Land Use

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.

Gregory Desautels: Reflection on my Extension Internship

Gregory Desautels interned with Dr. Mike Dietz of UConn Extension in the summer of 2019, working with Dr. Dietz on projects for UConn CLEAR. Gregory has continued working with Dr. Dietz on projects funded by Connecticut Sea Grant during the fall 2019 semester. In the article below, Gregory reflected on his summer internship.

Greg standing behind wooden tables during a summer project for his internship
Greg Desautels during his summer 2019 Extension internship. Photo: Mike Dietz

Through my summer as an Extension intern at the UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR), I learned skills and had experiences, which may shape my future.  I learned technical skills, working in GIS programs such as Arc Pro and AGOL, as well as Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. I improved my organizational skills, learning how to manage multiple iterations and edits of data files so they could be referenced in the future.  I learned how to work independently and improved my problem solving while working on projects that were challenging, and sometimes over my head. Finally, I was able to practice communicating with coworkers and supervisors.

The technical skills that I developed this summer were one of the most valuable parts of this experience. Through projects such as the Shellfishing Atlas and Campus LID Map, I had to use many of the skills developed in my previous GIS classes. Furthermore, these projects required me to work outside the confines of my previous experiences and to learn new skills, often by reading tutorials and self-teaching. In programs such as Excel, which I had previously considered myself adept, I found that there was still a lot to learn, and hands on experience was the best way to do so. I consider these experiences valuable not only for the skills learned, but also in learning how to teach myself. In my career, I expect there will be times when I do not know how to solve a problem and I will need to use all the resources available to learn how to solve it.

Organizational skills, specifically in reference to managing files for GIS were one of the most practical skills that I developed. Through my own processes of trial and error, as well as through new iterations becoming available, I was often left with multiple seemingly identical files with small but vital differences. My previous nomenclature wasn’t sufficient to keep track of all these files, however several of my coworkers taught me how to build and manage file databases. This has allowed for a cleaner workflow and the ability to backtrack and reference previous steps, both important skills when working in GIS.

This internship was also a valuable experience in communication. In communicating with coworkers, supervisors

Greg using an electric screw driver to place legs on tables
Photo: Mike Dietz

and faculty members, I learned to adapt my communications to them. As someone who defaults to excessive formality, I often had to tone back and learn how to match someone else’s level. I found that the formal “Thank You, double space, sincerely, double space, signature” format lauded by schools is not always practical or necessary and that being overly formal can actually hinder clear communication.

In terms of my career goals, I don’t feel that this summer has wildly altered my trajectory, however I do feel that I have a better understanding of what to expect. Seeing the “behind the scenes” work related to securing grants and funding, as well as how this office fits into the larger body of UConn has been eye-opening. This internship was valuable in more ways that I can say, and I am confident that as I progress through my career, I will find many more instances where this experience has helped me.

Article by Gregory Desautels, CLEAR Intern Reflection

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.

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.

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.

Cost of Hay in Connecticut

hay bales on green grass
Photo: UConn CAHNR

Colder weather is setting in, and that means that livestock owners will be feeding increased amounts of hay. How is the price consumers pay for hay set? The Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy has a report, the Financial Analysis of Hay Production in Connecticut that is available for review at http://bit.ly/CostOfHay. It explains the cost of producing hay.

“Hay and grasses have lost their importance in commercial livestock operations because of substitution by various grains and oil crops like corn, sorghum, and soy. However, hay remains a primary feedstock for horses. The hay considered in this analysis is defined as dry hay in the form of small square bales. Furthermore, although hay can be made from a variety of grasses and legumes, this paper focuses on hay made from an orchard or timothy grass mix. This specific mix is a common choice among Connecticut hay producers and consumers because it is palatable for horses and is suitable for the growing conditions prevailing in much of the State.

From a broader policy perspective, hay could present an attractive option for land that is currently, or might potentially be, a part of the Connecticut Farmland Preservation Program (Connecticut Farmland Trust, 2015) but not used for farming. Therefore, understanding the financial returns associated with hay farming can provide valuable information to farmers, extension personnel, and policy makers.

The general objective of this report is to present a financial analysis for horse hay production in Connecticut using a representative farm model. The remainder of this report is organized into 5 sections. Section II provides a background concerning hay production. Section III explains the methodology used followed by the results in Section IV. The report ends with a summary and conclusion in Section V.”

Read more.

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

CEDAS Recognizes Municipalities’ ‘Best Practices Policies’

city street in Connecticut
Photo: CEDAS

CEDAS ISSUES ‘BEST PRACTICES IN LAND USE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT’ ACCREDITATION TO TWENTY-FOUR CONNECTICUT COMMUNITIES

The Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) is proud to announce that it has certified twenty-four Connecticut cities and towns as exemplifying best practices in land use and economic development. These twenty-four communities subjected themselves to a rigorous application review process that required documentation of their procedures for development projects and consideration of their economic development strategy.

This is CEDAS’s first year accrediting communities. The program, presented by sponsors Eversource and UI, was conceived as a way to recognize communities that are committed to doing economic development and at the same time, to raise the bar for excellence in the entire state. Applications were submitted from across Connecticut, with towns and cities showcasing the policies that create efficient economic development processes, target strategic business growth, and implement planning and zoning practices that thoughtfully plan for future population and community-specific needs. The 2019 application cycle opened in June and concluded on September 15th. The expectation is that other communities will follow their lead and take part in next year’s accreditation process.

This year’s certified communities are the:  Town of Bethel, Town of Bolton, City of Bridgeport, Town of Brookfield, Town of Canton, City of Groton, Town of Ellington, Town of Fairfield, Town of Farmington, City of Hartford, Town of Madison, Town of Manchester, City of Milford, City of New Haven, Town of New Milford, Town of Newtown, Town of North Haven, Town of North Stonington, City of Norwich, Town of Portland, Town of Groton, Town of West Hartford, Town of Windham, and Town of Windsor.

Awards will be presented to communities receiving 2019 ‘Best Practices in Economic Development and Land Use Planning’ accreditation at the CEDAS’ Annual Meeting on October 23rd in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This event will celebrate successful applicants, present updates on CEDAS’ activities and growth, and continue the conversation on how ‘Best Practices’ communities can showcase this designation as models for growth and as partners for future investment. To secure tickets please visit www.cedas.org.

“In order for our state to be successful at economic development, we need all levels working together and at the top of their game – local, regional, and state. The communities we are recognizing have shown a commitment to economic development and exemplify that Connecticut is open for business,” said Garrett Sheehan, this year’s President of CEDAS and CEO of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce.  This program was never intended to be a competition, but rather a way to raise our collective standards. I strongly encourage all Connecticut communities to adopt these best practices and apply for next year’s certification.”

“This program was an excellent way to recognize the existing efforts of many communities and provide great examples of best practices for others. It was an amazing collaboration and I was pleased to work on the program” said Laura Brown, UConn Extension and CEDAS Board Member.

The Best Practices program was created as a partnership with Eversource, UI, Pullman & Comley, and STV/DPM to present this accreditation as a catalyst for economic development in Connecticut. Collaborating partners include UConn Extension, the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.  Connecticut can celebrate in the fact that it has many communities that are committed to economic development and doing it right.  Staff, volunteers, and elected officials spent hours putting together their applications. Officials and volunteers organizing their community’s application also used this process as a chance to review their current policies and plans for business and community growth and as an opportunity to receive recommendations for updates and future improvements.  According to one applicant “We applied because we do have best practices, but the internal and external dialogues don’t recognize that. This designation helps change the dialogue, and gives us direction on improvements.” The Program review committee also identified initiatives and programs that represent model approaches. These existing programs will be organized to create a resource library of examples for other communities looking for successful examples.

More information about the program is available at https://www.cedas.org/Resources/CT-Best-Practices-In-Land-Use-and-Economic-Development/

CEDAS is a non-profit association of economic development professionals. The organization is managed by an all-volunteer board.  CEDAS works closely with the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) to foster economic growth in the state. CEDAS focuses networking and training opportunities for its membership.

The Connecticut Economic Development Association congratulates those communities receiving the 2019 ‘Best Practices in Economic Development and Land Use’ accreditation and aims to highlight their success and contributions to promoting Connecticut as a home for future business and community growth.

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.

Registration Open for CT Trail Symposium

trail symposium header showing person's feet walking in woods and logos of sponsors

We in Connecticut, over the last decade, have made great progress in building and connecting our trail systems.  So much so that the Connecticut Greenways Council believes now is the time to celebrate and shout about our trail systems assuring that all members of our communities can gather, recreate, relax, run errands and even commute or travel together. This year, the Symposium hopes to offer sessions that focus on engaging with state and local tourism and marketing resources as well as technology that can maximize effective delivery of your trail information.

Shout it Out! The Connecticut Trails Symposium is Thursday, October 24th at Goodwin College in East Hartford. We have a lineup of trails and tourism workshops and presenters for attendees. Registration is open – see the full agenda and register to attend at https://cttrails.uconn.edu/2019symposium/

Co-sponsors include: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), Connecticut Forest & Park Association, and Connecticut Greenways Council.