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. All of our educators are working and serving their audiences.
Extension professionals and trained volunteers engage the state’s diverse population to make informed choices and better decisions. The partnerships enrich our lives and our environment. TheHighlights of Extension annual reportshowcases program achievements from the past year.
Our Extension faculty and staff are effectively responding to the new challenges as well. They are utilizing technology and mobilizing resources to help families, communities, businesses, farmers, and other stakeholders. For example, our extension specialists and 4-H volunteers are helping distribute thousands of gallons of dairy products weekly to families in need throughout the state. There are many other examples of how the CAHNR family is responding to help our communities.
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
Thank you, volunteers! It’s National Volunteer Week, and we want to thank all of our volunteers who help us provide programs in all 169 Connecticut municipalities. Last year, our volunteers donated 207,887 hours valued at $5.3 million to Extension programs, a 25% increase over 2018.
Our volunteers shifted to virtual programming with us when COVID-19 arrived and continue to serve our communities. This week and every week, we appreciate your contributions to our Extension programs. Learn more about our volunteer opportunities at https://cahnr.uconn.edu/extension/volunteer/.
The University of Connecticut (UConn) Extension is pleased to release the latest data on how several of the state’s most popular multi-use trails are being used, and to announce new initiatives the Connecticut Trail Census program is launching in its fourth year. “Connecticut’s trails are among the state’s most scenic and enduring assets,” observed Charles Tracy, coordinator for the Trail Census. “With three years of data collection complete, we now have a much clearer picture of trail use trends on several of the state’s major multi-use trails. New projects in 2020 will leverage existing data to estimate use on other trails, and to help us understand the statewide impacts, including health and economic benefits, of Connecticut’s diverse trails network.”
Data released today includes Trail Census summaries of the 2019 Trail Counts and Trail User Surveys along with an analysis of the impact of the new Hop River Trail connection to Manchester and East Hartford. The Trail Counts report documented 1,544,158 uses or trips recorded across all 20 sites. The most heavily used trails during 2019 were the Naugatuck River Greenway in Derby, Riverfront Recapture Trail in Hartford, and the Hop River Trail in Vernon. The Trail User Survey report found that the majority of trail users visit them frequently: 64.7% use the trails two or more times per week (in 2018 this was 55.7%). The Hop River Trail report showed how a new 3-mile trail connection was the catalyst for an increase in over 10,000 users in one year.
Trail Census projects getting underway in 2020 include research to estimate use on other trails by combining existing Trail Census data and short-term counts; a multi-state conference on bicycle and pedestrian data collection; a new data visualization portal; and preliminary work on creating a statewide trails website, based on similar sites in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
The Connecticut Trail Census is a statewide volunteer-based data collection and education program that operates on trails across the state. The program collects information about trail use through trail use counts recorded by infrared counters and user intercept surveys administered by trained volunteers. The goal is to develop an accurate picture of who uses trails in Connecticut, and to advance and inform new trail policy, design and construction throughout the state. Data is compiled annually and is available online and through public education programs.
Initiated in 2017 as a partnership between UConn Extension, the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, the Connecticut Greenways Council, and local trails advocacy organizations, the Trail Census has expanded to over 20 data collection sites on trails across the state. The program receives funding from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Recreational Trails Program. For more information or to get involved visit www.cttrailcensus.uconn.edu.
Greetings, trail folks! As seasons change and everyone debates which one is the best, we here at the CT TrailCensus (CTTC) realized that thanks to last year’s CTTC volunteer participants, we actually do have data with which to rank the seasons with!
Trail use data, of course!
So here it goes: According to last year’s data, the average total daily uses across all trails during the summer was 336 versus 221 in the fall. This may surprise people since fall is such a beautiful time to use the trails for walking, running, horseback riding, and almost any activity besides skiing! We should probably compare these numbers to next year’s data before we make any hefty conclusions about which season is the best.
Show us know how you enjoy the trails in the fall! Tag Connecticut TrailCensus on Facebook with your fall trail photos!
Fall Data Update
While volunteer teams continue to hit their local trails and greenways counting and intercepting the autumn trail users, CTTC staff are busy travelling the state, enjoying the views of the foliage while checking on the IR counters and downloading the IR counter trail use data from the summer. To date, we have received over 700 surveys! Considering it is only October not all sites have sent surveys yet, we are well on our way to exceeding last year’s total of 1,003 surveys! As a reminder, please send us any completed surveys once you have around 100 and don’t forget to include a Data Summary & Refusal Form with each group of surveys.
Any & all surveys should be completed and sent in the mail by the end of the month.
Behind the Scenes
If you catch us not on the road, you will most likely find us hard at work behind computers crunching numbers and compiling resources for our application to continue the program using funds from the Connecticut Recreational Trails Plan Program. This process has lead us to think a lot about the future and we are excited about what we have come up with. Our goals involve program expansions and alterations that we hope will only improve the TrailCensus. We will keep you posted!
Our UConn Extension Master Gardener volunteers are located in each of the eight county Extension centers, and at the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford. Master Gardener volunteers donate their time each year to answer horticultural-related questions for the community.
In May, Gail Reynolds, our Master Gardener Coordinator at the office in Haddam received this letter from Carol of Chester, Connecticut:
Dear Ms. Reynolds,
I am writing to make you aware of the exceptional service I received at the Extension program on May 26, 2017 when I brought an insect sample to your office. Your volunteer employees, Kenneth Sherrick, Susan Goodall, and Liz Duffy could not have been more motivated and interested in identifying the specimen and providing me with appropriate information. These employees exhibited a level of energy and competency that I have honestly never encountered in either a public service or private setting. Together they critically analyzed the resource materials, collaborated effectively to identify the specimen, and patiently explained their findings. They were sincere, welcoming, and friendly. My issue was positively resolved in a short time.
Certainly, we are all used to accessing public and private services – libraries, post offices, school systems, doctor’s offices – and we are accustomed to a particular, acceptable standard of service. But when one encounters a greater level of service, a higher degree of motivation, and a overwhelmingly positive approach to service it is remarkable indeed. These three volunteers operate in excellence, and they exceeded my expectations in every regard. You are quite fortunate to have them!
A statewide multi-use trail user study and volunteer data collection program
By Laura Brown The Connecticut Trail Census is a statewide multi-use trail user study and volunteer data collection program on 15 multi-use trails. The goals are to understand when, who, how, and why people make use of Connecticut’s multi-use trails, educate leaders and general public about trails and their impacts, promote resident participation in monitoring, and encourage sound trail building and maintenance programs based on data. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Recreational Trails Program funds the project, and partners include UConn’s Center for Land Use Education Action and Research, the Connecticut Greenways Council and the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments. More information including volunteer information, interactive maps, and data can be found on at the program website http://cttrailcensus.uconn.edu