Rutgers 4-H Salutes NJ Volunteers during National Volunteer Week April 12-18

4-H logo.

4-H logo.

Each year, thousands of volunteers in New Jersey donate their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live. These volunteers will be among the millions across the country who will be spotlighted during National Volunteer Week, April 12-18.

One group that relies heavily on volunteers is the New Jersey 4-H Youth Development Program, which is part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. New Jersey 4-H has nearly 3,748 adult volunteers who serve as club leaders, project leaders, resource leaders and judges across the state over the past year.

“Volunteers are the backbone of the 4-H program. They provide the guidance and support that helps 4-H boys and girls in grades K-13 (one year out of high school) develop confidence and valuable life skills,” says Jeannette Rea Keywood, state 4-H Agent, Department of 4-H Youth Development at Rutgers. [Read more…]

Rutgers Equine Science Center Unveils Website Redesign

Photo of Rutgers Equine Science Center homepage.

Photo of Rutgers Equine Science Center homepage. Courtesy of ESC.

After 14 years of providing the public with information on “all things horses,” the Rutgers Equine Science Center (ESC) has had a major facelift, launching its redesigned website to offer greater interactivity, new search functionality, plus a streamlined “Ask The Expert” section.

“With this facelift and integration, the center will provide the public with a website that is not only friendly to use, but one which will remain unparalleled in providing science-based information to equine enthusiasts around the world,” says Karyn Malinowski, director of the ESC.

The popular “Lord Nelson’s Blog,” whose four-legged author recently received the “Horse Personality of the Year Award,” will migrate from its current site to anchor a special “Kid’s Corner” on the center’s new website. “Kid’s Corner” will also feature the “Equine Science 4 Kids” education portal as well as link to the 4-H Horse Program in New Jersey. [Read more…]

John and Anne Gerwig Endowment to Support Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Former and current Rutgers Cooperative Extension directors John Gerwig (left) and Larry Katz cut the cake at the Rutgers retirees event commemorating the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension.

Former and current Rutgers Cooperative Extension directors John Gerwig (left) and Larry Katz cut the cake at the Rutgers retirees’ event commemorating the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension in 2014.

Announcement by Larry Katz, director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

A strong workforce will support a strong community. That was the topic of conversation when John and Anne Gerwig asserted their desire to help all of Rutgers Cooperative Extension by establishing a fund that will provide resources to extension professionals in perpetuity. I am pleased to announce that, in honor of the Smith-Lever Anniversary, John and Anne have jointly established the “John and Anne Gerwig Director’s Endowment for Rutgers Cooperative Extension,” with a gift of $200,000.

The goal of this fund is to empower Cooperative Extension professionals so that they can make a bigger impact on our communities. A portion of the fund will be reserved to award through a formal “request for proposal” process set up and managed by the Director’s office. Remaining funds will be used to support emerging issues, internships, awarding additional proposals and other needs that arise. [Read more…]

Delaware Estuary Summit Charts Course for Aquaculture in the Region

Farm-raised oysters in New Jersey ready for market.

Farm-raised oysters in New Jersey ready for market. Photo by Lisa Calvo.

Managers, educators, and oyster farmers gathered at Cape May’s Grand Hotel late last month for a special session, “Shellfish Culture Now and Tomorrow: Charting a Course for Delaware Estuary Aquaculture,” held in conjunction with the Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit. The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary has hosted the summit every two years since 2005 and it has become as important conference for a variety of stakeholders whose work focuses on the estuary.

The special session about shellfish aquaculture originated with Daphne Munroe, assistant professor at the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory (HSRL). Munroe worked with summit organizers and HSRL colleague Lisa Calvo, aquaculture program coordinator, to develop and host the session, which included overviews of shellfish aquaculture in New Jersey and Delaware and an extensive discussion period that engaged conference participates and invited panelists. [Read more…]

Rutgers-led Study Shows That Even A “Small” Nuclear War Could Produce A Global Food Crisis

Castle Romeo nuclear test, Bikini Atoll 1954

Castle Romeo nuclear test, Bikini Atoll 1954

In a paper published Feb. 6 in the new American Geophysical Union journal Earth’s Future, Rutgers postdoc Lili Xia, Rutgers professor Alan Robock, National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Michael Mills and colleagues demonstrate how crops in China, the largest grain producer in the world, would respond to the climate changes following a “small” regional nuclear war—using much less than 1 percent of the current global nuclear arsenal—between India and Pakistan.

According to the scientists, such a war could produce so much smoke from the fires ignited by attacks on cities and industrial areas that the smoke would be blown around the world, leading to cold, dark and dry conditions on the ground for more than a decade and producing the largest climate shift in recorded human history.

Using a crop simulation model, the researchers found that in China, in the first year after such a regional nuclear war, a cooler, drier, and darker environment would reduce annual corn production by 20 percent, rice production by 30 percent, and wheat production by 50 percent. These impacts would last for more than a decade, albeit at a gradually decreasing rate, so that even six to10 years after the war, rice production would be down 20 percent and wheat production down 25 percent. [Read more…]