University of Connecticut

Camelina, from seed to harvest in under 3 minutes


Click on the photo to watch Camelina sativa being successfully grown in Connecticut.

Sometimes the introduction of useful plants can create unexpected problems, such as new weeds or invasive plants. In order to predict the potential impacts of a useful crop, Carol Auer, a professor in UConn’s Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, is studying Camelina sativa. Scientists are engineering this annual plant for novel traits to produce biofuels or omega-3 fatty acids for dietary supplements.

To understand the potential for Connecticut, Auer planted a camelina field in 2014 to study its growth, seed yield and pollen movement. The attached video captures the process from planting the seeds in early May to harvesting in late July. Auer said, “When this camelina research is completed, the results will be useful for weed risk assessments, regulatory decisions, farm production and land management.” Members of the UConn research team included Vernie Sagun, a postdoctoral research scientist, and Richard Rizzitello, a graduate student.

Countdown to Cornucopia!

cfestlogoThe tents are up and it’s coming! Join us for Cornucopia Fest 2014 this Sunday, September 21, 2014, in Storrs, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Do the Cornucopia Challenge, test your strength compared to the wind’s, play Supermarket Scramble, run the 5K, paint a pumpkin, breathe your way to better health, build a Roman aqueduct from Legos, get your soil’s pH tested,  take a hayride, bid on a Block Island getaway, have your sick plants diagnosed, enjoy the chicken BBQ and an ice cream cone … Phew!  Click here for links to information on activities, scheduled events, location and maps of the area and the event.



What every Connecticut resident needs to understand about UConn Extension

By Jennifer Riggs
UConn Extension volunteer
Chair, Centennial Committee

I wish UConn Extension was not the best-kept secret in the state. It’s time everybody knew what a tremendous resource Extension is. Congress established the Cooperative Extension System as a national network in 1914 to tie university research to real life. UConn Extension programs have evolved over time, and as our state has changed, so has Extension to meet new and emerging needs. One hundred years after its inception, UConn Extension continues to impact the lives of our citizens statewide as it did 100 years ago.

The Smith lever Act came out of Congress to help communities grow better crops and plants, use land more wisely and provide safer food. It began by engaging youth through 4-H, their parents through adult education and farmers through training in cropping systems and business management. Those concepts still hold today but it has gone beyond rural agriculture and into urban audiences. These are “university” students in the community who still have concerns about growing food in a variety of ways, still have concerns about how we use our land and now more than ever, want information about food safety and nutrition. (more…)

Historical image of the week

Ladies with flowers

Eleanor Herta Mbalala and Cora Webb, Home Demonstration Agent, Tolland County Extension Service

Meet undergraduate Sumia Hussain


Sumia Hussain

From the moment she arrived at UConn, Sumia Hussain dedicated her college career to empowering others. The allied health sciences major founded a student organization, interned abroad and planned many on-campus events. Now, Sumia hopes to continue this pattern of leadership and service to others as she graduates in the spring and enters the public health field. Here is what she said in an interview.

What attracted you to UConn? Growing up in Connecticut, I constantly heard about UConn. I attended many events that were hosted by the Pakistani Community at UConn (PCUC) and performances at Jorgenson Center for the Performing Arts. However, I still did not plan to attend UConn until my Husky-for-a-Day visit. I fell in love with UConn that day. I loved seeing how engaged, involved and spirited students are on campus. I was also lucky enough to receive the Day of Pride Scholarship and be accepted into the Honors Program. The Honors Program gave me the opportunity to have a small college experience at a large university. (more…)