Education

Job Opening: Public Service Specialist

Public Service Specialist
UConn Extension, Hartford County

The UConn Department of Extension welcomes applications for an experienced part-time professional to coordinate and assist with implementing professional development and creating educational resources on genetic engineering. This is a temporary position that reports to the Associate Extension Educator.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Plan and implement professional development experiences for educators
  • Coordinate recruitment of participants and process applications
  • Organize and attend meetings with other members of team
  • Assist with the development of curriculum on genetic engineering for formal and informal settings
  • Maintain website
  • Compiles and prepares reports, as requested
  • Performs related duties, as assigned

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

  • Associate’s degree or relevant experience
  • Availability to accommodate flexible work schedule
  • Excellent interpersonal skills necessary for effective work relationships
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate information effectively to groups with different and diverse backgrounds and experience (e.g., educators, colleagues, and volunteers)
  • Ability to prioritize tasks and manage multiple priorities and follow multi-step directions
  • Experience coordinating educational programs
  • Demonstrated ability to resolve administrative problems efficiently, effectively, and independently
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Experience with data management software (i.e., ability to upload documents to database)
  • Demonstrated ability to use social media
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise discretion and maintain confidentiality

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Experience with curriculum development
  • STEM/Science background
  • Prior experience with teacher professional development in a formal or informal setting
  • Experience with Kuali financial system, and website management in Aurora
  • Familiarity with UConn Extension

APPOINTMENT TERMS

This is a temporary appointment expected to work approximately 3 hours per week for an initial six-month period with the possibility of continuation based on research progress and funding availability. This position is located primarily in the Hartford County Extension Office in Farmington; other tasks may be performed on the Storrs campus or remotely.

TO APPLY

For full consideration, please submit at a cover letter, a resume, and the names and contact information for three professional references to Jen Cushman (Jennifer.cushman@uconn.edu).

Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

(HR22-15)

What is a Jumping Worm?

Jumping worms. Crazy worms. Snake worms. These nicknames apply to invasive earthworms of the genus Amynthas found in the United States. These Asian worms have been in the U.S. for years but have recently been in the spotlight due to the damage they can cause. Globalization, commerce, and development have contributed to their spread.
There are extremely few native earthworm species in the northeastern United States. Worm populations were eliminated during the last Ice Age. Our local ecosystems developed since the last Ice Age without worm activity. In addition to Asian earthworms, night crawlers and other non-native earthworms have been introduced to northeastern North America.
Jumping worms take their earthmoving abilities to the extreme. In unmanaged, natural environments, their activities homogenize the leaf litter and other materials on the forest floor. Many plant species require a natural layer of leaf litter for successful germination and to obtain the nutrients in forest floor materials. In managed areas, such as lawns and gardens, these earthworms can destroy areas due to their voracious appetites, leaving only their castings and nullifying soil benefits.
Adult jumping worms die with the New England frost. However, they reproduce asexually, with no need for a mate, very often. Their cocoons, holding their eggs, survive our winters, hatch, and begin their destruction anew.
If you suspect you find jumping worms, the identification can be confirmed on adult worms by the clitellum, or reproductive organ, which is white and smooth and extends fully around the worm’s body, just under the head area.
diagram that shows how to identify a jumping worm
Image: University of Illinois
Unfortunately, there is not much to control these worms.  Adults can be killed but the populations are so vast that this will not accomplish much.  You can purposefully NOT buy Amynthas worms for any activity (composting, vermicomposting, bait, etc.).  For composting, specifically ask for Eiseniafoetida, the red wiggler worm.   Do NOT discard live worms into the wild.  Kill the worms, if possible, and put in the trash.  Be careful when purchasing, moving, or sharing plantings, as the adult Amynthas worms and their cocoons might be in the soil.

This is a difficult premise as we all learned that worms are good and helpful for our soils.
By Gail K. Reynolds, M.F.S

Enrolling Now: People Empowering People Communities

Our communities need leaders, and empowered people create positive action. We are registering community members for our in person and online People Empowering People (PEP) Communities Facilitator Training now. Learn more at https://pep.extension.uconn.edu/.

Part-time Jobs: Master Gardener County Coordinator Positions

Master Gardener logo

We have two part-time jobs open for Master Gardener County Coordinators, one in Tolland County (Vernon office) and one in New London County (Norwich office). Position descriptions and application information are below.

Position Description: Master Gardener County Coordinator – Tolland County 

(We also have a position open in New London County – see below for more information)

The UConn Extension Master Gardener Program is seeking applications for the position of Master Gardener Tolland County Program Coordinator. 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 base county Master Gardener program. Successful candidate will coordinate development, staffing, and recognition of program mentors, volunteers and interns; coordinate and assist with annual classroom portion of the program; work with UConn Extension center/county‐based faculty and staff, as well as university‐based faculty and staff as needed. Will also work with allied community groups and Extension partners such as the CT Master Gardener Association and Extension Councils; train and supervise interns in the Extension center when classroom teaching is completed; arrange and conduct Advanced Master Gardener classes each year; create, develop and coordinate outreach programs and projects in the county. 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, center coordinators and support staff. 

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. Volunteer experience is desired. Monthly reports shall be communicated to the state coordinator and topical information may be shared with others as requested. 

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. 

Electronic submissions only. 

Screening will begin immediately. 


Position Description: Master Gardener County Coordinator – New London County 

The UConn Extension Master Gardener Program is seeking applications for the position of Master Gardener New London County Program Coordinator. 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 base county Master Gardener program. Successful candidate will coordinate development, staffing, and recognition of program mentors, volunteers and interns; coordinate and assist with annual classroom portion of the program; work with UConn Extension center/county‐based faculty and staff, as well as university‐based faculty and staff as needed. Will also work with allied community groups and Extension partners such as the CT Master Gardener Association and Extension Councils; train and supervise interns in the Extension center when classroom teaching is completed; arrange and conduct Advanced Master Gardener classes each year; create, develop and coordinate outreach programs and projects in the county. 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, center coordinators and support staff. 

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. Volunteer experience is desired. Monthly reports shall be communicated to the state coordinator and topical information may be shared with others as requested. 

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. 

Electronic submissions only. 

Screening will begin immediately. 

Job Openings in Farmington and Bethel

woman raising her hand in a classroom surrounded by other people
We’re hiring! Extension has two positions open:
  • Assistant/Associate Cooperative Extension Educator (UConn 4-H educator based in our Bethel office)
  • Educational Program Assistant 1, Hartford County Extension (75% part-time position located in Hartford).
 

Educational Program Assistant (75% Position)

JOB SUMMARY

The UConn Extension Center located in Farmington, CT is seeking applications for one Educational Program Assistant 1, part-time position (75%).  The position is responsible for supporting and helping implement high-quality, comprehensive, Extension programming at different program sites throughout the region, with specific support to Forest Resources, EFNEP, Master Gardener, and 4-H programs.  The Educational Program Assistant will report to the Center Coordinator to prioritize programmatic work assignments.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

Include but are not limited to:

  • Assists and provides support to Extension Educators working with programs that may include but not be limited to Forest Resources, EFNEP, Master Gardener, and 4-H programs.
  • Assists in developing educational programs, recruiting, explaining, and providing program information and processes to Extension volunteers and participants.
  • Works with and helps develop and refine program databases using programs such as Excel and Access, to extrapolate relevant data sets, maintain program enrollments, membership, and volunteer records, and provide program reports to the Extension educators as required.
  • Maintains accurate records on each program and assembles databases and prepares statistical and/or historical reports for Extension educators/Program Coordinators based on program outcomes.
  • Performs office support functions in support of educational programs; processes paperwork, records, and files that may be computerized.
  • Supports Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in implementing and providing off-site educational activities in the community to improve practical understanding and accomplish program goals.
  • Provides assistance in assembling, arranging, organizing, and dismantling program event and activity set-ups and arrangements at various locations and venues, i.e. classrooms, fairgrounds, community centers, etc.
  • Supports media relations activities for various programs; works with others to write and edit program and promotional materials for hard and soft copy publications and social media platforms.
  • Assists Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in assessing clients’ capacity to participate in programs and helping to incorporate related knowledge into program activities for greatest learning opportunities.
  • Assists Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in developing and implementing programs to enhance learning and provide appropriate content-based experiences to accomplish program goals.
  • Under supervision, provides educational training and conducts related support services on an ongoing basis, and assists in resolving problems in assigned area of responsibility.
  • Assists with increasing community collaborations with partner groups.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS   

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field and up to one year of related experience; or an Associate’s degree and two to three years of related experience; or three to four years of profession-based experience in agriculture, food systems, education, 4-H, or related fields.
  • Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills and the ability to work effectively with communication technologies and the media.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite including Excel and Access and other database activities.
  • Demonstrated sensitivity towards diverse youth, families, and volunteer clientele to be served.
  • Demonstrated experience providing organizational support in a team environment.
  • Knowledge and familiarity with the Cooperative Extension System.
  • Must be able to regularly lift, carry, load, unload, and transport equipment, supplies, and/or program materials for educational events and workshops such as laptops, projectors, tables, chairs, displays, paper media, etc.
  • Must be willing and able to work flexible and irregular hours, including occasional nights and weekends to help conduct programs at off-site locations.
  • Must have reliable transportation to meet in-state travel requirements (mileage allowance provided).

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS 

  • Demonstrated success in public relations utilizing electronic, social, and print media and platforms such as Cushy/Aurora.
  • Experience working with large databases, and generating reports including 4-H online registration.
  • Experience participating with collaborative community partnerships.
  • Experience working with UConn administrative processes.
  • Experience with STEM (Science, Technology. Engineering, and Mathematics) technology.
  • Bilingual Spanish and English

Physical Requirements

Incumbents must possess the ability to perform the required duties set forth above.

APPOINTMENT TERMS

The position is located at the Hartford County Extension Center in Farmington, CT, however, regular travel within the region will be required. Occasional in-state travel to other UConn campuses, including Storrs, may be required in support of program needs. This part-time position includes an outstanding full benefits package. Salary will be commensurate with successful candidate’s backgrounds and experiences.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

Employment at the University of Connecticut is contingent upon the successful candidate’s compliance with the University’s Mandatory Workforce COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.  This Policy states that all workforce members are required to have or obtain a Covid-19 vaccination as a term and condition of employment at UConn, unless an exemption or deferral has been approved.

Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.

TO APPLY

Please apply online at https://hr.uconn.edu/jobs, Staff Positions, Search #495676 to upload a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three (3) professional references.

This job posting is scheduled to be removed at 11:55 p.m. Eastern time on October 30, 2021.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

Advertised: Sep 30 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Oct 30 2021 Eastern Daylight Time


Assistant/Associate Extension Educator

INTRODUCTION

The Department of Extension is seeking applicants for a full-time (11-month), non-tenure track Assistant/Associate Extension Educator, primarily based at the Fairfield County Extension Office in Bethel, CT.  Extension Educators are community-based faculty who make a difference in communities by connecting community needs with university resources. Position level/rank will be commensurate with experience working with Extension.  The anticipated start date is January 2022.

The successful candidate shall create an active 4-H youth development program with a focus on STEM, food, and agricultural literacy.  The program of work shall meet critical needs in the heavily urban southwest region of the state and build the community knowledge base through a multidisciplinary, collaborative program especially in diverse, underserved communities. State and multi-state programming are also expected.  Work will be accomplished by utilizing innovative approaches to deliver timely, evidence-based solutions for participants to significantly increase youth and adult volunteers’ understanding of how food, agriculture, and STEM activities improve their communities. This position may work closely with Agri-Science programs to transition K-8 youth into high school agriculture/aquaculture science programs and other related workforce and career development programming such as MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences).  In addition to community-based learning, this position will extend the reach of UConn Extension by integrating distance-learning technology into program delivery through computer applications, web pages, electronic mailings, multimedia, and emerging technologies.  This 4-H Extension educator is a vital member of the UConn 4-H Youth Development Team and reports to the Head, Department of Extension.  For more information about the University of Connecticut 4-H Extension Program, see http://www.4-h.uconn.edu/

The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) at the University of Connecticut contributes to a sustainable future through scientific discovery, innovation, and community engagement. CAHNR’s accomplishments result in safe, sustainable, and secure plant and animal production systems, healthier individuals and communities, greater protection and conservation of our environment and natural resources, balanced growth of the economy, and resilient local and global communities. We epitomize the role of a land-grant university to develop knowledge and disseminate it through the three academic functions of teaching, research, and outreach. In so doing, we improve the lives of citizens of our state, region, and country.

Founded in 1881, UConn is a Land Grant and Sea Grant institution and member of the Space Grant Consortium. It is the state’s flagship institution of higher education and includes a main campus in Storrs, CT, four regional campuses throughout the state, and 13 Schools and Colleges, including a Law School in Hartford, and Medical and Dental Schools at the UConn Health campus in Farmington. The University has approximately 10,000 faculty and staff and 32,000 students, including nearly 24,000 undergraduates and over 8,000 graduate and professional students. UConn is a Carnegie Foundation R1 (highest research activity) institution, among the top 25 public universities in the nation. Through research, teaching, service, and outreach, UConn embraces diversity and cultivates leadership, integrity, and engaged citizenship in its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. UConn promotes the health and well-being of citizens by enhancing the social, economic, cultural, and natural environments of the state and beyond. The University serves as a beacon of academic and research excellence as well as a center for innovation and social service to communities. UConn is a leader in many scholarly, research, and innovation areas. Today, the path forward includes exciting opportunities and notable challenges. Record numbers of undergraduate applications and support for student success have enabled the University to become extraordinarily selective.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

Include but are not limited to

  • Develops and implements an active outreach and applied-research program on cutting-edge 4-H STEM, food, and agricultural literacy-related activities that foster state, regional, and national recognition.
  • Works with other faculty and staff and partner organizations in a multidisciplinary team environment to create and deliver age-appropriate program materials. Sets up program sites and meeting rooms for the presentation of programs that involve transporting, lifting, and moving boxes of educational and/or program materials as well as tables, chairs, etc., as needed.
  • Create partnerships with other agencies and organizations and actively seek out grants and funding sources to support innovative community programs and outreach efforts.
  • Advances CAHNR’s commitment to equity and inclusion by 1) considering sources of bias and structural inequity based on race, ethnicity, disability, gender, and sexual orientation, and when appropriate, 2) implementing programs that address the burden these injustices impose on members of the community and residents of the state.
  • Evaluate county and designated state 4-H youth development program accomplishments, outcomes, impacts, and create scholarly materials from findings through Cooperative Extension publications and high-impact professional journals.
  • Develop a diverse portfolio of educational materials for Extension stakeholders, clients, and professional peers.
  • Uses assessment techniques to identify local needs and ensure cultural relevancy and appropriateness of 4-H programs and initiatives.
  • Develop and implement adult and youth volunteer programs including recruitment, training, management, evaluation, and recognition.
  • Increase program visibility via face-to-face and electronic communication – including websites and social media.
  • Design training opportunities and expand contact with adult volunteers and teens to help them assume leadership, management, education, and information delivery roles in support of the 4-H program through a variety of digital platforms and avenues of communication.
  • Advise and guide the work of county-based 4-H youth and volunteer committees, including but not limited to evaluation events such as 4-H fairs, food, STEM, and others.
  • Manages and executes multiple tasks with little supervision, meeting strict deadlines.
  • Works with sensitive information and maintains confidentiality.
  • Participate in regular 4-H team and Department of Extension meetings.
  • Compile data and prepare required reports.
  • Supervise program staff, students, and others as assigned to further program activities, which includes program site locations throughout the southwest region of the state.
  • Perform related duties as assigned and/or required.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

  • An earned Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in food or agricultural sciences, education, or related field.
  • At least three years of professional experience working with youth development programs including the areas of food and/or agricultural literacy.
  • For the Associate position level, candidates must have at least five years of experience as an Assistant Extension Educator or the academic equivalent and provide evidence of appropriate outreach and applied research.
  • Experience in grantsmanship and publication of Extension reports, peer-reviewed articles, or electronic media that communicate program results.
  • At least three years of experience in managing or working with volunteers.
  • Experience in program coordination and facilitation, including organization, delivery, and evaluation.
  • Demonstrated use of the latest research-based and experiential learning-based information and tools to demonstrate creativity, ability to think systematically, willingness, and ability to incorporate innovative solutions.
  • Demonstrated ability to work cohesively with diverse audiences including youth, adults, volunteers, and other groups.
  • Demonstrated skills in collaboration and developing partnerships with other professionals and organizations to accomplish team goals.
  • Excellent communications skills, including writing, listening, public speaking, and presentation skills.
  • Computer literacy, including working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Must be willing and able to work occasional evening and weekend hours.
  • Must have reliable transportation and a valid driver’s license.
  • Must possess the adequate physical strength, stamina, agility, and fitness to perform the required duties.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Earned Ph.D. in the field of food or agricultural sciences, education, or closely related field.
  • Experience with integrated Extension programs and the land-grant university system.
  • Demonstrated applied research interests associated with STEM programming.
  • Demonstrated experience with enhancing diversity and inclusion in educational program development and implementation.
  • Experience in leading a large multi-disciplinary, multi-functional grant-funded project.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

Must possess the adequate physical strength, stamina, agility, and fitness to perform the required duties.

APPOINTMENT TERMS  

This is a full-time 11-month, non-tenure track faculty position with a generous benefits package. For more information on benefits, go to:  https://hr.uconn.edu/employee-benefits-overview/.  Starting salary and position rank for this position will be commensurate with training and experience.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

Employment at the University of Connecticut is contingent upon the successful candidate’s compliance with the University’s Mandatory Workforce COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.  This Policy states that all workforce members are required to have or obtain a Covid-19 vaccination as a term and condition of employment at UConn, unless an exemption or deferral has been approved.

Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.

TO APPLY

Please apply online to Academic Jobs Online https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/18891 and submit the following application materials:

  • A cover letter that addresses qualifications identified in the advertisement,
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Commitment to diversity statement (including broadening participation, integrating multicultural experiences in instruction and research and pedagogical techniques to meet the needs of diverse learning styles, etc.);
  • Writing sample to reflect an initiative you would implement in Extension Programming;
  • Contact information for three (3) letters of reference.

Please demonstrate through your written application materials how you meet the minimum qualifications and any of the preferred/desirable qualifications.

At the University of Connecticut, our commitment to excellence is complemented by our commitment to building a culturally diverse community.

This job will be filled subject to budgetary approval.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics, which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty and staff. The diversity of students, faculty and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

Extension EFNEP Programming Positively Impacts Participants

Heather and a volunteer in their masksOur Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) shifted during the pandemic, just as everyone did. Last summer I had the opportunity to work with Bristol and New Britain HRA programs teaching their summer youth employment program. Their Program Director asked me to create a five-week virtual class, with 16 hours’ worth of work per week for their students. We had 20 students on each program. The program started three weeks after I received the request and I had to quickly think about how to best teach EFNEP nutrition education virtually to teenagers!
I was lucky to have a UConn student intern, Autumn Blasi, to help with the program! Although we never met in person, we worked together virtually to create a one of kind program!
I learned and used  Google classroom to create meaningful lessons for students. Each week students had to watch videos,  research, and complete project-based assignments. Students had to photograph their gardens each week to show progress. Students researched how to do different exercises and had to create beginners’ guides. Every week we had a virtual WebEx class.
Each week of the EFNEP/HRA program was theme-based on the growth of a plant. Week one was seeds and roots, week two was stems, week three was leaves, week four was flowers, week five was fruits and vegetables. Each week students had to find foods and recipes based on the week’s theme. They also had to research and report on nutrient and calorie content, selection, and storage of foods from the weeks theme.  I decided to do three “distribution” days every other week, that gave the students the tools to do hands-on, project-based learning at home.  I also divided the program into four concentration areas: gardening, nutrition, fitness, and future self with four hours of work in each. We had the students create SMART goals for each concentration area. Students had to photograph their gardens each week to show progress. Students researched how to do different exercises and had to create beginners’ guides. Every week we had four separate virtual WebEx classes with different groups of students. On distribution weeks we had a hands-on virtual class where we made recipes together.
In the beginning of the process I thought students would want connection to other students and tried to create group projects. I also thought students would want to be “seen” through the process, but they usually did not want to have their camera on. It was always their choice! It seemed that they liked the affirmation of the grading process best. They strived to do the work and wanted to make sure I SAW it. They were polite and engaged and asked for more work! They would ask for the  next weeks work if they finished the present weeks work. They started to become more confident and comfortable with the process over the last weeks. I  learned a lot during the process. I am grateful for the project!
On week one, we scheduled a safe, socially distanced distribution to students. Each student received a “EFNEP cooking kit”- with a meat thermometer, measuring cups, recipe books, and an insulated grocery bag. They also received a “container pizza garden”- students had a chance to identify each plant and plant their containers, it was like 40 – 10 minute lessons from afar! These distribution were done in the community at two different locations.
On week three we distributed the ingredients for overnight oats, and a fear factor food (spinach) to do our online recipe together. We had many technical difficulties that day and our intern stepped in to “show” the recipe because I lost video! We had the students “use your oats again,” and use your fear factor food and post the pictures. The students did an amazing job!
On week five we distributed prizes and the ingredients for our last WebEx virtual recipe, ” Salsa Pasta.” I had hoped to use the vegetables from the student’s container gardens, but the plants the agency provided were very small. I had to replace some students’ plants during the program due to critters eating them! This was my most successful video and audio! I finally figured out how to just use my office for the recipe. I made the recipe four times – two groups on Wednesday and two groups on Thursday. I also gave students other ways to make the recipe into soup and macaroni and cheese.
I heard from parents who said they benefitted from the class, in addition to their child. Especially downloading a step tracker and food diary app. They liked the SMART goals and saw improvement in some of their children’s behavior and confidence.
Our student intern, Autumn added so much to the program! She added assignments for the students on body image, diabetes, how to dress for an interview, and critiquing nutrition information on social media.
Article by Heather Pease, UConn EFNEP Educator

Key questions about environmental contaminants to be addressed by CTSG, partners

Connecticut Sea Grant, in partnership with the New Hampshire and North Carolina Sea Grant programs, has been awarded an $850,000 federal grant to help unravel the complex problem of contaminants of emerging concern, or CECs, in coastal and freshwater environments.

CECs are residues of products commonly used by people and businesses, including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, household cleaning products, industrial chemicals and plastic microfibers. These are increasingly found in surface and groundwater, posing risks to drinking water and wildlife. Short- and long-term effects of CECs, however, are not yet well understood.filling a glass with water at a sink

This project will commission research to assess the state of the science around CECs to help identify areas most in need of further study, most significant potential risks and possible mitigation strategies. Both natural and social science approaches to addressing CECs will be invited to participate. Principles of environmental justice will be factored into the project, in recognition that underserved communities are often those most greatly affected by CECs. It will also involve outreach to educate the public about this issue and how individuals can take actions to reduce their own contributions to CECs in the environment.

A complementary aspect of the project will create a framework for the national Sea Grant Network and in view of what other government agencies do to help define a niche for Sea Grant in addressing CECs. The framework would be considered a starting point for actions that would evolve over time.

“This award represents a unique opportunity to reflect and engage with partners in helping define how the talent of Sea Grant staff and its network of researchers can move the needle on a topic as broad and complex as Contaminants of Emerging Concern,” said Sylvain De Guise, director of Connecticut Sea Grant and principal investigator on the project.

The grant was one of three announced on Sept. 13 by the National Sea Grant office focusing on freshwater systems management. The New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium received a grant to examine techniques, green infrastructure and low-impact development to mitigate pollution from stormwater runoff. The third award went to a collaboration of the Illinois-Indiana, Minnesota and Pennsylvania Sea Grant programs for a project focused on managing stormwater and reducing flooding in the Great Lakes region.

“Sea Grant’s latest investments demonstrate our commitment to address knowledge gaps to improve the management of freshwater resources at the interface of both coastal and Great Lakes environments,” said National Sea Grant College Program Director Jonathan Pennock. “These initial efforts will identify the key challenges and inform strategies to be implemented by the Sea Grant network related to contaminants of emerging concern, runoff pollution and flood resilience.”

More information: Judy Benson, CT Sea Grant communications coordinator: judy.benson@uconn.edu; (860) 287-6426

Originally posted on seagrant.uconn.edu 

Water Testing for Homeowners

faucet with running water
Photo: Kara Bonsack
When was the last time you had your well water tested? The Connecticut Department of Public Health has certified testing locations throughout the state. Visit ctiwr.uconn.edu/residents for locations and other resources.
If you have “city water”, your supplier is required to test your water on a regular basis (check your water company website or call for specific information). If you have a private well, it is up to you to have the water tested! It is a good idea to have your water tested on a regular basis to detect any changes in quality. A standard potability test can be performed at many state-certified lab. Additional information can be found in this CT Dept. of Public Health Publication on Private Well Water.

Help Maintain the Spread of the Spotted Lanternfly in Connecticut

The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) is continuing its move through Connecticut. It has been found in Orange and Milford, Connecticut. It is important that everyone help spread the word about this invasive pest. Many farms in Connecticut have visitors that travel from areas where SLF populations are established in Connecticut and outside Connecticut.

map of spotted lanternfly locations in Connecticut

What can you do if you see an SLF?

All Residents:

1. Photograph it
2. Kill it
3. Report it
4. See management strategies on the the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station website.

Agricultural Producers:

There are 2 posters from USDA APHIS you can download and post at your farm stands, farm markets and pickyourown locations to alert the general public. If they understand this pest has the potential to have a negative impact on their favorite farm your place they may be more inclined to take an active role in slowing down the movement of SLF. And for every adult female they destroy, there will be roughly 90 less SLF the next year.

September Checklist for Connecticut Gardeners

Written by Colleen Amster and Arianna Ege, UConn Extension Master Gardener Volunteers

mums on a bench
Photo: Michelle Winkler

September is a good time for Connecticut gardeners to begin the fall cleanup and assessment process. It is also a good time to shop for trees, shrubs, and bulbs, and prepare for next year’s growing season. Here is a helpful list to get you started:

Annual and herbaceous perennials

  • Take note of which annuals did well in your garden this year and decide what plants you would like to add to your beds next spring, and where. It is helpful to take photos of the bare spots that you would like to fill.
  • Remove and compost spent annuals. Some annuals like geraniums can be dug up and placed in a cool place to overwinter in containers.
  • Some annuals are cold hardy, like pansies, calendula, sweet pea and ornamental kale, and can be planted now.
  • Begin to harvest and dry (in paper bags) seeds for herbaceous perennial plants that are ready to be collected by late September like hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon), echinacea (coneflower), rudbeckias (black-eyed susans), baptisia (false indigo) and some helianthus (sunflowers), just to name a few. Store seeds, once they are dry, in containers or bags in a cool dry location. Some coneflower seed heads, like echinacea, will need to be shaken in a container to separate the seeds from the chaff. Seeds can be started outdoors later in the fall or, for better results, inside in potting medium in the spring. Some will need to be refrigerated and stratified.
  • As herbaceous perennials turn brown, begin cutting back plants from 4-8” from the ground, depending on the plant. Some fibrous herbaceous perennials do best when they are divided every few years, including echinacea, hostas, and peonies.
  • Take note of any perennials that have been impacted by powdery mildew or fungal diseases. Look for fungal problems on leaves and remove and dispose of any diseased plant parts. This is a good time to research and implement treatments for plants that have been impacted by botrytis, or root rot, or other diseases over the last growing season.
  • It is also a great time to buy discounted plants that transplant well in fall. Many local plant trusts have sales in September and some will sell grouping of pollinator plants. Planting in fall allows root systems extra time to develop.

Bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, and corms

  • Decide what bulbs you would like to add to your garden beds and buy from a reputable source.
  • Before purchasing bulbs, check for disease or damage, such as rot, cuts, or bruises and do not buy bulbs that are soft or moldy. Make sure bulbs are firm and have a protective papery skin. Purchase hardy bulbs in August-September and plant the bulbs as soon as possible. Plant from mid-September to mid-October so the bulbs can grow roots before the ground freezes.
  • Store bulbs in a dry place away from direct sunlight until you are ready to plant them.
  • A special note about garlic: Garlic is especially beneficial in the garden. It is nutritious, easy to grow, repels pests and wildlife, and is a good pollinator plant if some is allowed to bloom. It comes in three varieties, hardenck, softneck, and elephant. If you are planting garlic next month, cloves should be purchased from a reputable supplier or local garden center. Garlic bulbs sold in the grocery store are mainly grown in China and California and may have diseases, nematodes, or viruses that can impact your soil.

Vegetable and herbs

turnips growing in a garden
Photo: Michelle Winkler
  • Maintain good sanitation in your vegetable gardens, pruning and removing diseased leaves, weeds, and any plants that are no longer producing viable fruit to reduce insect and disease issues, and staking plants like tomatoes to keep them off the ground.
  • Make room for cool weather greens like spinach, lettuces, radishes, collard greens, swiss chard, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, and mustard. Brussel sprouts can still be started now, as well as carrots and rutabagas. Check out this planting calendar for best dates to plant in your zip code: https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-calendar/zipcode/06070/date.
  • Harvest veggies as they ripen. Harvest and dry herbs that are beginning to get leggy or that have begun to flower or bolt.
  • It is a good time to save heirloom seeds for next season, including tomatoes. Fun fact: any tomatoes that haven’t ripened on the vine by the first forecasted frost can be harvested green and stored indoors until they begin to ripen! See this article for details: https://news.extension.uconn.edu/2014/10/27/is-your-garden-bursting-with-fall-tomatoes/.
  • You can take herb cuttings at this time to start herbs like mint and oregano indoors in a sunny window.
  • Protecting your fall vegetables and flowers with row covers will give you extra growing time in the season and protect tender plants from sudden temperature changes.

Trees and shrubs

  • Focus on removing deadwood and deadheading flowers after they bloom. Don’t prune too heavily, because new growth will not have time to harden off before winter and will be more susceptible to frost damage.
  • It is a good time to plant trees and shrubs, many of which are on sale this time of year!
  • Continue harvesting seasonal fruits.
  • Sanitize the area around each plant by removing fallen fruit and plant debris to prevent the spread of disease and pests.
  • Never add a heavy application of fertilizer to perennials or trees in the late fall as it will encourage new growth and plants can be injured by an early frost.

Lawns

  • Mow grass below 3” now that temperatures are dropping to reduce matting and fungal issues.
  • If your lawn is compacted, consider de-thatching and aerating.
  • Remove weeds and dead grass to expose soil and apply fertilizer. Now is the best time of year to plant grass seed and fill those bare patches in your lawn!

Soil and pests

  • Make plans to add mulch around plants that will need extra protection during the winter months and order a delivery of mulch if that is more economical than buying it in bags. Evergreens and other perennials will need a protective layer of mulch before the first frost. Remember to ask your supplier if they sell certified compost and mulch–and heat their products to at least 104 degrees to kill invasive earthworm cocoons and other pests.
  • All plants should be quarantined and observed before planting and some invasive pest research groups are recommending that all new plants be thoroughly rinsed and planted with bare roots.
  • Prepare your leaf collection bin and compost bin for cool weather.
  • Check for insect pests including the spotted lanternfly and invasive earthworms.
  • Apply deer repellent or plan for netting trees and perennials that deer tend to browse, including arborvitaes and yews.
  • Continue to weed garden beds and maintain good sanitation.
  • Many Connecticut gardeners are reporting infestations of the invasive Asian jumping or snake worm. Wood ash is always a beneficial fall amendment but has the added benefit of repelling these worms; diatomaceous earth or biochar may also be used to combat them.
  • Last, collect soil samples to be tested while the soil is still easily workable so you can plan soil amendments accordingly: https://soiltest.uconn.edu/sampling.php

References and further reading

Perennials: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/perennials.php
Bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, corms: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/bulbs/planting.cfm
Seed saving: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/seed-starting.php
Flowering sequence of different types of bulbs: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/bulbs/selection.cfm

Garlic: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/index_306_3102396391.pdf http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/Articles_28_731441880.pdf
Tomatoes: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/tomatoes.php
Saving seeds: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/Articles_25_1925738656.pdf
Invasive earthworms: https://ag.umass.edu/sites/ag.umass.edu/files/pdf-doc-ppt/kostromytska_invasive_earthworms_ppt.pdf

https://extension.psu.edu/look-out-for-jumping-earthworms
September gardening: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/gardening-tips-september_15_1424196800.pdf
Fall gardening: https://news.extension.uconn.edu/tag/fall-gardening/
Tree, shrub, and perennial planting and aftercare: https://clear.uconn.edu/projects/crlg/documents/f3.pdf
Fall lawn care: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/Articles_69_3249872767.pdf