Digging a new column

Have you ever wondered what tree to plant in your front yard? Or what kind of insect is attacking your tomato plant? Where would you find that information? You could do a search on the Internet and get six different answers from six different places. Or you could pick up the phone and call the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Burlington County… What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture through Rutgers University Extension… The Cooperative Extension system is a unique partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the nation’s land-grant universities that extends research-based knowledge through a state network of Extension Office educators.

Read the entire article at www.burlingtoncountytimes.com »

Rutgers scientists aren’t NJ’s only experts on cranberries: Meet the young “Cranbassadors”

What happens when you have an engaged scientist and an agriculturally-minded teacher and you put them together in a parent-teacher conference? The Cranbassadors program is the brainchild of NJAES Extension Specialist in Plant Pathology Peter Oudemans and Mullica Township teacher Barbara Rheault who wanted to connect students to the local agriculture of the Pinelands. Student Cranbassadors are well versed in the science behind growing cranberries, as can be seen in this NJEA Classroom Close-up, NJ video.

National Moth Week Celebrated in New Jersey

PrintSixteen public events scheduled across the state; hundreds more worldwide

The third annual National Moth Week, a worldwide citizen science project started in New Jersey in 2012, will be celebrated across the state, beginning with an early kickoff “Moth Ball” slated for Friday, July 11, in Bergen County.

Started by the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission, the creators of National Moth Week are connected to Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Liti Haramaty is a marine sciences researcher at Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, David Moskowitz is completing a Ph.D. in Entomology. National Moth Week officially takes place the last full week and two weekends of July. This year’s dates are July 19-27. After its launch in 2012, National Moth Week quickly went global. As of July 2, hundreds of public and private events are registered on the National Moth Week site in all 50 states and 41 countries. [Read more…]

New Jersey 4-Hers Boost Leadership and Civic Skills in Washington, D.C.

New Jersey 4-H delegates to the 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus on the steps of the Capitol.

New Jersey 4-H delegates to the 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus on the steps of the Capitol.

New Jersey 4-H members learned about government processes in the vibrant, living classroom of the nation’s capital as part of Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF), an intensive 4-H civic engagement program for high-school youth held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The New Jersey 4-H delegation of 30 youth and three adult chaperones attended week 6 of the conference from July 6-12. [Read more…]

Beating the Bugs in the Bogs: Postdoctoral Student Studies Cranberry Resistance to Gypsy Moth

Elvira de Lange wrapping a cranberry plant with newly hatched gypsy moth larva.

Elvira de Lange wrapping a cranberry plant with newly hatched gypsy moth larva.

The gypsy moth is a destructive insect pest infesting New Jersey’s forests, destroying thousands of acres of trees. In the New Jersey Pinelands, the gypsy moth is also an occasional pest of cranberries. Gypsy moth caterpillars will readily eat the plants in outbreak years, when they are abundant in the Pinelands, like in 2007. The caterpillars prefer to feed on oaks, but when they encounter cranberry plants, their presence can have a devastating effect. Fortunately, since 2007, the caterpillars have rarely been seen in the New Jersey Pinelands. However, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared for their eventual return. Also, studying cranberry resistance against gypsy moth will teach us about the resistance of the plants against other important pests as well.

At the Rutgers Marucci Cranberry and Blueberry Research Center in Chatsworth, NJ, studies led by postdoctoral student Elvira de Lange are currently testing the insect resistance of seven varieties of cranberry, including the widely used Stevens variety and newer varieties such as Crimson Queen and Demoranville. De Lange started off wrapping the different plants in white polyester sleeves and adding a number of gypsy moth larvae that just hatched from the egg. A week later, she retrieved the larvae from the plants and weighed them, to evaluate whether or not they grew well on certain plants. Also, she scored the damage the gypsy moth evoked, as a measure for plant resistance. She is still evaluating the data, in order to know if certain cranberry varieties are more resistant than others. [Read more…]