We all can do our part for the planet

The First HardCORE CT Apple Challenge

The First HardCORE CT Apple Challenge with Put Local On Your Tray!

hardcore apple challengeOctober is special for a few reasons. Everyone is getting back in the swing of things at school, the foliage outstanding, and the many varieties of delicious crisp apples are ripening atop trees in orchards across the state. The combination makes a perfect time of year to celebrate National Farm to School Month, CT Grown for CT Kids Week, and a new campaign known as the HardCORE CT Apple Challenge  coordinated by Put Local On Your Tray to celebrate CT grown products, and continuously encourage the importance and connectivity of food education. Put Local on Your Tray is a collaborative Farm to School project that assists interested Connecticut school districts to serve, educate, and celebrate regionally grown produce.

The campaign coordinated by Put Local On Your Tray was made public to anyone who wanted to participate and utilize the resources. All schools and school districts in Connecticut were encouraged to participate by sourcing local apples during the month of October, and placing signage so students and staff know where they came from. For students to take the challenge, there were three ways to participate. First, you could eat a CT Grown apple all the way down to it’s core. Second, you could try two different types of CT Grown apples and compare tastes. Third, you could take a trip to a local apple orchard to see how they really grow. Or even better, all three!

On the ground, with reports from our partners at FoodCorps Connecticut, there were so many different ways CT kids celebrated the HardCORE CT Apple Challenge. There was New Britain’s Gaffney Elementary Garden Club students challenging each other to see who could eat a local apple from Belltown Orchards in South Glastonbury totally down to the core, after learning all about the importance of seeds. At Meriden public schools, students enjoyed a special afternoon comparing the tastes of Fuji and Paula Red apples and voted at lunch what they liked best, realizing that not all apples are exactly the same. There was a field trip taken to Auerfarm in Bloomfield with Breakthrough Magnet School in Hartford, where students had the opportunity to pick and taste some of the apples grown right there on the farm, solidifying their understanding of how exactly apples come to be. Overall, there is a newfound appreciation going around in our schools for an idyllic CT crop – the apple.

There was lots of support from many partner organizations including the Connecticut Farm to School Collaborative, who helped create the concept of the campaign. The Collaborative consists of a group of nonprofit and state-agency representatives working to advance farm to school at the state level through policy, communications, and programming. The CT Apple Marketing Board, the USDA, and FoodCorps Connecticut all promoted the HardCORE Apple Campaign, with the promotion excitingly gaining national recognition in the USDA online newsletter, The Dirt, as something to look check out for the month of October.

Mike Koch, Food Service Director for New Britain Public Schools, is pleased to have the materials provided by the Local Tray Program. “We appreciate the efforts of the various groups that assist us with marketing and promotions of our locally sourced products. UConn Extension and FoodCorps have been integral partners to promote activities such as taste tests and local produce celebrations. We have been able to get students to try and appreciate new and different foods, and to step outside of their comfort zone. When we did an applesauce taste test using apples grown from Belltown Orchards in Glastonbury, the students began to realize this is food grown close to their neighborhood. When they make this connection, everyone wins; the student, the food service department, the school district, and the farm.”

Mike is just one of the Food Service Directors who has signed up to take the local pledge for his district this year. There are currently 30 districts that signed up so far to participate in the Put Local on Your Tray Program for the 2017-18 school year all over the state. The program is open to any interested school district, charter school, or private school. Go online to sign up to take the pledge to have at least one local Tray day this year. Sign up today if your school hasn’t already! We are gaining momentum and have many developments in store for this year, including two new poster designs to be released online soon! For more information after this date, please contact molly.putlocalonyourtray@gmail.com.

To stay informed with what is happening with the Tray project yourself, you can sign up for our monthly newsletter. You can also Like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram @putlocalonyourtray. For more information please visit http://putlocalonyourtray.uconn.edu or call 860-870-6932. Put Local On Your Tray is a project of UConn Extension, in partnership with the CT State Department of Education, FoodCorps Connecticut, and New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC).

Keep on crunching, Connecticut!

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Predicting slum dwellers’ deprivations from space: a pilot study on Dhaka

Co-authors:
Christian Borja-Vega, Economist, the World Bank’s Water Global Practice
Amit Patel, Assistant Professor. University of Massachusetts Boston’s McCormack Graduate School for Policy and Global Studies

 
One of the most pressing development challenges we face in today’s world of rapid urbanization is how to respond to the unmet demand for basic infrastructure services, like adequate housing, clean water, and sanitation. Half of the world’s population lives in cities and close to 1 billion live in slums. Megacities in developing countries are growing faster than ever, mostly in an unplanned way. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is particularly challenged due to congestion, poor infrastructure and regular flooding during heavy rainfall. In fact, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, it was ranked almost at the bottom of the list of the world’s livable cities, number 137 out of 140.
 
When looking at approaches to and impacts of ways to upgrade slums, a challenge is often a lack of adequate data, particularly a lack of spatial data. Tools like Google Maps, now so ubiquitous in our daily lives, rarely cover growing, unplanned settlements. Conducting household surveys are useful, but they are expensive and not frequently updated. This is a problem when trying to map a dynamic and elusive slum, whose very definition is controversial and context-specific.
 
So what is the solution? It turns out that using earth observation (EO) data – that is, information obtained through remote sensing instruments, such as satellites – may help to address this critical data gap. It is already being used in many other applications, from recognizing cross-border territories in disputes, tracking wildlife, locating hazards and disasters, to identifying migration patterns.
 
Over the past two decades, the temporal and spatial resolution of earth observation imagery has increased dramatically. Along with such imagery, advanced algorithms can be used to detect and describe slums, answering critical questions:

  1. Where are slums/informal settlements located?
  2. How do their appearances change over time?
  3. Do they present spatial characteristics incompatible with basic infrastructure supply (living space, water and sanitation, roads and safety from natural hazards)?

With an eye towards using innovative data analytics for development impact in slums,  we launched a pilot in Dhaka under the ‘Water Supply and Sanitation in Rapid Urbanization’ umbrella about a year ago. We worked in collaboration with the WASH Poverty Diagnostic team in Bangladesh, the European firm GiSat, a member of a EO4SD Urban consortium working with the European Space Agency (ESA), and researchers from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Preliminary results of the study have been presented (see video and slides), explaining how the information of in-depth household surveys can be complemented with geoinformation captured remotely for Dhaka slums.
 
The Details

In our approach, several EO-derived indicators feed into a statistical model to predict an index of household deprivation called Slum Severity Index (SSI). The SSI captures the needs of slum residents for: a) access to safe water, d) access to adequate sanitation, b) durable housing construction, c) sufficient living space, e) security of tenure, and f) metered electricity.
 
Here are some examples of insights obtained from the preliminary analysis of combined EO and survey response data in Dhaka:

  • As the distance from central business district and from major roads increases, the lack of water or electricity increases (known as “peripheralization of slums” phenomenon)
  • Where the percentage of high density residential urban fabric increases, housing deprivation also increases
  • The indicators for building density (e.g. average dwelling size and distance between buildings) are associated with worsening housing and basic services

Mapping these deprivation indicators, and identifying the degree to which they intersect, could help make the prioritization of ways to upgrade slums easier. Citywide programs are not always feasible, so gaining spatial awareness of unmet needs can benefit local governments and utilities to identify the most under-served neighborhoods or to tackle critical bottlenecks, such as tenure insecurity. In addition, this approach can bring valuable information at a fraction of the cost, even with small sample surveys, that could be used to inform the design of complex operations.
 
This initiative is still in progress and we are disseminating the results and tweaking the methodology so it can be used in more cities. The sky is the limit on how far we can develop this to help identify needs and combat poverty.
 
For comments or suggestions on potential applications of the approach, please contact Luisa M. Mimmi and Christian Borja-Vega.

Fig 1 Informal settlements in Dhaka, classified by density, shape & context

Source: EO4SD Urban consortium. 2017. “Service Operations Report – Dhaka”. (Internal document)

Fig 2 Example of slum communities’ locations as derived from WASH-POV

Source: Gisat, 2017.
Note: Slum areas (pink polygons) and buffers around slum communities’ location
(purple circles)

Fig 3 Proportion of Informal Settlements/Slum Areas in flood prone areas with high risk as of 2017 (left) and flooded areas for the historical remarkable flooding event in 2004 (right).

Source: EO4SD Urban consortium. 2017. “Service Operations Report – Dhaka”. (Internal document)

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Nutrition Education in Windham County

By Dianisi Torres

dried apple

Photo: National Center for Home Food Preservation

This has been an exceptionally busy year for Nutrition Education. In addition to the EFNEP (Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program) being held at public schools and libraries including Windham, Moosup, Putnam, North Grosvenor Dale, and Killingly, the SNAP Ed program offers nutrition assistance to millions of low income families in need. The EFNEP educator works in collaboration with non-profit organizations as Cooking Matters offering nutrition and cooking workshops for adults which is taught in Spanish and English. Another non-profit program is CLiCK, Inc. located in Willimantic. EFNEP collaborates every year with CLiCK offering summer programs for children, youth and adult cooking classes using fresh vegetables from the CLiCK community garden that the Willimantic students have grown. We hope to offer even more programs in the coming year. For more information, contact Dianisi Torres at: dianisi.torres@uconn.edu

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Planning for disaster: forecasting the impact of floods in South Asia’s river basins

Co-authors:
William Young, Lead Water Resources Management Specialist, the World Bank  
Thomas Hopson
Ankit Avasthi

 

Download the Report in the World Bank’s
Open Knowledge Repository

The Ganges Basin in South Asia is home to some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. Annual floods during monsoon season cause widespread human suffering and economic losses. This year, torrential rains and catastrophic floods affected more than 45 million people, including 16 million children. By 2030, with ongoing climate change and socioeconomic development, floods may cost the region as much as $215 billion annually.

A new report, Flood Risk Assessment and Forecasting for the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna River Basins, summarizes two recent initiatives aiming to reduce these flood losses: a flood risk assessment for the Ganges Basin and an improved flood forecasting system for the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins.


Flooding in the Ganges Basin: What is at Risk and Where?

The new flood risk assessment provides, for the first time, a numbers-based view of the impact of floods across the Ganges Basin. Its primary purpose is to identify where flood risks are unacceptably high and where mitigation measures are required to tackle those risks — for example, by relocating levees, helping people move to lower-risk areas, improving flood forecasting and warning systems, or boosting overall economic resilience.

The assessment has information on the numbers and distribution of people at risk, as well as the value and distribution of buildings, roads, railways, and crops at risk.

An atlas provides easy-to-use risk maps and tables. For India, this information is also consolidated in a GIS-based online portal with interactive risk maps for states, districts, and blocks.

This type of information is essential to identifying flood-prone areas and then wisely planning for the use of those areas. Knowing where rivers flood and where people live, work, and travel helps decision-makers visualize the impacts of floods in different locations. That view in turn helps people to identify high-priority areas for urgent action and to design community-based strategies to minimize flood losses and capitalize on the benefits of floods.

Legislators, for example, might use the information to seek out communities with large numbers of people at risk and provide funding to build more evacuation shelters in safe places.

Highway planners might see that roads to key hospitals are at risk and then work to elevate them.

Insurance agencies might use the data to help decide how much to charge for crop-insurance premiums.

And when torrential rains fall and floodwaters threaten, emergency personnel can use the information to target their warning messages to best help the people whose lives and property are at risk.

In short, the new Ganges flood risk assessment is a key tool for understanding and managing flood risk from many different angles.


Improved Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Flood Forecasting: From Rainfall to River Flow

The new forecasting system for the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Basins provides flood forecasts for more than 85 locations. The forecasts are available online, along with near real-time data maps of rainfall (predicted and actual) and river levels.

The new system uses multiple data sets and models to improve the forecasting, up to 16 days in advance of a flood. A longer lead time before a flood gives people an opportunity to prepare: for example, farmers can harvest a threatened rice crop or move vulnerable livestock to higher ground.

The forecasts not only predict floods but also indicate the level of confidence in each forecast. Knowing whether the probability of dangerously high waters is 10 or 90 percent helps people decide what to do. 

The new system provided valuable information during this year’s severe monsoon floods, when forecasters funneled its predictions to the Red Cross and the Bangladesh Water Development Board to help with flood preparations.

The system’s cutting-edge techniques can also be incorporated into the operations of local agencies responsible for monitoring and forecasting weather and water conditions or issuing flood warnings.

Already, the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in India have launched pilot projects to bring the new forecasting approaches into everyday use. India’s Central Water Commission wants to use the model for better flood forecasting in the Brahmaputra River Basin. The plan is to assess the usefulness of these upgrades in terms of the real-world currency of reduced flood risk and losses.

We hope these new tools will help regional and local decision-makers — from government officials to emergency responders to corporate leaders — to plan wisely for the many valuable uses of floodplains and to respond effectively when floodwaters threaten.

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Windham Master Gardener Program

By John Lorusso

FANs gardenWe have had a great year educating our new crop of Master Gardeners in Brooklyn this year. The group began classes in the dead of winter in January and have been diligently working on their plant identification and diagnostic abilities all summer. In addition to those actions, they have been very busy fulfilling the outreach requirements at incredibly worthwhile, important, and noteworthy projects in the community.

A partial listing of some of those community outreach projects: the Palmer Arboretum in Wood­ stock, People’s Harvest  Sustainable Community Farm in Pomfret, Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, Goodwin State Forest & Conservation Center in Hampton, Camp Quinebaug Rainbow Garden in Danielson, CT Children’s Hospital in Hartford, Dennison Pequot-Sepos Nature Center in Mystic, Camp Harkness in Waterford, the Belding Butterfly Garden in Tolland, the Emerald Ash Borer Surveillance Program of the CT. Ag Experiment Station, and Natchaug Hospital courtyard gardens. Over 2200 hours have been logged by our Master Gardeners and interns at these crucial programs in the community.

We have exhibited and engaged the public this year at The Woodstock Fair, Willimantic’s third Thursday street festivals, The Killingly Great Tomato Festival, Children’s programming at the Sterling Library, and Celebrating Agriculture.

Upcoming events this fall and winter to include Garden Master Classes on growing giant pumpkins, evergreen identification and wreath making, and beginning floral design and miniature boxwood tree holiday arrangement. We also hope to organize a few movie nights in partnership with the Connecticut Master Gardener Association. We are tentatively scheduled for late Octobe1 to show Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home, a 90-minute environmental, education documentary focused on showing how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems.

Next year’s Master Gardener class will be held in Tolland county, with the class returning to Brooklyn in 2019.

If you or someone you know is interested in taking the class, or any of the other opportunities listed in this article, please feel free to contact John Lorusso at john.lorusso@uconn.edu.

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Windham County 4-H Providing New Opportunities for Young People

By Marc Cournoyer

eating strawberry

Photo: Amy Walker

Though traditional 4-H interest areas continue to thrive, additional audiences have been reached with the introduction of imaginative new programs.

The last year has seen continued expansion in the areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education with the success of the Saturday Science Club, a home school based STEM club in the Chaplin area, along with several afterschool and short-term special interest programs and events. 4-H continues to work with various com­munity partners such as home school families, EASTCONN, the Thompson Recreation Department, Killingly Public Library, and Griswold Youth & Family Services to name just a few. This year also saw a partnership between 4-H and the Windham Middle School.

4-H members are being challenged to think critically and innovatively in a host of areas. They learn concrete skills such as engineering, technology and math along with skills that help them navigate any area of life such as working in collaboration with others and creative problem solving. The three mission mandates of 4-H -Healthy Living, STEM Education and Citizenship/Leadership development – continue to serve as the foundation of everything 4-H does. Teaching tools such as LEGOs and iPads are being used in Windham County to enhance learning.

There is an entire population of young people in Windham County who are not looking for a traditional agricultural based 4-H experience but are still very hungry for a program that teaches them practical skills they can use in their everyday lives.

These new programs are helping to reach that audience with meaningful programming that is helping to equip them with skills to actively address the issues that face our world in the coming years.

4-H also continues to be an important outreach for those youth interested in more traditional program models. Here we have also seen a growth and expansion of our programs and club participation.

Together, these programs are reaching several hundred youth throughout Windham County.

For more information about 4-H in Windham County, contact 4-H Program Coordinator, Marc Cournoyer at: marc.cournoyer@uconn.edu

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Incentivizing collaboration to address childhood stunting

Childhood stunting is one of the most significant impediments to human development and economic growth, affecting approximately 155 million children under the age of five globally, with long-term consequences later in life such as impaired cognitive development, chronic disease, and lower earnings as adults. Evidence shows that there is an urgent need for collaboration between actions in water, sanitation, health, nutrition, and other sectors to effectively combat childhood stunting.
 

 
This was discussed during the recent World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, where leaders from the World Bank and client countries met to talk about Changing Behaviors to Incentivize Collaboration to Address Childhood Stunting. Aimed to provide guidance on how to collaborate better across sectors and institutions, this event provided an opportunity to share the latest results from the global Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Poverty Diagnostic Initiative, led by the World Bank’s Water and Poverty Global Practices in collaboration with the Health, Nutrition, and Population and Governance Global Practices.

In her opening remarks, Laura Tuck, the World Bank’s Vice President for Sustainable Development, emphasized the need to look beyond human development programs such as health and nutrition when tackling stunting — which has been the norm — and to also look at the bigger sustainable development picture, including water and sanitation. For example, “the issue of water quality needs a lot more attention than we’ve been giving it”, Ms. Tuck pointed out, adding that it is poor water quality that leads to diarrheal disease, which prevents children from absorbing critical nutrients in food.
 
“When we combine the interventions, so when we look water supply and sanitation combined with access to health care and feeding practices, then the impact of this package is a lot more than the sum of its parts”, said Ms. Tuck.
 
Danilo Türk, Chair of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace, continued the conversation by talking about the broader water agenda: “We see a great deal of competition for water among sectors, and this competitive nature should not be neglected.” He stressed the importance of inter-sectorial cooperation related to water resources management that has implications for service delivery, especially in fragile states.
 
Senior Director of the World Bank’s Water Global Practice Guangzhe Chen presented the key findings of the WASH Poverty Diagnostic Initiative, which looked carefully at the impacts on the well-being of poor people of unequal access of water and sanitation, and the relationship between inadequate WASH with non-monetary measures of poverty, including childhood stunting. Improved coordination and targeting of WASH interventions can contribute to reducing stunting, he said. His presentation set the stage for a panel discussion which brought in valuable perspectives from the field.

As pointed out by Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance for Indonesia, dealing with stunting is not only about identifying the targeted populations, but also about addressing the difficulty of coordinating interventions across national and local governments. First, there is the challenge of guaranteeing political commitment across the board, followed by the challenge of converting this commitment into an effective program.  To help with this, she discussed an incentive structure that has been put in place in Indonesian fiscal policies that adds stunting to its a fiscal transfer formula as a criterion to receive funds.

Tim Evans, Senior Director, Health, Nutrition, and Population Global Practice of the World Bank, talked about the benefits of working together across sectors. “We can move towards our nutrition targets by more effectively investing in WASH,” he said.  
 
Aïchatou Boulama Kané, Minister of Planning described progress in Niger, speaking of setting up “a consultation framework in terms of bringing to bear all the different sectors that work with water, hygiene, and sanitation.” However, there are still problems. Minister Kané said that to improve, Niger would need to better coordinate among ministries to address stunting and other poverty issues through better water services. “Access to water is an emergency. It has to be noisy and people have to know about it”, Kané said.  

Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi, and Somalia, shared experiences from both stable and fragile states. “(In Tanzania and Malawi,) what we see is a big focus now on the institutional mechanisms of leadership and coordination at the top level and at the community level, with accountability mechanisms built in,” she said.
 
“In fragile states when your state structure is a little unstable or perhaps not operating to the level that you need for delivery of such a relatively complex program, you have to look to where capacity is,” she said. “It’s usually in the third sector (the charities, the agencies, the NGOs, the UN). Sometimes in the private sector.”
 
Also speaking on coordination, Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, stressed the need to connect child welfare, mother’s health, and women’s economic empowerment through engagement in WASH. He said that Nigeria began to see success by taking a comprehensive approach to investing in the early years of a child through a multi-sectoral program.
 
Mr. Chen, wrapped up the conversation by again emphasizing the importance of pushing the dialogue both within the World Bank and with our client countries on coordinating programs between water, sanitation, health, and nutrition. This requires clients to be on board, allowing for a dialogue between multiple agencies.
 

  • Watch a recording of the discussion here.
  • Learn more about the Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Poverty Diagnostic Initiative here

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Biosecurity Workshop Provides Healthy Discussion

By Joyce Meader

dairy barn

Mary Margaret Cole at the Kellogg Dairy Barn on Jan. 16, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

How would a dairy or livestock business survive if a Foreign Animal Disease arrived in the United States? Using Foot and Mouth Disease as an example, participants of this week’s Biosecurity Work­ shop heard from Dr. Richard Horowitz about the New England Secure Milk Supply’s steps to maintain a permit to ship milk when the disease has not reached your farm. These included: secure the perimeter, clean and disinfect sources of the virus, and daily monitor for the disease.

Dr. Cantor, New England Emergency Coordinator for USDA APHIS, related the threat that other countries have experienced and how a two-week delay in notification increased the severity of the control measures drastically. It is not, IF, but WHEN the disease is transported into our country again. The last occurrence was in 1929 in San Francisco, but world travel by farm visitors and importation of animals is so much more common now.

Dr. Andrew, UConn Dairy Specialist, presented the map of the UConn dairy and livestock barns, and the many visitors and vehicles travel between barns and from the community. The group provided their recommendations for the Line of Separation to establish the safe zone on the farm, and the outside to keep out sources of infection.

And finally, Dr. Lis, CT Department of Agriculture, requested that all dairy farms submit a self-assessment to her of their farm readiness to remain disease free in the case of an outbreak. Knowing the commitment of each farm to disease prevention will help in the decision to allow milk pick up during the outbreak. The farmers and staff from the University, State Departments of Agriculture, and USDA APHIS left the workshop ready to continue this discussion at local farm meetings, more aware of the challenges that will be faced by our important food producers and government decision makers when a foreign animal disease arrived uninvited.

For more information, contact Joyce.Meader@uconn.edu.

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Small Funds Leading to Big Impacts

By Alyssa Edwards

Small funds don’t always mean small impacts. As the EPA’s Environmental Justice Small Grant program has shown us, oftentimes, very small funds, when put in the hands of community-based organizations (CBOs), can achieve big results. Since the program’s inception in 1994, more than 1,400 CBOs have done just that. And we are proud to announce the selection of 36 more organizations that will be joining that cohort as recipients of the 2017 Environmental Justice Small Grant funds.

One example of how small funds can make a difference is seen in the Choctow Nation of Oklahoma. In 2015, the tribe was awarded an EJ Small Grant in support of Project Oka (the Choctaw word for water). The goal was to protect and conserve local waters by helping residents reduce litter. The project has exceeded expectations. To date, the Choctow Nation has collected and recycled more than 12,000 pounds of electronics and more than 1,800 tires. In addition, more than 400 students have been involved in educational and recycling activities. The tribe also created a disaster recovery plan to address disaster preparedness and adaptation strategies as a part of the project.

We know this year’s EJ Small Grants projects will add to the impressive list of community-driven solutions funded by EPA. A significant number will work to ensure clean and safe water, a strategic priority for EPA, as well as address public health concerns from contaminated land. Others will address lead exposure to create safer environments for children, environmental stewardship and conservation in under-resourced rural communities, and job training programs through green infrastructure projects.

Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership in Warren, Ohio will be working to reduce residents’ exposure to potential soil contamination from former industrial activities. Fideicomiso de la Tierra del Caño Martín Peña will work with the community of Buena Vista, Puerto Rico to manage rainfall runoff and reduce the threat of flooding – support even more necessary and timely as the island enters its long recovery from Hurricane Maria.

To expand the geographical reach of the program, during this past funding cycle, we placed a special emphasis on supporting projects in states where we did not have a significant funding history. We are excited that with this latest selection of EJ Small Grants, we will support efforts ranging from Dellslow, West Virginia to Waimea, Hawaii and many communities in between.

For a third of the EJSG recipients, this will be their first time receiving a federal grant. We are honored to support these communities as we know that an EJ Small Grant can be that much needed spark that allows organizations to access additional funding from government and the private sector as they pursue broader community goals.

Read project descriptions on the recently funded awards, as well as to learn more about EJ Small Grant projects from previous years.

And be sure to subscribe to the EJ ListServ to receive up-to-date information about funding opportunities from across the federal government, including our soon-to-be-released grants competition for 2018, upcoming workshops, and related environmental justice topics.

About the Author: Alyssa Edwards is a Program Analyst in the Office of Environmental Justice.

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Are You Storm Ready?

By Karen Filchak

Jonathan looking at leafBeing storm-ready means advance planning and preparation in the event of power outages, evacuations or property damage. Many in Connecticut have assembled a “Go Pack”, “Bug-Out Bag” or some other type of emergency grab and go bag that can be easily accessed in the event of a power out­ age or the need to evacuate your residence. These are important resources to have at the ready should you need them in an emergency. In addition to the items that will help sustain you in the short term, such as food, water, clothing, flashlights, etc., financial and household information and legal documents can be essential following a natural disaster.

Knowing your bank account numbers, having insurance policies and contact information, and having property records is just some of the important information that you should have with you should your home or other property be damaged or you be displaced for a period of time.

The University of Connecticut & University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension received a two-year National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant to work to prepare communities and their residents for the impacts of hurricanes and flooding.  There are six members* on the University of Connecticut team which is working with four Coastal towns.  The towns are East Lyme, Old Lyme, Stonington and military families with the Navy base in Groton.

Among the goals of the project are to: Compile resources for individuals, families, businesses and-­ communities so they can design personalized emergency plans and be prepared for major storm events such as   hurricanes and nor’easters, as well as information on adaptation strategies to reduce their risk or exposure in the future; develop an inclusive preparedness plan template for  issues such as personal safety, health and community evacuation, finances and important papers, food and medicine, preparing and securing your house­ hold interior and exterior, and barn structure/pet/ livestock/crop safety resources; market resource information; and support the agricultural community through review of existing and planned dairy and livestock barns for storm preparedness.

In addition to the grant, UConn Extension has a website, the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) which is part of the larger national EDEN effort. To learn more about how to prepare, visit http://www.eden.uconn.edu

*M. Welch, J. Barrette, K. Filchak, F. Griffiths­ Smith, D. Hirsch, J. Meader, R. Ricard.

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