Available Speakers by Name

Most of the listed talks are intended for general audiences. To contact speakers directly, click on the hyperlinked name for contact and biographical information. Arrangements may be made through the Library at (203) 974-8447 if the scientist cannot be reached directly. If an asterisk (*) appears next to a name, the scientist is at the Valley Laboratory in Windsor, otherwise the scientist is at the Main Laboratories in New Haven.

Sandra L. Anagnostakis, (203) 988-2073, Sandra.Anagnostakis@ct.gov:


Growing Chestnuts. Chestnut trees can be easily grown in Connecticut, and the nuts collected and sold. This talk discusses which cultivars do best here, how to grow them, and the problems encountered by chestnut growers with pests and pathogens. Marketing strategies and suggestions for contacts with other growers are also given.


Chestnut Blight Disease in our Forests. The chestnut blight fungus came into this country in the late 1800's on Japanese chestnuts and reduced our native chestnuts to understory shrubs that sprout, become infected, die, and sprout again. I am working on a biological control for this disease, and breeding chestnuts for resistance.


Chestnuts in the 21st Century. Chestnut breeding has been done at The Experiment Station since the 1930's, and the program is now focusing on producing timber and orchard trees with resistance to chestnut blight disease and chestnut gall wasp.

Theodore G. AndreadisTheodore.Andreadis@ct.gov:


Reflections on the Ecology and Epidemiology of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the Northeastern United States: A Historical Perspective. In 2019, the northeastern eastern U.S. experienced the largest and most widespread outbreak of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in more than 50 years with 23 human cases including 8 fatalities and 42 equine cases across 7 states. Although the scope of the outbreak was unprecedented for the region, it represented a recent trend of sustained resurgence and northward expansion of EEE activity in the northeast that began in 2003. Factors contributing to this resurgence and expansion are complex but likely include (1) reforestation and wetland conservation, (2) suburban development adjacent to mosquito habitats and, (3) changes in average temperature and precipitation events related to climate change. In this presentation Dr. Andreadis will review the environmental, ecological and biological risk factors associated with EEE activity in the northeast and provide up-to-date information on the ecology, epidemiology, and management of EEE in the region including: the role of Culiseta melanura and other vector competent species in enzootic and/or epidemic transmission based on regional host feeding studies and virus isolation data, annual virus introduction via migrating birds and local overwintering based on phylogenetic studies of the virus, and challenges and issues concerning surveillance, human risk assessment, prevention, and both larval and adult control strategies.


West Nile Virus: A Retrospective Look at an Emerging Mosquito-Borne Disease in the Western Hemisphere. In the summer of 1999, West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne flavivirus native to Africa, Asia and Europe, was discovered in the western hemisphere for the first time when it caused an epidemic of human disease in New York City. Over the course of four years this exotic virus, which likely originated from Israel, spread at an unprecedented rate across the United States and southern Canada, and has emerged as a major seasonal public health concern. More than 50,000 human cases and 2,400 fatalities have been reported thus far and the virus has become a permanent part of the landscape. In this lecture, Dr. Andreadis will review the emergence and spread of West Nile virus in North America, examine the ecology and epidemiology of the virus in the state, and describe Connecticut’s annual program to monitor and combat this mosquito-borne disease.


Ecology and Epidemiology of Mosquito-Borne Viruses in Connecticut: An Analysis from Twenty Years of Research and Surveillance. The ecology and epidemiology of a cadre of mosquito-borne viruses that cause human disease and currently circulate in Connecticut and the northeast, including Cache Valley, eastern equine encephalitis, Jamestown Canyon, LaCrosse and West Nile, will be presented based on over twenty years of arbovirus research and surveillance in the state.


Global Climate Change and Mosquito Borne Diseases. The potential impact of global climate change on the emergence and spread of exotic mosquitoes and both native and exotic mosquito borne diseases in the United States and elsewhere will be discussed.

Gregory J. Bugbee, (203) 974-8512, Gregory.Bugbee@ct.gov:


Improving Soil in the Home Garden. Healthy plants require fertile soil. The basics of soil improvement for homeowners are discussed. They include pH adjustment, organic matter additions, types of fertilizers and soil testing.


Soil Testing. Over 10,000 soil samples are tested each year at CAES. An overview of the procedure is discussed.


Container Gardening Indoors and Out. Growing plants in pots requires different strategies than growing plants in the ground. Topics discussed are choosing the right potting soil and pots, selecting the proper plants, fertilizing and watering, starting plants from seeds and cuttings.


Composting. Much of our organic waste stream can be composted and recycled as a soil amendment. Proper composting will create a better compost in a shorter period of time. Composting techniques and uses for the compost are discussed.


Compost for Nursery Crops. Compost can reduce production costs by replacing potting media amendments such as peat and bark. Large quantities of leaf and biosolids compost are currently available. This talk reviews station research on compost utilization by nurseries.


Lawn Care. Large acreages of Connecticut are devoted to lawns. Knowing the proper methods for caring for lawns results in better grass. In many instances use of fertilizers and pesticides can be reduced. Proper fertilizing, weed control, disease prevention, mowing, watering and seeding techniques are discussed.


Weed Control in Lakes and Ponds. Many ponds and lakes become unsightly and unusable because of buildups in weeds and algae. Alleviating these problems may involve reducing nutrients inputs, chemical, or biological controls, harvesting, dredging, or other techniques.

Richard Cowles, (860) 683-4983, Richard.Cowles@ct.gov:


Adapting Christmas Tree Farms to a Changing Climate. Climate change is causing wild swings in temperatures and precipitation events. Approaches to adapt to these conditions include improving drainage, installing irrigation, and planting new kinds of trees that are more tolerant of these new conditions than the traditionally favored Fraser fir. Richard Cowles, (860) 683-4983, Richard.Cowles@ct.gov


Facts and Fallacies of Organics. Are organically produced fruits and vegetables healthier for us to eat? Are organic standards really better for the environment and more socially responsible? This presentation explores the paradoxes found in organic vs. conventional agriculture. Richard Cowles, (860) 683-4983, Richard.Cowles@ct.gov


Managing Insect Pests of Turf. Lawns and golf courses have a complex assemblage of insect pests and their natural enemies. Learn about the most effective and least environmentally damaging ways to manage turf to prevent damage from insects. Richard Cowles, (860) 683-4983, Richard.Cowles@ct.gov

Washington da Silva, (203) 974-8546, Washington.daSilva@ct.gov:


Management of The Major Diseases Affecting Grapes in New England. The wine and grape industry in New England is booming. This presentation will cover common diseases of grapes cultivated in commercial vineyards and backyard gardens in New England – we will focus on disease symptoms, diagnostics, and control. Special attention will be given to grapevine viruses, which are hard to diagnose and cause major financial burden to grape production worldwide.

Wade H. Elmer, (203) 974-8503, Wade.Elmer@ct.gov:


Asparagus Culture and Diseases. Dr. Elmer will address the cultural conditions required to grow asparagus in Connecticut. Asparagus is vulnerable to a destructive disease called Fusarium crown and root rot. Dr. Elmer will talk about the recent strategies designed to suppress this disease.


Earthworms and Soil Health. Earthworms are important for processing organic matter and for maintaining soil health. Dr. Elmer will present an overview of the different kinds of earthworms that are found in Connecticut and will discuss their role in processing organic matter and how earthworms help to increase soil health. He will also discuss his research on earthworms and show how their activity can suppress certain soilborne diseases of vegetables.


Sudden Vegetation Dieback. Sudden Vegetation Dieback (SVD) started to appear along Connecticut’s Long Island Sound in 1999 but was not fully recognized until 2002. Although the causes are unknown, stress and plant pathogens have been implicated as factors that may contribute to SVD. In this presentation, Dr. Elmer will address the different pathogens found in Connecticut’s salt marshes and will discuss their relative importance to SVD.


Nanoparticles and Their Potential in Agriculture. Any particle is smaller than 100 nm is defined as a nanoparticle (NP). Dr. Elmer will discuss how NP of metallic oxides of Cu, Mn and Zn behave differently from their bulked or salt equivalent when sprayed onto plants


Plant Parts and Their Diseases. An exercise designed for K to 3 children to teach different parts of a plant, basic functions of each part, and to show than tiny “germs” can cause plant diseases. The exercise concludes with a lab where the children eat the plant parts with ranch dressing.

Rose Hiskes*, (860) 683-4977 ext. 1, Rose.Hiskes@ct.gov:


Invasive Exotic Insects: Spotted Lanternfly. This talk goes through some of the old exotics that we have learned to live with or manage sufficiently.

James A. LaMondia*, (860) 683-4982, James.LaMondia@ct.gov:


Biology and Ecology of Plant-Parasitic Nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic worms which can cause plant disease in roots and shoots of important plants.


Pathogens Which Cause Plant Disease. Fungi, nematodes, bacteria and viruses can all cause disease in plants. Examples of these diseases and the biology of the pathogens is discussed.


Nematode Diseases of Herbaceous Perennial Ornamentals. A large number of ornamental species are attacked by root-knot or foliar nematodes. The biology, identification, and control of these pathogens is important in nursery and landscape settings.


Fungicide Resistance and Plant Disease. The continued use of site-specific fungicides can select pathogenic fungi which are insensitive to these fungicides. Examples of fungicide resistance problems and ways to manage resistance are described.

Yonghao Li, (203) 974-8565, Yonghao.Li@ct.gov:


Bonsai Tree Disease Management. What’s wrong with my bonsai tree? How can I avoid this problem again in the future? Correct diagnosis is the first step to effective disease management. This presentation will discuss how to correctly diagnose bonsai tree diseases and develop effective strategies for their control.


Backyard Composting. Adding compost to gardens each planting season can protect soil structure, feed the soil with nutrients, and promote soil microbes. This talk will discuss how to make compost with kitchen wastes, fallen leaves, and lawn clippings in backyards.


Gardening with Native Plants. Gardening with native plants can conserve water, provide habitats for wildlife, and protect natural ecosystem. This topic will introduce some basic concepts of landscaping with native plants and discuss a general guideline for native plant selection, design, implementation, and maintenance of sustainable gardens.


Principles of Plant Disease Management. This discussion will cover basic concepts of plant disease including causal agents, disease diagnostics, disease development, and integrated pest management that are important to manage plant disease problems in vegetable gardens, greenhouse production, and landscapes.


Common Diseases of Perennials. Diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and phytoplasmas can be occasional problems in perennial gardens. This presentation will discuss common disease problems in perennials by emphasizing disease identification and strategies for disease prevention.


Common Diseases of Tomato and Pepper. This talk will discuss common diseases of tomatoes and peppers including their causal agents, symptoms, diagnostic features, disease development, and environmentally friendly control strategies.


Disease Management in Organic Gardens. Organic vegetables are becoming more popular as people worry more about health and safety issues associated with the foods they eat. A big challenge for growers and homeowners is to manage diseases without using pesticides in organic gardens. This presentation will discuss eco-friendly approaches to disease management by understanding pathogen features, disease cycles, host resistance, environmental factors, and biological control agents.


Tree Diseases and Their Management. A wide variety of diseases can damage trees and reduce their aesthetic and economic values. This talk discusses common tree diseases including their symptoms, pathogens, development, and management.


Disease Problems of Bedding Plants. This talk will discuss basic principles of plant pathology and their application in bedding plant disease control in greenhouses.


Vegetable Diseases. This talk covers common disease problems of vegetables and their control for home gardening and commercial production.


Disease Management in Christmas Tree Production. In Christmas tree production, disease can reduce growth, make trees unsightly, and even kill trees. Accurate disease diagnosis, early detection, and understanding disease development are important for appropriate disease management strategies.


Managing Diseases of Tomatoes in Greenhouses and High Tunnels: Producing tomatoes in greenhouses and high tunnels provides opportunities to extend and expand the markets over growing tomatoes in traditional, outdoor fields. The protected environment of greenhouse and high tunnel production pose unique challenges for disease prevention and management. This presentation will discuss how common diseases are affected by greenhouse and high tunnel environments and will review strategies for managing these problems.


Backyard Small Fruits 101. Berries have high nutritional values and full of health benefits. Since some of them generally don't require too much space and are low maintenance, you can enjoy fresh fruit from early summer through late fall by growing them in your backyards. This talk will discuss how to select and grow easy and quick yielding berries in your home gardens.


Common Diseases and Their Management in the Home Orchard. An integrated pest management approach is important and necessary to manage plant diseases and ensure crop yield and quality. This talk will discuss symptoms, disease development and control measures including proper cultural practices, resistant varieties, sanitation, and fungicides in the home orchard.


Important and Common Disease Problems in the Industry. Many growers and professionals are trying to solve disease problems by spending a large amount of money in fungicide applications in nurseries and landscapes. This talk will update common diseases of woody and herbaceous ornamentals and discuss more effective, economic, and environmentally friendly disease management strategies. 


Selection and Care of Houseplants. Growing living plants in apartments, condominiums, single family resistance, offices and public areas can provide pleasant indoor environment, purify air, and improve health. This talk will take you the steps of how to choose right plants for the indoor conditions and how to care for houseplants through winter and year-round.


Spring and Summer Gardening Tips. Spring and summer is a great time to be working in the garden for beauty and foods, but you might encounter a number of puzzling issues. This presentation will answer and discuss some common questions about general care, pruning, water management, fertilizing, and disease control in lawns, flower gardens, small fruits, and vegetable gardens


Fungicide 101. Applying fungicides is an important component in plant disease management programs. Correct use of fungicides can increase efficacy, reduce inputs, and prevent potential health and environmental effects. This talk will discuss major definitions and principles of fungicides, including classification, mode of action, role in protection, and resistance management.


Best Management Practices for Your Healthy Lawn. To obtain optimum performance from your lawn, it is important to adopt the best management practices. Topics in this presentation include site preparation, seed mix selection, lawn establishment, mowing, fertilization, irrigation, and pest management.


Principles of Organic Gardening. More and more growers and gardeners are interested in growing plants organically because it is beneficial for every level of life: soil, plants, animals, environments, and human health. This talk will explain the basic elements of successful organic gardening including site selection, soil preparation, garden design, irrigation, mulching, fertilization, and disease management.


Useful Tips for Container Gardening. Container gardening on a patio, deck or balcony allows you to grow plants in a limited space to enjoy fresh vegetables and fruits. Planting in containers also provides seasonal interests and color to your surroundings by using special plants, containers, and designs. This talk will discuss plants, containers, soil mixtures, irrigation, fertilization, and design in container gardening.


Microorganisms and Plants (for middle school students). Microorganisms are living organisms that exist in soil, water and air, but they are often too small to be seen. Some microorganisms are beneficial, but some others are harmful. Plants can be attacked by harmful microorganism, which results in diseases. This lecture will give an introduction to plants, microorganisms, and their interactions across ecosystems.


All About Fungi and Fungicides – What Every Gardener Needs to Know. Delve into the fascinating world of fungi and gain a deeper understanding of how to manage fungal diseases in the garden. Learn what makes fungi unique in the plant disease world, and how to identify common garden fungal problems. Then learn all about how you can manage fungal diseases in your garden with both synthetic and organic fungicides.

Robert E. Marra, (203) 974-8508, Robert.Marra@ct.gov:


Beech Leaf Disease and Oak Wilt. In this presentation, Dr. focuses on Beech Leaf Disease and Oak Wilt. For Beech Leaf Disease, Dr. Marra will provide information on the background of the disease, including the spread of BLD from its first appearance in Ohio in 2012 to its first appearance in CT in 2019, and the response in Connecticut and Northeast since 2019. The presentation will provide information on disease diagnostics; susceptible host species; the biology of the foliar nematode that causes BLD, Litylenchus crenatae subsp. mccannii; and the current status of treatment options for landscape beeches. For Oak Wilt, which has not yet been detected in CT but which has been found in New York City and on Long Island, Dr. Marra will provide information on diagnostics, biology of the causal fungus, susceptible oak species, preparedness in CT, and current best practices in management as determined in New York and elsewhere. 


Nine Important Plant Diseases of Eastern North America. A 1-½ hour discussion of the history, diagnostics, and biology of each of the nine diseases that have been, continue to be, or may be of significance in our region: Beech Bark Disease, Ramorum Blight, Oak Wilt, Bacterial Leaf Scorch, Thousand Canker Disease, Chrysanthemum White Rust, Boxwood Plight, Plum Pox Virus, and Ash/Elm Yellows. This lecture should be suitable for First Detector Training programs. Note: This presentation can be scaled down to fit within a smaller time frame by discussing a subset of these diseases.


Tree Diseases You Should Know About. This presentation will introduce the study and principles of plant pathology in the context of three historically important tree diseases: chestnut blight, beech bark disease, and Dutch elm disease. 


Tree Diseases New to New England (and worth knowing about). This presentation will discuss tree diseases that have the potential to threaten New England forests, both urban and natural. These include Phytophthora ramorum, the fungus-like “Sudden Oak Death” pathogen that has been ravaging forests of the western United States for over 20 years; Bretziella (formerly Ceratocystis) fagacearum, the oak-wilt fungus that has caused widespread loss of oaks in Texas, the Midwest, and southeast, and which has recently turned up in New York state; and Xylella fastidiosa, the xylem-limited bacterium responsible for bacterial leaf scorch on a variety of deciduous hosts, particularly oaks, from Texas to New Jersey. In each case, we will discuss the symptoms, the means of dispersal and spread, and, if applicable, the prognosis for treatment. If time permits, I will also touch on diseases that may not be new to New England, but which are increasing in severity, such as Caliciopsis canker, and “white pine needle disease complex.” 


Climate Change and Forest Health. The impact of climate change on forest health has two principal components. First, changes in weather patterns, which include longer periods of drought punctuated by heavier rain events, put trees under greater stress, leaving them more susceptible to pests and disease. Second, warmer average temperatures will increase the likelihood of the establishment of new pests and pathogens to which our native flora are currently naïve. The synergistic effects of these two factors poses a critical threat to our forests and landscapes.


Drought: Impact on Trees and Implications for Management. This presentation will begin with a discussion of changes in our regional weather patterns that have increased the intensity and duration of periods of drought. We will then discuss how drought impacts trees in both the short-term and long-term, focusing on how a tree’s physiology responds to drought, and how drought can increase the likelihood and severity of disease. We’ll conclude with a discussion about how best management practices can mitigate the effects of drought.


Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, and SuperStorms: Impacts and Influences on Tree Diseases. Using lessons learned from distant (1938) and more recent (Tropical Storm Irene and Hurricane Sandy) weather events, this presentation will introduce tropical storms and how we define them, as well as the proximal and distal effects of storms that pose the greatest risks to trees, and how these effects can facilitate and exacerbate tree diseases. 


Fungi in Forests and Landscapes: Friends or Foes? Most people can recognize a mushroom when they see one, but have you ever wondered how that mushroom got there? And what it’s doing there, anyway? Ever wondered about that yellow blob that seems to appear spontaneously in your mulch or on your lawn? Did you know that many plants, including the trees in our forests, could not survive without the important associations their roots establish with fungi? This talk will introduce the audience to the fascinating world of that poorly understood Kingdom Fungi. 


Introduction to Mycology: The Study of Fungi. This presentation introduces the Kingdom Fungi, through an introduction to what defines a fungus, and an overview of the breadth and diversity of this fascinating and important group of organisms, taking you well beyond the realm of visible mushrooms and into the less easily viewed world of fungi that live underground, and those that cause plant and animal diseases.


Ramorum Blight: Is Phytophthora ramorum a Threat to Connecticut’s Forests and Landscapes? P. ramorum has been devastating the coastal oak forests of California and Oregon for at least ten years. The pathogen has a wide host range that includes species native to the Northeast (for example, oak, rhododendron, and mountain laurel), as well as numerous species important to the nursery industries of both the West Coast and Connecticut. Because of the high volume of plant material shipped from the West Coast to Connecticut, surveys of Connecticut nurseries are conducted annually to monitor for presence of the pathogen. This talk will include an overview of the biology and history of this important disease, a discussion of the threat the pathogen could pose to our forests and landscapes, and the diagnostic strategies used in monitoring and detection. 


Natural History of Target Canker of BirchNeonectria ditissima, the causal agent of Target Canker (also known as Neonectria Canker), is an ascomycete fungus that has been described as “the most widespread and damaging species” of northeastern forests. While the fungus produces perennial cankers on a wide range of broad-leaved trees in temperate eastern forests, it is notably associated with beech bark disease, and causes particularly disfiguring cankers on black birch (Betula lenta), a native of northeastern forests. Neonectria Canker is also an important disease of fruit trees, particularly apple and pear. This talk will cover the biology and natural history of the disease, and discuss methods being used to study how changes in forest composition over the past 100 years have altered the dynamics of this disease.

Felicia Millett, (203) 974-8505, Felicia.Millett@ct.gov:


Pruning Woody Plants in the Landscape. Pruning is an important component of maintaining the health and appearance of ornamental trees and shrubs. This talk will cover objectives you should consider before you begin pruning and the proper techniques, tools and timing necessary to achieve these goals. 

Introduction to Invasive Plant Species in Connecticut (for middle school through adult groups). This talk will focus on the skills needed to identify several of the top invasive plant species found in Connecticut. Information on the impact on local ecosystems, management strategies, and ways you can get involved in your local area will be covered. 

Identifying Native Trees and Shrubs in Connecticut (for middle school through adult groups). This talk will help you become more familiar with tree species most commonly found in the state. We will discuss features that are helpful for identification, using a key, distinguishing similar species within a genus, and tips for winter tree ID. *With advanced notice this talk can be scheduled as a tree ID walk rather than a lecture

Selection and Care of Apple Trees for the Home Garden. Domestic apple trees have their origins in central Asia and have undergone centuries of breeding to develop the selections which are popular today. This talk will cover the basics of cultivar selection, transplanting, pruning, and pest management strategies for tree establishment and quality fruit production.

Selection and Care of Broadleaf Evergreens. Broadleaf evergreens can add year-round interest to the garden. This talk will cover several selections that do well in Connecticut, their use in the landscape, site considerations before planting as well as proper care and maintenance for successful establishment.

Growing Annuals from Seed. Starting annuals from seed can be a great way to produce a large number of plants for the garden while reducing the cost of purchasing seedlings. It can also introduce a wider selection of plants than what is available in garden centers in spring. This talk will discuss plant selections, materials needed, and scheduling including which annuals are good to start indoors.


Growing Mountain Laurels in Connecticut. Mountain Laurel was named the state flower of Connecticut in 1907 and has continued to captivate residents ever since. This presentation will include a discussion of the history of these native plants, cultivar descriptions, tips on planting, as well as which pests and diseases to look out for.


Goudarz Molaei, (203) 974-8487, Goudarz.Molaei@ct.gov:

Mosquito Blood-Feeding Behavior and the Risk of Human Infection with West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and other Viruses in Connecticut. Reviews of blood-feeding behavior of mosquitoes and their respective roles in transmission of human disease-causing viruses; vertebrate hosts of mosquitoes including avian species and their contribution to disease maintenance in nature.


Ticks and Tick-Associated Diseases. Review of tick life cycle; tick species; saptiotemporal dynamics of tick infection with disease agents (Lyme disease spirochete, Babesia parasite, Anaplasma bacterium and Powassan virus) in Connecticut; the CAES tick testing program.

Joseph J. Pignatello, (203) 974-8518, Joseph.Pignatello@ct.gov:


Factors Influencing the Biological and Physical Availability of Chemicals in Contact with Soil Particles. Adsorption of chemical contaminants to soil particles and the reverse, desorption, appear to be gradual, often requiring months to complete. I will discuss the ramifications of these slow processes to the leaching potential and biological availability to exposed organisms of soil-borne chemicals.


Development of Hydrogen Peroxide-based Techniques for Destruction of Chemical Pollutants in Water and Soil. I will discuss our methods for purifying soil and water using a safe and inexpensive oxidizing agent and environmentally friendly catalysts (iron salts and solar light).

Gale E. Ridge, (203) 974-8478, Gale.Ridge@ct.gov:


Bed Bugs. Bed bugs were reintroduced to the United States starting in the late 1990’s through international trade and shipping. They quickly became ubiquitous and are now well established. These insects have had a close association with humans for well over 223,000 years and tracing their history and our efforts at ridding ourselves of them is a fascinating story. Additionally, their numerous survival behaviors have enabled this ever-present parasite to survive with ease and not “go away.”


Delusions of Infestations (DI). Delusional Infestation is a psychiatric illness characterized by patients holding a monothematic, tenacious and often fixed belief of an infestation of their skin, body, or immediate environment, which is not supported by objective medical evidence. This is a story of hardship and suffering and the Entomologist is often the expert patients seek out for help since many believe they are infested by insects and/or mites. Understanding the condition, its causes and how it develops over time in a supportive collaboration with physicians, pest management professionals, psychiatrists, and other medical professionals, patients can be helped. This allows them to return to a quality of life they once enjoyed.


General Entomology. The anatomy, physiology and development of insects; the behavior and ecology of insects; the introduction of the orders and the collection and preservation of arthropods in general.


Biological Illustration. A history of biological illustration and a presentation of modern illustration techniques.

Neil P. Schultes, (203) 974-8464, Neil.Schultes@ct.gov:


Domestication and Evolution of Crop Plants. Current day crop plants evolved from wild relatives through gradual selection and breeding by primitive farmers. In many cases valuable genetic diversity was lost in this process. Efforts are underway to reintroduce these valuable genes into modern crop varieties.


Genetic Engineering of Agricultural Plants. Gene splicing technology makes it possible to clone genes as individual pieces of DNA and introduce them into a variety of important crop plants. Genes from distantly related plant relatives or even from microbes are being tapped as powerful new tools for crop improvement.

John Shepard, (203) 974-8543, John.Shepard@ct.gov:


Mosquitoes of Connecticut. An overview of the life histories of common mosquito species in Connecticut.


Mosquito Trapping and Testing in Connecticut. An overview of mosquito trapping and testing techniques in Connecticut for surveillance of West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and other mosquito-borne viruses.

Kirby C. Stafford III, (203) 974-8485, Kirby.Stafford@ct.gov:


Lyme Disease and Tick Control. This talk covers the epidemiology of Lyme disease, the biology of the tick vector, the basic symptoms of Lyme disease, and tick bite prevention and tick control. The content of each talk is customized to the audience and time available.


Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Associated Diseases. This talk covers the three disease agents that cause Lyme disease, human babesiosis, and human ehrlichiosis which are transmitted by the "deer" tick, Ixodes scapularis.

Kimberly A. Stoner, (203) 974-8480, Kimberly.Stoner@ct.gov:


Planting for the Bees’ Needs. Bees are critically important for pollination of our crops and our native plants. We get many of our ideas about bees from what we know of honey bees, but honey bees are only one of the 349 species we have in Connecticut. In this talk, Dr. Kimberly Stoner describes the diversity of bees and their life cycles, and how we can create habitat for them to survive and thrive. She also discusses the routes by which bees are exposed to pesticides and the controversies over restricting or banning certain pesticides because of their effects on bees.

Lindsay Triplett, (203) 974-8611, Lindsay.Triplett@ct.gov:


The Rice That Helped America Grow. A variety of rice named Carolina Gold was the first food product that America exported to Europe, and helped the coastal colonies achieve economic independence. Learn the legend of how this rice came to America, how West African ingenuity helped it thrive and become a local and international delicacy, and how it was almost lost forever before being revived by backyard enthusiasts in the past few years.


Plant Genetic Resistance- An Important Piece of Integrated Pest Management. Plant genetic resistance is one of the most important tools we have in fighting disease and insects. What does it really mean for a plant variety to be “resistant” to a disease or insect? How are new resistant plants bred (or engineered) and brought to the field? Why do some types of resistance fail after a few years, and others last a long time? Finally, what management strategies could be employed to make resistance genes more durable and effective?


Careers in Agricultural Science- They’re Not Just for Farmers (can be aimed at Jr HS thru early college students). Do you have STEM students who don’t want to choose between “making a difference” and making enough to support a family? USA Today named Agriculture and Natural Resources one of the top 5 highest-earning degrees of 2015. This talk will discuss the different career paths in the agricultural sciences, the most sought-after skills and majors, and online resources for learning more.

Charles R. Vossbrinck, (203) 974-8522, Charles.Vossbrinck@ct.gov:


Growing Figs in Connecticut. Methods for the propagation of Figs and possible methods for growing them in Connecticut.

Jeffrey S. Ward, (203) 974-8495, Jeffrey.Ward@ct.gov:


Managing our Forests – Tree-by-Tree. Landowners and concerned citizens should be committed to sound forest management based on the best science available. Proactive management is an essential component of responsible forest stewardship.


A Short History of the Connecticut Forest. Viewed across the landscape, the forests covering our hillsides and valleys seem as though they have always been there. However, the resilient Connecticut forest has undergone dramatic changes over the past 400 years and earlier. This talk will cover the changes in our forests since the ice age, and what the future forest may look like.


The Biodiversity Crisis. This talk will examine the negative effects of high deer densities and invasive plant infestations on wildflowers and forest regeneration and the link between invasives and increased risk of exposure to Lyme disease. The management implications of a range of options to control invasives and browse damage will be presented along with development of local action plans.


Identification and Management of Running Bamboo. Running bamboo (Phyllostachys spp.) is a non-native species can cause major disputes between neighbors if it crosses property lines. This talk will focus on identifying running bamboo, discuss its growth habits, and examine different methods of control.


Tree and Shrub Identification. The talk will cover identification of common Connecticut trees and shrubs. Learn how to use leaves, buds, and bark to identify species.


Every Tree has its Place – or – Planting the Right Tree in the Right Place. Trees provide the shade that cools our homes, a framework for our gardens, and the Connecticut sense of place. Learn how proper species selection can maximize the benefits and minimize the problems of street trees in our town forests and homes. The talk includes tips for planting new trees and shrubs, general tree care, and how to spot potential problems on your property. 

Jason C. White, (203) 974-8523, Jason.White@ct.gov:


Toxicity of Engineered Nanomaterials. Engineered nanomaterials have unique physical and chemical properties because of their extremely small size. In many cases, this unique behavior is quite useful and as such, engineered nanomaterials have been incorporated into a range of commercially available products, including cosmetics, health care products, food processing and storage materials, agrichemicals, electronics, and sporting equipment. However, the environmental and public health implications of these materials is an area of active debate. This presentation will cover the basics of nanomaterials and nanotechnology, including a discussion of the positive and negative consequences of their use.


Nanoscale Nutrients to Suppress Crop Disease. Crop pathogens cause up to 20% loss in agricultural productivity, with damages amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. Additional stresses on food production come from a changing climate and ever increasing population. As such, novel approaches to safely and sustainably control plant pathogens are needed and nanoscale agrichemicals, including micronutrients, offer great promise here. This presentation will cover current CAES research programs on using nanoscale nutrients to suppress plant disease, including work as part of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology.


Food Safety Research at CAES. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Department of Analytical Chemistry has a 123 year history of food safety work, including regulatory testing and research. This presentation will cover the highlights of those historical programs.


CAES and the FDA Food Emergency Response Network (FERN). Post-September 2001, the federal government recognized that the US food supply was vulnerable to attack. The response was to establish a network of laboratories around the country that would have similar equipment, methods, and expertise to respond to issues of national concern with the food supply. This network was established by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and is called the Food Emergency Response Network or FERN. The CAES Department of Analytical Chemistry has been a funded member of the FDA FERN since 2005; this presentation will cover our contributions to national food safety, including work on melamine, the response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill, the evaluation of food for toxic heavy metals such as inorganic arsenic, and active surveillance for organic contaminants of concern.


Scott C. Williams, (203) 974-8609, Scott.Williams@ct.gov:


Deer and Rabbit Repellent Effectiveness in Connecticut. Deer and rabbits can cause increased damage to vegetable gardens and flower beds, frustrating residential gardeners. Where deer/rabbit removal or fencing is not feasible, repellents can be used successfully. This talk reports repellent effectiveness results from various trials we have conducted over the years using different commercially available products. 


Deer Management Strategies. Overabundant deer can be a direct threat to public safety in terms of vehicle collisions and increased tick abundances and can threaten native and residential landscapes. Deer management can be a very emotional topic, on both sides of the issue. This talk focuses on alternatives to lethal management and frankly discusses the effectiveness of the various traditional and nontraditional techniques.


Deer as Transporters of Exotic Plant Seeds. Deer consume many pounds of vegetation daily and retain it for 24 hours before depositing its remnants elsewhere. When thinking of animals dispersing seeds, most people think birds as being the main player. While this may be true, our research has shown that deer are surprisingly large contributors to seed dispersal, of primarily the seeds of exotic plants.


Japanese Barberry and Blacklegged Ticks: A Surprising Connection. Invasive Japanese barberry tends to grow in abandoned agricultural lands and can grow in very dense infestations. These infestations retain daily relative humidity which makes for ideal tick habitat. This talk highlights 10 years of research in which we document this relationship and can show that Japanese barberry management results in fewer ticks and tick-borne pathogen, thus lessening risk to public health.


Integrated Tick Management in Residential Connecticut. Nobody likes ticks, I mean nobody. You are most likely to pick up a tick (and potentially a pathogen they are carrying) on your own property, because that is where you likely spend the majority of your time. We have done research using different methods of tick control in differing combinations in residential areas throughout Connecticut that include targeting the ticks themselves, mice, and deer. This talk will discuss Lyme disease and tick ecology, will highlight the different products and strategies available, and reveal which combination with the least amount of toxicity was most effective.


Healthy Forests, Healthy People. After decades of research involving ticks and different forested habitats, we have concluded that forests in poor health, in general, have the highest tick abundances and largest risk to the public. This talk will discuss what makes a forest unhealthy, will show tick abundances in different forested settings, and will provide a justification for proper forest management to benefit wildlife and the public alike.

Quan Zeng, (203) 974-8613, Quan.Zeng@ct.gov:


Fire blight: how can I put out the fire when my apple trees look burned? Fire blight is one of the most devastating diseases of apples and pears. This presentation will cover the history of fire blight, symptoms and diagnostics, disease mechanisms, control strategies, and challenges in disease management.


Five common diseases of apple in New England. Apples are important specialty crops in New England. This presentation will cover common diseases of apple in New England orchards and backyard gardens, from the aspects of disease symptoms, diagnostics, and management.


An emerging disease of golf courses: bacterial decline and etiolation. Recently, a decline and etiolation disease caused by a bacterial pathogen Acidovorax avenae has been associated with severe damage of creeping bentgrass putting greens in the United States. This presentation will cover the symptoms, diagnostics, mechanisms, and management of this disease.


Apple story (for K-6 children). An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But how are apples produced? I will bring apple flowers, immature apple fruits, and regular apples and tell the kids a story about how an apple tree produces apples. Lots of questions and discussions during the session. Other activities also include coloring and tasting of five different apples at the end. Presentation only available in May and need appointment.