COVID-19

Pick-Your-Own Revisited

strawberries

Last year we held a virtual discussion on how to deal with Pick-your-own in the age of COVID. This year we will revisit this topic with several growers sharing what they did that worked, maybe didn’t work as well as expected or at all, will keep this year, or will drop because it may not be needed. With vaccines and an ever changing landscape it may be a moving target. It is safe to say we all liked the masks because it resulted in less eating in the field. Keeping the requirement?  Let’s chat and get prepared as an industry for the upcoming season. Join UConn Extension and growers including Jamie Jones, Jones Family Farms, Shelton CT; Russell Holmberg, Holmberg Orchards, Gales Ferry CT; Michaele Williams, Bishops Orchards, Guilford CT; Don Preli, Belltown Hill Orchards, South Glastonbury CT; Andre Tougas, Tougas Family Farm,  Northborough MA; and Trevor Hardy, Brookdale Orchards, Hollis NH.

Pick-Your-Own Revisited

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Beginning at 7 pm

Free, registration NOT required. Join us using the following link:

http://bit.ly/PickYourOwn-COVID

Amid pandemic challenges, recreational shellfishing thrived

By Judy Benson

Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

While the pandemic curtailed many favorite activities, recreational shellfishing remained popular and even surged in many shoreline towns last year.

“Clamming is a very COVID-friendly activity,” said Peter Harris, chairman of the Waterford-East Lyme Shellfish Commission. “You’re outside, you have a nice long rake so you stay socially distanced, and you get a nice food source.”

More than 500 shellfishing permits sold in 2020 for the WELSCO beds in the Niantic River – about the same number as in 2019, but COVID concerns did have an impact. One of the most popular areas had to be closed because too many boats were congregating there, creating a “party atmosphere” that wasn’t safe, he said. Finding a way to safely sell permits also proved challenging.

Similar stories of strong interest in shellfishing in 2020 along with unique challenges presented by the pandemic were heard from representatives of the 12 commissions that attended the Annual Meeting of Shellfish Commissions on Feb. 13. Usually conducted in-person, this year’s virtual meeting brought together about 35 of the volunteers who serve on municipal commissions along with scientists, regulators and extension specialists from the state Department of Agriculture Bureau of Aquaculture and Connecticut Sea Grant.

The experts presented updates on monitoring programs for the various pathogens that can cause illnesses and force shellfish bed closures, a review of water sampling protocols and in-person inspections of areas being considered for new bed openings.

“We can now assess mooring areas differently, and we may be able to create opportunities in some new areas,” said Alissa Dragan, environmental analyst at the Bureau of Aquaculture. “Our goal is to have one or two new areas opened in the next year.”

Before inviting each of the commissions to report on the past year, Tessa Getchis, aquaculture extension specialist at Connecticut Sea Grant, shared some of the projects underway or being considered to advance awareness and collaboration about recreational shellfishing. Those include the possible creation of an association of shellfish commissions and a shared online platform where members of different commissions could share information. An analysis of the impact of economic impact of recreational shellfishing is in the works, she added.

“We want to show how important the sector is and how important your work is,” she said.

Read more

COVID-19 Vaccine

covid bannerIt’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t know COVID-19 existed. Now when people say “virus,” we know what they mean. The impact of COVID-19 on our lives, our activities, and our freedom has affected us all. The responsibility is ours, as a community, to help stop this virus. Now we have a new, safe, and effective tool to help us do that—COVID-19 vaccines.

Getting vaccinated adds an important layer of protection for you, your family, and loved ones. Here are some things you should know about the COVID-19 vaccine:

 

  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are very effective at preventing the disease.
  • The most common side effects are pain in the arm where you got the shot, feeling tired, headache, body aches, chills, and fever.
  • Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available—wearing masks, staying at least 6 feet apart from people who don’t live with you, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, washing your hands frequently, and getting vaccinated.

If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit CDC’s FAQs web page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html.

 To learn more about the different vaccines for COVID-19 and how vaccines work, visit:

 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html

Farm Flavor Magazine Features Extension Programs

group of people in masks at a farm
Commissioner Hurlburt doing farm visits to meet with producers to discuss the challenges they faced.

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, farmers urgently needed access to the newest information on government compliance, health protocols, federal aid and more. UConn Extension put together its own website for COVID-19-related information for both farmers and consumers on production, distribution and processing. UConn Extension also responded by organizing an initiative that enlisted UConn 4-H members and volunteers to distribute more than 144,000 pounds of surplus milk and other products from Connecticut dairies to 53 food pantries in the state.

Read the full article and the article on the work our Connecticut Sea Grant program is doing.

Hurricanes and COVID – 19

Preparing for the 2020 hurricane season or severe storms during the COVID – 19 pandemic requires more planning than usual. 

First, make a “go kit” – a bag you can grab and go should you need to evacuate!  Pack a kit for each household member and pet with a 2-week supply of emergency food, water, medicine and a thermometer for storing refrigerated medicines, flashlights, chargers, cell phones, close contacts list, important documents (unless you store these in the cloud) and personal items.  Since the pandemic, you should pack hand sanitizer and/or hand wipes, gloves, disinfectant/disinfectant wipes, soap, and at least 2 masks per person for people older than two years. 

If you are exempt from wearing a mask for medical or behavioral reasons, discuss how to manage community requests with your health care provider.  If you require specialized care, discuss potential shelter, hospitalization or other options with your health care provider well in advance of approaching storms. 

Check with your town hall to learn about shelter admission policies since COVID – 19, occupancy limits, and perhaps new locations for both people and pets.  Bring copies of veterinary records such as a rabies certificate and vaccines, certificates of adoption or ownership, photos of you and your pet, and consider getting a microchip for your pet. 

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/covid-19/prepare-for-hurricane.html

COVID-19 Resources: Hand washing & Activity Risk Chart

hand washing
Photo: Clemson Extension

Are You Keeping Your Hands Clean?

Keeping your hands clean is a good way to keep germs away. Make sure you are washing your hands effectively and are scrubbing every part! California.gov has published a graphic that details parts of our hands we often miss when handwashing. To view click here.

Estas Manteniendo Tus Manos Limpias?

Manteniendo sus manos limpias es una buena forma de mantener alejados los gérmenes. Asegúrese de lavarse las manos de manera eficaz, tallando todas las partes. California.gov a publicado un gráfico que enseña partes que muchas veces no so talladas. Para verlo haga clic aqui.

covid 19 risk chartCOVID-19 Risk Chart

What activities put you more at risk of getting COVID-19?

The Texas Medical Association has created a chart ranking activities from low to high risk.

Click here to view the chart.

 

 

Silvopasturing at UMass – Tri-State SARE Virtual Field Workshop

man sitting at an Apple computerJoin us for a tour of the silvopasture work at the UMass Agricultural Learning Center in Amherst, MA. With Nikki Burton of UMass Extension, we will have an online tour of their silvopasture, which includes sheep within a chestnut grove, and follow that with questions and discussion.

The workshop will be Tuesday, August 18th from 9 – 11AM

To register and receive the link for the webinar visit:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd5IkTjdHvGjQvMzqXPOjjIXa5LA2UV6vOPmSU98z6r4Md1sw/viewform?fbclid=IwAR2irTFUNVv5zWgS8DuEdTQwQmE8_zhpbD7gC19f73pRo4EFzWzXarYjFAo

If you have questions that you would like to send in advance that Nikki can address, please email rachel.bespuda@uconn.edu. You can also submit your questions at our registration page.

Other Learning Opportunities

 

COVID-19 & Social Capital Resources

man sitting at an Apple computerUpdated COVID-19 Resources from CDC:

CDC has a new Toolkit for Young Adults: 15 to 21 that includes easy to read FAQ’s, fact sheets, infographics, PSA’s, social media messages, and videos. The webpage contains a Coronavirus Self-Checker with questions to help individuals determine if they need to seek medical care. Compiled mental health resources are also published on the Support For Teens and Young Adults webpage to include COVID-19 prevention messages along with contact information for disaster, domestic violence, child abuse, and suicide prevention services. We have identified these resources to be particularly useful for youth.gov’s efforts in communicating with youth. In addition, on the Toolkit for K-12 Schools, programs can find updated social media messages, posters, and videos on how to properly wear face masks, appropriately practice social distancing, and safely manage youth sports.

Social Capital Resources from HHS/ASPE:

·         Virtual Training Series on the Value of Social Capital for Incarcerated/Reentering Populations: This training will offer concrete strategies for organizations working with incarcerated/reentering individuals to help them improve participant outcomes through building and leveraging the social capital of their participants. Webinar 3 will have a focus on youth mentoring and have speakers from OJJDP and Roca describing their work in this area.

·         Bi-weekly Tuesdays 2-3 p.m. EDT starting August 4, 2020, Register here: https://bit.ly/3e2C88M

·         Social Capital Considerations for the Incarcerated and Reentry Population: This issue brief summarizes six considerations for organizations working with incarcerated/reentering individuals who are interested in improving their participants’ outcomes through strengthening their individual social capital. The brief provides specific examples of how these action-oriented considerations are being implemented by four different organizations.

·         Networks that Work Podcast: This podcast features conversations with human services researchers and practitioners to better understand how to help program participants create and access social capital to improve their lives and outcomes.

CDC COVID-19 Resources

covid bannerAre you having trouble deciding whether you want your child to do virtual or in-person learning this coming school year?

The CDC has a School Decision-Making tool for Parents, Caregivers and Guardians to help you with your decision. This tool will help you weigh the risk and benefits of each learning style. To access the tool click here.

 

 

The CDC has a Happy Handwashing Song that can help kids time how long they have to wash their hands. There are also videos that detail key times to wash your hands, clean and disinfect your home, wear gloves, and wear a cloth face cover: