Gardens

Extension Recognizes Program Volunteers

Carol LeBlanc receiving her volunteer award
Carol LeBlanc receiving her volunteer award.

Volunteers are the heart of UConn Extension Master Gardener Program, UConn CLIR program, and our UConn 4-H program. We were honored to recognize a few of them for their contributions at an event on June 16, 2022. In total, our volunteers donated 156,597 hours (the equivalent of 6,524 days) to our programs in 2021. Thank you all for being a vital part of our Extension work! More information about our volunteer programs is available on our website. The following individuals were recognized for their contributions.

2022 UConn Master Gardener Acorn to Oak Award

Marlene Mayes

Marlene Mayes has been a constant at the Foodshare Garden at Auerfarm for the last two decades. She and the garden both began their Master Gardener relationship in 2004 when then-intern Marlene was one of the initial volunteers who dug, planted and nurtured the first rows of vegetables in a former hayfield at the Bloomfield farm. From those humble beginnings Marlene dreamed, encouraged, cajoled, taught and inspired literally hundreds of volunteers – both Master Gardeners and others – to help build the 50+ bed garden that exists today.

Throughout the years, Marlene has introduced countless would-be gardeners to the skills and satisfaction of growing healthy food, both for themselves and for those in need. The garden has yielded over one ton of food annually for Foodshare in several recent years, and volunteers from all walks of life have discovered the pleasures and the satisfaction of providing for those in need in our communities.

This year, as the garden undergoes a major renovation and upgrade, it is only fitting to honor the person who has been the constant, the rock, the teacher and the inspiration with the Extension Master Gardener Acorn to Oak Award.

2022 UConn Master Gardener Project Pollinator Award

Katherine Kosiba

Look carefully at almost any public garden project in the Colchester area and you will find that Katherine Kosiba was there at the beginning. A Master Gardener since 2007, Katherine has shared her passion for gardening and the environment with anyone and everyone who has shown an interest. Both as president of the Colchester Club and as a Colchester resident, her enthusiasm and inclusive attitude is on display throughout the area. Town parks, senior centers public road medians and the library are all beautified and ecologically healthier sites with diverse gardens and plantings spearheaded by Katherine.

Master Gardeners interns in the Haddam office are also the beneficiaries of Katherine’s energy and generosity as she guides many of them through their first outreach projects, demonstrating not only the nitty-gritty gardening details, but also the organizational and planning skills that are crucial to a successful endeavor. Additionally, she has provided many a nervous Master Gardener with a welcoming venue for their first public talk!

For her tireless efforts developing so many projects and moving from one to the next, and the next, we are delighted to present Katherine Kosiba with the Extension Master Gardener Project Pollinator Award.

2022 CLIR (Center for Learning in Retirement) Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award

Compton Rees

Compton passed away on March 14 shortly after being told of his recognition for his longtime service to CLIR.  Compton is a charter member of CLIR joining immediately after his retirement as a UConn English professor.  Over almost 30 years as a member of CLIR, he has presented many classes on Shakespeare’s works and served for years as a member of the CLIR Executive Council including as vice-president several times.

Howard Raphaelson

Howard has been a CLIR member for 25 years, serving on the CLIR Executive Council as Treasurer for several terms where he worked tirelessly to coordinate CLIR’s bookkeeping with UConn and State of Connecticut accounting practices.

Erika Kares

Erika has been a CLIR member for 24 years with more than a decade of service on the CLIR Executive Council.

2020 UConn 4-H Rising Star Award

Stephanie Bicknell

As a 4-H member Stephanie participated in many of the local, state and regional activities which support the 4-H dairy project.  She became a volunteer shortly after aging out as a member and has taken on major leadership with her club “Herds ‘R Us” and serves as the organizational leader.  She also continues to work with the Middlesex & New Haven 4-H Fair and serves as a Fair Program Advisor – one of the key volunteers working with the 4-H Fair Association and the Extension 4-H Staff.  She supports all of the tenets of the 4-H program and epitomizes what the experience in the 4-H program provides for a young person.

Stephen Gustafson

Steve helped create and is the leader of the Paca Pals 4-H club.  The Paca Pals are an alpaca club.   Steve found a place for the youth to learn and grow in the Tolland Agricultural Center (TAC) 4-H Children’s Garden.  The garden was established in 2002 and has been maintained by the 4-H club program for many years.  A neighbor of the TAC property is the Creative Living Community of Connecticut (CLCC) greenhouse and vocational program.   The work of CLCC is to create opportunities for people with and without disabilities to work and learn together.  Steve has been instrumental in fostering a partnership between the 4-H club and CLCC.  Working with CLCC the 4-H club members learn vocational skills and working with diverse populations.  Steve is able to weave science, healthy living and civic engagement into all aspects of the 4- H program through his dedication and hard work.

Megan Hatt

Megan has been a leader of the Happy Hoofbeats 4-H club since 2015.  She is passionate about 4-H and horses.   She is a positive influence on both the county horse program as well as the public speaking program.  Megan is always ready to put teams together and arrange practice for the state horse contests and has served as the coach for 4-H teams participating in the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup.  She is very involved in the New London County 4-H Fair and has helped to create a Horse Exhibition at the fair which includes clinics and games and leadership opportunities for the youth involved.  She is generous with her own horses, time and equipment and believes that 4-H helped her become a successful adult and wants to help others find these benefits as they grow.

2021 UConn 4-H Rising Star Award

Margaret Hall

Peg Hall has been an incredibly active, supportive and positive presence in Litchfield County 4-H since she established the Diggity Dogs 4-H Club 8 years ago.  She has also helped to establish and is serving as a co-leader for a new club, the Grow Getters 4-H club.  This new club, the first horticulture based club in Litchfield County drew over 20 new members to its first meeting.  They exist because of Peg’s hard work and determination to help a local garden center owner who is new to 4-H get this club established.  Peg also serves as a Litchfield County 4-H Fair Association director.  Her involvement includes helping to plan and implement the fair as well as cleaning up the fairgrounds.  Peg has also been instrumental in the success of the Operation Community Impact dairy distribution program which provides milk to over 1400 food insecure familes in Litchfield County.

Lauren Manuck

Lauren is an alum of the Hartford County 4-H Program.  She is currently serving as a club leader of the 4-H Clovers.  She has also jumped into action on the county level as well serving as a Hartford County 4-H Advisory Committee member and as a 4-H Fair advisor since 2013.  Within Advisory, Lauren eagerly steps up and takes the lead on projects, ensuring that youth thougout UConn 4-H have numerous opportunities to participate in activities beyond the club level.   She has been instrumental in the success of the Nutrition and Food Show, Hartford County Teen and Volunteer Banquet and Awards Night to name a few.  She was a recipient of the 2020 Winding Brook Community Service Award for her efforts in assisting with the Operation Community Impact milk and ice cream distribution in Hartford County.  She continues to see opportunities to provide nutrition education and work with youth.

2020 UConn 4-H Hall of Fame Award

Colleen Augur

Colleen is the organizational leader of one of New Haven County’s largest and most active 4-H clubs.  Colleen works with 4-5 registered 4-H volunteers conducting 4-H meetings and teaching the youth how to care and manage their animals which are primarily dairy and beef. The member’s involvement does not stop at the club level.  Yearly, they have 100 percent participation in the 4-H fair ad campaign, showing at the 4-H fair and other county activities.  Her teen members become managers, superintendents and officers in the 4-H fair on a regular basis.  Colleen often provides project animals from her own herd for members without animals of their own, helping the members transport their project animals to and from the fair.  Colleen shares her love of farming, agriculture and 4-H with youth and the general public.  She is a great example of what youth can learn and achieve with hard work and responsibility.

Stephen and Nancy Hayes

Some people choose to join 4-H, other, such as the Hayes family, are born into it.  Stephen and Nancy Hayes have made a lifelong commitment to 4-H.  Both are guiding forces for the Granby 4-H club and have been instrumental in many other aspects of the Hartford County 4-H Program.  Nancy has served the goat program in Hartford County and UConn 4-H extensively.  For 15 years Nancy has been instrumental in the very successful UConn 4-H Goat Day.  In 2017 a robotics team was formed as part of Granby 4-H. Stephen became involved as a mentor to members, sharing his programming knowledge.  Shortly after that Nancy became involved.  Both Stephen and Nancy spend hundreds of hours meeting several times a week with the youth members.  They are both skilled in empowering the youth to make decisions, allowing them to safely ask questions without hesitation, make mistakes, master their skills, then celebrate the successes as a team and individuals.

2021 UConn 4-H Hall of Fame Award

Wendy Kennedy

For over 35 years Wendy has been an active part of the success of the Litchfield County 4-H Program.  She grew up in Litchfield County 4-H and has been the co-leader of the Busy Farmers 4-H Dairy Club for over 20 years.  As a club leader Wendy makes sure her members hold regular meetings, participate in county and state-wide activities and that members are learning something while having fun. She has served as a director on the county 4-H Fair Association for many years.   She serves on the Board of Directors for the Litchfield County 4-H foundation and has held many leadership positions on the foundation board.  She has volunteered to chaperon many county and state-wide 4-H trips and was also involved in the Operation Community Impact dairy distribution project providing over 1400 food insecure families with dairy products.  Wendy embodies the true spirit of 4-H in everything that she does.

Patricia Miele Bianchi

Pat grew up in a home where 4-H was a significant component of daily life and she was an active and enthusiastic 4-Her.  She served as a club leader for 18 years and helped foster an interest in 4-H in many youth including her own children.  Pat served as a Hartford County 4-H Camp Trustee holding numerous officer positions and participating on many committees.  In addition to her work with 4-H camp, Pat is involved as a Director within the Hartford County 4-H Fair Association.   Pat’s county-wide contributions include judging for the Nutrition and Food show, the Fashion Review as well as for the County and State Public Speaking Contests.  Her experience with Toastmasters has contributed to the learning of public speaking contestants.  On a broader level, Pat was active in the College’s Strategic Visioning process.  She uses her first-hand experiences as a 4-H’er and volunteer to champion the positive impact that 4-H has on the lives of young people.

2020 4-H Salute to Excellence – Volunteer of the Year Regional Winner

Stephen Gustafson

Steve helped create and is the leader of the Paca Pals 4-H club.  The Paca Pals are an alpaca club.   Steve found a place for the youth to learn and grow in the Tolland Agricultural Center (TAC) 4-H Children’s Garden.  The garden was established in 2002 and has been maintained by the 4-H club program for many years.  A neighbor of the TAC property is the Creative Living Community of Connecticut (CLCC) greenhouse and vocational program.   The work of CLCC is to create opportunities for people with and without disabilities to work and learn together.  Steve has been instrumental in fostering a partnership between the 4-H club and CLCC.  Working with CLCC the 4-H club members learn vocational skills and working with diverse populations.  Steve is able to weave science, healthy living and civic engagement into all aspects of the 4- H program through his dedication and hard work.

2021 4-H Salute to Excellence – Lifetime Volunteer Regional Winner

June Zoppa

June is a positive and integral part of the 4-H community in Hartford County.  She is the only volunteer who serves or has served simultaneously on the Hartford County 4-H Advisory Board, Hartford County 4-H Fair Association and the Hartford County 4-H Camp, Inc. Board of Trustees along with being a club leader.  Within her 4-H club, June works patiently with club members as they learn to master sewing projects.  Many judges have rewarded the projects submitted by June’s club with ribbons, special honors, and awards.  In addition, a major component of June’s 4-H experience is built upon community service and leadership development.  June’s involvement as Fair Advisor includes helping the Fundraising Committee plan and execute an ambitious fundraising drive.  She supports the youth in assessing decisions required to promote, design and print the premium book, roll out the sponsorship campaign and additional fundraisers.  Her work ethic and compassion for youth has been demonstrated since her initial days in 4-H and has been evident in the relationships she has formed with members, parent, volunteers and mentees.

2021 4-H Salute to Excellence – Volunteer of Year Regional Winner

Rachael Manzer

Rachael Manzer exemplifies science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in 4-H.  She understands the importance and need for STEM and Agricultural Literacy, and she has increased opportunities for STEM learning by establishing the only 4-H Vex Robotics program in New England.  This robotics program has its own “Cinderella” story – big dreams, few resources and the amazing efforts of many to make it a success.  Out of approximately 12,500 teams across the world, about 500 earn a spot to compete in the World Championship.  At VEX World Championship, the largest robot competition in the world, teams from around the world compete. Rachael’s robotics program acheieved this honor three times.  Rachael is also a very accomplished educator, astronaut and STEM teacher.  She uses these experiences, knowledge, skills and networks to enhance the experiences and opportunities for her 4-H club members.

2022 – 4-H Salute to Excellence – Volunteer of the Year State Winner

Margaret Hall

Peg Hall has been an incredibly active, supportive and positive presence in Litchfield County 4-H since she established the Diggity Dogs 4-H Club 8 years ago.  She has also helped to establish and is serving as a co-leader for a new club, the Grow Getters 4-H club.  This new club, the first horticulture based club in Litchfield County drew over 20 new members to its first meeting.  They exist because of Peg’s hard work and determination to help a local garden center owner who is new to 4-H get this club established.  Peg also serves as a Litchfield County 4-H Fair Association director.  Her involvement includes helping to plan and implement the fair as well as cleaning up the fairgrounds.  Peg has also been instrumental in the success of the Operation Community Impact dairy distribution program which provides milk to over 1400 food insecure familes in Litchfield County.

2022 – 4-H Salute to Excellence – Lifetime Volunteer Regional Winner

Carol Ann LeBlanc

Carol’s 52 year 4-H volunteer career began in 1970 when she wanted to expand upon her early 4-H experiences.  She has established three 4-H clubs, including Snoopy’s Pals 4-H Club, serving youth from Connecticut and Massachusetts and she served in numerous other county, state and regional roles.  Members of Carol’s club have earned showmanship championships, AKC certifications, record book awards, leadership medals and county fair fundraising awards.  Club members have served in county Fair Association roles and as delegates for various award trips.  With Carol’s careful guidance and commitment to positive youth development, club members and mentees demonstrate the traits of independence, confidence, leadership and perseverance. Carol’s leadership on the New England 4-H Dog Committee, and her pioneering partnership with the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E), has ensured a three-day, two night 4-H dog program during The Big E.  Carol has been a tireless 4-H volunteer who leads by example.  Her compassion for youth has been demonstrated since her initial days in 4-H.

Job Openings with UConn Extension

UConn Extension is hiring! We have several positions open. Please visit the individual position links for full descriptions and information on how to apply:

Beware of Poison Ivy

poison ivy leaves
Warmer weather encourages many types of outdoor activities, it pays to be aware of certain plants that can make the outdoor experience unpleasant. Poison ivy leads the list of plants that cause skin irritation, or dermatitis. For those who are very sensitive to the effects of the oil produced by the poison ivy plant, direct contact with the plant can require medical attention. More information from our UConn Home & Garden Education Center is at s.uconn.edu/poisonivy
 
#poisonivy #askuconnextension

Using Coffee Grounds in Your Garden

wooden spoon with coffee grounds on it

We are frequently asked if coffee grounds can be used in a garden. The short answer is yes, coffee grounds can be used in garden soil!

Coffee grounds contain some major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) as well as some micronutrients, so put them to work in your garden. Allow them to dry and then spread them around the base of plants.
Apply no more than one-half inch of coffee grounds when putting fresh coffee grounds directly to the ground as mulch. Because coffee grounds are finely textured and easily compacted, thick layers of coffee grounds as mulch can act as a barrier to moisture and air movement in soils.
So if you are using coffee grounds as a “dressing” for specific plants or trees, apply the grounds in a thin layer or work into the top layer of the soil.
Article by Gail Reynolds, Middlesex County Master Gardener Coordinator

Seedlings in a Lawn

seedling infographic

Friend or foe? What are those seedlings coming up in your lawn? We are getting numerous calls and e-mails from people all around the state about seedlings coming up in their lawns and gardens. They believe, or are being told, that these are poison ivy, when in fact they are maple seedlings.
 
People need to check the leaves carefully – poison ivy is in threes, maples seedling have two leaves.
 
Some people do not want to mow their lawns for fear of being exposed to poison ivy. This is a mast year for certain maples, that is why there are so many.
 
Thanks to Pamm Cooper of our UConn Home & Garden Education Center for answering this question for us.
 
#AskUConnExtension

Cleanup at Sherwood Island State Park

Friends’ Garden Team weeding and mulching one of the 20 native Acer rubrum and Nyssa sylvatica they planted along the East Beach.
Friends’ Garden Team weeding and mulching one of the 20 native Acer
rubrum and Nyssa sylvatica they planted along the East Beach. Photo: Michele Sorenson

Sherwood Island State Park in Westport was Connecticut’s first state park. It is 238-acres of beaches, wetlands, and forest that serves as a public recreation area. 

Improving Habitat for Wildlife Work & Learn is a year-round outreach project that teaches Master Gardeners, interns and the public to create, improve and maintain a natural habitat for wildlife. The group meets at Sherwood Island State Park three times per week in the growing season and once a week the remainder of the year. In the winter, we focus on removing invasive plants. Areas at the park where we work include the sand dunes, the pollinator garden, the three sister gardens and throughout the park as needed. Park Superintendent, John Guglielmoni, is fully supportive of wildlife habitat improvement using native plants. Visit MasterGardener.uconn.edu for more information on our programs.

By Michele Sorenson, Master Gardener Volunteer and Project Coordinator 

Job: Educational Program Assistant – Part-Time in Fairfield Co.

Search #: 496223Work type: Part-timeLocation: Fairfield County Extension CtrCategories: Academic Programs and Services

JOB SUMMARY

The UConn Extension Center located in Bethel, CT is seeking applications for a part-time Educational Program Assistant 1 position (50%).  This position is responsible for supporting and helping implement high-quality, comprehensive, Extension programming at different program sites throughout the region, with specific support to Urban Agriculture, EFNEP/Community Nutrition, Master Gardener, and 4-H programs. The Educational Program Assistant will report to the Center Coordinator to prioritize programmatic work assignments.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

  1. Assists and provides support to Extension Educators working with programs which may include but not be limited to Urban Agriculture, EFNEP/ community nutrition, Master Gardener, and 4-H programs.
  2. Assists in developing educational programs, recruiting, explaining, and providing program information and processes to Extension volunteers and participants.
  3. Works with and helps develop and refine program databases using programs such as Excel and Access, as well as national and federal databases such as 4-H, Z-Suite, and WebNEERS to extrapolate relevant data sets, maintain program enrollments, membership, and volunteer records and provide program reports to the Extension educators as required.
  4. 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.
  5. Performs office support functions, in support of educational programs; processes paperwork, records, and files which may be computerized or confidential in nature.
  6. Supports Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in implementing and providing off-site educational activities in the community to improve practical understanding and accomplish program goals.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Assists Extension Educators/Program Coordinators in developing and implementing programs to enhance learning and provide appropriate content-based experiences to accomplish program goals.
  11. Under supervision, provides educational training and conducts related support services on an ongoing basis, and assists in resolving problems in assigned area of responsibility.
  12. Assists with increasing community collaborations with partner groups.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS 

  1. Bachelor’s degree in related field and up to one year of related experience or an Associate’s degree and two to three years of related experience; or four to five years of experience utilizing profession based standards in urban agriculture, community nutrition, gardening, 4-H or related fields.
  2. Demonstrated written and verbal communication skills and ability to work effectively with communication technologies and the media.
  3. Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite including Excel and Access and other database activities.
  4. Demonstrated sensitivity towards diverse youth, families, and volunteer clientele to be served.
  5. Must be detail-oriented. Demonstrated experience providing organizational support in a team environment including but not limited to filing, database management, and administrative processes.
  6. 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.
  7. Must be willing and able to work flexible and irregular hours, including occasional nights and weekends to help conduct programs at off-site locations.
  8. Must have reliable transportation to meet in-state travel requirements (mileage allowance provided).

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS 

  1. Knowledge and familiarity with the Cooperative Extension System.
  2. Demonstrated success in public relations utilizing electronic, social, and print media platforms.
  3. Experience working with large databases, and generating reports including 4-H online registration.
  4. Experience participating with collaborative community partnerships.
  5. Experience working with UConn administrative processes.
  6. Experience with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) technology.
  7. Multilingual – Spanish and English preferred

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

APPOINTMENT TERMS 

This is a part-time (50%, 17.5 hours) position based in Bethel, CT. The annual salary will be prorated according to the percent of employment.

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 #496223 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 May 1, 2022.

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: Apr 01 2022 Eastern Daylight TimeApplications close: May 01 2022 Eastern Daylight Time