UConn

CVMDL Identifies Asian Longhorned Tick Submitted from NY

Adult Asian Longhorn Tick dorsal view
Photo: Holly McGinnis and Maureen Sims, UConn CVMDL

The Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL) at UConn is reporting the identification of the Asian longhorned tick. This is the first time that CVMDL has identified this tick species. The ticks were submitted to CVMDL for identification and testing from the State of New York. Our laboratory notified New York State Animal and Public Health officials of the findings. This information was also reported to the USDA per regulations.

Ticks are disease-carrying arachnids that reside in moist areas, such as long grass and the leaf litter, and will latch onto humans and animals alike. Although there are many different species of ticks, people generally think of one tick species in particular when worrying about illness: the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). While the Deer tick is predominantly known for transmitting the agent that causes Lyme disease (the corkscrew-shaped bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi), it can also carry other disease-causing agents. A single tick can transmit more than one infectious agent.

Identification of the Asian longhorned tick at CVMDL is significant because it means their population is increasing and that presents another public health concern. Asian longhorned ticks are not traditionally found in the Western Hemisphere but were first identified here in 2017.

Although Asian longhorned ticks are not as attracted to humans as pets and livestock, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and scientists at UConn’s CVMDL encourage people to take precautions against the tick. We are still uncertain of the diseases the Asian longhorned tick carries and spreads. The CDC offers guidelines to help people prevent tick bites.

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 learn how to submit a tick test at https://bit.ly/HowToTestTick.

Pasta Salad – A Healthy Recipe with Dianisi Torres

Dianisi Torres of our UConn Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) makes a healthy pasta salad with you using ingredients from the Dollar Store. The presentation is in English and Spanish.

Dianisi Torres, de nuestro programa Educación Alimentaria y Nutricional Expandida de la Extension de UConn, conocido como EFNEP, prepara una ensalada de pasta saludable con usted utilizando los ingredientes de la tienda de Dólar. La presentación es en Inglés y Español.

Green Farms Academy At UConn Environmental Action Day

Climate Change Challenge Winner Spotlight:
Greens Farms Academy

We were fortunate enough to have Greens Farms Academy’s Middle School Green Team attend our Environmental Action day event.

Here is a short video about their experience at the summit:

Find more at:

https://www.gfacademy.org/about/gfa-blog/single-post-gfa-blog/~board/sustainability-2019/post/cross-divisional-climate-action-planning

Healthy Family Connecticut

family in front of a houseInterested in more nutrition information for you and your family? The Healthy Family Connecticut
website from the UConn Department of Allied Health Sciences offers many science-based and
nutrition resources for you and your family to stay healthy that are offered in both English and
Spanish. Resources are offered for Parents of Toddlers, Preschool Aged Children, Middle-
School Aged Children, and more!
There are flyers, videos, and even a fun game available for the whole family to enjoy. Some of
the information provided includes:
● Eat the Rainbow
● Sugar Sweetened Beverages and You
● Snack Recipes
● Sippy Cup Use
● Physical Activity
● Reducing Screen Time
● Sleep
● Making Less Waste
The website and resources are made possible through three grants, the Child Health and
Development Institute of Connecticut, Hatch Funding from the Storrs Agricultural Experiment
Station in the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, and the SNAP-Ed
Program. The SNAP-Ed Program based in the UConn Department of Allied Health Sciences
reaches thousands of participants through educational nutrition sessions for people of all
different ages. These educational sessions focused on increasing consumption of fruits and
vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains, while decreasing consumption of sugar sweetened
beverages. Other program goals are increasing physical activity, offering cooking
demonstrations, and more. More information on our program can be found on the website:
https://healthyfamilyct.cahnr.uconn.edu/.
The SNAP-Ed program is also part of UConn CAHNR Extension. Extension has more than 100
years’ experience strengthening communities in Connecticut and beyond. Extension programs
address the full range of issues set forth in CAHNR’s strategic initiatives:
● Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
● Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
● Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
● Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate.
Programs delivered by Extension reach individuals, communities, and businesses in each of
Connecticut’s 169 municipalities.

Learn more at:

https://healthyfamilyct.cahnr.uconn.edu/.

Plant Diagnostic Lab Offers Hot Water Seed Treatment

Our Plant Diagnostic Laboratory now offers hot water seed treatment. What is it? Watch Abby Beissinger, our plant diagnostician, explain how hot water seed treatment works and can help you.

Hot water seed treatment is supported in part by a UConn CAHNR Innovation in Extension Programming Award and a grant from the New England Vegetable & Berry Growers Association. The Plant Diagnostic Laboratory is currently closed due to the university closure for COVID-19 but will accept seeds for treatment when we re-open. The Plant Diagnostic Laboratory is a service of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and Extension.

Video: Mike Zaritheny – https://www.mzaritheny.com/

Applications are Open for NRCA Program

nrca students in water

Applications are now open for the UConn Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA).

The NRCA engages high school students and adult volunteers in environmental education and service learning. Participants explore natural resource science and carry out a local conservation project in/around their own towns throughout Connecticut.

View these short videos about the NRCA Conservation Ambassador Program and Conservation Training Partnerships program.

Visit http://nrca.uconn.edu/ to learn more and apply.

Questions? Contact Amy Cabaniss (amy.cabaniss@uconn.edu, 486-5239) or Nicole Freidenfelds (nicole.freidenfelds@uconn.edu, 486-6933)

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.

Winter Riding Lessons at UConn Start January 8th

horse sticking its nose through the fence to greet a person
Photo: UConn

The Department of Animal Science is offering the Winter Riding Program beginning January 8th and registration is now open!  This would make a great gift for the equestrian on your list or yourself!  Space is limited so reserve your spot today! 

Please visit http://s.uconn.edu/uconnwinterriding for more information including registration forms.

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.