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Job Openings: Educational Program Assistants

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Search #: 495338

Educational Program Assistant 1, Tolland County Extension

Search #: 495338
Work type: Full-time
Location: Tolland County Extension Ctr
Categories: Academic Programs and Services

JOB SUMMARY

The UConn Extension Center located in Vernon, CT is seeking applications for two (2) Educational Program Assistant 1 positions – one full-time position and one part-time position (75%).  These positions are responsible for supporting and helping implement high-quality, comprehensive, Extension programming at different program sites throughout the region, with specific support to Farm Business Planning, Beginning Farmer, Food Systems, Food Safety, Vegetable, Master Gardener, and 4-H programs.  The Educational Program Assistants will report to the Center Coordinator to prioritize programmatic work assignments.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

  • Assists and provides programmatic support to Extension Educators
  • Assists in developing educational programs
  • Coordinates recruitment and orientation for Extension volunteers and participants
  • Assists with development and maintenance of program databases using programs such as Excel and Access
  • Maintains accurate records on each program, assembles databases, and prepares statistical and/or historical reports
  • Performs administrative functions in support of educational programs
  • Supports Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in implementing and providing off-site educational activities in the community
  • 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; assists with promotional material for Extension programs
  • 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
  • Performs other related duties as required

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS   

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field and up to one year of related experience or an Associates degree and two to three years of related experience; or five or more 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
  • 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 and Aurora.
  • Experience working with large databases, and generating reports including 4-H Online.
  • 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

Both positions are located at the Tolland County Extension Center in Vernon, 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. These positions include an outstanding full benefits package. Salary will be commensurate with the successful candidate’s background and work experience.

TO APPLY

Please apply online at https://hr.uconn.edu/jobs, Staff Positions, Search #495338 to upload a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three (3) professional references. ** Please indicate in your cover letter if you wish to be considered for the full-time or part-time (75%) position, or both.**

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

This job posting is scheduled to be removed at 11:55 p.m. Eastern time on June 22, 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: Jun 08 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Jun 22 2021 Eastern Daylight Time

¡Sí Se Puede! Empowering Families with Monica Jimenez

As a child, Monica Jimenez would have fun pretending to be a teacher. In high school, her interests shifted from teaching to law. Soon after beginning law school she realized that path was not for her. She then found her true passion, Special Education. 

Monica JimenezMonica graduated from La Universidad de Azuay in Ecuador with a Bachelor’s in Special Education in 1996. She came to the United States from Ecuador through a cultural exchange program and fell in love with the American culture and her host family. With the help of her host family she was able to become a resident and later obtained U.S. citizenship. In the U.S., Monica obtained her Child Development Associate Credential and started to work as a paraeducator in Stamford Public Schools. Here she spent five years helping and strengthening the academic performance of students in the Bilingual and New Arrivals program. Today, Monica lives in Stamford with her daughter and works as a Parent Educator for Family Centers, a nonprofit organization offering educational, health, and human services to families. 

During her years as a paraeducator, Monica realized how her students struggled with being understood. This motivated Monica to advocate for her students and to help them appreciate their roots and identity. “I need to let the children know that they are important and that they should be proud of their roots, proud of their home, proud of where they come from, proud of their culture, and feel happy that they have the ability to say I speak Spanish, I am currently learning English, and I will be able to learn. You have to remind children that they are capable of anything because they are and at any age” says Monica. 

Monica Jimenez UConn PEP graduationAs a paraeducator, Monica also realized the significance of parent advocacy and involvement in the education of their children. She knew she had to find a way to reach parents in her community as well to further help her students. Wanting to do more for her community, in 2017, Monica joined the UConn People Empowering People (UConn PEP) program in Stamford. UConn PEP is an Extension program in the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources. It is an innovative personal and family development program with a strong community focus. UConn PEP builds on the unique strengths and life experiences of the participants. The program emphasizes the connection between individuals and community action.

Monica’s experience with UConn PEP has been life-changing. It has become the foundation that has helped her express her passion for empowering people. “UConn PEP was the starting point for the job I have now. I learned many tools. It was a mix of what I had already done in the school and UConn PEP gave me the opportunity to learn how to help people and empower them. In my case, especially mothers. It empowered me and now I can do the same for other people” says Monica. 

Monica Jimenez's group zoom meetingA year after graduating from the UConn PEP program, Monica was recruited as a teacher for the Children’s People Empowering People (CPEP) program. Additionally, she also teaches courses for the Children’s Leadership Training Institute (CLTI). She is currently working to become a parent leader in Stamford and will complete her Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) course in June. Although at times becoming a community leader can be challenging, Monica is glad that through UConn PEP she has learned how to be direct, and how to manage different situations and audiences.

Monica Jimenez selfie with daughterAs a parent educator Monica serves first-time mothers with newborns and children up to five years in age. Through in-person and virtual visits, Monica helps mothers learn about child development, the importance of the parent-child relationship and connects them to available resources in their community. For Monica, having this job is a dream come true. “It is very nice to arrive at the house that is the root. It is where I as the visitor can accompany the mother in the growth of the child and encourage her to do a great job with her children from the very beginning” says Monica. As a single mother herself, Monica understands how difficult raising a child can be. She has always pushed herself to do the best for her daughter and is constantly encouraging her mothers to believe in their own abilities, “I always make sure to tell them sí se puede (yes you can)” says Monica.

When asked why she believed empowering people was important Monica shared, “Empowering people is important because we all have an inner strength. We all have talent and capacity within us, sometimes life circumstances make us forget that. There are some talents that are hidden. There are some talents that are turned off. It has hurt me a lot that my community is not always seen as a community that provides support, but we are people that provide support. In the Hispanic community we support each other, we can contribute a lot, we have double capabilities”.

At the moment Monica is focused on completing her PLTI course and launching her project Helping You Get Started (HUGS). HUGS introduces the school system to new arrival families. Through home visits, Monica hopes to help parents with basic things like how to apply for free/reduced lunch to more complex situations such as how to communicate with teachers. To her, it’s really important that parents realize they have all the authority over any decision made regarding the education of their children. HUGS will bridge the knowledge gap and help parents gain confidence and find their voice. Monica’s second goal is to return to school and start working towards obtaining a Master’s degree in Social Work. With this degree she hopes to be able to serve and empower more populations.

“When you tell your story, many people can relate to it and learn. I hope with my story others think okay I’m in a similar, better, or worse situation and if one person could make it through, I can too,” Monica concludes.

 

Article by Ivette Lopez

 

Haga clic aquí para ver en Español.

¡Sí Se Puede! Empoderando Familias con Monica Jimenez

De niña Monica Jimenez jugaba a ser maestra. En la escuela secundaria, sus intereses pasaron de educación a la abogacía. Poco después de comenzar la escuela de leyes, se dio cuenta de que ese camino no era para ella. Luego encontró su verdadera pasión, la Educación Especial.

Monica JimenezEn 1996, Monica se graduó de La Universidad de Azuay en Ecuador con una Licenciatura en Educación Especial. Llegó a Estados Unidos desde Ecuador a través de un programa de intercambio cultural y se enamoró de la cultura estadounidense y de su familia anfitriona. Con la ayuda de su familia anfitriona, pudo convertirse en residente y luego obtuvo la ciudadanía estadounidense. En los EE. UU., Monica obtuvo su Credencial de Asociada en Desarrollo Infantil y comenzó a trabajar como para-educadora en las Escuelas Públicas de Stamford. Allí pasó cinco años ayudando y fortaleciendo académicamente a los estudiantes en el programa Bilingüe y de Recién Llegados. Hoy, Monica vive en Stamford con su hija y trabaja como educadora de padres para “Family Centers”, una organización sin fines de lucro que ofrece servicios educativos, de salud y humanos a las familias.

Durante sus años como para-educadora, Monica se dio cuenta de cómo sus estudiantes luchaban para ser entendidos. Esto motivó a Mónica a advocar por sus estudiantes y ayudarlos a apreciar sus raíces e identidad. “Necesito hacerle saber a los niños que ellos son importantes y que deben estar orgullosos de sus raíces, orgullosos de su casa, orgullosos de donde vienen, orgullosos de su cultura, y sentirse felices de que tienen esa capacidad de que sí hablo Español, y estoy aprendiendo el Inglés, yo voy a poder. Hay que recordarles a los niños que pueden porque si pueden y a cualquier edad” dice Monica.

Monica Jimenez UConn PEP graduationComo asistente de educación, Monica también se dio cuenta de la importancia de la participación de los padres en la educación de sus hijos. Sabía que tenía que encontrar una manera de llegar a los padres de su comunidad para ayudar más a sus estudiantes. Queriendo hacer más por su comunidad, en 2017, Monica se unió al programa en Stamford UConn People Empowering People (UConn PEP). UConn PEP es un programa de Extensión en la Facultad de Agricultura, Salud y Recursos Naturales. Es un programa innovador de desarrollo personal y familiar con un fuerte enfoque en la comunidad. UConn PEP se basa en las fortalezas y experiencias únicas de vida de los participantes. El programa enfatiza la conexión entre los individuos y la acción comunitaria.

La experiencia de Monica con UConn PEP ha cambiado su vida. Se ha convertido en la base que la ha ayudado a expresar su pasión por empoderar a las personas. “UConn PEP y el curso que hice fue mi punto de partida para el trabajo en que me encuentro ahora. Aprendí muchas herramientas. Fue una mezcla de lo que ya había hecho en la escuela pública y UConn PEP me dio la oportunidad de aprender y saber cómo ayudar a la gente y cómo empoderarlas. Especialmente en mi caso a las mamás. Me empodero a mi y a la vez puedo empoderar a otras personas” dice Monica.

Monica Jimenez's group zoom meetingUn año después de graduarse del programa UConn PEP, Monica fue contratada como maestra para el programa “Children’s People Empowering People (CPEP)”. Además, también imparte cursos para el “Children’s Leadership Training Institute (CLTI)”. Actualmente está trabajando para convertirse en una madre líder en Stamford y completará su curso de “Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI)” en junio. Aunque a veces convertirse en líder de la comunidad puede ser un desafío, Monica se alegra de que a través de UConn PEP haya aprendido a ser directa y a manejar diferentes situaciones y audiencias.

Monica Jimenez selfie with daughterComo educadora de padres, Monica sirve a madres primerizas con niños recién nacidos hasta los cinco años de edad. A través de visitas en persona y virtuales, Monica ayuda a las madres a aprender sobre el desarrollo infantil, la importancia de la relación entre padres e hijos y las conecta con los recursos disponibles en su comunidad. Para Monica, tener este trabajo es un sueño hecho realidad.  “Es muy lindo llegar a la casa que es la raíz y es donde yo como la visitadora puedo acompañar a la mamá  en el crecimiento del niño e incentivarla a que pueda hacer un buen trabajo con sus hijos desde el principio” dice Monica. Como madre soltera, Monica comprende lo difícil que puede ser criar a un hijo. Siempre se ha esforzado por hacer lo mejor para su hija y constantemente anima a las madres a creer en sus propias habilidades, “siempre me encargo de decirles que sí se puede”, dice Monica.

Cuando se le preguntó por qué creía que empoderar a las personas era importante, Monica compartió: “Empoderar a la gente es importante porque todos tenemos una fuerza. Todos tenemos dentro toda la capacidad y el talento, solo que a veces, circunstancias de la vida nos hacen olvidar que tenemos esa capacidad. Todos tenemos eso. Hay algunos talentos que se encuentran escondidos. Hay algunos talentos que se encuentran apagados. Me ha dolido mucho que nuestra comunidad no siempre sea vista como una comunidad que aporta y nosotros si somos gente que aporta. Nosotros, la gente hispana aportamos. Podemos aportar mucho, tenemos capacidades dobles”.

En este momento, Monica está enfocada en completar su curso PLTI y lanzar su proyecto “Helping You Get Started (HUGS)”. HUGS acoge y presenta el sistema escolar a las familias recién llegadas. A través de visitas domiciliarias, Monica espera ayudar a los padres con cosas básicas como: cómo solicitar almuerzo gratis / reducido y en situaciones más complejas, cómo comunicarse con los maestros. Para ella es muy importante que los padres se den cuenta de que tienen toda la autoridad sobre cualquier decisión que se tome con respecto a la educación de sus hijos. HUGS cerrará la brecha de conocimiento y ayudará a los padres a encontrar su voz y ganar confianza. El segundo objetivo de Monica es regresar a la escuela y comenzar a trabajar para obtener una maestría en Trabajo Social. Con este título, ella espera poder servir y empoderar a más poblaciones.

 “Cuando uno cuenta su historia muchas personas pueden identificarse con ella y pueden aprender. Esta historia sirve para que alguien piense okay estoy en una situación similar, mejor, o peor, pero si una persona pudo, yo también puedo,” concluye Monica.

 

Artículo por Ivette Lopez

 

Click here to view in English.

UConn EFNEP Adult Course May 2021 Graduates!

Heather, Molly, and Juliana of our UConn Expanded Food and Nutrition Program led participants through a virtual nutrition and cooking class. 

After completion participants shared:

“Best class ever!”

“The class was great, complete information, I liked it and learned a lot about food, hygiene, and sugary drinks. The drink class was very informative! Thank you to both educators and the translator. We really appreciated the materials and utensils.”

“I looked forward to this class each week, you have been part of our home the past 5 weeks.”

“I didn’t like cooking before but I do now.  I have tried the recipes and my family enjoys them. These last 12 months have been so hard. I never thought being on the computer would bring me joy.”

“When I made the lentil burgers I thought they would taste disgusting, but I tried them and they were SO good!” 

We love the wonderful feedback. Congratulations graduates!

Click here to learn more about UConn EFNEP

people in a zoom meeting

Elevating Voices with UConn PEP

UConn PEP Goes Online

family poses for a front porch portrait as part of the Wethersfield PEP program
A Wethersfield family poses for their front porch photo.
Photo courtesy of Jeanine Berasi

Our communities are stronger when all voices are elevated and included. UConn Extension’s People Empowering People (UConn PEP) program elevates voices by empowering individuals through community-based parent leadership training. People Empowering People builds on the unique strengths and life experiences of the participants. The program emphasizes the connection between individuals and community action.

We collaborate with community organizations to offer UConn PEP. Trained facilitators guide participants through 10 educational sessions plus additional weeks for completion of individual or group projects before graduating from the program. Cherry Czuba, a retired Extension educator, started the program 25 years ago. The program was revised and updated while Dr. Cathleen Love was coordinating the program. Over 3,110 participants have graduated from UConn People Empowering People programs located in three states.

COVID-19 affected UConn PEP – as it did with all other aspects of our lives. But the need for personal development and empowerment programs increased because of the pandemic and racial injustice. We rose to the challenge by transitioning our programs online. We continued to offer programming, trained facilitators in a new online certificate program, and community participants graduated from local programs.

The program was offered in eight communities, seven of these in Connecticut and one in Miami, Florida. Our Connecticut programs were in offered in Middletown, Stamford, New London, Wethersfield, Hartford with Community Renewal Team (CRT) and Family Life Education, and Meriden – with Meriden Children First. Program graduates made a difference in each community.

Community-based projects are always an impactful part of the UConn People Empowering People Communities program and had a positive influence during the pandemic. Two participants in our Meriden program created a project called, Sprinkle of Kindness and Twisted Vines. They collected donations of hand sanitizers, masks, and snacks and gave them to police departments in Waterbury and Torrington. Seven women in the Wethersfield UConn PEP 2020 program, with the help of a few key volunteers organized Wethersfield Front Porch Portraits. Over 120 families participated, and the project raised over $3,500 for the Wethersfield Foodbank. Their project was shared with the Wethersfield Historical Society.

Robin Drago-Provencher and Sheri Amechi.

People Empowering People’s impact on individuals has a ripple effect of positive outcomes for the community that continues beyond graduation. Sheri Amechi participated in the Meriden UConn PEP program in 2017. Her initial involvement with UConn PEP was a catalyst for transformative changes in her life and the community. When asked how the UConn PEP program made a difference in her leadership journey, here is what Sheri said, “When I interviewed for PEP in 2017, I had mentioned that my goal was to run for a seat on the Meriden Board of Education. I had participated in other Parent Leadership programs in the Meriden community prior to UConn PEP. These programs reinforced what I already knew, I wanted to make a difference in my community. Through People Empowering People, I learned valuable lessons in communication, problem-solving, and I improved my leadership skills. These lessons  prompted me into taking the step to run for a seat on the Board of Education in Meriden in 2019. Sadly, I was not successful in my attempt to win a seat (losing by 41 votes), but I am determined to run again in 2021. To my excitement and surprise, I was appointed to fulfill a seat on the Board of Education, achieving my goal I set many years ago.”

“After graduating from UConn PEP, I continued my community involvement when I was elected to the Local Advisory Committee of Meriden Children’s First non-profit,” Sheri continues. “From this group I was eventually elected as President of Meriden Children’s First. Currently, I am the Vice President of the organization.”

Sheri knew what she wanted, set her goals and continued until she achieved her goals. People Empowering People opens doors, brings people together, provides training, builds skills, creates connections, and opportunities for participants to follow their passion and make a difference in their communities.

The positive effects of UConn PEP are the same across all participants – in any location – goals are set, relationships develop, projects are completed, a shift happens, and the goodness grows. When participants were asked at the completion of the program, what they learned during UConn PEP, one participant stated: “I’ve learned from the entire PEP program and how important it is to me. I’m going to continue using the tips and tools I’ve learned in these sessions. I want to continue to grow.”

Our communities need connection and leadership now more than ever. UConn PEP is rising to the challenge and helping participants to find their voice, elevate others’ voices, and create a better place to live. Programming may have shifted online during the pandemic, but we can still create that personal connection that allows people to thrive.

For more information about UConn People Empowering People (PEP) Communities go to pep.extension.uconn.edu.           

Article by Robin Drago-Provencher and Stacey Stearns

Celebrate CT Trails Day June 5 with Thames River Quests

The Thames River Heritage Park and Connecticut Sea Grant are celebrating Connecticut Trails Day on June 5 by inviting people to visit one or more of the four park sites where they can enjoy a self-guided, educational activity and receive a complimentary harbor cruise ticket for the heritage park water taxi.

In the Thames River Quests, first offered on Trails Day in 2018, participants follow a set of clues to different locations at each site to solve a word puzzle and learn about the region’s history and ecology. The Quests take place at Fort Trumbull State Park and the downtown Waterfront Park in New London; and at Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park and Thames Street in Groton.

For the second year, the Quests are available as self-guided activities people can enjoy any time, but those who register and complete the Quests on Trails Day can receive a free harbor cruise ticket and will be eligible to enter a prize drawing for heritage park T-shirts. The tickets can be used on the park water taxi once it begins operating for the season on June 12.

“These Quests are a shining example of our communities and local organizations working together and taking advantage of the resources we have right here to provide family-friendly and fun park experience,” said Capt. Paul Whitescarver, TRHP board president.

Those who plan to do one or more of the Quests on Trails Day are asked to pre-register on the heritage park website beginning on May 20. Everyone planning to do the Quests should download and print the directions from their home computer at: thameriverheritagepark.org/quests.

“These Quests are a wonderful way to get outside and visit places perhaps you haven’t before, while learning about the rich  maritime heritage and history of the Thames River region,” said Nancy Balcom, associate director of Connecticut Sea Grant.

At the end of each Quest, participants are asked to take a photo and post it to their Facebook or Instagram account with @ThamesRiverHeritagePark #TRHPQuest or email it to: info@thamesriverheritagepark.org to receive their complimentary ticket and to be entered into the prize drawing. Winners will be randomly selected throughout the summer.

Photos of the winners will be posted on the Thames River Heritage Park’s Facebook page. In addition to the Thames River Heritage Park and Connecticut Sea Grant, the Thames River Quests are also sponsored by The Day Publishing Co.

Frontlines of Extension

Meet Some of our Staff

Extension serves over 124,265 individuals statewide every year. Our staff are essential to the success of our Extension programs— ensuring that participants, volunteers, and educators have what they need. We’re pleased to introduce you to a few of the faces on our frontlines.

Maria Camara

Haddam Office

“I support all office programs with administrative functions. I am fortunate to be able to do my job from home, as it keeps me safe and keeps my dogs happy. I find that everything I do can be done remotely on my laptop except the public interaction. I really miss that part of my job. I enjoy the public interaction whether by phone or in person. Every day there is always something new I hear and learn.”

Sharon Narotsky

Brooklyn Office

“I support 4-H programming, the Master Gardener program, a Nutrition Educator and the Livestock Educator. My job location has changed because of COVID-19 and unfortunately, I can’t physically meet the customers, but I can still serve them through emails and phone calls. I definitely miss seeing the faculty and staff in person on a daily basis. The best part of my job is my co-workers and the customers I serve.”

Frances Champagne

Farmington Office

“Working with multiple programs in a variety of disciplines is by far the best part of my position. I have such a wide array of interests that working in a single discipline would become monotonous after a while. In my position, I get to work with individuals and groups on projects of all kinds. Because of this, I am continually learning new things and meeting new people.

Extension and its many facets have played a positive role in my life as well as those of my friends and family; I am honored to be working in this department professionally at UConn.”

Donna Liska

Bethel Office

“I primarily work with the 4-H youth program. I really enjoy seeing the kids grow while they are a part of 4-H. Some join at such a young age and they stay until they are graduated. Every year in February when our public speaking program takes place their growth is evident! I enjoy seeing the all the projects the 4-Hers have completed during the year at the County 4-H Fair.”

Amber Guillemette

Storrs Office

“Besides being the support staff for the department head, I work with the Master Gardener and CLIR: Lifelong Learning programs. Most recently, we have moved the Winter 2021 CLIR programming completely virtual. Therefore I have spent more time getting that programming set up and usable for community members with all levels of technology experience. I like supporting the community and supporting those doing the frontline work.”

MacKenzie White

Tolland Office

“I work with 4-H, the new farmer program, vegetable crops, agriculture business, food safety, and sustainable foods programs. I participate in the program and grant planning meetings. I assist with brainstorming how we will carry out and who will be involved with our workshops, trainings and conferences. I am very involved with program promotion whether it is email marketing, posting on social media, updating all of our many websites or adding it to multiple event calendars.

The best part about my job is the amazing people I get to meet and work with!”

CT Trail Census

A Yearly Review

The Connecticut Trail Census (CTTC) is a volunteer-based program that brings transparent trail use data to the community and state through a network of infrared trail counters statewide and through implementation of trail-based user surveys. CTTC was created four years ago, and the data generated each year is instrumental in helping with land-use decisions.

family on bridge smilingResponses to the 2020 CT Trail Census Evaluation Survey show that over 75% of respondents indicate they have used or plan to use the CTTC program and associated data to communicate trail use data for decision makers or the public, reference trail use data to make trail decisions, use trail use data to leverage resources, integrate trail use data into long term planning efforts, or identify patterns of use or trends on their trails.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased trail use starting in March of 2020 as more people than ever are using trails due to decreased options. Several reports comparing monthly 2019 to 2020 use data were completed for March through June 2020. Preliminary data analysis completed for Laura Brown’s presentation as a component of the 2020 Northeast MultiModal Summit document increased use in our data counts across 16 automated counter locations on trails throughout Connecticut.

The comprehensive 2020 Trail Use Count Report, summarizing trail counter and survey data was released in March 2021. In response to the increase in new trail users, the CTTC, in partnership with the People Active on Trails for Health & Sustainability (PATHS) team, produced four trails 101 videos to help new and experienced trail users understand how to plan and prepare for a hike, read trail blazes, and review trail etiquette.

The On the Trail and Walk with Me Podcast Series, produced by UConn undergraduate student Neva Taylor raises up the voices of a wide range of people from many different outdoors disciplines. A UConn Today article compelled UConn President Thomas Katsouleous to write a personal letter in appreciation for this work. In the new year the Podcast continues to highlight voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and continues informational on the trail episodes. Laura Brown of UConn Extension and Don Rakow of Cornell compiled an extensive Anti-Racism in the Outdoors resource guide that includes readings, podcasts, and articles. The list is updated monthly with new information.

The new Connecticut Trail Finder website is under development as a partnership between UConn Extension, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Department of Transportation. Projected to be released in time for National Trails Day on June 5, 2021, the Trail Finder tool enables community members to view trails, get essential information like maps and parking information, and submit trip comments and photos. Users will be able to track trail experiences, noting trails that they have completed, their favorites, or ones they want to visit. This resource is meant to centrally locate everything that one would need to know in order to enjoy the trails.

We also wanted to acknowledge the changes in our staff over the past six months. Charles Tracy, our Trail Census Coordinator, transferred into full retirement in late August. Kimberly Bradley transferred into Charlie’s role in late September and has been gracefully catching up and moving forward ever since. Ryan Faulkner, our graduate student intern who helped with launching the online/QR Code survey, left us at the end of October to finish his graduate degree for a Masters in Geography in pursuit of a career as a Transportation Planner. Neva Taylor, our undergraduate student intern from the summer who launched our podcast series, stayed on with us through the fall to continue her podcasts and work as a communications and social media coordinator. We want to thank all our staff this year for helping us get through these crazy times.

Article by Kimberly Bradley and Neva Taylor