Manages/coordinates activities of the UConn Home & Garden Education Center and the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory.
The UConn Home and Garden Education Center addresses the needs of Connecticut residents on a wide variety of topics including horticulture, soil testing, home pest control, environmental/pesticide issues and food safety. Clients are educated in best management practices for pest control, soil and water quality, and plant cultural techniques. The goal of the Center is to be a highly respected and visible education outreach program by providing accurate, thorough and timely information to the citizens of Connecticut. The Center supports the Master Gardener Coordinators in the 8 counties and at the Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford by supplying program instructors and diagnostic assistance. The Center also administrates the UConn Master Composter Program. In 2006, the Center opened the UConn Plant Diagnostic Laboratory, currently managed by Joan Allen, and which currently participates in National Plant Diagnostic Network. The toll-free (in CT) number for the Center is (877) 486-6271 or visit www.ladybug.uconn.edu.
The UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory functions dually, as an educational center that focuses on soil, soil fertility and soil contamination issues and as a service laboratory that offers soil fertility testing to commercial agriculture producers, the green industry, homeowners and researchers. Starting in 2007, the laboratory began testing soils for lead. Our goal is to increase the public’s awareness of the benefits of soil testing and the necessity of environmentally sound soil fertility management programs. The lab also functions as a teaching resource where CANR graduate students learn to run their samples on sophisticated equipment and as a base for numerous outreach activities. www.soiltest.uconn.edu
Activities to implement the goals of both facilities include educational presentations, press releases, fact sheets, displays, laboratory upgrades and protocol development, UConn Master Composter Program, UConn Master Gardener and Advanced Master Gardener Programs, television and radio, weekly newspaper columns, websites, free plant and soil pH clinics at events like the CT Flower & Garden Show, quarterly printed newsletter, weekly blog, monthly e-updates and development and participation in activities such as the UConn Garden Conference and the College’s Fall Cornucopia celebration.
2010 CNLA Accreditation Program, Citation for service, 2010
2005 - present Assistant Cooperative Extension Educator, Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut.
1998-2005 Manager, Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory, Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut.
1989-2003 Newspaper columnist, Southbridge Evening News, Southbridge, MA.
1999 National Future Farmers of America. Citation for service.
1989-1998 Extension Technician, Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory, University of Mass, Amherst, MA
1988-1989 Horticulturist/Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Worcester County Cooperative Extension, Worcester, MA.
1986-1988 Horticulturist, Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, MA.
1988 Exotic Cage Bird Society of New England. Citation for service.
CNLA Green Industry Trade School Committee, Chairman
Soil Science Society of Southern New England, Professional Member
Gamma Sigma Delta
CPTV Family Science Expo Advisory Board Member
Women in Soil Science
Connecticut Community Garden Association, 2 Year Board Member at Large
Charlton Garden Club, Secretary, Public Relations Committee
St. Mary’s Parish, Bazaar Committee
CT Northeast Organic Farming Association
Lead in Soils – Presently involved with CT Community Gardening Association and New Haven Urban Ag Working Group to assess lead and other heavy metal contents in community garden and other sites in CT and develop strategies to limit contamination. Previously, co-PI on grant to assess bioremediation of lead on a heavily contaminated site in CT.
Continuing to develop laboratory methodology to expand the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory’s analytical capabilities resulting in an expansion of our abilities to educate the public about sustainable nutrient management practices.
Lead in Community Gardens Project – Assisting the CT Community Gardening Association and the CT Agricultural Experiment Station with assessing lead and other heavy metals in community gardens throughout CT.
Lead Bioremediation Project - Currently co-PI on grant to assess the potential of bioremediation of lead on a heavily lead contaminated site in CT.
Developing Laboratory Methodology to expand the Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory’s offerings and, therefore, our ability to educate the public about sustainable nutrient management.
UConn Master Composter Program – Developed, coordinate and teach some sections the UConn Master Composter Program to approximately 20 – 25 adult education students each year since 2009. Master Composter interns/volunteers learn about composting methods and techniques and are required to engage in outreach activities that educate the general public about composting.
UConn Master Gardener Program – Teach an all-day session on ‘Soils, Plant Nutrition and Soil Fertility’ given at 5 CT locations annually, 1999 to present.
UConn Advanced Master Gardener Program – intermittently requested to present 2 hour classes on a variety of topics such as the Soil Food Web, Soil Test Interpretation, Composting and Fertilizers, 2001 to present.
Massachusetts Horticultural Society Master Gardener Program – Teach an all-day session on ‘Soils and Fertilizers’ 2000 to present. Elm Bank, Dover, MA
CT Landscape and Nurserymen’s Association accredited education program – Teach sessions on ‘Introduction to Soil Science’ and ‘Plant Nutrition and Fertilizers’ Southington, CT. 2003 to present.
CT Envirothon – Participant in national program coordinated by the USDA, NRCS that involves annual training of participating high school students/teachers/advisors about the properties and types of soils in Connecticut. 2003 to present. UConn hosted the 2008 Soils and Forestry training workshop. Also assist with State Envirothon Competition each spring.
UMass Green School. Presented an ‘Introduction to Soils’ to participants in Milford, MA from 2004 to 2010.
UConn Home & garden News – Managing editor/author of fee-based, bimonthly, printed subscription newsletter with home and horticulture articles written by College personnel.
UConn Ladybug Blog – Initiator of a weekly horticulture blog at www.uconnladybug.wordpress.com and part of weekly posting rotation along with other UConn Home & Garden Education Center staff.
UConn Home & Garden Education Center Monthly e-update – Author of monthly horticultural updates that are electronically sent to more than 1000 (as of 12/13) readers. Link to it on: www.ladybug.uconn.edu.
UConn Knowledge to Grow On weekly newspaper column – Author of 2 gardening-related articles per month for the Center’s weekly newspaper column published in 4 CT newspapers with a circulation of about 300,000.
Appearances on TV shows as requested including Martha Stewart Living, The Fox Report, NBC-30, Channel 8 News and the History Channel.