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National Lyme Disease Awareness Month

It’s National Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Before you venture outside, learn about the precautions you should take from @uconnladybug newest blog post linked below. The Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL) in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science offers tick testing. Visit here for more info: https://cvmdl.uconn.edu/tests-fee/tick-testing

@uconnladybug blog post: One early spring afternoon three years ago I came home from my annual physical, pleased about my clean bill of health. Four hours later, I was admitted to the hospital with a temperature of 104 degrees, blinding headache, and muscle soreness. It took two days and many tests and retests to determine the cause. It was a tick-borne disease called anaplasmosis. That was the first time I ever heard of it. I had heard much about tick-borne Lyme disease (who in Connecticut hasn’t) but anaplasmosis? Who knew?

The good news was that it was that my disease was treatable with antibiotics, and I fully recovered in just a few days. What was the source of my disease? In all likelihood, a tick I picked up while doing the spring clean-up in my garden. I vowed thereafter, I would be much more careful about ticks whenever I gardened, or ventured outside my yard into the woods to walk my dogs. I tell this cautionary tale as a reminder that ticks are all around us and this spring – and throughout the year – it’s important to take measures to protect you, your family, and your pets as well.

Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes scapularis) https://www.neregionalvectorcenter.com/blacklegged-tick.php

To date, there are eight known tick-borne diseases in Connecticut. They are spread by only three tick species: the Blacklegged (“deer”) tick (Ixodes scapularis), the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum), and the American Dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis). The good news is that the measures you need to follow to avoid tick diseases are the same for all three species According to the CDC website Ticks and Their Body Buddies , there are steps to take before you go outdoors, after you come in, and  if, despite your best efforts, you find you’ve become a tick taxi.

Adult female lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) https://www.neregionalvectorcenter.com/lone-star-tick.php

Before You Go Outside

1. Know where ticks are mostly likely to be. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas or they can be carried in on animals. Make sure your furry children are treated with tick medicine.

2. Treat clothing and gear before you spend time outside. Products sprays that contain 5% permethrin can be used on clothing, boots, camping gear and will stay on for several washings.  Alternately, some clothing and gear that contains permethrin are available for purchase.

3. Use EPA- insecticide repellents. Always follow Product instructions. EPA advises children under three years of age not use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) or para-methane-diol, (PMD).

4. Be sure to avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter. When hiking stay in the middle of the path.

After You Come In

1. Check your clothes, gear and pets for any tick stow-a-ways.

2. Take a shower within two hours of coming inside. It may wash off any unattached ticks.

3.Check your whole body for ticks. Use a mirror to check under arms, in or around ears, inside the belly button, back of knees, around the hair, between legs and around the waist.

American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) https://www.neregionalvectorcenter.com/american-dog-tick.php

Oh _______! It’s a Tick!

If, despite your best efforts you do find a tick has taken up residence on you or a loved one:

1. Use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.

2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you cannot remove the mouth easily with tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

4. Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by:

5. Putting it in alcohol,

6. Placing it in a sealed bag/container,

7. Wrapping it tightly in tape.

8. Save the tick and monitor the affected area for a rash or in case you develop a fever.

9. If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.

If you WANT to have the tick tested, Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic laboratory offers testing:

https://cvmdl.uconn.edu/tick-testing/options/

Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.

Kirby C. Stafford III, Ph.D. Vice Director, Chief Entomologist, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven has put together a Tick Management Handbook, which provides  comprehensive information on ticks to Connecticut residents:

https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/CAES/DOCUMENTS/Publications/Bulletins/b1010pdf.pdf?la=en

Garden season means tick season, but with a bit of prevention and a lot of attention, you can have a full year of garden joys –  without the tick-borne trip to the hospital that made me want to write this blogpost.

Marie Woodward

EFNEP/4-H Special Interest group with Danbury Public Schools

EFNEP/4-H special interest group with Danbury Public Schools at Rogers Park Middle School has continued to meet throughout March and April. Teens tested their knife skills by using plastic knives to cut bananas and strawberries. Teens made fruit dip with cinnamon as a topping for their cut fruit. 

 

To learn more about bacteria on surfaces and the importance of sanitizing work and kitchen surfaces, teens conducted an experiment with apples. One apple slice was kept in a plastic bag as the control, one apple was rubbed along cafeteria table and chair surfaces, another apple was rubbed along the cafeteria floor.  All 3 apples were kept in a cool dark space for 1 week.  Teens observed the bacterial growth from different surface areas.

Canter Curriculum

Interested in learning about horse nutrition? Sign up for Canter Curriculum. This asynchronous course will cover topics such as the digestive system basics, nutrients needed by horses, how to feed different types of horses, supplements, feeding guidelines, and common questions and myths.

 

 

 

 

Sign up at https://secure.touchnet.com/C21646_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=2747 Reach out to Dr. Jenifer Nadeau, Associate Professor- Equine Extension Specialist with any questions at jenifer.nadeau@uconn.edu

Part Time Biotechnology Grant Project

youth with DNA strandUConn Extension has two part-time positions open on a biotechnology grant project. These positions are both four-year appointments through the grant period.

The grant will create 4-H clubs focused on teaching teen members about biotechnology and encouraging them to pursue it as a career. Cohorts of 4-H youth will work with the UConn and NMSU teams to learn about biotechnology and create games about biotechnology careers.

The outreach effort will target high school-aged youth already in 4-H youth development programs in Connecticut and the surrounding area. The researchers will prioritize working with communities currently underrepresented in STEM fields.

The project will provide participants and their families with informal education in food and agricultural sciences, teaching them about potential careers in biotechnology, including gene editing.

Using a game-based learning approach, participants will learn about the safe use of biotechnology for agriculture and career opportunities in this field. The UConn team is partnering with the New Mexico State University Learning Games Lab to develop these educational games, and the youth will be involved throughout the process.

Participants will develop outreach materials to communicate science-based information about biotechnology to their peers and adult audiences. This effort will help build public trust in these methods. A multimedia dissemination approach will make use of diverse tools such as YouTube, social media, a website, seminars, and workshops. Learn more about the grant.

DEEP Recreational Trails Program Grant

The Connecticut Trail Census Program by UConn Extension received funding from the CT Department of Energy and Environmental. The DEEP awarded $3 million in grant funding through its Recreational Trails Grant Program. These funds will be used for locally supported trails and trail systems, bikeways, and multi-use paths. More information can be found at https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/News-Releases/News-Releases—2022/DEEP-Announces-3-Million-in-Trail-Grants-For-20-Projects-Across-the-State 

EFNEP Baby Food Making Class

zoom screenUConn EFNEP hosted a baby food-making class which was a success!  9 parents register and picked up baby food-making kits. Three mothers with infants attended consistently, for one mother English was a second language, and another mother was from a family of 7 with her youngest just 7 months.  They discussed how to make homemade baby food, food safety and the kitchen tools necessary for preparing baby food at home. They cooked together to prepare homemade turkey puree and homemade applesauce. They discussed important resources for families like local food pantries as well as the WIC and SNAP programs, eligibility and how to apply.  During the initial discussion a great video was shown from The University of Maine Cooperative Extension on How to Make Home Made Baby Food and encouraged the mothers to come back to it if they needed a refresherhttps://youtu.be/cili44BebXY  A nice discussion was had about preparing homemade baby food and safely introducing complementary foods as well as allergen foods.

One participant said There were so many tools provided in this workshop that I will use moving forward. I will use the recipes that were shared in class and also the recipes that were given in the recipe book provided. I am more confident in the food I choose to give my baby and how to prepare it. I also learned the rules for storing food and keeping the temperatures safe for my baby.” 

Baby food and feeding infants have become a topic of interest recently. Politico posted an article about the recall of formula from brands Similac, Alimentum and EleCare.”Infant formula, it should be noted, is one of the most regulated food products in the U.S. Formula plants are inspected annually, which is much more frequent than a typical food facility. Still, inspectors uncovered several issues, including lapses in basic plant sanitation and handwashing ( see eFoodAlert here for more details) https://efoodalert.com/2022/02/20/cronobacter-and-powdered-infant-formula/

 

Advancing 4-H Careers in Food and Agriculture via Biotechnology and STEM (FANE) Job Openings

Job opening! UConn Extension Hartford County is looking for a program assistant to work under the direction of the FANE Grant Team. For full consideration, please submit a cover letterresume, and the names and contact information for three professional references to Jen Cushman,(Jennifer.cushman@uconn.edu), with the email subject FANE Coordinator Position.

More information can be found at https://hr.uconn.edu/special-payroll-employment-opportunities/

Apply for Program Assistant Job

The Office of Outreach and Engagement is searching for a Program Assistant. Apply at https://jobs.hr.uconn.edu/cw/en-us/job/496104/assistant-to-the-director-of-outreach-and-engagement-administrative-program-support-2 The job centrally oversees and supports public engagement initiatives at UConn through outreach, community-based learning, engaged scholarship, and grant development. O&E strengthens UConn’s activities in particular fields of regional engagement and fosters collaboration with the University’s academic divisions to stimulate the development of UConn’s community-based efforts.

Working under the direction of the Director of Outreach and Engagement, the Outreach and Engagement Assistant will provide overall office management, support grant, anproject development and execution, lead executive communication and media relations with internal and external partners, and support other administrative priorities. Successful candidates are expected to possess an advanced level of organizational, communication, and problem-solving skills. This is a public-facing position expected to maintain positive public relations, serve as an essential point of contact for the office, and exhibit discretion, sound judgment, and acumen in obtaining and providing information. The candidate will work with sensitive data collected with the community and the University.

CT Dairy Anaerobic Digester Panel Discussion

CT Dairy Anaerobic Digester Panel Discussion is occurring on Thursday, February 17th from 2:00-4:00 pm EST.
Most everyone is aware that CT has 2 active anaerobic digesters operating on dairy farms. What you may not realize is that several other dairy-based anaerobic digesters are also being developed. This panel discussion will provide an opportunity for attendees to hear from representatives of several of these farms who have agreed to share some of the details of their projects.
*Jim Smith from Cushman Farm in Franklin will discuss their plans for a multiple farm regional digester project with plans to create pipeline-quality RNG for injection into a nearby gas transmission line.
*Seth Bahler from Oakridge Dairy in Ellington will discuss their farm’s plan to create pipeline-quality RNG for use as a diesel replacement transportation fuel.
*Bill Rees will represent Fairvue Farms in Woodstock to discuss their plans to create pipeline-quality RNG for injection into an existing natural gas line near that farm.
 
This panel discussion will be a virtual meeting hosted by UConn Extension via Webex and will be a free event. We do ask that attendees preregister for the event.
To register please complete the short form at the link below….