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By John Lorusso
We have had a great year educating our new crop of Master Gardeners in Brooklyn this year. The group began classes in the dead of winter in January and have been diligently working on their plant identification and diagnostic abilities all summer. In addition to those actions, they have been very busy fulfilling the outreach requirements at incredibly worthwhile, important, and noteworthy projects in the community.
A partial listing of some of those community outreach projects: the Palmer Arboretum in Wood stock, People’s Harvest Sustainable Community Farm in Pomfret, Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, Goodwin State Forest & Conservation Center in Hampton, Camp Quinebaug Rainbow Garden in Danielson, CT Children’s Hospital in Hartford, Dennison Pequot-Sepos Nature Center in Mystic, Camp Harkness in Waterford, the Belding Butterfly Garden in Tolland, the Emerald Ash Borer Surveillance Program of the CT. Ag Experiment Station, and Natchaug Hospital courtyard gardens. Over 2200 hours have been logged by our Master Gardeners and interns at these crucial programs in the community.
We have exhibited and engaged the public this year at The Woodstock Fair, Willimantic’s third Thursday street festivals, The Killingly Great Tomato Festival, Children’s programming at the Sterling Library, and Celebrating Agriculture.
Upcoming events this fall and winter to include Garden Master Classes on growing giant pumpkins, evergreen identification and wreath making, and beginning floral design and miniature boxwood tree holiday arrangement. We also hope to organize a few movie nights in partnership with the Connecticut Master Gardener Association. We are tentatively scheduled for late Octobe1 to show Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home, a 90-minute environmental, education documentary focused on showing how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems.
Next year’s Master Gardener class will be held in Tolland county, with the class returning to Brooklyn in 2019.
If you or someone you know is interested in taking the class, or any of the other opportunities listed in this article, please feel free to contact John Lorusso at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UConn Extension team had a great day at the 7th Annual UConn Students First Funds Golf Tournament on Monday. Left to right: Paul Gagnon, Career Consultant for the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources; Steve Geary, Department Head of Pathobiology; Bill Field, Division of Environmental Health and Safety; and Mike O’Neill, Associate Dean and Associate Director of UConn Extension.
Proceeds from the tournament support the Students First Fund: Community Service. This fund allows students, through the Office of Community Outreach, to help others through alternative break service, weekly service programs in the local community, and special service projects. The funds raised over the last 6 years ($115,000) have enhanced the students’ experiences by increasing leadership and training opportunities, making service trips more affordable, and expanding the number of initiatives available to students.
We want to take this opportunity to welcome Laura Brown to UConn Extension as our new Extension Educator for Community Development. Laura has wonderful experience here in Connecticut where she worked with the Hartford Food System as their Director of Education and Community Outreach and then as a statewide Community Development Specialist at University of WI – Madison. Prior to coming back to Connecticut, Laura worked with partners including the WI Extension Environmental and Community Development Association, American Planning Association, WI Economic Development Association and the Community Development Society. Laura will be based in the Fairfield County Extension office but will work statewide with a focus on urban communities. Welcome Laura!