Environment

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.

Art Exhibit at Avery Point Opening Soon

Among the Tides art exhibit flyer“Among the Tides,” a new exhibit featuring the work of photographer Elizabeth Ellenwood, will be on display at the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus from Jan. 23 through March 15, with an opening reception Jan. 24.

The reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at the gallery, located on the second floor of the Branford House at the Avery Point campus.

Ellenwood, recipient of a 2019 Connecticut Sea Grant Arts Support award, uses historic and modern techniques to transform plastic beach trash and microplastics into images that call attention to global ocean pollution. She uses the cyanotype process developed in the mid-1800s to create photographic prints without using a camera of discarded plastic items such as balloons, take-out cups, sandwich bags and lighters. The images, on chemically treated blue paper exposed to the sun, are then transferred in a second step using the wet plate collodion process onto colored glass.

Read more…

Deer Damage and Control

whitetail deer looking at camera in snow
Photo: David Restivo, NPS

Deer damage or feed on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables such as cole crops, lettuce, grapes, corn, pumpkins, berries, tomatoes, fruit trees and other plants. Because white-tailed deer lack upper incisor teeth, the damaged leaves and twigs or stems have jagged edges, compared with a clean-cut surface left by rodents and rabbit feeding. Vegetables are readily eaten and entire gardens may be destroyed. Sweet corn tips are eaten, including the silk and one to two inches of the ear but occasionally plants are grazed to the ground. In addition, deer trample many crops as they move about the field.
 
Deer are active in Connecticut year-round. Breeding occurs from October to December. Fawns are born in May and June weighing about eight pounds at birth and increasing in weight over the next six to seven years. Peak feeding activity occurs in early morning and late evening; thus, deer may damage the garden without being seen. Damage by deer in Connecticut is increasing as residential development forces deer into smaller and smaller habitats and wild food sources decrease.

Deer are protected during all times of the year except various hunting seasons or by obtaining special crop damage permits. All methods of destroying deer such as using traps, poisons, toxic baits, etc. are dangerous to domestic animals and individuals and may result in liability for damage and poor public relations. Read more….

Article: UConn Home and Garden Education Center

Workshop: Production Agriculture – Back to Basics

back to basics flyerProduction Agriculture – BACK TO BASICS 

Farmers of all experience are encouraged to join the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, University of Connecticut, and the American Farmland Trust on Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Tolland Agricultural Center in Vernon, Connecticut to hear the latest in IPM/biocontrol, soil management, and water programs.

Aaron Ristow of the American Farmland Trust will discuss his findings on the economic and environmental impacts of soil health practices. This is a free program and pesticide credits will be offered.

Register online now at http://bit.ly/2PNPDPC. For more information please contact Erin Windham at 860-713-2543 or Erin.Windham@ct.gov.

CT Sea Grant: Re-Thinking Relationships with the Places We Love

Wrack Lines cover

The Fall-Winter 2019-20 issue of Wrack Lines, a publication of Connecticut Sea Grant is now posted at:

https://seagrant.uconn.edu/?p=5770. In this issue we’re re-thinking relationships with the places we love.

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

Job Opening: Laboratory Technician

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT: UCPEA 4 LABORATORY TECHNICIAN II

 

POSITION

soil in handThe Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture at the University of Connecticut invites applications for a permanent, 12-month position as an UCP 4 Laboratory Technician II. Reporting to the Laboratory Manager, this position provides technical support for the Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory and serves as a primary resource to the University community, the general public and a wide variety of internal and external constituents.

The College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) at the University of Connecticut contributes to a sustainable future through scientific discovery, innovation, and community engagement. CAHNR’s accomplishments result in safe, sustainable and secure plant and animal production systems, healthier individuals and communities, greater protection and conservation of our environment and natural resources, balanced growth of the economy, and resilient local and global communities. We epitomize the role of a land-grant university, which is to develop knowledge and disseminate it through the three academic functions of teaching, research, and outreach. In so doing, we improve the lives of citizens of our state, region and country.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The successful candidate will be expected to prepare and analyze soil and plant tissue samples, and report results to farmers, contractors, researchers, professors, commercial growers, landscapers, lawn care companies, and homeowners. Specific duties include: participate in meetings to plan and evaluate lab procedures; identify procedures for intended results and make modifications to incorporate suggestions for improvement; assist in editing and updating lab manuals, and keep current on new procedures and laboratory software; prepare reagents, solutions and other lab supplies or apparatus needed to complete laboratory procedures; assist, and instruct student workers with their duties and with technical problems related to laboratory procedures and equipment; Maintain up-to-date inventory of supplies; set up and maintains laboratory; instruct others in proper and safe use of equipment; answer phone and provide information to customers about interpretation of results or refer customers to Home and Garden Education Center; order lab supplies, chemicals and office supplies using UConn’s KFS, purchase orders and Pro-Card; and schedule outside repairs of lab and office equipment as well as perform routine maintenance and minor repair of lab equipment and related apparatus to ensure proper working order. Maintain the Laboratory’s Facebook page and perform outreach at Hartford Flower Show annually. The person selected will work in close cooperation with the Home and Garden Education Center.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

B.S. degree in chemistry, geology, biological sciences or other lab oriented scientific discipline and 1-3 years of experience, or equivalent education and experience. Demonstrated knowledge of concepts, practices and standard laboratory procedures used in a soil testing laboratory, including digital handling of laboratory data.  Knowledge of standard laboratory safety procedures. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to explain laboratory procedures and to edit laboratory manuals. Experience using Microsoft Word and Excel, and social media platforms, e.g. Facebook. Demonstrated ability to work independently.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

B.S. degree in chemistry, geology, biological sciences or other lab oriented scientific discipline. Ability to program in Microsoft Access; Experience analyzing water or soil extracts using an Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP), discrete

analyzer, or other related analytical instrument; Knowledge about how fertilizer recommendations are developed; Plant science background; Knowledge of analytical chemistry.

APPOINTMENT TERMS

This is a full-time position with a competitive salary and a complete benefits package including health insurance, vacation time and retirement benefits. The successful candidate’s appointment will be at the Storrs Depot campus. The Soil Nutrient Analysis Lab is located at 6 Sherman Place, Storrs, CT

TO APPLY

Position available March 15, 2020. Applicants should submit a letter of application, resume, and a list of contact information for three (3) professional references to UConn Jobs at http://www.jobs.uconn.edu/.  Unofficial transcripts will be required at time of interview.

This job posting is scheduled to be removed at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on January 15, 2020.

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.

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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 University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

Environmental Monitoring for Food Safety

worker in a dairy processing facility with a swab and computer taking a sample for food safety
Photo: NCSU Extension

Dairy Processors: Are you interested in designing and implementing an environmental monitoring program (EMP) to improve your food safety program? This course may be for you.

In this eight-hour online course, you will learn alongside virtual dairy processors and apply concepts in the context of a dairy facility. This online course is available on-demand and adapts to your understanding of the materials. These features provide you with the flexibility to progress at your own pace with the confidence you will understand the content.

Dennis D’Amico, our Extension educator in the Department of Animal Science at UConn was one of the educators who developed this course. For more information, or to register, please visit NCSU Food Safety.

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.