UConn CAHNR

Meet Kirsten Krause: Tolland County 4-H Intern

Kirsten KrauseHi everyone! My name is Kirsten Krause and this year I am the Tolland County 4-H summer program intern! I am currently a junior attending UConn Storrs as an Animal Science major on the pre-veterinary track, with hopes to attend veterinary school after completing my undergraduate degree. At UConn, I am heavily involved in many livestock clubs, including Block and Bridle, the Poultry Science Club, and the Dairy Club, which I will be serving as the president of for the 2020-2021 school year. I am also involved on campus as a student ambassador for CAHNR, a herdsman for the animal science department “Little I” livestock show, and as a volunteer student worker in various livestock research studies. 

This internship is very near and dear to my heart, as I grew up as a 4-H youth in Tolland County and have spent the last 11 years immersing myself in county, state, and national 4-H activities. I have served on the county fairboard as a youth director for 5 years, 2 of which I held the position of president and 1 year as a junior advisor. At the state level, I have participated in various leadership forums and have been a member of the Teen Leadership Planning Committee. At the national level, I have attended 3 national 4-H trips, as well as being selected as a CT 4-H youth representative to attend the 4-H CS Pathways grant training in Utah last spring. Additionally, I was the Tolland County 4-H program intern last year, and in previous years I have worked closely with the past program intern through my fairboard committee, which is what prepared and inspired me to pursue the position as the program intern.

This summer, I have been working extensively on developing a virtual platform for Tolland County 4-H youth to exhibit their projects in place of a live, in-person fair. I work closely with other members of the county fairboard, prospective judges, as well as other 4-H counties’ youth and interns to compile appropriate resources for 4-H youth to have the same opportunity to participate in a fair this year, despite the transition to being entirely virtual. Additionally, I have served as the primary contact for virtual 4-H fair related inquiries. I am thankful that although the fair will be very different this year, I am still able to contribute to positive youth development and network with other students, 4-Hers, and interns through my position. 

CVMDL Identifies Asian Longhorned Tick Submitted from NY

Adult Asian Longhorn Tick dorsal view
Photo: Holly McGinnis and Maureen Sims, UConn CVMDL

The Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL) at UConn is reporting the identification of the Asian longhorned tick. This is the first time that CVMDL has identified this tick species. The ticks were submitted to CVMDL for identification and testing from the State of New York. Our laboratory notified New York State Animal and Public Health officials of the findings. This information was also reported to the USDA per regulations.

Ticks are disease-carrying arachnids that reside in moist areas, such as long grass and the leaf litter, and will latch onto humans and animals alike. Although there are many different species of ticks, people generally think of one tick species in particular when worrying about illness: the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). While the Deer tick is predominantly known for transmitting the agent that causes Lyme disease (the corkscrew-shaped bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi), it can also carry other disease-causing agents. A single tick can transmit more than one infectious agent.

Identification of the Asian longhorned tick at CVMDL is significant because it means their population is increasing and that presents another public health concern. Asian longhorned ticks are not traditionally found in the Western Hemisphere but were first identified here in 2017.

Although Asian longhorned ticks are not as attracted to humans as pets and livestock, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and scientists at UConn’s CVMDL encourage people to take precautions against the tick. We are still uncertain of the diseases the Asian longhorned tick carries and spreads. The CDC offers guidelines to help people prevent tick bites.

CVMDL, part of the Department of Pathobiology in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, is on the frontlines of research and testing to keep humans and animals safe. For more information visit http://cvmdl.uconn.edu or learn how to submit a tick test at https://bit.ly/HowToTestTick.

How do I get a tick tested?

Ticks carry many diseases that affect humans and animals. The Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science at UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources offers tick testing. The steps to submit a tick are outlined in this video and you can visit https://bit.ly/UConnTickTesting to download the submission form.

A Message to the CAHNR Community

banner of Extension programs

Dear Friends and Colleagues –

The events of the past few weeks have brought sadness and outrage to communities across our nation. The senseless killing of black men and women demonstrates that as a nation, we need to make further and strong progress toward our aspirations of a diverse and inclusive society.

The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources remains steadfastly committed to our goals of creating and supporting a diverse and inclusive environment for us all. In these troubled times, we must stand tall in our beliefs and redouble our resolve to ensure that all members of our community feel safe and welcome. We will continue to take multiple steps to promote diversity and inclusion throughout our college and our communities.

On behalf of the college and in cooperation with our Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy to all who have been impacted by these senseless acts. I know that you share my commitment to supporting all individuals in communities across our state, the nation, and the world.

Best regards on behalf of myself and the CAHNR Committee on Diversity and Inclusion,

Indrajeet Chaubey, Dean

CAHNR Committee on Diversity and Inclusion
Maria-Luz Fernandez, Nutritional Sciences, Chair
Sharon Gray, Extension
Miriah Kelly, Extension
Beth Lawrence, Natural Resources and Environment
Michael O’Neill, Associate Dean, ex-officio
Sara Putnam, Communications, ex-officio
Farhed Shah, Agricultural and Resource Economics
Ellen Shanley, Allied Health Science
Brandon Smith, Animal Science
Young Tang, Animal Science
Beth Taylor, Kinesiology
Huanzhong Wang, Plant Science and Landscape Architecture
Xiaohui Zhou, Pathobiology and Veterinary Sciences

Job Opening: Assistant/Associate Extension Educator – Livestock

Angus beef cattle crazing on horsebarn hill at UConn
Cows and calves graze along Horsebarn Hill.
Job Opening: We are seeking an Assistant/Associate Extension Educator, Extension Diversified Livestock. This position is based in Brooklyn, Connecticut, and is a joint appointment with the UConn Department of Animal Science in UConn CAHNR. Minimum qualifications include an earned masters’ degree in animal science. Full details and information on applying are posted at: https://bit.ly/ExtensionLivestock

Applications are Open for NRCA Program

nrca students in water

Applications are now open for the UConn Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA).

The NRCA engages high school students and adult volunteers in environmental education and service learning. Participants explore natural resource science and carry out a local conservation project in/around their own towns throughout Connecticut.

View these short videos about the NRCA Conservation Ambassador Program and Conservation Training Partnerships program.

Visit http://nrca.uconn.edu/ to learn more and apply.

Questions? Contact Amy Cabaniss (amy.cabaniss@uconn.edu, 486-5239) or Nicole Freidenfelds (nicole.freidenfelds@uconn.edu, 486-6933)

Emergent Disease in Connecticut Deer Population Discovered

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL) at UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) discovered an emergent disease in deer population in Connecticut.

female whitetail deer in Woodbridge, CT
Photo: Miguel Rangel Jr

In October of 2017 DEEP officials detected an unusual die-off of White Tail deer in central Connecticut. DEEP submitted carcasses to the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL) to establish possible causes of death. Necropsies were performed and tissues from the deer were analyzed by pathologists at the UConn laboratory. Anatomic changes observed in these tissues alerted pathologists to a disease never before recognized in Connecticut, “Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease of deer” (EHD). Samples were referred to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia where the presence of EHD virus (EHDV) was established.

EHDV causes a hemorrhagic disease in deer that is transmitted by midges, insects of the Culicoides spp. These insects also transmit the virus causing Bluetongue disease in domestic ruminants (goats, sheep and cattle). Bluetongue has not been found in Connecticut. There is a sustained expansion of these diseases in the United States linked to the geographical expansion of the transmitting vectors, in this case to northern latitudes.

DEEP and CVMDL have joined efforts over the years on discovering, detecting and reporting diseases affecting wildlife that, given environmental and ecological conditions, may spill over into livestock and human populations in the state of Connecticut.

This particular common effort, detecting EHDV in Connecticut, has initiated further studies at CVMDL to identify which species of Culicoides are responsible for transmission of the virus here in Connecticut. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) in New Haven is supporting this effort by providing CVMDL with Culicoides insects trapped across the State of Connecticut.

CVMDL, part of the Department of Pathobiology in UConn CAHNR, is on the frontlines of research and testing to keep humans and animals safe. For more information visit http://cvmdl.uconn.edu or call 860-486-3738.

Article written by CVMDL

Students Receive Change Grant for CT Environmental Action Day

Submitted by Maggi Anstett, Madeline Williams, and Margaret Sanders

 

logo for UConn Co-op Legacy Fellow Change GrantStacey Stearns, Marc Cournoyer, and Jennifer Cushman wanted to create a sub-committee to develop digital kits for middle school students for Connecticut Environmental Action Day, so they introduced the Change Grant opportunity to Maggi Anstett, Madeline Williams, and Margaret Sanders. The Change Grant is part of the UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship program run by the Office of Undergraduate Research. The UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship – Change Grants provide undergraduates the opportunity to engage in projects that make an impact and represent the UConn Co-op’s commitment to public engagement, innovative entrepreneurship, and social impact. Undergraduates in all majors can apply for up to $2,000 in funding to support community service, research, advocacy, or social innovation projects. Together Maggi, Madeline, and Margaret were eager to complete the Change Grant application. They evaluated the contents of the application and each took a section to tackle. They completed the application within a week and shortly after they got accepted for the Grant. The Change Grant will provide up to $2,000 as previously stated, however they are still creating their budget, so they can optimize all the money.

The goal of their Change Grant project is to educate young students in Connecticut on how to live an environmentally friendly life, on the importance of the environment, and how to create environmental action in their home, school, and community. As we know, the world is currently facing a climate crisis and we all face potentially life-altering changes as a result of this. Many young students are not aware of the impact our environment has on our everyday lives and therefore do not make active decisions to be environmentally friendly.

Maggi, Madeline, and Margaret hope to educate middle school students on these important topics and to create an annual day that focuses on educating them on our current climate. Additionally, they will assemble digital kits that will be distributed to middle schools in Connecticut, broadening the impact of the program. These kits will include educational materials, along with digital tools that schoolteachers can utilize to continue the education we begin. They are currently thinking about giving the digital kits to 4 schools in each county in Connecticut, thus totaling 32 different middle schools throughout the state. The main reasoning behind doing the digital kits is to reach an audience who cannot be a part of Connecticut Environmental Action Day (CEAD), a one-day event on the UConn-Storrs campus. CEAD is a program of UConn Extension that was dormant for many years before being revitalized with the help of UConn undergraduate students last year. Last year CEAD had one hundred middle school participants from three schools. However, it must reach more students to create a larger and lasting impact. CEAD uses the hashtag #ExtendTheChange to encourage social interaction and influence on associated environmental action. Prioritizing accessibility to all students’ shows that this is important, and them being invested in their future on this planet is also important.