Community

It’s Spring – Head Outside!

picture of a bridge on a trail that says let's be adventurers

Finally the weather is getting warmer and we can wake up from our winter hibernation. With milder temperatures, heading outside is a great plan. We are fortunate to live in Connecticut and have access to many beautiful parks, beaches and trails.  Here are some moderate to vigorous activities to get us started in the right direction for the Spring season. Hope to see you out there!

https://www.eatright.org/fitness/exercise/workout-ideas/spring-into-action

This message is brought to you by the UConn Extension PATHS team – People Active on Trails for Health and Sustainability. We are an interdisciplinary team of University of Connecticut extension educators, faculty, and staff committed to understanding and promoting the benefits of trails and natural resources for health, community & economic development and implementing a social ecological approach to health education

Join UConn for a Panel Presentation on GMOs

UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources is offering two events on the science of GMOs next week that we welcome you to attend.

GMO 2.0: Science, Society and the Future is on Wednesday, April 24th in the UConn Student Union Theater on the Storrs Campus at 7 PM.

The panel features four experts that have research connections to GMOs, and will be moderated by Dean Indrajeet Chaubey from the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. Panel topics include the risks and benefits of genetically engineered crops; ethical, legal, and social implications of GMOs; CRISPR and other GMO technologies; and the future of GMOs and big agriculture. It’s open to anyone interested in attending.

The goal of the panel presentation is to provide science-based, and unbiased information on GMOs, and the misinformation around them. The panelists will present information in a non-science format for those unfamiliar with the terminology and nuances of the subjects.

GMOs: Answering Difficult Questions from your Customers is being held on Thursday, April 25th at 7 PM at the Tolland County Extension Center, 24 Hyde Avenue, in Vernon.

This presentation is specifically for farmers, but all are welcome to attend. Dr. Paul Vincelli from the University of Kentucky will give a presentation on the risks and benefits of GMOs, and answering questions about GMOs. His presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.

Both events are free for anyone to attend, but registration is requested for planning purposes. For more information on the events, or to register please visit https://gmo.uconn.edu/events/ or call 860-486-9228.

Job Opportunity: Visiting Assistant Extension Educator

Extension word mark

University of Connecticut – Connecticut Trail Census – Visiting Assistant Extension Educator, Anticipated

Position Type: Non-tenure-track faculty

Position location to be determined.

Read the job description below online at

https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/13540

 

The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, Department of Extension is seeking to fill an anticipated position opening for a Visiting Assistant Extension Educator to serve as Project Coordinator for the Connecticut Trail Census.  The Connecticut Trail Census is a volunteer-based data collection and education program on multi-use trails in Connecticut that encourages data informed decision-making & promotes resident participation in trail monitoring & advocacy.  The Trail Census includes trail use counts recorded by infrared pedestrian counters, trail user intercept surveys administered by trained volunteers, and public education programs.  The project is statewide and serves community leaders and decision makers including local elected officials, planners, economic development professionals, trail advocates, trail maintenance professionals, environmental, health and outdoor activity advocates, as well as the general public. The Census was developed as a partnership program between the University of Connecticut, the Connecticut Greenways Council, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments and local trail advocacy organizations. More information can be found at https://cttrailcensus.uconn.edu/.

Job duties include developing, conducting and evaluating programs related to trails, outdoor recreation, community health, planning, and active transportation to meet the goals of the Trail Census and working closely with the Project Advisory Committee to oversee all aspects of the project including planning, fundraising, data analysis and communication, community outreach, budgeting, administration, evaluating and reporting, and oversight of project staff, volunteers, and interns as needed.  The Coordinator will design, deliver and teach culturally relevant community-based educational programs through a variety of methods. 

The Coordinator will work closely with a wide variety of UConn and external statewide project partners involved in trails related programs and projects.  The Coordinator will be expected to be actively involved in grant writing, and to develop a diverse portfolio of educational materials for Extension clients and scholarly materials for professional peers. The successful candidate will be comfortable being the public face of the program, and be able to effectively convey aspects of the program at meetings and public speaking engagements, and by authoring articles and reports. The successful candidate must have reliable transportation with the ability to travel extensively throughout Connecticut to meet with partners and oversee program equipment and functions.  Mileage reimbursement will be provided.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

•          Master’s Degree in the field of community development, urban and community studies, natural resources, geography, community planning, public health, outdoor recreation, or related field.

•          Demonstrated experience researching and writing managing, or administering grants

•          Demonstrated experience managing programs including budgeting, reporting and evaluation

•          Excellent written and verbal communication skills

•          Experience developing and teaching education programs for diverse audiences

•          Proficiency with Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint

•          Personal transportation and the ability to travel extensively throughout Connecticut required.

•          Ability to work occasional evening or weekend hours.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

•          Demonstrated interest in trails, non-motorized transportation, public health, recreation, or sustainability

•          Experience developing, managing or promoting trails or experience with trail oriented volunteer and advocacy organizations

•          Experience managing staff, interns and volunteers

•          An understanding of non-motorized traffic count and analysis techniques

•          Experience with survey design and implementation

•          Familiarity with grants or funding sources related to trails, health, and natural resources

•          An understanding of data management and statistical analysis and related analysis and visualization software such as SPSS, STATA, and Tableau

•          Familiarity with the Cooperative Extension System and the land-grant university system.

•          Experience with ESRI/ArcGIS, Qualtrics, Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, WordPress or social media management

APPOINTMENT TERMS

This is an anticipated full-time (100%) non-tenure track, 11-month position opening contingent on available funding. This position is grant-funded and has an end-date that is subject to annual re-appointments contingent upon satisfactory performance and funding availability. This position includes an outstanding full benefits package including employee and dependent tuition reimbursement at UConn. Salary will be commensurate with successful candidate’s background and experience. This position is anticipated to start Spring 2019.

TO APPLY

Select “Apply Now” to be redirected to Academic Jobs Online to apply. Applicants should submit a letter of application that addresses qualifications identified in the advertisement, a resume or curriculum vita, writing sample, and a list of three references with contact information. Please demonstrate through your written application materials how you meet the minimum qualifications and any of the preferred/desirable qualifications you may also have.

Please reference Search #2019478 in your application submittal.   Screening will begin immediately and will continue until a suitable candidate is found.  Preference will be given to candidates that apply within the first three weeks. 

Employment of the successful candidate will be contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.  (Search # 2019478)

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics, which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

___________________________________________________________________

The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. The diversity of students, faculty, and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural, and diverse community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.


Application Materials Required:

·         Curriculum Vitae

·         Letter of Application

·         Writing Sample

·         Three References (no actual letters, just names and email addresses help popup

Further Info:

http://www.extension.uconn.edu/

Join Us for #UConnGives

UConn Gives logo

UConn Gives is BACK for year two. And we need your help to grow our programs, and continue serving Connecticut communities. Put your paws in by supporting UConn 4-H, the UConn Extension Master Gardener Program, the 4-H Sports and Nutrition program, or the Natural Resources Conservation Academy on March 27-28, 2019. 

Extension program collage

All four of these programs work in communities statewide, and we need your help to increase their impact. Please consider donating $1 (or more) to the program(s) of your choice.

#AllPawsIn

Take the Climate Change Challenge with UConn Extension

CEAD imageConnecticut Environmental Action Day (CEAD) is a one-day conference that seeks to inspire students to take the #ClimateChangeChallenge and then post their actions using #ExtendtheChange to encourage friends and families to do the same. CEAD is sponsored by UConn Extension with our partners from UConn’s Department of Marketing, Department of Anthropology, and UConn PIRG.

The goals of Environmental Action Day are:

  • Increase students’ understanding of the environment and natural resources.
  • To foster students’ capacity to become environmentally responsible citizen by increasing their understanding of principles governing individual and collective action.
  • To provide students with access and educational opportunities from UConn.

CEAD is on Friday, March 29th in the Student Union at the UConn Storrs Campus and features workshops for middle school students, and a climate change challenge for UConn students. Approximately 100 middle school students from Coventry, Ellington, and Mansfield are attending. Each middle school student will attend two workshops in the morning. During the afternoon, they will reconvene in small groups facilitated by UConn students to commit to environmental action in their communities that will reduce climate change.

UConn students are invited to join CEAD at the Student Union and sign the action pledge to extend the change. Students are also encouraged to share their climate change challenge actions on their social media accounts, using the hashtag, #ExtendtheChange.

Suggested climate change actions anyone can pledge include:

  • Reuse and recycle
  • Ban the bag (plastic)
  • Conserve energy (turn off lights!)
  • Use public transportation, walk, or bike
  • Eat locally
  • Plant a garden
  • Plant trees, green roofs and other vegetation
  • Inform and educate others

Those not on the UConn campus can join us in the #ClimateChangeChallenge by taking the pledge at http://bit.ly/CCC_UConn to help #ExtendtheChange. For more information on CEAD visit http://extension.uconn.edu/ead.php or email Marc.Cournoyer@uconn.edu.

UConn Extension is on a collaborative journey. We co-create knowledge with farmers, families, students, communities, and businesses. We educate. We convene groups to help solve problems in the areas of food, health, and sustainability. Join us.

National Nutrition Month; a time to celebrate school food!

Kale Yeah child at schoolWhen you think “local food” do you also think “school food”? You should. About 25% of food served by Hartford Public Schools is local.

This helps the local economy, and bolsters hometown pride. Lonnie Burt, Senior Director of Child Nutrition for Hartford Public Schools explains that, “Purchasing local products is important on so many levels; it has a positive impact on our community and the residents.”

Knox Inc, a community organization and farm in Hartford, sells vegetables like bok choy, collard greens and fresh cilantro directly to Hartford Public Schools. Brunella Ibarrola, Assistant Director of Nutrition Support for Hartford Public Schools Food and Child Nutrition Services, shares that students are thrilled when they see “Hartford grown” on the menu. “When students become aware that a vegetable has been grown right in Hartford by Knox’s Incubator Farmer program, they become really excited and proud of their city!”

Local food purchasing requires building relationships and UConn Extension’s Put Local on Your Tray program is a matchmaker for many of these connections. The Tray Program helps Connecticut school districts serve and celebrate locally grown products.

“Schools want to increase their farm to school programming, which is where we come in; and when we are able to establish a partnership between a school and a farm, it benefits the larger community” says Molly Deegan, Put Local on Your Tray Coordinator.

Besides the benefits for the community, the students are learning valuable lessons in the cafeteria – a space that is sometimes overlooked as part of the learning environment in a school. Using local products allows “students [to] gain knowledge about local farmers and their products which are grown in their community” shares Maureen Nuzzo, Director of Food Services, Old Saybrook Public Schools. Old Saybrook is one of 59 school districts serving nearly 300 schools that have taken the pledge to source and serve local foods. Programming which highlights local foods, gets students involved in, and excited about, school lunches and nutrition. With National Nutrition Month in March, it’s a great time to celebrate local food and that’s just what UConn Extension’s Put Local On Your Tray program is all about.

When Maggie Dreher, Director of Nutrition Services for Avon Public Schools, Canton Public Schools, & Regional School District #10 served local kale from Sub Edge Farm (the first of many local produce items) she had no idea that just months later she would be hosting a district-wide event that put the farm on display. On March 21st, Maggie will be hosting a Jr. Chef competition featuring two teams per school district (6 total) where they will be challenged with a “chopped style mystery box,” where local produce from Sub Edge farm will be featured.

Through a combination of technical assistance and promotional materials, the Tray team works with schools to build a culture of health in the cafeteria, celebrate school nutrition programs, and support local agriculture. Put Local On Your Tray is a project of UConn Extension, in partnership with the CT State Department of Education, FoodCorps Connecticut, and New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC).

National Nutrition Month – Smooth Chai Latte

smooth chai latte

Do you practice yoga? Do you have a favorite herbal tea? As part of #NNM, self-care is a big part of “being well” and making sure you’re taking care of the [mental] part of you. Helping yourself to wind down may lower stress levels- even if it’s that morning cup of tea that you absolutely need in order for your day to start off right. So, we ask-What do you do for #selfcare?

 

Here’s a new recipe to try to help you relax!

We Want You to Volunteer with UConn 4-H

Erinn Hines
Erinn Hines with two 4-H members.

Do you enjoy working with children? Want to share your time and talents with young people in the community? Like to have fun, learn new skills and make a difference? Then being a 4-H volunteer is for you!

4-H volunteers play a significant role in helping youth to reach their potential. As a volunteer, you will help youth in your group learn leadership, citizenship and life skills through projects and activities. If you have a hobby or interest you would like to share with young people such as photography, leadership, animals, plants, fishing, drama, community service, computers and technology, woodworking, fashion design, arts and crafts, rocketry and more, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer.

Start volunteering today by going to https://bit.ly/2Oj4TkU

National Nutrition Month – Recipe of the Week

overnight oats recipeDid you know that buying frozen fruits and vegetables versus fresh have extra benefits? Frozen fruits and vegetables may be less expensive and can stretch your food dollars when fresh produce is not “in season” in your area. Frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen at the peak of their ripeness so their nutrients are available just as if they were fresh. Frozen produce is not limited to one season so you can buy all year round!

Wednesday was National Frozen Food Day, our recipe of the week features frozen fruit of your choice in our Build Your Own Overnight Oats recipe! All you have to do is pick one of the following ingredients, shake well or leave in layers, and stick them in the fridge before bed! Easy enough, right?

Here’s a tip: prepare the overnight oats in a Mason jar. No extra dishes required! Enjoy!

4-H First Robotics Experience

By Alexis Nadeau, Alyssa Newell, Emmit Starkweather

Robotics team after winning competition
Team 3555 receiving the first place award at the 2018 Bay State Brawl competition.

Innovation is a modernly essential pillar to human development and growth into the future. It is this innovative thinking that the organization For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology or FIRST seeks to harness within adolescents and young adults. Focusing on the fields of STEM — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics –FIRST wishes to fuel interests in the younger generations.

State of the art organizations such as the First Robotics Program help to assist students in grades 9-12 with learning the difficult but necessary skills that shall be required to continue the technological growth and innovation which our era depends. Some of the careers that require these skills are mechanical design, electrical engineering, software engineering, and manufacturing. Certain teams in the first robotics program, such as ours (Team 3555) are 4-H clubs.

“My experience on the 4-H First Robotics Team has provided me with access to more knowledge than I was able to acquire previously, and has introduced me to better overall materials than I would have access to otherwise,” club member Nick Mercado said.

The way the club works is that students are allotted a time known as a build season, where each team is given six weeks to build a robot that will be used to compete in various competitions across that state. Each branch of our team does different tasks and works together with the other parts of the team in order to build a robot in a fast and efficient way. For example, the mechanical design people work on the technical sketches of the different components of the robot, while the electrical engineering people work on the wiring and the electrical boards.

While these two branches do very different things, they have to cooperate to make sure that all of the electrical components will be able to fit and work on the mechanical parts. Likewise, people operating in the software engineering branch have to program the robot so that it moves, which requires significant communication with people in the electrical and design branch. This is because the programmers need to know the electronic components that will be used in order to program them correctly, and they need to know the design of the robot, so that it is programmed in a way that allows it to move smoothly and effectively.

After the six weeks, our robot is taken out to various competitions around the state where it competes with other teams in doing certain tasks, such as lifting up boxes and putting them on levers, climbing up walls, or shooting balls at specific targets. The adrenaline rush that is experienced is wild, as the arena is constantly filled with the passion and excitement that is elicited by the thrill that comes with having the crowd at the competitions.

“Both optimists and pessimists have a place in the world. The optimist will build the robot, and the pessimists will bring the safety bucket,” club member Sam Secondo said about the challenge.

The competitions offer many new learning experiences for those who join the 4-H First Robotics Team. Students work under stress, cooperate with other teams, manage safety, show leadership, act graciously, show professionalism, demonstrate quick thinking, and take quick action, all of which are unquestionably valued by the 4-H program. Last year, the team had performed in two out off-season events: Bay State Brawl and the Where Is Wolcott.

“Without the 4-H First robotics program, I wouldn’t know even half of the information about engineering and mechanical design that I currently know,” said club member Alexis Nadeau.

Many people in today’s era strive to learn the new skills that drive the engineering world, and the 4-H First Robotics Program gives students the opportunity to be part of a team that teaches the fundamentals of engineering.