Perth Amboy partners with Rutgers in hopes to enhance park

Richard Alomar has a vision for Rudyk Park: Flee markets, barbecues, exercise stations… The 54-year-old Rutgers assistant professor in landscape architecture has been working on-and-off for three months with two others in the hopes of not only making the municipality’s northeast side park bigger, but also making it more accessible. “This would be a great way to expand the park,” Alomar said, pointing to diagrams of the proposed expansion of the area, which currently consists of a playground, a baseball and soccer field and basketball courts.

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Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp Holds Annual Spring Family Weekend

Fun on the lake.

Fishing on Lake Shawanni.

The Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp held its Spring Family Weekend on May 20-22, giving summer campers (and their parents who wish they could be summer campers) an opportunity to spend a weekend together having fun. “One of the goals of this weekend is to provide the opportunity for brand new families to get introduced to what we do here at 4-H Camp,” said Ben Clawson, program director of the camp. “Many of our new families who attend the weekend have younger children, so it’s a great way to start a child on camp.” It’s a taste of summer camp for the whole family: campers get to live in the cabins, enjoy summer programs run by the summer staff, eat some great meals and most of all spend some quality time relaxing around the lake at the 4-H facility in Stokes State Forest.

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Rutgers 250: NJAES Breed of the Month – Dogwood

Rutgers 250 variety, ‘Rutpink’ Scarlet Fire™ dogwood tree blossom. Photo by: Dr. Tom Molnar, Rutgers NJAES.

Rutgers 250 variety, ‘Rutpink’ Scarlet Fire™ dogwood tree blossom. Photo by: Dr. Tom Molnar, Rutgers NJAES.

Scarlet Fire™ Extends Ornamental Dogwood Season

The Rutgers 250 All-Star Variety for June, 2016 is the ‘Rutpink’ Scarlet Fire™ dogwood tree. This is the first Cornus kousa variety released in over 45 years to the ornamental nursery market. Rutgers plant breeder Tom Molnar, continued the decades of work started by renowned breeder and professor emeritus Elwin Orton in the 1970s.

Scarlet Fire™ is a gorgeous deep pink to fuchsia-bracted dogwood tree, known for its deep, consistently pink bracts that contrast beautifully with its dark green foliage. This tree blooms in late May to early June, making it one of the latest-blooming dogwood tree varieties developed at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

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Cresskill environmentalists rolling out rain barrels in attempt to save water

Cresskill’s Environmental Commission is inviting residents to attend a Rain Barrel Making Workshop on June 15 at borough hall. Organizers hope there will be a flood of support for the concept of conserving water in rain barrels… New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson of Rutgers University said that North Jersey is in an abnormally dry spell right now: "The groundwaters are low. March and April were very dry. May was average. We will have to hope for timely rains and conditions that are not too hot." Robinson, who is an advocate for rain barrels and smart lawn watering, said such measures are important because "it makes people aware of the finite nature of fresh water that’s out there…people put too much water on their lawns."

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The Road to Financial Wellness Starts at Rutgers

Jason Vitug ('07 RBS) founder of Phroogal with Barbara O'Neill, Rutgers Cooperative Extension specialist in financial resource management.

Jason Vitug (RBS’07) founder of Phroogal with Barbara O’Neill, Rutgers Cooperative Extension specialist in financial resource management.

The Road to Financial Wellness 2.0 kicked off with a campus pit stop held at IFNH on Thursday June 2nd. Jason Vitug, a 2007 graduate of Rutgers Business School and founder of Phroogal—a social media company providing financial information targeted to millennials—is embarking on his 2nd annual financial education journey across the United States with 50 events in 50 states over 107 days, covering 15,000 miles, to raise awareness of personal finance and to encourage people to make better financial decisions. Vitug will kick off this road trip in his hometown of Elizabeth, NJ, on Tuesday June 7. Barbara O’Neill, Rutgers Cooperative Extension specialist in financial resource management, invited Vitug and two guest panelists—Pamela Callender, business development and marketing manager at Rutgers Federal Credit Union (RFCU), and Kim Cole, Navicore Solutions and New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education—to speak to the campus audience and provide specific tips to improve a person’s financial wellness.

In addition to the presentations, during his journey Vitug and his Phroogal team will be posting and sharing stories at #TheRoad2016 and encourages everyone to ‘come along for the ride.’

Jason Vitug speaking about his journey to financial wellness.

Jason Vitug speaking about his journey to financial wellness.

The Rutgers seminar began with Vitug talking about his own financial history including the $5,000 credit card debt he graduated with and ‘living paycheck to paycheck, despite a six-figure salary.’  In recounting this, he emphasized the importance of life planning and smart spending. Vitug told the audience to dig deep and ‘envision your dream life style’ so that you have a life plan which your financial plan then supports. Contrary to popular wisdom, he explained that money can make you happy if it fulfills what you need and love, rather than just like and want.  Is that big house part of your real dream or just ‘keeping up with the Joneses?’

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Rutgers 4-H and Environmental Resources Collaborate to Create Active Learners

Tamara Pellien, 4-H Agent with Ocean County, demonstrates a watershed model activity for educators as part of the Water Engineers Program Photo credit: Steve Yergeau.

Tamara Pellien, 4-H Agent with Ocean County, demonstrates a watershed model activity for educators as part of the Water Engineers Program Photo credit: Steve Yergeau.

Educating students in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) has become a focus of schools across the country.  This is mainly due to the need for a well-prepared future workforce, as the growth of STEM-related jobs from 2000 – 2010 rose at a rate three times faster than non-STEM-related employment.  Many educators conduct instruction targeted in the STEM areas to fulfill this need, but through the use of the same conventional model in education: lecture, memorize, and test.  For years, educators have discussed and attempted to address STEM in the context of real-world, applied science.  In trying to implement a hands-on approach to learning, educators continue to face challenges: a lack of learning opportunities and limited funds to allow for project-based learning.  These factors hinder the ability of educators and youth to put their new understanding of STEM to effective use.  Ocean County’s 4-H and environmental resource agents are collaborating to meet the challenges of teaching students the STEM disciplines in new and innovative ways.  This partnership has resulted in the creation of two programs: the Water Engineers Program and Growing with Vertical Gardens Program. [Read more…]

Rutgers Gardens Celebrates its Centennial Anniversary

Installation of permanent benches.

Installation of permanent benches.

During Rutgers Historic 250th Year its ‘Secret Garden’ turns 100!

Rutgers Gardens celebrated its Centennial on May 17th with an outdoor reception under a large tent in the Roy DeBoer Evergreen Gardens. Despite the rain, the tent was packed with faculty, staff, and many supporters and volunteers. This historic moment in the Gardens’ history was commemorated with the installation of two permanent benches, a plaque, and the naming of a new commemorative bearded iris hybrid ‘Centennial Charm.’  Bob Lyons, chairman of the Advisory Board proudly announced the Horticulture Landmark Designation Award from the American Society for Horticulture Science and Bruce Crawford, director Rutgers Gardens was also honored with the Rutgers Gardens Centennial Award of Distinction.

Dean Bob Goodman.

Dean Bob Goodman.

Dean Bob Goodman kicked off the gala with some remarks regarding his introduction to the Gardens.  He said that during the interview process for the position of Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Studies and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, he was given a tour of the Gardens and then was told that the Gardens would be under his supervision as Dean. “You mean they’ll be mine?” He was clearly delighted!

Bruce Crawford, Rutgers Gardens director, gave a brief history of the Gardens, which began in 1916, when 35.7 acres of land—known as Wolpert Farm—was purchased on May 17, 1916 from Jacob and Celia Lipman. The Gardens  were intended as a functional learning space for local farmers to teach them about the new trend at the turn of the century—ornamental horticulture—and were never meant to be public, leading some to call them Rutgers’ ‘Secret Garden.’ They were never denied to the public, however, and the love for and dedication to the gardens by students, faculty and the public blossomed along with the gardens!

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NJTV Spotlights Ag Field Day at Rutgers Day

NJTV made a visit to the George H. Cook campus to get an overview of Ag Field Day. Executive Dean Bob Goodman is featured.
Video: Family Fun and Tradition Are at the Heart of Rutgers Day

Rutgers 250: NJAES Breed of the Month – Strawberries


Strawberry Availability Map

Strawberry Availability Map

Strawberry research at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) dates back to 1870. By the 1920s, strawberry research was focusing on strawberry breeding and variety trials. Some of the noteworthy strawberry cultivars released by Rutgers NJAES have been Sparkle, Jerseybelle and Raritan. The newest addition, Rutgers Scarlet which has exhibited good production and exceptional fruit flavor, is now ready for you to enjoy.

StrawberriesRead the Edible Jersey Article on Rutgers Scarlet™. Visit the Ag Products page for more information.  To check on availability, click on the map.

Students, Prospective Health and Wellness Professionals, Participate in Intergenerational Project for Older Adults

SEBS student Linda Dragun, at left, and colleagues Saige Gomez and Morris Kim play a game of modified pong with the senior citizens.

SEBS student Linda Dragun, second from left, and fellow Rutgers students Saige Gomez (center) and Morris Kim (second from right) play a game of ‘modified pong’ with the seniors.

Students from Rutgers, including four from the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences who are pursuing careers as physical therapists, doctors, occupational therapists and nurse practitioners specializing in the aging community, hosted an intergenerational event for Springpoint Senior Living residents at the Loree Gymnasium on the Douglass Campus on April 13.

Susan Kaplowitz, professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies, along with 25 of her students, welcomed 30 residents from Monroe Village and Meadow Lakes, both Springpoint Senior Living continuing care retirement communities, for a fun-filled afternoon of physical, mental and creative exercises.

The seniors participated in activities designed by the students, including interactive stations with fitness testing, creative arts, balancing activities, memory games, sport games: Wii bowling, water pong and corn-hole. Tactile exercises using everyday household items included towels, chairs, sand-filled water bottles and rubber bands to stretch and strengthen hand muscles. [Read more…]