various Extension programs in collage

New Haven County

The New Haven County office is located in North Haven. Several of our programs have offices in North Haven, including 4-H, the Master Gardener Program, and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. Soil test kits are available at the New Haven County office. The following statewide programs have offices in New Haven County: the Connecticut Trail Census, community and economic development, and family economics and resource management. 

New Haven county office

305 Skiff Street

North Haven, CT, 06473-4451

(203) 407-3161

Faculty and Staff

Rachel Bespuda

Rachel Bespuda

Sustainable Livestock

Rachel Bespuda is the project coordinator for the CT-MA-RI tri-state SARE program, focusing on providing educational training to both agricultural service providers and farmers in the area of sustainable livestock production practices. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and, in 2011, earned a Master of Science degree in Animal Science with a focus in animal nutrition.




Laura Brown

Laura Brown

Community Economic Development Associate Extension Educator or 203-407-3157

Laura Brown is a Community Economic Development Educator with UConn Extension and Certified Economic Developer (CED). Laura’s statewide work is focused on asset-based community, regional and economic development in urban communities. Prior to joining UConn in 2014, Laura served as an educator with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Hartford Food System. Laura holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communications from Clark University.

Lindsey Brush

Lindsey Brush

Nutrition Education & Program Assistant Educational Outreach - UConnEFNEP

Lindsey is the new Program Assistant for the Connecticut Fitness and Nutrition Clubs In Motion. Lindsey is a recent graduate of the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Lindsey is also pursuing a certification as a personal trainer from National Academy of Sports Medicine. She has worked with community outreach including SNAP-ED, Boys and Girls Clubs, and telephonic health coaching. Lindsey brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to our team.

Robin Drago-Provencher

Robin DRobin Drago-Provencher

Trainer, Facilitator, Coordinator - UConn PEP  or 203-407-3410

Robin Drago-Provencher is the Trainer and Coordinator for the UConn PEP, People Empowering People community program. UConn PEP is an international award-winning personal leadership, life skills program. Robin has been a PEP facilitator since 1996 and a Trainer for UConn PEP since 2006. She has her Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Southern Connecticut State University.




Toni M. Ellis

Oak LeafToni M. Ellis

Nutrition Education & Extension Program Education Liaison - UConnEFNEP or 203-407-3171

Faye Griffiths-Smith

Oak LeafFaye Griffiths-Smith

Family Economics and Resource Management Associate Extension Educator or 203-407-316



Margaret H. Grillo

Oak LeafMargaret H. Grillo

Center Coordinator & 4-H Youth Development Associate Extension Educator - UConn4-H or 203-407-3158

Marlene Kennedy

Oak LeafMarlene Kennedy




Eric (R.K.) Larson

Oak LeafEric (R.K.) Larson

Coordinator - Master Gardener

Born in the Midwest, routed through Kentucky, detoured in Pennsylvania where I attended the Longwood Gardens Professional Gardeners Program. My journey then went through Southampton, NY and Chattanooga TN until I ended up at Haverford College in Pennsylvania as supervisor of the Arboretum Crew. After 15 years, I came to New Haven as the manager of Yale's Marsh Botanical Garden. After 15 years, I sort of retired and accepted the job happily as Coordinator of the Master Gardener program for New Haven County.




Lorraine St. Clair

Oak LeafLorraine St. Clair





Umekia R. Taylor

Umekia Taylor Umekia R. Taylor

Nutrition Education, Associate Extension Educator, Supervisor - UConnEFNEP or 203-407-3169

Ms. Taylor is an Educator with UConn Extension for New Haven County as well as the supervisor of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP). Ms. Taylor has over 25 years of experience with community nutrition. Her areas of expertise include wellness, exercise, and minority health issues. Ms. Taylor has worked with families and children to help improve nutrition through non-formal education. Ms. Taylor’s projects have included working with urban youth via community gardening and technology. She also has experience as a Trainer of Facilitators via the Academy of Educational Development/Center for Youth Development and Policy Research.



Zoraida Velazquez

Oak LeafZoraida Velazquez

Nutrition Education & Extension Program Education Liaison - UConnEFNEP or 203-407-3169




Diane Wright Hirsch

Diane Wright HirschDiane Wright Hirsch

Senior Extension Educator - Food Safety or 203-407-3163