Education

HardCORE CRUNCH: Apple & Pear Activity Worksheets!

apple and pear crunchOctober is National Farm to School Month and Put Local On Your Tray has apple and pear activity worksheets to share! These worksheets include a coloring page, apple fun facts, a maze, and a delicious apple-themed recipe from New England Dairy. The worksheets are in English and Spanish. These can be distributed and shared with teachers, with school lunches and special classes. 

Click here to fill out an order form.

 

CT Grown for CT Kids Week

apple and pear crunchOctober is National Farm to School Month – a time to recognize and celebrate the connections within communities to fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education sites. With fewer than two percent of Americans living on farms, the U.S. population continues to be more removed from the agricultural practices that sustain them. Programs and activities surrounding farm to school help to bridge the gap while fostering new relationships.

“Farm to school is a holistic approach to engaging students in experiential learning about food and where it comes from. It is a farmer delivering local food to a student’s lunch tray, as well as learning about that farmer and the communities that feed us; it’s all encompassing,” said Nyree Hodges, CT Farm to School Collaborative Coordinator. “The opportunities for cross-curricular integration are endless, even in a virtual learning environment. It bridges school and community by giving students agency to play an active role in improving our food system.”

Here in Connecticut, October 5-9 is CT Grown for CT Kids Week. Started in 2006 as a joint effort between the State Department of Education and Department of Agriculture, this week aims to celebrate and support local agriculture, public education, and their community commitment to the importance of healthy, nutritious meals in schools. Each year, legislators, food service directors, farmers, and students gather through farm to school activities and consumption of local products.

“The Connecticut Farm to School program ensures access to nutritious, delicious Connecticut Grown food for students while increasing market access for farmers throughout the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner, Bryan P. Hurlburt. “CT Grown for CT Kids Week highlights the abundance of locally produced foods in an engaging and fun way for families to establish healthy eating practices.”

While many of the activities this year will look different due to COVID-19, it’s also an opportunity to honor all who contribute to feeding children and their communities – farmers, harvesters, food hub distributors, school nutrition professionals, educators and many others.

“You can’t learn if you’re hungry. Ensuring continued access to nutritious meals provides a critical lifeline and stability for children and households grappling with food insecurity, health crises, job losses,

isolation, and adapting to new ways of learning,” said Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona. “In addition to teaching students about our food systems and where their meals come from, Farm to School month and CT Grown for CT Kids Week allows us to further celebrate the work of our farmers, food service heroes, and child nutrition partners to bring quality local foods to schools across the state – over 14 million since March.”

Students, families, and educators across Connecticut are invited to celebrate CT Grown for CT Kids Week by participating in the 5th annual HardCORE Apple and Pear Challenge. All you need is a Connecticut Grown apple or pear and to eat it down to its core. Post a photo or video to social media and use the hashtags #ctgrownforctkids and #applecrunch to be involved. Educational toolkits and more activities are available on the Put Local On Your Tray website.

“One of the best ways to reconnect to nature and healthy living is to consume foods grown in your own environment. Our bodies are designed to have that proximal relationship with our food,” said Herb Virgo, Founder and Executive Director of Keney Park Sustainability Project. “CT Grown for CT Kids Week is a great way to educate students and their families on the importance of local food consumption while supporting the local economy.”

According to a 2015 USDA Farm to School Census, 70% of Connecticut schools surveyed participate in farm to school activities. They invested more than $7.2 million in local food and 51% of the Connecticut districts surveyed planned to increase local food purchases in the future.

In 2016, the CT Farm to School Collaborative (F2S Collaborative) was convened. The F2S Collaborative is a multi-stakeholder partnership whose function is to pursue projects together that no one partner could do alone. Participating organizations represent the variety of stakeholders needed for collaborative work on Farm to School, including: Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, UConn Extension, School Nutrition Association of CT, FoodCorps CT, New England Food & Dairy Council, Common Ground, and Hartford Food System.

Lesson on climate change and marshes created for high schools

salt marsh
Image by Judy Benson, Connecticut Sea Grant

UConn Professor Beth Lawrence collaborated with two high school teachers to create a salt marsh-climate change teaching module for high school students.

In the “Impacts of Climate Change on Long Island Sound Salt Marshes” module, students learn about the natural and anthropogenic impacts of climate change on salt marshes, delve into how scientists are studying the various impacts on salt marsh habitat, and gain a overview of different techniques for climate change research.

The module is suitable for ninth and tenth-grade biology or general science students as well as upper-level elective courses such as environmental science or marine science.

Connecticut Sea Grant support enabled Lawrence to collaborate with the high school educators to develop the inquiry- and evidence-based instructional materials about local climate issues.  Leveraging an ongoing Long Island Sound Study research project, they developed an interactive climate change module for high school students that integrates “Mystery Scientist” activities to highlight different avenues of inquiry and a case study on how sea level rise is altering coastal ecosystems associated with Long Island Sound communities.

The module is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, providing evidence-based, student-centered instructional materials highlighting how global issues impact local environmental issues. The module is being made broadly available through various platforms to encourage adoption by high school teachers throughout the region.

Module materials can be downloaded here.

Original Post

Part-Time Agriculture Program Coordinator In-Training Position Open

making the three sisters recipe with members of the Mashantucket tribe
Extension educators make the Three Sisters recipe with members of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

We are seeking a part-time (20 hours/week) Agriculture Program Coordinator-in-Training to work on our Mashantucket Pequot Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP). The incumbent will work collaboratively with a team of Extension professionals, tribal members, and leaders to empower members of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (MPTN) and communities through nutrition education and youth engagement. This includes a mix of responsibilities related to youth engagement, nutrition education and agriculture programming. The position is based in the MPTN reservation, which is located in Mashantucket, CT though the individual hired will be an employee of the University of Connecticut.

Read the full position description, including details on how to apply.

Ornamentals and Turf Short Course Offered Online by UConn Extension

Man applying pesticidesThis year has been unique for everyone. All of us have been impacted in one way or another. We at UConn Extension have been striving to put this course online for your convenience. While we understand that an online course is simply not the same as in person this is where we are in the world today. 

There are some advantages to having an online course, first you can work when it’s most convenient for you. You can also take the course in small chunks rather than sitting through a three-hour lecture. You don’t have to leave your job or business to take the course either.

This Short Course is an in depth review of the information necessary for studying and fulfilling the requirements of the Ornamental and Turf/Golf Course Superintendents State of Connecticut Supervisory Pesticide Applicator Certification exam. A student completing all the modules and working through the “Knowledge Checks” and studying resources materials independently should be able to successfully pass the examination, both written and oral state exam. 

Class topics are:  Pesticide Laws and Regulations, Pesticide Safety, Botany and Ornamental Identification, Plant Pathology and Ornamental Plant Diseases, Entomology and Insect Pests of Woody Ornamentals, Area and Dosage Calculations, Turf Management and Weed Management. Each class begins with a basic overview of the science then takes an in-depth look at specific pests, their biology and control.

We have developed the course into eight modules. Each module is broken down into parts. Each part begins with learning objectives followed by slides with a narrative. Each part will close with a summary and knowledge check. Please take the knowledge check seriously and take the time to write out your answers as this will help you retain the important points from each part. There is the option to printing the slides and narrative to serve as study materials as well.  

Each week on Mondays we plan to introduce two modules for you to work through during the week. The following Monday we will do a short debrief of the modules you just completed and introduce the next two modules, again followed with a debrief the next Monday and so on for four weeks.

If you were enrolled in the winter 2020 classes at the Farmington Extension Office or at SiteOne you may register for the course for free. All others will be charged a $300 registration fee for the course. You can register online for the class at  https://bit.ly/OT_ShortCourse 

This does not include the required Pesticide Applicator Training Manual, (aka “The Core Manual”) can be found and downloaded for free from the “National Association of State Departments of Agriculture” at the following link:

https://www.nasda.org/foundation/pesticide-applicator-certification-and-training.

There is also an optional manual called the “Ornamental and Turf, Category 3 manual” available from Cornell, 

https://www.cornellstore.com/25.-Nursery-Ornamentals-And-Turf

Check for used copies of these books with your colleagues or online, yes, even check Amazon.

You will also need a copy of the “Nutrient and Integrated Pest Management Manual”, Online at the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources bookstore free: 

http://cag.uconn.edu/documents/Turfgrass-IPM-manual-s.pdf

To be placed on the email list for class announcements please call (860) 409-9050 and ask to be placed on the Ornamental and Turf Short Course email list, or email:  Diane.Labonia@UConn.edu

 

Italian Veggie Balls Recipe with UConn EFNEP

Heather Pease from our UConn Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) walks us through the process of making Italian Veggie Balls. You can make this delicious and nutritious recipe with a few simple items. It’s healthy and budget-friendly.