Economic Development

February is Heart Health Month

family walking together
February is National Heart Health Month! Did you know that walking is one of the simplest ways to get active and stay active? With each step, you improve your mental and physical health. Research has shown that simply being outdoors can help brighten your mood, and relieve stress. And walking can have a significant impact on your health by lowering your chances of heart disease. So start walking your way to a healthier heart!
 
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 UConn 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.

CT Trail Census Data Builds Communities

woman walking a dog on the Still River Greenway in Brookfield“The Connecticut Trail Census data has been indispensable in communicating the positive impacts of the Still River Greenway to the Brookfield community;” states Joei Grudzinski, Co-Chairman of the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Commission. “In particular, the recent user survey indicated strong support among adult bike riders for our initiative to extend the trail.”

The Connecticut Trail Census is a program of UConn Extension and our partners, and part of our PATHS program – People Active on Trails for Health and Sustainability.

Volunteer with Us

volunteers collect CT Trail Census data in 2017 on a multi-use trail
Volunteers collect data in 2017. Photo: Aaron Burris

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, many use this as a day of service. Extension values the service our volunteers contribute. In 2019, they volunteered 207,887 hours across all programs, valued at $5.3 million to our communities.

Volunteers contribute knowledge and experience to Extension, and expand our capacity to deliver programs in every municipality and town of Connecticut. UConn Extension volunteers are from a range of sectors including robotics, information technology, project management, and agriculture. 

Marlene Mayes, a volunteer with the Master Gardener program since 2004,

working in garden
Hartford County Master Gardener Coordinator Sarah Bailey and a Master Gardener volunteer work in Burgdorf. Photo: Chris Defrancesco.

coordinates the Foodshare Garden at the 4-H Education Center at Auerfarm in Bloomfield. Each summer, the garden has over 600 community volunteers, who grow 4,000 pounds of vegetables donated to Foodshare. “Everything is research-based, the greenhouse and garden are about teaching and getting people to grow in their own backyard,” Mayes states. 

We have volunteer opportunities for UConn students, and citizens throughout the state in several of our programs. Join us as a UConn Extension volunteer.

One-On-One Agricultural Advising Sessions

one on one agricultural advising with UConn Extension

The UConn Extension RMA program has offered one-on-one advising sessions for several years. Due to the popularity of this program, we are offering 3 days this winter for you to meet in a private session with an advisor. We are offering a wide array of topics to choose from. The brochure has the full schedule.

Contact MacKenzie White at mackenzie.white@uconn.edu or at 860-875-3331 to register.

Survey for Poultry Producers

rooster at UConn facility
White leghorn roosters with chickens at the Poultry Uniton Jan. 27, 2017. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

The University of Connecticut is collaborating with 14 multi-state institutions to put together a USDA grant on Agriculture and Food Research Initiatives titled: Systems-based integrated program for enhancing the sustainability of antibiotic-restricted poultry production.

Our focus is on sustainable poultry production and we are dedicated to help small, medium and large poultry farmers, processors and industry personnel to increase profitability, reduce input costs, increase productivity, and reduce losses due to environmental and biological stresses, including pests and diseases. In addition, this grant would help develop tools to enhance rural prosperity and health by ensuring access to affordable, safe and nutritious poultry products to sustain healthy lifestyles. 

The long-term objective of our project will ensure the sustainability of antibiotic-restricted broiler production by enhancing bird, human and environmental health, and ultimately increasing consumer acceptability and economic returns to farmers.  

We are using this survey questionnaire to gather information that will help us assess your needs for poultry research, education and outreach in the region. We would like inputs from all personnel involved with poultry production and processing such that our resources can better serve your needs in future.

We understand your time is valuable, the questionnaire should take only 3-5 minutes to complete.

Thank you

University of Connecticut Team

 

Please take the survey at bit.ly/PoultrySurvey

CT Farmlink Website Improves Farmland Access for Farmers

screenshot of the homepage of the CT Farm Link websiteConnecticut FarmLink, a clearing house for the transition between generations of landowners with the goal of keeping farmland in production, is pleased to announce the launch of a redesigned website, www.ctfarmlink.org. A partnership between the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and the Connecticut Farmland Trust (CFT) with funding through the Community Investment Act (CIA) is ensuring new and beginning farmers are able to more easily locate and access farmland for their business. 

“One of the top barriers for beginning farmers to getting started, or having their own business, is land access,” said Bryan P. Hurlburt, Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner. “Connecticut FarmLink lets them find available land that meets their needs and evens the playing field to finding farm properties.”

The updated website now features log-in profiles, allowing both farmland owners and farmland seekers to edit, or deactivate, at their own convenience. A filter option enables them to select what they are looking for whether it’s properties, seekers, or resources. An integrated online messaging offers instant connection between all parties and email notifications will be sent when new farmland options have been posted.

“Users will be better able to manage their own information and the redesigned site is modeled after other FarmLink websites available nationally, making it more consistent for searchers,” says Lily Orr, Connecticut Farmland Trust Conservation Associate. Orr was responsible for working with a consultant to build and transition the website to the new format incorporating feedback from users to include features they requested.

There are currently more than 70 properties listed that are looking for a farmer to keep the land in production. “Agriculture is so diverse in Connecticut, we have people looking a quarter acre up to 200 acres, everything from vegetables and greenhouses to forestland for mushrooms or maple sugaring,” says Kip Kolesinskas, consulting Conservation Scientist. “The website is a source of information offering connections to agency programs and planning for everything related to leasing, farmland preservation and succession planning.”

To learn more about farmland available in Connecticut, visit www.ctfarmlink.org, or contact farmlink@ctfarmland.org.

Growing Food with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and UConn Extension have been collaborating thanks to a U.S.D.A. Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program to enhance agricultural production, food security, and health of tribal community members.

UConn Extension Growing Food With the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation

#AskUConnExtension #UConnImpact

CAHNR Strategic Visioning Process

food, health and sustainability are the three program areas of UConn CAHNR

The UConn College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources is engaged in a strategic visioning process.  You also may have received the invitation below from Dean Chaubey.  As one who knows about the College, we would love to have your input into the strategic direction the College will take over the next 5-10 years. Listening Sessions are scheduled in different parts of the state during the week of November 18. Please read some more about the process and information about how to attend. Here is the link for more information and this is the link to sign up.

Dear Colleague,

We need your assistance. The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) is undertaking a strategic visioning process that we believe will ensure that CAHNR will continue to be successful for many years.  While maintaining its roots at the core of the state’s land grant institution, the college has grown to include a diverse set of academic disciplines.  The unique combination of disciplines within CAHNR provides opportunities for innovation that can help address today’s emerging issues.

Our goal, with your input, will be to identify key knowledge areas that enable the college to have the greatest potential success for the next decade.   The project will allow us to have a dialogue on the future implications of trends and issues affecting our society, state, industries and communities, and to reflect on the state of the college and then come to consensus on focus areas of teaching, research, and extension. Ultimately, the project will drive our work to be as successful in 2030 as we are today.

The process will involve capturing input from internal and external stakeholders, gathering and evaluating data/feedback, and creating a vision for the future.  This will be a data and stakeholder driven effort because we believe you know most about what is needed from CAHNR to impact important issues within and beyond the state.  We created a process that we believe will produce a dynamic, forward-thinking, and focused description of a future that will position CAHNR to be among the most preeminent institutions of its kind in the nation.

To successfully achieve our goal, CAHNR leadership has identified a core team of individuals to spearhead this effort. These individuals bring their knowledge, experience, vision, and commitment to this endeavor while reaching out to learn as much as they can from others.  The strategic visioning team is co-chaired by Ashley Helton (Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment) and Justin Nash (Professor and Head, Department of Allied Health Sciences) and includes a cross-section of units in the college. The strategic visioning team is spending the next several months listening to stakeholders of the college, studying peer institutions, and consulting with funding agencies. As this will require time, energy, and commitment, our goal is to listen and learn from as many stakeholders as possible while maximizing the use of everyone’s time.

As part of the information gathering process, we will be reaching out to you and other individuals to ask you a brief set of questions.  As one of our leadership team members reaches out to you in the next few weeks, I sincerely hope that you will l be available to provide your input. We value and appreciate you volunteering your time to help us envision a future that will make CAHNR a regional and national leader in our mission areas. A brief fact sheet about the college is attached.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach me (email: Indrajeet.chaubey@uconn.edu) or Committee Co-Chairs (ashley.helton@uconn.edu or justin.nash@uconn.edu).  Thank you again for your time and help.

Best,

Indrajeet Chaubey

Dean, UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources                          

Charlie Tracy Recognized for Trail Work

Plaque recognizing Charlie Tracy for his work on the trails and collaborations in Massachusetts

This weekend at the Mass Trails Conference in Leominster Charlie Tracy, our new Connecticut Trail Census Coordinator, received an achievement award to recognize his over 30 years of dedication to trails work and building successful collaborative partnerships in Massachusetts and across the nation. Charlie is well loved in the trail community and we are so lucky that he has chosen the next stage of his career following retirement from the National Park Service, to include this work in Connecticut. Charlie and Laura Brown, our Community and Economic Development Extension Educator also presented a successful session on the Trail Census at the conference.