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Author Archives: Sara Putnam

About Sara Putnam

Sara is director of the College’s Office of Communications. She has a BA and an MA, both in English, from UConn. She is also assistant to the dean for human resources.

Five new butterfly bushes bring vibrant color and unique foliage to Proven Winners

Buddleia 'Summer Skies'

Buddleia ‘Summer Skies’

With the arrival of the new growing season quickly approaching, plant enthusiasts may choose from several new butterfly bush (Buddleia) varieties for their gardening pleasure, thanks to the College’s plant breeding work headed by Mark Brand, professor of horticulture in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture.

During the summer of 2006, doctoral graduate student Bill Smith exposed Buddleia davidii seeds to ethylmethane sulfonate (EMS) in the hope of generating some novel traits in butterfly bush. EMS is a chemical that can be used to induce a higher rate of mutations in plants. When the treated seeds were grown out in 2007, two unique individuals were identified that Brand believed were important new plants.

The first plant was a variegated individual whose leaves had a yellow edge around a dark green center. Variegated plants are always popular because the foliage adds interest even when the plant is not in bloom. The foliage variegation pattern was very stable, which is not always the case with variegated plants, and light blue flowers were also produced during the summer. After trialing this plant, Spring Meadow Nursery decided to license the new butterfly bush and include it in their Proven Winners® product line as ‘Summer Skies.’ ‘Summer Skies’ was patented (USPP 22465) and also holds Canadian Plant Breeder Rights. (more…)

Wednesday, April 26: Last CAHNR Pop-Up Store of the semester and final day of the blowout book sale!

Annuals & geraniums from UConn Blooms, maple syrup, cutting boards & magnets from the UConn Forest, and SWAG from the CAHNR Communications Store!

Cash, check, MC and Visa accepted.

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Image of the week: City of Hartford recognizes work of Natural Resources Conservation Academy student


Left to right: Associate Extension Professor Thomas Worthley, City of Hartford Fire Chief Reginald Freeman, Naieem Kelly, City of Hartford Arborist Heather Dionne.

Now in its sixth year, UConn’s Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA) has worked with more than 115 teens throughout Connecticut on ten-month individual conservation projects that have directly benefited their local community and environment. NRCA students present their conservation work to more than 300 environmental professionals at the Connecticut Conference on Natural Resources and graduate from the program as Connecticut Conservation Ambassadors.

On Monday, April 3, the City of Hartford Public Works Department and the Tree Advisory Commission presented a certificate of excellence to Naieem Kelly, a sophomore at Watkinson School and NRCA student, for his commitment to natural resource conservation and the sustainable use of the environment. Kelly partnered with Heather Dionne, City of Hartford arborist; Herb Virgo of Keney Park Sustainability; and Tom Worthley of UConn Extension and the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment to quantify the monetary value of urban trees and develop a plan to re-purpose wood from diseased or dying trees. He put his plan into action by constructing a reclaimed wood bench from a dead ash tree in Hartford’s Bushnell Park.

Kelly’s bench is on display at Hartford City Hall through April, after which it will be relocated to Bushnell Park with a plaque describing the importance of urban trees. Kelly plans to expand on his urban forestry project through his participation in UConn’s NRCA Conservation Training Partnerships program this upcoming summer.

Meet undergraduate Chelsea Santa Lucia

Chelsea Santa Lucia

Chelsea Santa Lucia

A love of horses led Chelsea Santa Lucia on her journey toward a career in equine medicine, and that same love drives her to succeed in a variety of horse-related activities. Santa Lucia began horseback riding in sixth grade and by high school was a camp counselor with City Slickers in Harwinton, Connecticut, teaching the basics of horseback riding. She will graduate in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a minor in therapeutic horsemanship. Santa Lucia was a volunteer riding instructor for students with special needs, is a member of the UConn Western Team and a riding instructor on campus, in addition to serving as a College Ambassador. Here is what she said about her experiences as a CAHNR student.

What attracted you to UConn? I loved what the animal science program had to offer. It’s great having easy access to the variety of animals right on campus. Also, on meeting with the staff, I so impressed with how friendly everyone was, and from day one how eager they were to get to know me as a student. Being only an hour away from home was another big plus. It gives me the option to go home some weekends to work at the Wolcott Veterinary Clinic and to see my family.

Why did you choose your particular major? I chose to be an animal science major because of my love for animals and desire to be a veterinarian. The animal science program offered me hands-on experience working directly with the animals my first semester, which was exactly what I was looking for. I also have a minor in therapeutic horsemanship education.

Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Last semester, as part of fulfilling my minor, I interned for the therapeutic riding program at Camp Care Inc., in Columbia, Connecticut. I LOVED it! Being an intern gave me the opportunity to work closely with children and adults of all ages, and I learned so much about the field and being a therapeutic riding instructor. It also gave me insight on how to manage a therapeutic riding program, from taking care of the horses to scheduling and teaching lessons. The children I worked with were so happy and enjoyed being able to ride, which made my time there that much better! (more…)

Research study shows eggs decrease bad cholesterol, increase good

Left to right: Maria-Luz Fernandez, Diana DiMarco and Bruno Lemos

Left to right: Maria-Luz Fernandez, Diana DiMarco and Bruno Lemos

Once maligned for raising plasma cholesterol levels, eggs are gaining favor as an inexpensive dietary source of protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and are now considered a safe addition to a healthy diet.

Diana DiMarco, PhD candidate in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, completed a clinical study on egg consumption involving thirty-seven healthy adults between the ages of eighteen and thirty, both male and female with varying diet and exercise habits. The study was funded through the Esperance Family Foundation and the Egg Nutrition Center.

“Our goal of the study was to look at a number of biomarkers for cardiovascular disease,” DiMarco says. “We wanted to get an overall picture of what was happening while eating these different numbers of eggs.”