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Dawn Pettinelli, Assistant Cooperative Extension Educator

Manager - Home and Garden Education Center
Manager - Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory

   Experience and Education | Honors & Awards and Activity | Research | Teaching | Publications

Dawn Pettinelli is an Assistant Cooperative Extension Educator in the Department of Plant Science at the University of Connecticut. She manages and coordinates the activities of the UConn Home and Garden Education Center and the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory.

The Home and Garden Education Center addresses the needs of an increasingly sophisticated audience in a wide variety of issues including horticulture, food safety, soil testing, drinking water, home pest control and environmental/pesticide issues. Clients are educated in best management practices for pest control, soil and water quality, and plant cultural techniques. The goal of the Center is to become a highly respected and visible education outreach program by providing accurate, thorough and timely information to the citizens of Connecticut.  The current and future use of technology enables the Center to involve faculty and staff of CANR at Storrs with the eight field offices throughout the state. In 2006, the Center opened its Plant Diagnostic Laboratory, now participating in National Plant Diagnostic Network.

The Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory functions dually as a service laboratory offering soil fertility testing to commercial agriculture, the green industry, homeowners and university researchers, and as an educational center focusing on soil, soil fertility and soil contamination issues. Starting in 2007, the laboratory began testing soils for lead. Our goal is to increase the public’s awareness of the benefits of soil testing and the necessity of environmentally sound soil fertility management programs.

Activities to implement the goals of both facilities include educational presentations, press releases, fact sheets, displays, laboratory upgrades and development, Master Gardener and Advanced Master Gardener Programs, television and radio, weekly newspaper columns, websites, free plant and soil pH clinics at events like the Hartford Flower Show, bimonthly newsletter, AAS Trial Garden, surveys of clients needs and responses.



2005 - present   Assistant Cooperative Extension Educator, Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut.
1998-2005     Manager, Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory, Department of Plant Science, University of                            Connecticut.
1989-2003         Newspaper columnist, Southbridge Evening News, Southbridge, MA.
1989-1998         Extension Technician, Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory, University of Mass, Amherst, MA
1988-1989         Horticulturist/Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Worcester County Cooperative Extension,
                           Worcester, MA.
1986-1988.        Horticulturist, Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, MA.


M.S. 1985     Forest Science. Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
B.S. 1977     Agricultural Production. Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 
1973-1977    Natural Resources Major. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Master Gardener, Class of 1986, University of Massachusetts

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National Future Farmers of America. 1999. Citation for service.
Exotic Cage Bird Society of New England. 1988. Citation for service.

Professional/Service Societies:

CNLA Green Industry Trade School Committee, Chairman
Soil Science Society of Southern New England, Professional Member
Gamma Sigma Delta
CPTV Family Science Expo Advisory Board Member
Women in Soil Science
Connecticut Community Garden Association, 2 Year Board Member at Large
Charlton Garden Club, Secretary, Public Relations Committee
St. Mary’s Parish, Bazaar Committee
CT Northeast Organic Farming Association

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Lead in Community Gardens Project – Assisting the CT Community Gardening Association and the CT Agricultural Experiment Station with assessing lead and other heavy metals in community gardens throughout CT.

Lead Bioremediation Project - Currently co-PI on grant to assess the potential of bioremediation of lead on a heavily lead contaminated site in CT.

Developing Laboratory Methodology to expand the Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory’s offerings and, therefore, our ability to educate the public about sustainable nutrient management.

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Teaching – Extension:            

Pettinelli, D. Soils, Plant Nutrition and Soil Fertility. University of Connecticut Master Gardener Training, Given at 5 locations annually, 1999 to present.              

Pettinelli, D. Soils and Fertilizers. Massachusetts Master Gardener Training. 2000 to present. Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Dover, MA  

Pettinelli, D. Introduction to Soils. UMASS Green School, Milford, MA Alternate years. 2004 to present.

Pettinelli, D. Introduction to Soils. CT Landscape and Nurserymen’s Association accredited education program, Southington, CT. 2003 to present.

Pettinelli, D. Plant Nutrition and Fertilizers. CT Landscape and Nurserymen’s Association accredited education program, Southington, CT. 2003 to present.

Pettinelli, D. Soils of Connecticut. Environthon Training. USDA-NRCS. November, 2003 to present. Hosted 2008 Soils and Forestry training workshop at UConn. Also assist with State Environthon Competition each spring.

Knowledge to Grow On Seminar Series – Two or three fee-based seminars are developed and offered each year to the general public on popular topics. Held at Auer Farm.
March 2008 – Successful Seed Starting
September 2008 – Landscape Design Basics

Visit: www.ladybug.edu

 CT Green Prep Program – Starting in winter of 2007 and held on an annual basis at UConn Greater Hartford campus, a very basic horticulture class is offered to those interested in pursuing a career in the Green Industry. The classes consist of 5 lecture sessions, and 3 hands-on sessions at various greenhouse operations or garden centers in CT. The classes are taught by University professionals and Green Industry personnel and are geared to prospective employees who lack any formal horticultural education. Visit: www.CTGreenPrep.com

CPTV Family Science EXPO – With Cooperative Extension and CT Master Gardener Association, develop, design, and staff exhibit at annual EXPO in Hartford. Purpose is to engage K-8 students in hands-on science-based activities and learning experiences to foster an interest and appreciation of science.

Home & garden News – Managing editor of fee-based, bimonthly, subscription newsletter with home and horticulture articles written by College personnel.  

Newspaper columns – Author of numerous articles used in both weekly and biweekly columns for 4 newspapers in CT including the Willimantic Chronicle, the Danbury News-Times, the Mystic River Press and the Reminder. The approximate circulation of these papers is 250,000.

Appearances on TV shows as requested including Martha Stewart Living, The Fox Report, NBC-30 and Channel 8 news.    

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Pettinelli, D. 2008. Leaves of Three. Home & Garden News.  UConn Home and Garden Education Center. Storrs, CT. May/June 2008  

Pettinelli, D. 2008. Plants for Pollinators. Home & Garden News. UConn Home and Garden Education Center. Storrs, CT. May/June 2008

Pettinelli, D. 2008. Eco-Gardening. Home & Garden News. UConn Home and Garden Education Center. Storrs, CT. Mar/April 2008

Pettinelli, D. 2008. Is Crabgrass Making You Crabby? Home & Garden News. UConn Home and Garden Education  Center. Storrs, CT. Mar/April 2008

Pettinelli, D. 2008. Favorite Seed Catalogs. Home & Garden News. UConn Home and Garden Education  Center. Storrs, CT. Jan/Feb 2008

Pettinelli, D. 2008. Your Garden Variety of Chocolates. Home & Garden News. UConn Home and Garden Education  Center. Storrs, CT. Jan/Feb 2008

Pettinelli, D. 2007. Lead in Garden Soils. The Connecticut Gardener. Sept./Oct. 2007

Pettinelli, D. 2008. Milorganite. The Connecticut Gardener. Mar./April. 2008

Contributed to and was cited in the following article: Soil. Edited by Beth Huxta. Organic Gardening. May 2008. pp. 20-21

Morris, Thomas and D. Pettinelli. 2007. Don’t eat your vegetables. NY Times Op-Ed Contributors. Nov. 18, 2007

Pettinelli, D. 2007.  Preventing lead poisoning from contaminated soil in community gardens. CESE fact sheet. 1 p. www.cese.uconn.edu.

Pettinelli, D. 2007. Lead in Garden Soils. UConn SNAL Fact Sheet. 4 pp.

Pettinelli, D. 2007. Soil Lead Interpretation Sheet. UConn SNAL Fact Sheet. 2 pp.

Pettinelli, D. 2008. Growing Warm Season Grasses in Connecticut. UConn SNAL Fact Sheet. 4 pp.

Olena Zhivotovsky, J. Kuzovkina, C. Schutthess, T. Morris and D. Pettinelli. 2008. Screening study of lead hyperaccumulating plants with further application in the cleanup of brownfields in the  Northeast region. NE Amer. Soc. For Plant Biologists Conference. Storrs, CT. April 18-19, 2008.

Thomas Morris, J. Ping, R. Durgy and D. Pettinelli. 2008. Managing organic amendments by testing soils for phosphorus. Northeast Regional In-Service Training for Ag Service Providers. New Castle, NH. Jan. 30-31, 2008

Thomas Morris, H. Tao, J. Ping, D. Pettinelli, and R. Meinert. 2007. Nitrogen fertilizer recommendations Based on a feedback loop. ASA-CSSA-SSSA 2007 International Annual Meetings. New Orleans, LA Nov. 4-8, 2007

Dawn Pettinelli, D. Stilwell, T. Rathier and T. Bott. 2007. Getting the lead out: a joint program to identify, and remediate lead and other heavy metals in Connecticut community gardens. American Community Gardening Assoc. 28th Annual Conference. Boston, MA. Aug. 9-12, 2007.  

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  Dawn Pettinelli
Extension Educator
University of Connecticut

6 Sherman Place, Unit 5102
Depot Campus - Union Cottage
Department of Plant Science
Storrs, Connecticut 0626

Telephone: (860) 486-4274
fax: (860) 486-4562
email: dawn.pettinelli@uconn.edu
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