: Become a UConn 4-H Volunteer

UConn 4-H is Accepting Volunteer Applications

student in garden
A youth member at Auerfarm.

UConn 4-H provides youth with life-changing experiences from flying rockets into space with NASA to organizing national conferences for other youth, and everything in between. These experiences are possible because of thousands of adult mentors and volunteers who work throughout the state and guide youth to reach their potential.

Volunteer opportunities include club leaders, county fair advisors, mentors, project leaders, project evaluators, advisory committee members, and workshop presenters. 

If you enjoy working with children, have a willingness to share your time and talents with young people in the community, like to have fun, learn new skills, and make a difference, then being a 4-H volunteer is for you.

“UConn 4-H is the best organization ever for my daughters and me. Both, they, and I, learned and grew with the involvement in 4-H. It has provided me with the ability to give back to other young folks up in coming in 4-H. The Trice girls swear by 4-H,” says Ken Trice, a UConn 4-H volunteer from Tolland County.

4-H volunteers play a significant role in helping youth reach their potential. Volunteers help youth learn leadership, civic engagement and life skills through projects and activities. Hobbies or interests such as photography, animals, plants, fishing, drama, community service, computers and technology, woodworking, fashion design, arts and crafts, robotics, or something else can be shared with youth through the 4-H program.

“UConn 4-H helped me develop a set of skills like; teamwork, problem solving, public speaking, dependability, leadership which I use every day in my career,” says Rachael Manzer, a nationally awarded educator, and UConn 4-H alumni and volunteer.

Volunteer training and recognition is conducted at local, state, and regional levels. New 4-H volunteers participate in a general orientation with UConn Extension. Meetings are held throughout the state several times each year to help new leaders and volunteers. 

“4-H has been one of the most important aspects of my life and has shaped me as a person in more ways than I could ever imagine. Through this organization, I have been educated on necessary life skills, the significance of helping my community, and the key elements of leadership, just to name a few. But, most of all, 4-H has taught me the utter importance of responsibility,” says Ava, age 15, a UConn 4-H member from Fairfield County.

Just as we recognize the efforts of youth, the UConn 4-H Program recognizes and acknowledges its volunteers for their efforts at the local, state, and national level. The biggest reward is watching the transformation in youth and seeing them grow into engaged adults making a positive contribution. Apply to be a UConn 4-H volunteer today at s.uconn.edu/helpus.

UConn 4-H is the youth development program of UConn Extension. 4-H has access to research-based, age-appropriate information needed to help youth reach their full potential through UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR). The mission of 4-H is to assist all youth ages five through 18 in acquiring knowledge, developing leadership and life skills while forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive, and contributing members of their families and communities.

UConn 4-H uses the thriving model in our Extension youth development programs, and these align with all the strategic initiatives in CAHNR. These include climate adaptation and resilience; promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion; enhancing health and well-being; ensuring sustainable agriculture and food systems; and fostering sustainable landscapes at the urban-rural interface. Learn more at s.uconn.edu/4-H.

Summer Program Updates

Empowering Connecticut Communities 

Extension programs are in full swing this summer, both in-person and online. we are here to serve and empower our Connecticut communities, while co-creating solutions to the critical issues that residents and communities are facing. Programs focus on the expertise of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) and incorporate UConn’s research. These areas include agriculture and food, climate adaptation and resilience, enhancing health and well-being, and sustainable landscapes at the urban-rural interface. All programs incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, as we strive to empower all Connecticut residents.

There are opportunities for you to become further involved with Extension programs this summer. Our UConn 4-H program is preparing for the new 4-H year that begins on October 1st and we need help statewide implementing these programs. Volunteer opportunities include one-time commitments and ongoing involvement. Extension is hiring in different locations at our statewide offices. This summer, we welcomed 17 interns to work on various programs and extend our knowledge further while providing them with life transformative educational opportunities. Finally, we continue adding to our suite of online programs that are offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. We look forward to working with you on our various programs and initiatives.

Learn about all our updates.

Forest Silviculture Research and Extension in Action

UConn Forest crew working in the woods with sun shining through trees
Photo: Margot Drummey

Our forests are one of our most vital environmental, economic, and recreational resources, and we are fortunate to have abundant access to these wonderful spaces right here in Connecticut! The UConn Forest Crew works with Professor Tom Worthley in the UConn Forest and across the state to apply silvicultural practices, conduct maintenance work, and gather data to analyze the health and condition of this land. This summer, the Forest Crew has worked with UConn NRE professor Dr. Bob Fahey to conduct research at Lee Farm in Coventry, Connecticut.

This research is in collaboration with the Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) project which seeks to educate forest managers on changing silvicultural planning in the face of climate change. Each project uses a standardized method of plotting and recording to gather data on forest health, and to better predict the future condition of each area. The UConn sites have been revised from the ASCC scale to assess the land at Lee Farm. Our findings from this research will ideally help us to preserve and proactively protect the health of our forests. Forest Crew work also typically includes wood working, clearing trails, and managing sections of the UConn Forest. This summer, the crew is also working with Tom to create a video series entitled “Woods Talk” which is filmed with the intention of educating woodland owners. These videos will include information on age mixes, ecosystem health, and stand diversity among an array of other topics. Keep an eye out for this series on YouTube or via the UConn Extension website later this summer!

Article by Margot Drummey

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