After a day dominated by time clocks, buzzers, science judges and the powers of quick recall of all things related to the ocean, the team from the Science and Technology Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut gushed with unfettered joy.
“Now we’ll be able to go to the nationals and compete again,” said team Captain Alex Matthews, beaming after his team claimed the first win for the New London school in the six years it’s been competing in the annual Quahog Bowl. “It’s such a fun competition.”
All the intense mental focus required for the daylong competition against 15 other teams from Connecticut and Rhode Island gave way to hugs, high-fives and arms raised in victory for the team of Christopher Bowens, Aidan Desjardins, Derek Raymond, Michael Reilly and Matthews, coached by Charles Mulligan. School Director Laurelle Texidor was also on hand to congratulate the team, sharing high-fives with the students after the win.
Big things are happening with farm to school in New London. The school district has a team of administrators, teachers, principals, non-profit organizations, and FoodCorps service members who are working towards one shared goal: “Every New London student will graduate educated and empowered to grow food, eat well, and live a healthy life.”
The folks working toward this goal and leading the initiatives are innovative and inspiring. Food Service Director Sam Wilson has been essential in sourcing local produce for her meal programs. She’s partnered with FoodCorps for four years now, to enhance the healthy school environment with hands-on nutrition and garden lessons. New this school year is an exciting collaboration with Brigaid. Brigaid is placing professional chefs in New London cafeterias, making school lunch more like fine dining—real plates, new recipes, and more scratch cooking.
This new effort, coupled with our service members seems to be a winning recipe (pun intended). Our two corps members in New London, Jess and Katie, are creating an interactive cafeteria environment. They know that if students experience new foods in some way—through tasting it, cooking it, or growing it—they are more likely to eat it and enjoy it. So, as the chefs start to roll out new recipes like roasted tomato soup and seasoned watermelon, students are giving feedback that is considered before the final product makes it onto the menu. At the same time, Jess and Katie are also creating interactive lessons and activities to expand upon students’ knowledge of where food comes from and how it grows. This leaves students feeling excited and empowered to make healthy meal choices on their own!
CLEAR’s Extension faculty have long used maps to educate land use decision makers and the public about Connecticut’s landscape and natural resources. The Connecticut’s Changing Landscape (CCL) research project has been the foundation of the education. CCL is a series of satellite-derived land cover maps for six dates between 1985 and 2010 (2105 is coming soon) that includes 12 classes such as development, turf, agricultural field and forest.
Although the CCL website has evolved with time and technology, it has always strived to integrate the graphic, quantitative and geospatial information in easy to access ways – virtually the same MO of the Story Map. Story maps easily integrate text, multi-media like photos and video, graphics and of course, interactive maps in one, contained interface.
CLEAR’s extension faculty were energized and began to implement loads of CCL information into CLEAR’s first Story Map – Connecticut’s Changing Landscape. It is an ideal way to boil down the inherently complex information including combinations of land cover categories, time intervals, derivatives and scales.
UConn Extension recently completed an EFNEP program in collaboration with the Norwalk Health
Department at a local community garden called Fodor Farm. The Norwalk Citizen
highlighted the program. Read more about it on the Norwalk Citizen website.
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