Education

Laura Brown Receives CEDAS Member of the Year Award

Laura Brown receiving the award with CEDAS President and CEO of the Greater New haven Chamber of Commerce, Garret Sheehan.
Laura Brown receiving the award with CEDAS President and CEO of the Greater New haven Chamber of Commerce, Garret Sheehan.

Last week, Extension educator Laura Brown received the Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) Member of the Year Award at the CEDAS Annual meeting.

The award recognized her role in the CEDAS program committee including the successful CEDAS Academy webinar series’ and coordination the newly launched Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development program.  Laura is also a member of the CEDAS board.

According to the CEDAS website, the Member of the Year Award recognizes the best of Connecticut in economic development annually by recognizing a CEDAS member who has exhibited true leadership in economic development in Connecticut and has implemented an initiative that demonstrates real results and outcomes in the past year. Past awardees have been individuals, teams and/or organizations. As such, they may consist of volunteers, practitioners, educators or elected officials and other persons. The event attended by over 100 community leaders, elected officials, planners, & economic developers was held at Boca Oyster Bar at the Steelpoint Development in Bridgeport, CT and featured awards to 24 newly accredited municipalities who received recognition through the Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development Program. This was a very successful program in which UConn played a pivotal role and has already received national attention.

The Start of Something Big: UConn Environment Corps

A UConn partnership led by CLEAR has received a $2.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation to expand and study a new public engagement program that combines teaching, service learning, and Extension outreach.

The program is called the Environment Corps and focuses on using STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills to address important environmental issues like climate adaptation, brownfields remediation, and stormwater management at the municipal level. Environment Corps combines the familiar elements of classroom instruction, service learning and Extension’s work with communities in a unique way that allows students to develop STEM skills and get “real world” experience as preparation for the workforce, while communities receive help in responding to environmental mandates that they often lack the resources to address on their own.

The Environment Corps project is built on an extensive partnership at UConn. It includes faculty from four schools and colleges in five departments: Natural Resources and the Environment, Extension, Geography, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Educational Curriculum and Instruction. In addition, the project involves four university centers, all three environmental major programs, and the Office of the Provost.

The “E-Corps” came out of a three-year pilot project originally funded by the UConn Provost’s Office in 2016. That project developed the Climate Corps, an undergraduate instructional effort focused on local, town-level impacts of, and responses to, climate change. Designed to draw students from the Environmental Studies, Environmental Sciences, and Environmental Engineering majors, the Climate Corps debuted in the fall of 2017. The program consists of a class in the fall with a strong focus on local challenges and issues, followed by a “practicum” spring semester during which students are formed into teams and matched with towns work on projects. Partnerships with the towns are built on the long-term relationships that have developed between local officials and Extension educators from CLEAR and the Connecticut Sea Grant program.

Climate Corps was a hit with both students and towns, and in 2018 spun off a second STEM offering, this one focusing on brownfields (contaminated sites) redevelopment. The Brownfields Corps, taught by the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, debuted in the fall of 2018. With the NSF funding, there will now be a third “Corps,” the Stormwater Corps, which is under development and will help towns deal with the many requirements of the state’s newly strengthened general stormwater permit. A Stormwater Corps pilot program, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is just finishing up and has been a great success.

The NSF-funded project involves expansion and coordination of the three programs, but also has a major focus on studying the impact of the E-Corps approach on students, faculty, participating towns, and the UConn community. The research will be conducted by faculty from the Neag School of Education. The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning will take the lead in working with university administrators and faculty to promote further expansion of the model.

The local, real-world focus of the E-Corps model is getting an enthusiastic response from students. One student wrote: “Climate Corps had a huge influence on me, and for a while I wasn’t super excited about the sorts of jobs I’d be qualified to do…but having this experience opened so many doors for me and exposed me to so many different things I could do. I’m really excited to start my new job because I’ve been able to combine a career with something I find super interesting.” Fall classes are filled to capacity for the Climate and Brownfields Corps, and Stormwater Corps begins in the spring.

Posted on September 24, 2019 by Chet Arnold

Originally published by the UConn Center for Land use Education And Research

Halloween is coming, but you can eat healthy

Halloween can be can be scary time of year for folks trying eat healthy. How do you stay selfish with your health when there are so many temptations?

Change your mind!

Have a plan:

Use apps to track your calories – so you know the true calorie cost of eating candy, or another helping of food.

Start a new tradition:

Butternut squash soup | by zrzka2010 Butternut squash soup | by zrzka2010
Butternut squash soup | by zrzka2010

Eat a healthy meal before trick or treating. Try a hearty vegetable soup with lots of harvest fresh vegetables –

Support your local farmer- give trick or treaters small apples or pears for healthy alternatives to candy

Give trick or treaters non-food items like pencils or stickers

Track your steps around the neighborhood while trick or treating –

Have a Healthy Halloween Dance party instead of trick or treating – make healthy Halloween foods like the Pear Witch Project 

Halloween witch made with a pear and other healthy foods

Try visiting your local farmers markets and farms for the season’s local harvest!

 

For more practical ideas on how to improve your low-income client’s food and nutrition behaviors contact the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program for a series of free nutrition and cooking classes at your agency.

Article by: Heather Pease Nutrition Outreach Educator, Hartford County Extension

Ask UConn Extension: Biodegradable Plastic Mulch

green head of lettuce growing on white biodegradable plastic mulch at Gresczyk Farms in New Hartford, Connecticut
Photo: Stacey Stearns

Farmers: Are you considering biodegradable plastic mulch (BDM) for your crops? Shuresh Ghimire, UConn Extension educator for vegetable crops, visits Bruce Gresczyk Jr. of Gresczyk Farms in New Hartford, Connecticut to discuss biodegradable plastic mulch (BDM), and the advantages and disadvantages of BDM for vegetable farmers: youtu.be/kyvB1QxHAtE

#AskUConnExtension

New UConn PEP Facilitators Trained

Group activity at the UConn PEP facilitator training in Haddam in early October Robin Drago leading group of new PEP facilitators at training session in Haddam

New UConn PEP facilitators in a group discussion Robin Drago and one of our new UConn PEP facilitators

Congratulations to our newest People Empowering People (UConn PEP) facilitators who completed their training last week. UConn PEP is an innovative personal and family development program with a strong community focus. Learn more or join us at https://pep.extension.uconn.edu/

Canine Circovirus in Connecticut, Identified by UConn Researchers

CVMDL vet lab blue sign on the UConn campus with the brick Chemistry building in the background
Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory on Jan. 14, 2019. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Investigators at the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL) at UConn recently reported a new canine disease, identified for the first time in New England. This is the same group, same laboratory, that recently reported eastern equine encephalomyelitis in horses and birds and earlier recognized epizootic hemorrhagic disease in deer (September 2017) and West Nile encephalitis in crows (2001).

The published case report (Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, September 2019) documents the death of a 5-month-old dog that originated in Mississippi, was shelter-housed in Texas for a time, and then was delivered for adoption in Connecticut. The disease was characterized by severe bloody gastroenteritis and rapid progression to death. Autopsy was followed by electron microscopy and molecular techniques which demonstrated a circovirus as the cause of disease and death. First recognized in California in 2013, the appearance of canine circovirus disease in New England, in dogs shuttled among shelters, raises concerns for dog owners and veterinarians.  At this time, it is hard to know if this disease will spread, like parvovirus disease in the 1980s, or remain sporadic.

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 call 860-486-3738.

Article by Dr. H. J. Van Kruiningen

Still Time to Apply to Become a UConn Extension Master Gardener

STILL TIME TO APPLY TO BECOME A UCONN EXTENSION MASTER GARDENER –

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18.

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

The deadline to apply for the 2020 Master Gardener program is this Friday, October 18. There are still some seats available. Go to https://mastergardener.uconn.edu/2019-uconn-extension-mast…/ to either apply online or download a paper version. This session we’ll be offering a Saturday class, to be held in Vernon, along with weekday classes in Torrington, New Haven, Norwich and Stamford. Classes begin in January!

UConn Extension Master Gardeners have an interest in plants, gardening, people and the environment.  Specifically, they are willing to share their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm with their communities, providing research-based information to homeowners, students, gardening communities and others. They receive horticultural training from UConn, and then share that knowledge with the public through community volunteering and educational outreach efforts. UConn Master Gardeners help with community and museum gardens, school gardens, backyard projects, houseplant questions and more.

“The Master Gardener Program opened my eyes to the wonderful world of horticulture, gardening, and the fragile ecosystem we Master Gardener logoshare with animals and insects,” says Pat Sabosik of Hamden, who completed the program in 2017.

The program is presented in a hybrid class format with three to four hours of online work before each of the 16 weekly classes, followed by a half-day classroom session. Classes run from 9 AM to 1 PM. New this year is a weekend session which will be held in Vernon on Saturdays.

“The combination of in-depth classroom learning with subject matter experts, extensive reading materials, and hands-on projects and outreach experiences is a good balance of learning experiences”, says Anne Farnum who also took the class in 2017.

Classes begin the week of January 6, 2020. Subject matter includes basic botany, plant pathology, soils, entomology and lectures on other aspects of gardening, plant groups, and pest management. Lectures and reading are combined with hands-on classroom experience. After the classroom portion, students complete 60 hours of outreach experience during the summer.

The program fee is $450.00, and includes all needed course materials. Partial scholarships may be available, based on demonstrated financial need.

For more information, call the UConn Extension Master Gardener office at 860-409-9053 or visit the UConn Extension Master Gardener website at: www.mastergardener.uconn.edu , where both the on-line and paper application can be found.

Services Available for Connecticut Families

a bunch of people's hands all together in one signifying unity and collaborationConnecticut Council of Family Service Agencies (CCFSA) is strengthening Connecticut communities and collectively serves more than 180,000 families, making them one of the largest associations of community-based human services for children, adults and families. All members are nationally accredited, nonprofit, human service agencies. Together they form a collaborative statewide system of support for all phases of family life, working with government and philanthropy to meet our mission.

The Victims of Crime Case Management Program (VOCA) is one service offered.

Program Description

•   VOCA Case Management (CM) is funded through the Office of Victim Services and administered by CCFSA (Connecticut Council Of Family Service Agencies) to address an identified need of case management services for victims of crime

•   VOCA CM provides holistic case management services to promote safety, self-sufficiency, and resiliency for persons in CT who have suffered, directly or indirectly, a physical, emotional, or personal loss as a result of a criminal act

•   VOCA CM offers community-based or home-based visits depending on the preference and need of the client

•   VOCA CM will promote equitable access to services and a continuum of care through coordination with CCFSA partner agencies across the state

*Case management services are offered for up to a year, depending on clients’ need

Referrals

•   Clients can be referred internally through United Services, or externally through other community organizations, local law enforcement, hospitals, schools, etc.

•   Participation in VOCA CM is voluntary and clients should be aware of referral

•   Anyone can access the following URL to make referrals:

Willimantic/Norwich area https://tinyurl.com/VOCAintakeCCDN

Dayville/Wauregan/Mansfield : https://tinyurl.com/VOCAintakeUS

•   Using the URL is preferred to capture all necessary information, but referrals can be made in-person, over phone, or over email

•   Referral form is extensive in order to capture victimization history, safety concerns, and needs of client

•   Case manager will attempt to reach client within 24-72 hours after referral is made

Eligibility

•   Participation in VOCA CM will be based on the client meeting at least one of the following:

•   The victimization occurred in CT

•   The victim lived in CT when the victimization occurred and/or

•   The victim lived in CT at the time services were sought

•   No age requirements; if client is a minor or disabled, case manager will work with the entire family unit to provide case management services

•   No time limit; does not matter how long ago the crime occurred, just that the crime is still affecting the client’s functioning

•   It is not necessary for the crime to have been reported to receive case management services

•   DCF-involved youth and/or their foster families can receive case management services

•   Can work with victims even if they have a criminal history themselves

Eligible Crimes for Case Management

•   Adult physical assault

•   Adult sexual assault

•   Adult sexually abused/physically abused as child

•   Arson

•   Bullying (verbal, physical, cyber)

•   Burglary, robbery

•   Child physical or sexual abuse, neglect

•   Elder abuse or neglect

•   Domestic violence, teen dating violence

•   Child pornography or exploitation

•   Hate crime

•   Human trafficking (labor or sex)

•   Identity theft/fraud/financial crime

•   Kidnapping (custodial or non-custodial)

•   Mass violence, terrorism

•   DUI/DWI incident, “hit and run”

•   Stalking/harassment

•   Survivors of homicide victims

•   Other

Services We Provide

•   Intake and assessment are completed to identify client’s level of need and what services they are seeking assistance with

•   Goal-setting and empowering victims to reach goals and complete follow-up

•   Assistance with finding housing (shelter or permanent), employment and vocational training, child or adult education, state benefits and/or insurance, child-care, parenting education, pregnancy services, medical/dental services, mental health/counseling services, and much more

•   The case manager will assist client by making referrals to other agencies and providers, helping client complete applications, identifying and utilizing local resources, and helping client establish a good community support system for when case management services end

•   Assistance navigating civil or criminal court system

•   Applications for victim compensation

Victim Compensation Program

•   Office of Victim Services compensation program provides three types of compensation:

•   Crime victims who have suffered physical injuries – $15,000 maximum

•   Crime victims who have suffered emotional injuries – $5,000 maximum

•   Survivors of homicide victims – $25,000 maximum

•   To be eligible, crimes must be reported within 5 days of the occurrence, or within 5 days of “when a report could reasonably be made”

•   Crimes must be reported to law enforcement, court system (if client applies for a restraining or civil protective order) or DV/sexual assault crisis center

•   Compensation applications must be filed within 2 years of the crime

•   Expenses covered: health insurance co-pays and deductibles, medical bills, prescription bills, lost wages, crime scene clean-up, funeral expenses, mental health counseling, alarm system installations, etc.

Other important information:

If the client is in immediate crisis, please contact 911.

Have your Soil Tested for Macro & Micro Nutrients

cup of soil being held in Soil Nutrient analysis lab at UConn

Send your soil sample in for testing now. Our standard nutrient analysis includes pH, macro- and micro nutrients, a lead scan and as long as we know what you are growing, the results will contain limestone and fertilizer recommendations. The cost is $12/sample. You are welcome to come to the lab with your ‘one cup of soil’ but most people are content to simply place their sample in a zippered bag and mail it in. For details on submitting a sample, go to UConn Soil and Nutrient Laboratory.

Farm to School Month

It’s here! National Farm to School Month, which means its time for the HardCORE Challenge – eat a #CTGrown Apple or Pear to the CORE!


Follow this link to find an Orchard near you.

Fall is the quintessential time to visit a farm with apple and pear picking, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, cider donuts and so much more!

We will be celebrating local agriculture the whole month – CT Grown for CT Kids Week is October 7-11th with National School Lunch Week October 14-18th. Check out the National Farm to School month toolkit  for wonderful ideas to celebrate the whole month!

Learn more, find recipes, and see participating schools at the website for Put Local On Your Tray.