Rutgers Turfgrass Program Raises $400,000 for Henry Indyk (AG ’50) Graduate Education Fellowship

Henry Indyk

Henry Indyk

The Rutgers Turfgrass Program has raised a total of $400,000 to support the Henry Indyk Endowed Graduate Fellowship at the university. Thanks to a $61,000 donation from the New Jersey Turfgrass Association (NJTA) and the New Jersey Turfgrass Foundation (NJTF) in March, the seven-year capital campaign has met its goal of continuing support of graduate education at the university.

According to Bruce Clarke, chair of the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology and director of the Center for Turfgrass Science, this fundraising effort was initiated in 2007 to provide an ongoing source of funding for graduate students in turfgrass science at Rutgers. Clarke expressed appreciation “to the NJTA and NJTF for their tremendous support of the Henry Indyk Endowed Graduate Fellowship, to the tune of more than $150,000 in funding since we started our campaign.” [Read more...]

FoodCorps NJ Member Joins First Lady Michelle Obama to Plant White House Garden

Alexis Sangalang (fourth from right) with fellow FoodCorps members.

Alexis Sangalang (in foreground, fourth from right) with fellow FoodCorps members at the White House.

FoodCorps New Jersey service member Alexis Sangalang joined First Lady Michelle Obama and five other FoodCorps leaders to plant the sixth season of the White House Kitchen Garden with DC students on April 2.

Sangalang serves with the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids in Camden, NJ. She works closely with Campbell’s Healthy Communities to serve six schools and community partners in Camden. [Read more...]

From Youths to Sleuths: 4-H Rutgerscience Saturday Introduces STEM Concepts Using Spy Technology

sciencesat_spy3On March 29, the Rutgers 4-H Youth Development Program sponsored a Rutgerscience Saturday event for 51 youths across New Jersey, from grades 5-9. Participants practiced listening like a spy using laser technology, embedding messages in images and learning how to use surveillance technology.

Rutgers University graduate student Swapnil Mhaske showed a group of “spies-in-training” how to eavesdrop using a laser beam. Mhaske, whose research interests are in the area of wireless communications and information theory, spent over a month preparing to teach the students about his field of information technology. [Read more...]

Reduce N & P in Lakes and Ponds with DIY Floating Wetland

Wetlands are effective tools for cleaning polluted water. As the plants grow they remove excess nutrients from stormwater runoff and store it in their leaves, while adding oxygen to the water. Their roots also support a habitat for microorganisms that feed on excess nutrients. A way to help lakes or ponds from becoming a soupy mess from overgrowth of algae is to build a floating wetland. In this video, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Camden and Burlington counties demonstrate how to make a “Do It Yourself” artificial floating wetland for lakes and ponds to help reduce levels of nitrogen and phosphorous.

Video: Floating Wetland


100 Years of Cooperative Extension: Rutgers Ag Engineering Specialist William Roberts’ Innovation is National Landmark

William Roberts and his wife Dottie at the dedication of the first air inflated double polyethylene greenhouse on Cook campus as a historical national landmark.

William Roberts and wife Dottie at the dedication of the first air-inflated, double-polyethylene greenhouse on the Cook Campus as a historical national landmark.

Sometimes innovation strikes at the most unlikely of times and in the most unlikely of places. While researchers can labor for months at their research facilities, a breakthrough may come while they’re tinkering at home in their garage or basement. Such was the case for Rutgers Cooperative Extension specialist William Roberts when he used an aquarium air pump to separate two layers of plastic film in a model greenhouse he was building in his basement on Christmas Day in 1964. As innocuous as it may seem, what Roberts did was actually an innovation that would one day, once developed for commercial application, revolutionize the use of greenhouses worldwide and be a boon to the agricultural industry.

Greenhouses, once regarded as a luxury for the rich, have been in use for centuries. The traditional glass structures allowed for a controlled environment to protect plants from cold or heat, and for the cultivation of exotic plants. It wasn’t until the 1960s, when polyethylene film became available in wide sheets ideal for industrial applications, that the construction of greenhouses became economical, leading to widespread agricultural use. [Read more...]