Weekdays Noon-2:00 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370, FM 107.5, and WRUR 88.5 FM in Rochester, WEOS 89.5 FM in Geneva

Evan Dawson talks about what matters to you on ConnectionsEvery weekday from noon-2 p.m. Be part of the program with questions or comments by phone - 1-844-295-TALK (8255), email, Facebook or Twitter

Have you noticed colorful mushrooms in your yard or in local parks? It has been a very rainy July, and experts say fungi fruit under such wet conditions. It's a reminder of how much is happening underground, and perhaps, how little we think about that -- or how little control we have -- when it comes to caring for our lawns or green spaces.

Are more people considering monoculture or should biodiversity be the goal? This hour, we take a fresh look at approaches to growing with our guests:

  • Marci Muller, horticulture program leader with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County
  • Alison Espinosa, urban agriculture educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension on Monroe County
  • Noreen Riordan, certified arborist with Monster Tree Service

Is American political polling a dying enterprise? Polls in 2016 were excellent at forecasting the final vote totals nationwide, but not nearly as good at forecasting outcomes in individual states. In 2020, polls under-counted support for Donald Trump even more than they did in 2016.

Why is that? And if polling is in trouble, why are polls for other political races much more consistent and effective? What accounts for the differences? Our guests discuss it:

Max Schulte/WXXI News

First hour: Is political polling a dying enterprise? 

Second hour: A fresh look at approaches to growing

This week, ethics reform crashed and burned before it could take off in Monroe County. Republicans pulled back from a bill that could have forced Monroe County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza to resign. But what, exactly, is the kind of ethics reform that the county needs?

Recently one legislator was accused of various kinds of harassment and sexual misconduct by roughly a dozen women, and there is no ethics standard that could trigger his removal. So, what's next? We discuss it with various lawmakers. Our guests:

How can nature play a role in fostering physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing? Lucienne Nicholson says the outdoors offer remarkable benefits in those areas. She founded an organization called Inclusive Woods & Us in 2019. The goal is to provide people from all backgrounds a chance to experience nature. Nicholson says race and income are the two most significant factors blocking equitable access to the outdoors.

This hour, we talk about the mission of her organization, and about how nature can empower those who spend time in it. Our guests: 


First hour: Discussing the benefits of nature with the team from Inclusive Woods & Us

Second hour: What kind of ethics reform is needed in Monroe County?

The Young Entrepreneur Marketplace is gearing up for its sixth event. All of the products at this “buy local” experience are made by Rochester-area kids and teens. It’s an opportunity for them to start or continue their entrepreneur journey.

We talk with the young business owners and the program’s founder about their work. Our guests:

From lockdowns to remote learning to wearing masks in public, experts say COVID-19 policies and procedures were effective in limiting exposure to the virus. But, more than a year later, those experts say that there’s a reason to be concerned about children’s immunological development being compromised.

Writing for The Conversation, viral immunologist Byram Bridle says, “Raising children during the pandemic has largely occurred in isolated/sanitized environments that are unprecedented in extent and duration. These kids are at greater risk of developing hypersensitivities and autoimmune diseases than anyone before them. The immune systems of children are not designed to develop in isolation from the microbial world, so let’s consider letting children be children again.”

This hour, we’re joined by local experts who weigh in on this. They also discuss food allergies in children and what parents and educators need to know. Our guests:

  • S. Shahzad Mustafa, M.D., lead physician in the Department of Allergy, Immunology, & Rheumatology at Rochester Regional Health
  • Peter Capucilli, M.D., physician in the Department of Allergy, Immunology, & Rheumatology at Rochester Regional Health

First hour: How children's immune systems could be affected by pandemic policies

Second hour: Previewing the Young Entrepreneur Marketplace

The City of Rochester has a new composting pilot program. We talk about what it entails, and our guests answer your questions about home composting.

Our guests: