2024 CNLA Winter Symposium

CNLA logoUConn Extension is looking forward to seeing everyone at the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association winter Symposium. This event is full of learning, and takes place on January 24th and 25th at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville, CT. This is a great opportunity for networking, meeting exhibitors, attending educational programs, and seeing new products!



Master Gardner 2024 Calendar Sale

"Connecticut Gardner 2024 Calendar" written in blue with flowers in the backgroundThe UConn Master Gardeners have assembled a calendar for Connecticut gardeners! There are tips through every month on how to plan and maintain your garden for fresh blooms and abundant vegetables. This year there is additional information on supporting beneficial insects in the landscape, with tips on using integrated pest management, creating habitat for beneficials, and starting native plants by seed in the winter. All photos were submitted by local gardeners and selected by MG Volunteers during a statewide photo contest. MG Volunteers guided the design, information, and topics of this years calendar. We thank them for their work! 28 pages plus cover. 8.5in x 11in. Folded calendar. 

Purchase it today for pickup or delivery at our marketplace site.

$12 – Local Pickup at County OfficeCalendar page of january 2024. with a pond and cattails

$18 – Delivery

For more information go to


Winter 2024 Ornamental and Turf Short Course

Registration now open! 

Winter 2024 Ornamental and Turf Short Course

Wednesdays 5:30-7 pm, from January 10 – March 13, 2024 

Register Here

More information at

Ornamental and Turf Online Short Course Description 

UConn Extension offers an online Ornamental & Turf Short Course in the fall and winter, which helps students prepare for the pesticide applicator supervisory exam. 

This Short Course is an in-depth review of the information necessary to study for and pass the Ornamental and Turf/Golf Course Superintendents State of Connecticut Supervisory Pesticide Applicator Certification (category 3A) exam. A student that completes all the modules, works through the quizzes, and studies the resource materials independently should be able to pass both the written and oral state exam successfully. 

This short course consists of eight modules that the student can complete independently: Pesticide Laws and Regulations, Pesticide Safety, Botany, Plant Pathology and Ornamental Plant Diseases, Entomology and Insect Pests of Woody Ornamentals, Area and Dosage Calculations, Turf Management, and Weed Management. Each module consists of learning objectives, topic sections, and slides with a recorded narrative, and closes with a quiz on the material. The modules can be completed and revisited at any time while the student is enrolled in the course. 

An instructor will meet virtually with the students weekly on Wednesdays at 5:30-7 pm to review each module topic and answer questions. Each weekly class includes a basic overview of the subject and highlights specific pests, their biology, and control. There will be a total of 10 sessions, including 8 sessions for modules, one introductory session, and one optional wrap up session for questions. 

Expect to spend study time reviewing each module topic outside of the review class. The more time you spend studying the module topics and reviewing each module’s post-quiz, the more beneficial the course will be for preparing for the final short course exam and the state exam. 

Registration is $375 and is available online with a credit card at: 

UConn Extension Marketplace 

Please register as a guest and select NONE for shipping. 

Questions? Please contact Alyssa Siegel-Miles, 



The Pesticide Applicator Core Manual, the required training manual for the course, can be downloaded free at National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Core Manual.


You can also buy a physical copy of this manual from UConn Marketplace:  

Core Manual (pickup in Vernon CT option) or  

Core Manual (shipping option)


An optional manual, “Ornamental and Turf, Category 3 Manual” ($43.00 plus shipping and handling), is also available from Cornell at: 

Check for used copies of these books with your colleagues or online. 

Information regarding testing and other information can be found on the CT DEEP website links: 


Information for Supervisory Certification is at: 


Questions? Please contact Alyssa Siegel-Miles,

Ag Mechanic Classes 2023

It’s that time of year again where our Solid Ground Trainings are starting to get their gears rolling!  Kicking it off this season, we’re bringing back the ever popular Chainsaw Skills and Safety program directed toward women, our Beginning WeldeAg mechanics classes 2023 graphic with chainsawsrs Workshops, and an Intro to Carpentry! Each workshop cost $25 and includes lunch. See more info below!

Note: These trainings are intended for production farmers in Connecticut, if you have a hobby farm or are gardening, please reference this other wonderful UConn Extension program here 

Title of class: Chainsaw Class Directed toward Women

Date: Saturday, November 18th

Time: 8:30-4:30

Location: Long Table Farm, 256 Beaver Brook Rd, Lyme, CT

Max Number of participants: 10

Description of class: 

Chainsaw Skills and Safety directed toward Women: Intro to safe chainsaw operation. Students will learn about PPE, work area safety, basic saw maintenance, chain sharpening, and how to develop a felling plan.  Each student will have a chance to fell their own tree.  You may bring your own saw or use one that will be provided by the instructor.



Title of class: Basic Welding for Beginners

Date: Saturday, December 9th

Time: 9am – 3pm

Location: Rockville High School, 70 Loveland Hill Rd, Vernon

Max Number of participants: 10

Description of class:

Intro to the basics of welding. Learn the proper personal protective equipment required and safety protocols to know before getting started. Instructor will go over the fundamentals of MIG and stick welding, teaching you techniques to get welds done safely and efficiently.



Title of class: Power Tool Safety & Carpentry Basics Training

Date: Saturday, December 16th

Time: 9am – 3pm

Location: WorkspaceCT, 16 Trowbridge Dr, Bethel

Max Number of participants: 10

Description of class:

Get familiar with the power tools and carpentry skills that you’ll need on your farm. Learn how to use an impact driver, drill, skill saw, table saw and more. You will work with your new skills to complete a project to take home.



Please contact us 2 weeks in advance with special needs (dietary, translation, accessibility, etc.) We’ll do our best to accommodate you.


FOR ALL WORKSHOPS THAT INCLUDE TRAVEL: If the cost is prohibitive, Travel Stipends will be made available to participants at any event where travel is required to attend 


Please do not attend if you are not feeling well – you will receive a refund.

Build Scientific Understanding of Genetic Engineering with High School Students

three people in a lab with equipmentUConn Extension has made available a standards-based curriculum aimed at addressing the misunderstandings about genetically modified foods.  This curriculum, aimed toward science and agriscience educators, provides information about the applications of genetic engineering in agriculture and other fields.  Both a formal and non-formal curriculum are available.  The non-formal curriculum is a great tool that could be used in 4-H programming or other non-formal settings. Both the curriculum and workshop are free.  The curriculum can be found at

If you’d like a deeper dive with some hands-on lab time, a one-day professional development workshop will be held Monday, December 11th, 2023 at the UConn Storrs Campus from 9 AM – 3 PM.

Participants of the workshop will gain enhanced genetic engineering knowledge and lab skills, a demonstration kit & materials, and the curriculum, which provides students with a fundamental understanding of how genetically modified organisms are formed and how they can be safely utilized.

Workshop participants must be certified science or agriscience educators with three years or more of teaching experience preferred.  They should also be teaching one or more courses in the upcoming school year that include genetic engineering.

Interested parties in the workshop should visit to apply.  Space is limited. Registration will close on December 1st.

Questions can be directed to Jennifer Cushman, 4-H Extension Educator –

Participants are expected to be in attendance in person during the duration of the workshop and agree to implement one or more lessons from the curriculum during the 2023-2024 school year.

Join Our Team! – Solid Ground is seeking new project coordinator

Solid Ground graphicUConn Extension’s Solid Ground Program team is looking for a new project coordinator this winter to help lead training programs for new and beginning farmers.
Responsibilities: As a team project, the right candidate will be able to support existing staff in implementing an aggressive schedule of events. After shadowing our existing staff, the Coordinator will be able to serve as the UConn Extension staff member on-site for select training. The Coordinator will often serve as project representative at public events (farmer conferences, webinars, state agency meetings). Responsibilities will also include working closely with some of our program partners to successfully craft and co-host learning opportunities. Although this is a 6 month position, we are looking for someone with the potential to work steadily year round — including summer months — at 15 hours/week.

Compensation – $26.25/hour. Timesheets are submitted every two weeks. This is a temporary,

project-based position without benefits. Renewal of position is based on need and performance. Funding is currently in place for 3 project years. This position is funded by a grant from USDA.

Applications due December 4th.

Registration open for 2024 shellfish farming course

The 2024  “Foundations of Shellfish Farming” course will be offered at the UConn Avery Point campus over 12 weeks starting Jan. 16.

The classes will meet on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. through April 2 in Room 312 of the Lowell P. Weicker Jr. Building. Registration is now open and financial aid is available. shellfish

“Foundations of Shellfish Farming” is a training course for new and prospective farmers and those who simply seek to learn more about aquaculture practices and techniques. Topics that will be covered include how to establish and operate a shellfish business; leasing and permitting requirements; considerations for gear, vessels, and facilities, shellfish biology, aquaculture techniques and best practices, and risks involved in farming shellfish.

Although the course will concentrate on Long Island Sound waters within the jurisdiction of Connecticut, the topics and practices covered are applicable in the Northeast United States and potentially beyond.  

Instructors: Michael Gilman and Tessa L. Getchis 



Cost: $300 

Financial aid: Scholarship funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Preference will be given to underserved/underrepresented groups including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, followed by other students in financial need. If interested, contact us by email at Include your full name, company name (if applicable), and a statement explaining your request for financial aid. Please DO NOT register for the class. We will process registrations for all students receiving financial aid. 


Sponsors: Connecticut Sea Grant, UConn Extension, and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture 


*This course meets the Connecticut Department of Agriculture eligibility requirement for the submission of a Joint Agency Application for Marine Aquaculture.  


Additional questions, including requests for financial aid, can be emailed to: 

A pdf of the flier can be downloaded here.

Local Work Group Meetings in CT

landscape of land and a riverThe Connecticut Conservation Districts are gathering information about natural resource concerns from agricultural producers, private forest landowners, environmental organizations, and government agencies to help structure future Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Farm Bill programs.We invite you to participate in one of the five Local Work Group meetings. To register, please click on the link for the location most convenient for you to participate. The Local Work Group meetings are a free event and include a light lunch.  For more information on the Connecticut Conservation Districts, please visit LINKS TO REGISTER Nov. 28, 12:00-2:30pm at UConn Ext. TorringtonNov. 29, 12:00-2:30pm at Tolland County Agricultural Center, VernonDec. 5, 12:00-2:30PM at deKoven House, MiddletownDec. 6, 10:30-1:00pm at Milford Public Library, MilfordDec. 7, 12:00-2:30pm at UConn Avery Point, Groton

Meet Mike Gilman

Mike GilmanMike Gilman of Branford recently joined us as an Assistant Extension Educator with Connecticut Sea Grant, where he works with our aquaculture program. Mike received his bachelor of science from Albertus Magnus College and a master of science from Southern Connecticut State University.

What is your area of interest?

My main areas of interest are shellfish aquaculture, marine ecology, and education.  I got into shellfish aquaculture by co-starting an oyster farm with a family friend/commercial fisherman.

What will your role be with UConn Extension?

My main roles will include teaching a shellfish aquaculture training course called, Foundations of Shellfish Farming. I’m also the state shell recycling coordinator where my focus is being a resource and liaison for all interested parties and stakeholders in the shell recycling world.

What excites you the most about working with UConn Extension?

I am very excited about the opportunity to work with UConn Extension. I have spent most of my professional life in shellfish aquaculture and teaching and this seems like a great opportunity to take all of the things that I have learned and tie them together. Everyone at UConn Extension and Connecticut Sea Grant that I have worked with so far has been incredible to work alongside and learn from and I look forward to that continuing.

What is one thing you hope people will learn from you and your work?

One thing that I hope people will learn from my work is that farming an oyster or clam is equal parts difficult and rewarding. And to really appreciate all that has gone into that plate of shucked shellfish getting served at a restaurant or raw bar.

What is your favorite thing to do in Connecticut?

My favorite thing to do in Connecticut is hike and explore different state parks with my family and dog Redwood.

What is the most unusual job you’ve had?

Probably all of the little fine details of oyster farming. One day you’re removing hundreds of pounds of sea grapes or tunicates from oyster cages and the next you might be fighting with a blue crab or oyster toadfish that wants to call your oyster cages home.

What are some of your hobbies and other interests?

Being outdoors with family and friends and chasing my kids around to all of their different events.

Meet Heather Zidack

Heather ZidackHeather Zidack (‘11 CAHNR, ’12 Neag) joined the UConn Home and Garden Education Center as an educational program assistant in September. Heather works with faculty and staff at UConn to provide educational resources and answer home and gardening questions for residents statewide. She earned her bachelor of science in ornamental horticulture and her master of arts in curriculum and instruction. She worked in the horticulture industry and taught high school agriscience before returning to UConn.

What is your area of interest?

I absolutely love everything plant-related! I started with an interest very young when I would help my grandfather in his garden and never really stopped asking questions. I’ve been fortunate to work in the horticulture industry as well as in agriscience education and have always enjoyed being able to share my passion with others throughout my career.

What excites you the most about working with UConn Extension?

This job allows me to pull from many experiences and interests I’ve had over the course of my career. It allows me to share my passion with others while continuing to grow and learn about things that I enjoy!

What is one thing you hope people will learn from you and your work?

Working with plants and in the garden can be accessible and enjoyable for all. It’s a broad field and narrowing it down to find what you enjoy is half the journey!

What is your favorite thing to do in Connecticut?

I love to go to Mystic Aquarium and watch the beluga whales. I could watch them all day if you let me!

What is the most unusual job you’ve had?

I’ve had some interesting design requests; I once had to help design and build haunted scarecrows for the governor’s Halloween celebration. When I was teaching, I taught a wide array of both ag-related and core curriculum topics – no two days ever felt the same!

What are some of your hobbies and other interests?

I am a gardener and have a solid collection of house plants at home. I love science fiction and fantasy. I love to play games of almost any format including video games, board games, and tabletop games. I also believe that crafting and collecting craft supplies are two separate hobbies that need their own time and attention.

I’m also a dog person! I have a 10-year-old terrier mix named Bow and I probably have more pictures of him than anything else on my phone.