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Sustainable landscape program works with practitioners to decrease inputs while meeting the needs of users

Victoria Wallace talks with participants at a school IPM workshop in Hamden.

Victoria Wallace talks with participants at a school IPM workshop in Hamden.

According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, sustainable landscapes are responsive to the environment, are re-generative and can actively contribute to the development of healthy communities. In practice, this means developing a program that incorporates the use of cultural practices that maintain and protect the environment while meeting the needs of users and adding to the value of the community.

Sustainable landscapes require the least amount of inputs (water, fertilizer, pesticides) necessary to support the managed area. Over-fertilizing is costly and contributes to excess nutrient runoff that affects water systems; changes in weather have illuminated the need for more drought-resistant turfgrass cultivars and landscape plants; and pesticides need to be used thoughtfully to protect the environment.

Victoria Wallace, extension educator in sustainable turf and landscapes, works with the College’s faculty in turf and plant science, particularly members of the integrated pest management (IPM) team, to provide educational programs in sustainable landscape management for grounds managers for municipalities and schools and professionals in the landscape industry.

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CAHNR in the news

newsprintSome of CAHNR’s people, places and programs made the news recently. The bolded topics are linked to initial media coverage. The roman text links go to additional information.

UConn Magazine. Summer ’17. Highlighted many facets of CAHNR and UConn Extension in “The Next Generation of Farming” article. CAHNR Interim Dean and Director Cameron Faustman and Department of Extension Associate Cooperative Extension Educator Jiff Martin were quoted. A photo of students Marisa Kaplita and Macario Rodrigues illustrated the piece. In addition, students Anthony Chiozzi, Gabriel DeRosa, Marisa Kaplita, Nick Laskos, Tierney Lawlor and Macario Rodrigues were introduced as the “new faces of farming.” See also UConn Today. 6-20-17.

UConn Magazine. Summer ’17. Put James Gagliardi, a plant science and landscape architecture alumnus, in its alumni spotlight. The article described Gagliardi’s horticultural career at the Smithsonian Gardens in Washington, DC and mentioned Ruby Ribbons™ switch grass, a patented and trademarked ornamental grass bred by Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture Professor Mark Brand. (more…)

College faculty plan international collaborations at networking event in Cuba

While the future of US foreign policy remains unclear, the warming of relations with Cuba under the Obama administration produced an opportunity for US scientists and researchers to connect with their Cuban neighbors. Associate Professor Tania Huedo-Medina of the Department of Allied Health Sciences recognized the benefit of shared knowledge and the advancements that could be achieved through the formation of partnerships with Cuba. She created the Cuba Research Initiative to pair the University of Connecticut with several Cuban institutions to facilitate an exchange of ideas and establish joint research ventures. Multiple trips by UConn representatives have forged memoranda of understanding and these formalized relationships are now shaping into potential projects.

The UConn faculty at ICA

Ana Legrand, Guillermo Risatti, Steven Zinn and Hedley Freake (left to right) at the Institute of Animal Science.

College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) faculty members spent a week in Cuba in January 2017 for a networking event to outline possible partnerships. Guillermo Risatti, an associate professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, led the group. He was accompanied by Professor Ana Legrand of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and UConn Extension, Professor Hedley Freake of the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Professor Steven Zinn, head of the Department of Animal Science. Aviana Rosen, former project coordinator for the Cuba Research Initiative, also traveled with the group. With a focus on agriculture and animal science, they met with representatives from the Institute of Animal Science (ICA) National Center for Agricultural Health (CENSA), National Institute for Agricultural Sciences (INCA) and the Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH). The group discussed specific areas in their respective disciplines that would benefit from collaboration as well as broad initiatives, including forming study abroad opportunities and assisting with the publication of journals to share US and Cuban research. The individual CAHNR departments and UConn Global Affairs provided funding for the trip. (more…)

Students concur; he was born to teach

SMobley_Headshot

Stacey Mobley

In a research university setting, the importance of teaching could fade into the background. Lecturer Stacey Mobley’s inner drive will not allow that to happen in his academic career. The Department of Nutritional Sciences faculty member works year-round to keep teaching in focus because he says, “I was born to teach.” High scores on his evaluations seem to back that up.

Because “teaching college students is a privilege” for him, Mobley says he wants to take on as many classes as possible. His enthusiasm is evident as he accommodates up to seven classes, which attract from eight to 120 graduate or undergraduate students.

Mobley’s interest in those he teaches continues outside the classroom, as well, when many students stop by his office in the Jones building to ask for help or advice. “They call me ‘coach’,” he said, “especially when motivation lags near the end of the semester.”

“Dr. Mobley always made time to meet with students and go over any concerns we had. He wants students to do well and to learn, and he tailors the way he teaches to each student, which makes him an amazing and extremely dedicated professor,” said Kristen DeVitto, a May 2017 nutritional sciences graduate who said she has been in all of Mobley’s classes. (more…)

Awards and accolades for CAHNR

Awards and accoladesRecently, some of CAHNR’s faculty, staff and students (in bold type) were selected for awards that recognize their accomplishments.

The Fulbright Program selects scholars for their academic merit and leadership potential, with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Plant Science and Landscape Architecture Professor Emeritus Carol Auer is a Fulbright Scholar for the 2016-17 academic year. Auer will lecture and perform research into “Advancing Biosecurity and Bioethics Knowledge in Ecuador” at the University of San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. (more…)