environment

Connecting Connecticut: A New Podcast from UConn Extension

 

Land-grant universities have provided communities, organizations, farmers and individuals with practical knowledge rooted in research through the Cooperative Extension System since the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914. Over the last 107 years a lot has changed with our Extension systems. The program has expanded beyond its agricultural production origin to encompass a wide variety of resources ranging from nutrition to environmental issues and technology.

UConn Extension is no exception to this evolution that the Cooperative Extension System has seen. However, one thing has not changed, in more than a century of working with Connecticut residents, producers, and communities; UConn Extension has always been about connection. Across the board, UConn Extension educators and programs strike at the very core of our 169 cities and towns to make each one of them a better place. Connecting Connecticut, our new podcast, showcases each of our programs through the eyes of those impacted by them.

Connecting Connecticut teaches individuals throughout our state about the programs in their communities. By talking to extension educators, volunteers, researchers, and community members each episode dives into the goals and impacts our programs have here in Connecticut. From learning about coastal resilience and the Connecticut Sea Grant program, looking into the impact 4-H has on the state’s youth and communities, to discussing the importance of volunteers across the Constitution State it is our goal to share the work of UConn Extension, and ultimately our impact on Connecticut.

Join us as we hop from Salisbury to Stonington, visit all eight counties, and talk to all of the wonderful people in between that truly make this state great. Our goal to reach every community, people from all walks of life, and strive for a better tomorrow and we have been fulfilling that mission since 1914. We are chronicling that journey and the people who make it
possible everyday. It is only fitting that in telling our story we do so by Connecting Connecticut.

Article by Zachary J. Duda

Registration For The CCNR-COEAA Conference Is Now Open

Beaver Brook State Park in Chaplin with dead treesThe Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources and Connecticut Outdoor & Environmental Education Association Joint Conference for 2021 will be Monday, March 15, 2021 from 9:00AM – 3:30PM.

This year’s theme is Creating a More Equitable & Inclusive Environmental Sector.

Click here to register.

Visit the conference website to learn more about conference highlights, including: 

  • Plenary Panel: BIPOC Young Environmental Professionals: Stories & Reflections to Guide Ways Forward 
  • Keynote: Parker McMullen Bushman: Making the Outdoors Welcoming Spaces for All People 
  • Conference platform facilitating 24 concurrent talks and an interactive poster & networking session (stay tuned for a call for presentation next week) 

 Interested in being a CCNR-COEEA Sponsor? Learn more here: https://ctcnr.weebly.com/host–sponsors.html 

Mitchell Elementary School Receives UConn 4-H Tower Garden

people standing in a classroom with tower garden
Left to Right: Cremeans, Dominello, Hale, Davenport

A good side of the Coronavirus Pandemic, people want to eat and live locally. As we are becoming more and more aware of our neighboring farms, farmers, and small businesses a push to be local seems to have swept the nation. That is no different in Connecticut where Litchfield County UConn 4-H Extension Educator Bill Davenport is bringing that food and individual connection to the classroom.

At Mitchell Elementary School in Woodbury, Davenport helped bring UConn 4-H’s first ever tower garden to students to teach them the importance of agriculture and sustainably grown food. Alongside Tyler Cremeans (Aquaponics and Farm to Table teacher at Nonnewaug High School’s Agriscience Program), John Dominello (Culinary and Farm to Table Teacher at Nonnewaug High School), and Shelby Hale (Science Instructional Coach at Mitchell Elementary School) they plan to provide the students not only with the tower garden but also have high school students and 4-H club officers from the agriscience program mentor the younger learners.

To Davenport this is simply the very beginning of what can become a collaborative effort between 4-H clubs and members across the state and the elementary schools in their communities. With the goal to have two of these tower gardens up and growing within the coming weeks at Mitchell Elementary School and Bethlehem Elementary school this is the start of a much larger project to help UConn 4-H members collaborate with younger community members. Not only will there be collaboration amongst 4-H, but Davenport hopes to bring in individuals from the Northwest Conservation District and the Bethlehem Conservation
Commission turning this into a community based effort. The project has the potential to gain traction and result in tower gardens being provided to schools and students across Connecticut. Teaching elementary students about the environment, agriculture, and sustainability through a hands-on-learning approach helps foster a population that understands where their food comes
from, how it is grown, and how to do so sustainably.

 

Conservation Training Partnerships

Connecting Generations for Conservation

students and adults in a Conservation Training Partnership program at UConnThe Cheshire Land Trust’s largest conservation property, Ives Farm, is a working 164-acre farm along the Quinnipiac River that includes picturesque public hiking trails through 80 acres of woodlands with mature stands of oak, mixed hardwoods, and old field cedars. In recent years, the trails became overgrown, impassable in spots and largely unused.

A Cheshire Land Trust volunteer sought to restore the trails and enlisted the help of a Lyman Hall High School student to get it done. Together they organized trail stewardship days to clear and clean the trails, used smartphones and a 360-degree camera to map them, and created an interactive website to educate the public about the trails and encourage their use. The property is now one of the land trust’s most popular for recreational use and education about the value of conservation.

This is just one of over 64 local conservation projects that have been undertaken throughout the state by intergenerational (adult plus teen) teams in the Conservation Training Partnerships (CTP) Program, a multi-departmental and multi-college effort at UConn that is funded by the National Science Foundation. Extension educators from the UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research’s (CLEAR) Geospatial Training Program collaborate with faculty from the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE) and the Neag School of Education to create a unique intergenerational learning experience with innovative technology and conservation science to enhance community engagement in environmental issues.

Through the CTP, enthusiastic teens and knowledgeable local conservation leaders team up to form intergenerational teams, attend a two day workshop to build their skills, and then apply these skills to address local environmental issues. Many of the tools that the teams learn to use in the course of the workshop are free and accessible smartphone applications that marry mapping and ecological field data collection, the operation of which are taught by Extension’s Cary Chadwick and Dave Dickson.

The teams then plan and implement a local conservation project, with the guidance and help of project faculty from NRE, Extension and Neag. Issues addressed include water quality, recreational access, invasive species identification and removal, and biodiversity.

Within these broad categories, local projects have spanned a wide range including stream sampling, green infrastructure, grazing management plans, interpretive nature trails, wildlife monitoring, and more.

The program is truly one with multiple benefits. Local organizations and leaders get help in completing long-delayed “someday” projects, both participants learn about smartphone mapping tools and other technologies, and youth become more engaged in conservation science and action. “It is so inspiring to see local conservation leaders share their passion for the environment with the next generation of leaders and to see teens share their enthusiasm and technological skills to solve local challenges,” says Geospatial Extension Educator Chadwick.

John Volin, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, NRE Professor and the Principal Investigator of the project, says, “It’s gratifying to think about all the local conservation projects we’ve jump-started throughout the state.”

Article by David Dickson

Headphone Etiquette on the Trail

headphone etiquette rulesHeadphone etiquette on the trail:
With the world situation changing daily, more people have been finding their way
out to trails. Some it maybe their 1 st time riding or walking trails. There are still
some rules and etiquette that need to be followed.
Most of us enjoy listening to music, podcasts or audiobooks to add to our
experience. But we still need to be aware of our environment and the people we
share it with. One rule to remember is to keep the volume low so you hear bikers or
others on the trail. People move at different rates so it is important to move a side
(stay right) as needed so others can safely pass. This will reduce injuries to all
enjoying the outdoors.

To Learn More Please Visit

Trail Etiquette Lessons: Tips for Harmonious Hikes

Do You Listen to Music on Trails?

 

 

NRCA Program Receives Award

nrca students in water

Congratulations to our Natural Resources Conservation Academy on their 2020 Excellence in Conservation Org Award from the Connecticut Land Conservation Council! The NRCA team comprises faculty members in Natural Resources & the EnvironmentUConn Center for Land Use Education and Research, Extension, UConn CAHNRUConn Neag School of Education, and NRCS!

Happy 50th Year of Earth Day

Earth Day advertising/information

Happy Earth Day!

Earth day is dedicated to raising awareness and support for environmental protection.

This year it is a little different as there are no outdoor events. Luckily, you can still celebrate from home!
Maggi Anstett, one of our UConn CAHNR students, suggests many ways you can demonstrate your support.

Extension in Our Communities

map of UConn Extension program in Connecticut communities using 2019 data

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities. UConn Extension has collaborated with our partners, communities and stakeholders for over 100 years. Find your community on our map of Extension programs (based on 2019 data) and see how active we are in your city or town. Learn more about our Extension programs.

 

CLEAR Mini-webinar Series

CLEAR mini webinar seriesIn a small attempt at lessening the pain of social distancing, CLEAR has been hosting a “mini-webinar” series since late March. There are two 30-minute webinars per week, on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. So far, we’ve held 5 and had almost 500 people in attendance. The webinars are also taped and posted on the website.

We have just announced the second wave of webinars, bringing the total to 12 and taking the series through the end of April. And, while our first set was conducted primarily by CLEAR faculty, our second set is comprised of a wide variety of topics from a diverse set of partners.

Folks can check out the series at:

http://clear.uconn.edu/webinars/schedule.htm

Ask UConn Extension Your Questions

Indu
Indu Upadhyaya, Food Safety Assistant Extension Educator. Photo: Kevin Noonan

UConn Extension has collaborated with our partners, communities and stakeholders for over 100 years. We are proud to serve all 169 cities and towns in Connecticut. The worldwide pandemic involving COVID-19 (coronavirus) has produced unprecedented challenges in the UConn community and around the world. Our services continue during this challenging time.

We are still delivering the science-based information you need. We are ready to answer your questions. Consult with us by email or on the phone. All of our educators are working and ready to serve you. Ask us a question online.

We are developing virtual programs to offset canceled in-person learning Abby Beissingeropportunities. Our educators are writing and updating fact sheets and other information. You have access to educational materials on our YouTube channel. We are growing our suite of online resources every day to meet the needs of our communities and stakeholders.

UConn CAHNR Extension educators have curated resources related to COVID-19 for our statewide audiences, including families, businesses, and agricultural producers.

Resources for all audiences includes:

  • Food safety and cooking
  • Hand washing and sanitizers
  • Infection prevention
  • Financial advice
  • Listings of open farms/farmers’ markets and school emergency meal distribution

Parents and families with children out of school can use the resources from our UConn 4-H program to provide new educational activities for youth. Activities available will keep youth engaged and learning and are appropriate for a variety of age groups.

Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy
Bruce Hyde presenting at Land Use Academy.

A list of resources has been collected for Connecticut businesses. It is a clearinghouse of resources, and not an official site. Business owners can connect to the state resources we provide for official and legal advice.

Agricultural producers are still working on farms, in greenhouses and along the coast in Long Island Sound during the COVID-19 outbreak. Extension educators have developed resources for specific agricultural sectors, including fruit and vegetable farms, aquaculture, and nursery and landscape professionals. Links to important updates from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture also are available.

Our Extension educators are updating and adding resources regularly. Please visit http://bit.ly/COVID-19-Extension.

We are also ready to answer your other questions, including:

  • How do I get my water tested?
  • What is wrong with my plant?
  • Can I eat healthy on a budget?
  • How does my son/daughter join 4-H?

UConn CAHNR Extension has more than 100 years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:

  • Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
  • Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
  • Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
  • Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.

Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

We are here. We are ready to serve you.