In October the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut, Storrs, held Cornucopia 2016. This event was designed to showcase the multiple components of the College in a setting suitable for early fall, that of a country fair.
Students, faculty and staff all contributed their time and talent to make this event the success that it was. Every school department and section within the College contributed something of real value to all of those who attended.
Not only were there exhibits on the lawn but also demonstrations at the Horse Arena put on by the Equestrian Team featuring the UConn Drill Team, Western, Hunt Seat, Dressage and Driving Teams. For visitors interested there was a bus trip to the Spring Valley Student Farm. Another bus tour was to the state-of-the art UConn composting facility where suitable material generated by the campus community is composted and used for a variety of on-campus uses.
A guided tour through the UConn Forest led by faculty members from the Dept. of Natural Resources and the Environment. Guided tours were also conducted through the Floriculture Greenhouse demonstrating some of the research being conducted in that facility.
The UConn Dairy Bar has achieved regional acclaim for the ice cream it manufactures in its on-campus plant. This crowd pleaser had a dedicated booth on the lawn, surely one of the top attractions of the day.
The Connecticut Poultry Association set up a grill to barbecue chicken, plus all of the fixings to meet the needs of those in need of a mid-day meal.
The Presentation Tent served as the site for a variety of talks and demonstrations. One lecture dealt with raptor rehabilitation and education, another with therapy dogs and yet another with reptiles and amphibians.
This was a day devoted to education and with that comes quizzes and exams. After chatting with individuals manning the booths attendees were often challenged to take a quiz that related to the subject being presented. This was sometimes a humbling experience.
Included in the live demonstrations was the best way the handle a chicken using live birds from the university flock.
One tent was devoted to plant sales with the proceeds benefiting the College’s Alumni Endowed Scholarship Fund. Attendees were invited to bring a half a cup of soil from their home garden or lawn for a free pH test and lime recommendations and if they had plants that were doing poorly the staff plant pathologist was available to make a diagnosis on how to manage it.
The identification and control of invasive plants is a big part of the UConn Integrated Pest Management Program and here one had the opportunity to learn how to identify invasive plants and what can be done to control them. Another quiz was offered to test your identification skills after carefully studying the material on display.
One of the departments of the College is the Department of Pathobiology where a team of skilled scientists study and diagnose a whole range of animal diseases found within the state and provide instruction to students with a variety of professional goals. The Department’s display provided information on tick borne diseases with event goers able to view the various carrier ticks up close and personal through a microscope. With the high incidence of tick borne diseases in the state, it attracted some serious interest.
October is hurricane season in the northeast with winter snows not far behind so the question asked by the staff was each individuals level of preparedness if a big one were to hit the state. If a casual yes was the response it was more than likely that respondent had some serious work to do when he/she got home. Checklists were made available so that everyone could get their house in order.
Students from the School of Pharmacy circulated through the crowd encouraging them to be sure they got their flu vaccinations.
The dumpsters of the Farmington River Valley provide some of the finest pickings for bears to be found anywhere. The bears have adapted to the suburban setting and now the human population must learn the dos and don’ts of co-existing with these once uncommon creatures to avoid accidents of any kind. The people in Wildlife Management provided some useful tips as to how to achieve this.
Education is the product offered at the top of the list for the Storrs campus. Not only the classroom format, but a host of programs delivered to the citizens of the state by the Extension Service. It is safe to say that few walked away from the displays and presentations not feeling considerably richer for the experience.
When late summer rolls around next year it would be advisable to watch for news of Cornucopia 2017, it is one event not to be missed.