education

Nutrition Education in Action

group of people under a tent outdoorsExtension is out and about – and you may run into us at a local event. Our nutrition educators were at two events on Saturday, September 17th.
 
First, the public learned how “Healthy Eating can Boost Your Immune System” through two on-site classes and cooking demonstrations at the Danbury Farmers’ Market. Participants learned how to prepare fiesta rice salad with local farm fresh ingredients. This program reached 64 people. Assistant Extension Educator, Heather Peracchio. Fairfield County Program Aide, Juliana Restrepo-Marin and Nuvance Health Dietetic Intern Jillian Stickles.
 
Then, in the afternoon, UConn Extension participated in the Second Annual Hispanic Heritage Festival sharing bilingual nutrition tips for families. We reached over 75 participants.

Youth Invited to Apply for Biotechnology Career Readiness Program

youth with DNA strandYouth are invited to apply for a new biotechnology career readiness program with UConn Extension’s 4-H program. Cohorts of teen 4-H members will build knowledge and career awareness through the program, while also visiting laboratories, meeting with biotechnology professionals, and developing a biotechnology video game.

Applications are available now for this new program at s.uconn.edu/biotech – youth ages 14-18 with an interest in learning about biotechnology and exploring career opportunities are invited to apply. 

Selected participants will join a cohort, visit agriculture, food, and biotechnology companies in the state (including participating in field trips), explore careers in food, agriculture, biotechnology and STEM, and help build online games. Each group is limited to 20 youth, ensuring that all participants receive ample opportunities to interact with program leaders and industry professionals.

“Our project is propelling innovative biotechnology and STEM career work in our 4-H youth development program to the next level. We will sustain project outcomes through ongoing support from our partners. This is a strategic growth area for the 4-H program and Extension,” says Jennifer Cushman, the principal investigator on the grant. Cushman is also the co-team leader for the UConn 4-H program.

Youth will also experience the 4-H fundamentals of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. These all align with a Whole Child approach through the 4-H Thrive Model. Evaluation will include the 4-H Common Measures validated instrument.

Visit s.uconn.edu/biotech for more information on the new project and for the youth participation application.

UConn 4-H is the youth development program of UConn Extension.  As part of the University of Connecticut, 4-H has access to research-based, age-appropriate information needed to help youth reach their full potential.  The mission of 4-H is to assist all youth ages 5-18 in acquiring knowledge, developing leadership and life skills while forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of their families and communities.

This work is supported by the Food and Agriculture Nonformal Education program, grant no. 2022-68018-36094 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Expanding Access to Financial Literacy Resources with Naiiya Patel

Naiiya PatelHey! I’m Naiiya Patel and this summer, I am working as the Financial Literacy for Youth and Young Adults intern at the UConn Extension New Haven County Center. The financial education program is run by Faye Griffiths-Smith. She teaches workshops across Connecticut educating the public and providing professional development opportunities related to important financial literacy topics such as budgeting, savings, credit, debt, being prepared for the unexpected, and money management. The resources presented in workshops provide necessary financial education on how to make informed decisions regarding finances. The workshops extend beyond teaching high school and college students.

Recently, we have been working with veterans, retirees, and refugee groups throughout Connecticut. The main goal is to provide this information as early as possible to Connecticut residents so that they can practice smart habits regarding their important financial decisions like buying a home or car, creating an emergency fund, or preparing for retirement. As an intern, I work behind the scenes to help make sure the workshops go smoothly. I assist in script refinement and supplemental research work regarding the specific topic we are teaching. Recently a bigger project we are working on is an online game for college and high school students. I update and crossmatch Connecticut data regarding salaries, taxes, apartments, and other expenses create a simulation of what it is like to navigate financial decisions as a young working adult. My internship also involves promoting various financial health and wellbeing topics by developing social media messaging on Twitter and Facebook. Part of my marketing work for the program involves a separate independent project where I will develop short educational videos on financial literacy topics such as a cash flow budget. 

UConn PEP Communities Welcomes New Facilitators

PEP facilitators with their certificates
An update from our People Empowering People Communities program: Last week, seven people participated in facilitator training. They will bring the UConn PEP Program to their communities. They will provide this 15-session personal, family, and civic leadership development program for people in their communities encouraging them as they move forward on their leadership journeys. Congratulations to our newest UConn PEP graduates!

Teacher Webinar Offered on Long Island Sound Habitats

Sarah Crosby, director of Harbor Watch at Earth Place, collects data on grasses at a salt marsh in Groton in July as part of Connecticut Sea Grant-funded research project.
Sarah Crosby, director of Harbor Watch at Earth Place, collects data on grasses at a salt marsh in Groton in July as part of Connecticut Sea Grant-funded research project. Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

A new educational tool for teachers will be showcased in an Aug. 19 webinar sponsored by the Long Island Sound Study national estuary program and its partners Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG) and New York Sea Grant (NYSG).

Titled “A Spotlight on Long Island Sound Habitats,” the webinar will showcase a Next Generation Science Standards-based StoryMap focused on highlighting habitats within the Long Island Sound watershed and some of the ‘phenomena’ observed or work done in those regions.

This webinar will feature:

  • A walkthrough of the StoryMap by NYSG and CTSG
  • A Q&A panel with expert Long Island Sound researchers and resource managers
  • A break-out session for teachers to explore the resource with each other and exchange ideas about how to incorporate the tool into the classroom

This educator webinar is suitable for anyone interested in learning about LIS habitats and this new educational tool showcasing them for students. Teachers and educators in New York and Connecticut are especially encouraged to join in!

It will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. on Aug. 19 via Zoom. Attendance is free, but registration is required.

Register at: https://cornell.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEsc-msqzktHNEI–kS11fyDH_5AwjwdDiE

**Certificates of attendance will be provided upon request.**

For more information, contact Diana Payne, CT Sea Grant education coordinator, at: diana.payne@uconn.edu; or Jimena Perez-Viscasillas, N.Y. Sea Grant Long Island Sound outreach coordinator, at:  jbp255@cornell.edu.

Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher Program Intern Sought

Participants in the Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher program learn how to use a sifter for lessons about different types of sand during a workshop at Hammonassett Beach State Park in Madison in 2017.
Participants in the Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher program learn how to use a sifter for lessons about different types of sand during a workshop at Hammonassett Beach State Park in Madison. Judy Benson / Connecticut Sea Grant

Connecticut Sea Grant has announced a new internship opportunity for a graduate student in the Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher program. Applications are due by Feb. 26.

Description:

Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG) based at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point, Groton, seeks a graduate student intern to research, plan, develop, record, and edit virtual programming with educators and scientists focused on Long Island Sound (LIS) topics. Working directly with CTSG Education Coordinator Diana Payne and in collaboration with New York Sea Grant (NYSG) staff, the CTSG intern will learn about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) from Payne and virtual recording techniques from NYSG. Specifically, the CTSG intern will seek potential speakers whose research aligns with NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas (content) and can showcase Crosscutting Concepts and/or Science and Engineering Practices https://www.nextgenscience.org/three-dimensions. The CTSG intern may also assist in recruiting current and/or former LIS Mentor Teachers to share their expertise in teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given the unexpected consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual sessions have replaced in-person workshops and professional learning opportunities for educators, that the CTSG Intern will help facilitate. Since its inception in 2002, the Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher (LISMT) program in Connecticut has consistently recruited high quality, creative and respected teachers to assist their peers in incorporating LIS content into curricula within the scope of the newly adopted Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). From 2002 through 2019, 39 LISMT and NGSS workshops in Connecticut have utilized 31 LIS mentor teachers to reach 511 formal and informal K-12 educators, and through them, a self-reported 32,317 students in 101 Connecticut cities, towns and regional school districts (60%). Of note, the LISMT program was selected as a Best Practice by the 2019 CTSG site review team.

Find more information here.

CT Sea Grant Fellowship Opportunities

salt marsh
Image by Judy Benson, Connecticut Sea Grant

Connecticut Sea Grant has announced new fellowship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students!

  • To learn more about the Undergraduate Summer Marine Science Research Fellowship for Underrepresented/Underserved Students click here.
  • To learn more about the Coastal & Marine Economics Fellowship 2021-22 click here.

What is Extension – New Video Released

UConn Extension connects thousands of people across Connecticut and beyond each year, with the research and resources of the University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. We are comprised of more than 100 educators and a vast network of volunteers. UConn Extension works collaboratively to build more resilient communities through educational initiatives aimed to cultivate a sustainable future and develop tomorrow’s leaders. The work of UConn Extension connects communities and individuals to help make Connecticut a better place to live, and a better place for future generations.

2021 Vegetable Production Certificate Course

vegetables in a greenhouse with vegetable course text on them lettuce with vegetable course text on it

We’re offering a Vegetable Production Certificate Course, beginning on January 20th 2021. It is a fully online course for new and beginning farmers who have 0-3 years of vegetable growing experience or no formal training in agriculture. The participants will learn answers to the basic questions about farm business planning, planning and preparing for vegetable farm, warm and cool-season vegetable production techniques, season extension, identification of biotic and abiotic issues, and marketing. The price of the course is $149. See the course description here.

Please contact the course coordinator, Shuresh Ghimire (Shuresh.Ghimire@uconn.edu, 860-870-6933) with any questions about this course.

Register Here.

4-H in Sprague

Sprague LibraryOne of UConn 4-H’s partners is the Sprague Public Library. “I cannot say enough about the programs 4-H offers libraries,” says Elizabeth Bezanson, the Sprague Public Library Director. “The 4-H educators are always extremely personable and well prepared for any number of participants or age group. Activities are engaging for our participants and, particularly in our town, expose kids to science-related concepts they may not otherwise encounter on their own.”

“The Sprague Public Library invested in our own Ozobots and we were obviously excited when Ozobots were part of the 4-H program offering because the staff learned quite a bit about facilitating an Ozobot program.”

Ozobots are tiny robots that incorporate physical and digital aspects to teach youth how to code, and is one of many programs 4-H has to teach science, technology, engineering, and math skills.

“It was a great kickoff to our regular Ozobot programs. I think this speaks to the 4-H curriculum; it is trendy, current, and relatable. From a library standpoint, it is always a blessing to have a quality program that centers around a particular story or book that comes to us fully prepared and ready to go. Partnering with UConn 4-H is a win-win for us!

Article by Pamela Gray