Connecticut Day at the Big E

by George Looby, DVM
Every year at the Eastern States Exposition (ESE), known regionally as the Big E, each day of the 17 day event is designated to highlight a particular state, city or organization. Wednesday, Sept. 18 was Connecticut Day with the spotlight on the many components that go to make up that which is special and unique about the Nutmeg State. An event that takes place in the afternoon highlights and rewards education at the individual level for those in a variety of levels of their personal development. The Board of Directors of the ESE is made up of members from the six New England States and it is the Connecticut Delegation of that group that chooses and rewards the winners in each category. Among the distinguished guests and speakers present were Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Commissioner of Agriculture Steven Revizcky, Commissioner of the Dept. of Economic and Community Development Catherine Smith, USDA Undersecretary of Agriculture Edward Alvoslos, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UConn Dr. Gregory Weiermann and Eleanore Provencal. Eleanore serves as the volunteer Director of the Ag in the Classroom Program for the State of Connecticut.
Eleanor Gosse, chairman of the Connecticut Trustees of the Eastern States Exposition, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies and introduced the participants who presented the awards and others who made remarks regarding the significance of this event. Each year two students are chosen to receive scholarship awards in recognition of their individual achievements in scholarship and outside activities. Presenting the awards were Eleanor Gosse, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Dr. Gregory Weidemann. This year’s recipient at the graduate level was Genevieve Flock of South Glastonbury, CT. Genevieve was unable to attend the ceremony as she left earlier in the month for her assignment in Moscow, Russia as an intern with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. At UConn she is currently in the second year of her Master’s Degree Program pursuing research on Clostridium difficile under a USDA grant. This organism is commonly seen in hospitals and is responsible for severe gastro-intestinal disease. She will be working with Russian workers and colleagues to investigate some of attributes of this organism.
This organism has no respect for international borders thus this collaborative effort has the potential for improving the quality and safety of the food supply at a variety of levels. This organism has been identified as a possible food born pathogen and her work involves the detection of the organism in ready-to-eat salads, beef, poultry and pork. More specifically she will investigate how the gas ratio in ready-to-eat salad affects C. diffcile growth. Her research is at the very cutting edge of that which is current in the area of food microbiology. Accepting the award for Genevieve was her mother Amy.
This year’s recipient of the Undergraduate Scholarship Award was Tanner Francis of Brooklyn, CT. Tanner is a life-long resident of Brooklyn, having been brought up on the family farm which was purchased by his grandfather Donald who served for many years as County Agent in Windham Country. Originally a poultry operation, it has evolved into a beef farm operated by Tanner and his two brothers with grandfather Don always ready to lend an experienced hand.
Tanner is enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in pursuit of his Bachelor’s Degree in that area with a minor in Animal Science. His current goals are to make agriculture more productive and environmentally sensitive, preserving and managing open space, forest stewardship and soil and water conservation.
Last year a new award was initiated to recognize programs developed at the elementary school level that raise the level of awareness among children of the many components that make up agriculture. With most citizens having a very minimal exposure to agriculture, these programs fill a most important void and are worthy of recognition. This year’s winner of the Ag-Science Award was Marcia Johnson, a fifth grade teacher at the John Barry Elementary School in Meriden, CT. It was with more than a little persistence and perseverance that Ms. Johnson convinced her colleagues that converting the front lawn of the school into a garden was a good idea. As is true with so many innovations, it has evolved into a resource that the entire school can use as utilize in a variety of ways.
The children are responsible for weeding and watering, including the summer months when the mettle of all true gardeners is tested. When the various crops are harvested, the children learn about preparation of fresh produce for the table. As the result of a challenge from the CNN iReports in 2010 to grow at least one thing for the table that summer, the John Barry program grew at least seven or eight. For this accomplishment, the Seed Keeper Co. presented an award to the school for creatively using a garden as an outdoor classroom, the only school in Connecticut to be so honored. The Meriden Board of Education presented the program an Exemplary Achievement Award for this project as well.
Also present was Mr. Kevin Meehan, a science teacher at the Cider Mill School in Wilton, CT who received an Honorable Mention Award. Kevin teaches third through fifth grade and has developed a garden at the school, growing snap peas followed by carrots and lettuce which are shared with the entire school. Using these crops Kevin has used their growth and maturation patterns to introduce students to a variety of science-related areas. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Kevin is a maple syrup producer, program developer and property manager at Ambler Farm.
Other Honorable Mention Recipients are Mr. David Meyer, fourth through fifth grade teacher and Ms. Karen Perachio, principal at the Columbus Elementary School in Bridgeport, CT. Also Ms. Katelyn Allen and Ms. Kelleigh Thompson, second grade teachers and Mr. Micheal Crocco, principal at the Barnard Environmental School Magnet school in New Haven, CT.
The Connecticut Trustees are to be commended for their vision in promoting and granting these awards and scholarships and the recipients duly recognized for doing their part in insuring that agriculture in Connecticut remains a growing, vibrant segment of the state’s economy.by George Looby, DVM
Every year at the Eastern States Exposition (ESE), known regionally as the Big E, each day of the 17 day event is designated to highlight a particular state, city or organization. Wednesday, Sept. 18 was Connecticut Day with the spotlight on the many components that go to make up that which is special and unique about the Nutmeg State. An event that takes place in the afternoon highlights and rewards education at the individual level for those in a variety of levels of their personal development. The Board of Directors of the ESE is made up of members from the six New England States and it is the Connecticut Delegation of that group that chooses and rewards the winners in each category. Among the distinguished guests and speakers present were Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Commissioner of Agriculture Steven Revizcky, Commissioner of the Dept. of Economic and Community Development Catherine Smith, USDA Undersecretary of Agriculture Edward Alvoslos, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UConn Dr. Gregory Weiermann and Eleanore Provencal. Eleanore serves as the volunteer Director of the Ag in the Classroom Program for the State of Connecticut.
Eleanor Gosse, chairman of the Connecticut Trustees of the Eastern States Exposition, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies and introduced the participants who presented the awards and others who made remarks regarding the significance of this event. Each year two students are chosen to receive scholarship awards in recognition of their individual achievements in scholarship and outside activities. Presenting the awards were Eleanor Gosse, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Dr. Gregory Weidemann. This year’s recipient at the graduate level was Genevieve Flock of South Glastonbury, CT. Genevieve was unable to attend the ceremony as she left earlier in the month for her assignment in Moscow, Russia as an intern with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. At UConn she is currently in the second year of her Master’s Degree Program pursuing research on Clostridium difficile under a USDA grant. This organism is commonly seen in hospitals and is responsible for severe gastro-intestinal disease. She will be working with Russian workers and colleagues to investigate some of attributes of this organism.
This organism has no respect for international borders thus this collaborative effort has the potential for improving the quality and safety of the food supply at a variety of levels. This organism has been identified as a possible food born pathogen and her work involves the detection of the organism in ready-to-eat salads, beef, poultry and pork. More specifically she will investigate how the gas ratio in ready-to-eat salad affects C. diffcile growth. Her research is at the very cutting edge of that which is current in the area of food microbiology. Accepting the award for Genevieve was her mother Amy.
This year’s recipient of the Undergraduate Scholarship Award was Tanner Francis of Brooklyn, CT. Tanner is a life-long resident of Brooklyn, having been brought up on the family farm which was purchased by his grandfather Donald who served for many years as County Agent in Windham Country. Originally a poultry operation, it has evolved into a beef farm operated by Tanner and his two brothers with grandfather Don always ready to lend an experienced hand.
Tanner is enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in pursuit of his Bachelor’s Degree in that area with a minor in Animal Science. His current goals are to make agriculture more productive and environmentally sensitive, preserving and managing open space, forest stewardship and soil and water conservation.
Last year a new award was initiated to recognize programs developed at the elementary school level that raise the level of awareness among children of the many components that make up agriculture. With most citizens having a very minimal exposure to agriculture, these programs fill a most important void and are worthy of recognition. This year’s winner of the Ag-Science Award was Marcia Johnson, a fifth grade teacher at the John Barry Elementary School in Meriden, CT. It was with more than a little persistence and perseverance that Ms. Johnson convinced her colleagues that converting the front lawn of the school into a garden was a good idea. As is true with so many innovations, it has evolved into a resource that the entire school can use as utilize in a variety of ways.
The children are responsible for weeding and watering, including the summer months when the mettle of all true gardeners is tested. When the various crops are harvested, the children learn about preparation of fresh produce for the table. As the result of a challenge from the CNN iReports in 2010 to grow at least one thing for the table that summer, the John Barry program grew at least seven or eight. For this accomplishment, the Seed Keeper Co. presented an award to the school for creatively using a garden as an outdoor classroom, the only school in Connecticut to be so honored. The Meriden Board of Education presented the program an Exemplary Achievement Award for this project as well.
Also present was Mr. Kevin Meehan, a science teacher at the Cider Mill School in Wilton, CT who received an Honorable Mention Award. Kevin teaches third through fifth grade and has developed a garden at the school, growing snap peas followed by carrots and lettuce which are shared with the entire school. Using these crops Kevin has used their growth and maturation patterns to introduce students to a variety of science-related areas. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Kevin is a maple syrup producer, program developer and property manager at Ambler Farm.
Other Honorable Mention Recipients are Mr. David Meyer, fourth through fifth grade teacher and Ms. Karen Perachio, principal at the Columbus Elementary School in Bridgeport, CT. Also Ms. Katelyn Allen and Ms. Kelleigh Thompson, second grade teachers and Mr. Micheal Crocco, principal at the Barnard Environmental School Magnet school in New Haven, CT.
The Connecticut Trustees are to be commended for their vision in promoting and granting these awards and scholarships and the recipients duly recognized for doing their part in insuring that agriculture in Connecticut remains a growing, vibrant segment of the state’s economy.

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