Rutgers Gardens celebrates Centennial with ambitious growth plan

Rutgers Gardens, an oasis that draws thousands for classes, weddings and walks in the woods, is about to receive a rare honor and is on the cusp of a major facelift as it celebrates its centennial… "There is a huge demand for public space, public gardens, nature, greenery," said Bruce Crawford, director since 2005, in a news release. "I know that we could easily get to a quarter million visitors in 20, 30 years, if things go like we think they’re going, so we have to plan for that."

Read the entire article at My Central Jersey »

Alumni Story: Jessie Davis (SEBS’16) – Taking the Leap

Class Representative Jessie Davis addressing the Class of 2016 at the SEBS Convocation. Photo credit: John O'Boyle

Class Representative Jessie Davis addressing the Class of 2016 at the SEBS Convocation. Photo credit: John O’Boyle

Jessie Davis challenged fellow members of  the Class of 2016 at the school convocation this past spring. Standing at the lectern on the VIP platform, she said, “Today we stand at the edge of the cliff. The cliff called yesterday. However, there is only one sign at the edge of the cliff: JUMP!”

Taking the great leap from the cliff to the “ledge of tomorrow” is what Jessie Davis is all about and has been since she was in eighth grade. It was then that she knew she would be going to Rutgers, would be following a course of studies related to the medical field, and would be in control of her future. She calls it being “intentional,” taking life by the horns.

Early on Jessie demonstrated her commitment to acting on her belief in “intentional” living. She enrolled in Passaic County Technical Institute, a highly regarded high school in northern New Jersey, in its Academy of Medical Arts. While considering which college to attend, someone suggested that she look into public health as a field of study, which led her to Rutgers.

Jessie’s role at convocation was as the Class Representative, the graduating student chosen to inspire classmates, parents, family, friends, faculty and staff with a short send-off during convocation ceremonies. Her energetic remarks were met with cheers and applause as she created a new definition for “GPA.”

“Bear with me as we re-define GPA. In our reimagined world, GPA doesn’t stand for grade point average; it stands for genius, passion, and achievement.” [Read more…]

Rutgers Gardens Farmers Market – A Fresh Place to Spend Summer Fridays

Rutgers Gardens Farm Market.

Rutgers Gardens Farmers Market.

By Tim Gleeson, summer intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing

On a Friday afternoon in the typical summer months, producers from around New Jersey emerge to showcase their products at the Rutgers Gardens Farmers Market, which actually has an expanded season starting in May and extending into November.

Established in 2008, the market commenced operations with 12 vendors that included Fruitwood Farms, pickle distributor Picklelicious, and cheese connoisseurs Valley Sheppard Creamery. Today, Rutgers Gardens Farmers Market has expanded to 35 merchants, including newcomer Hot Sauce 4 Good, based out of East Millstone, NJ, and which is dedicated to ‘changing the world one bottle at a time’ by donating a portion of its proceeds to charitable organizations fighting food insecurity.

[Read more…]

Join the Master Tree Stewards this Fall

Enrollment is now open for Union County’s Master Tree Stewards program. Members of this all-volunteer organization spend the fall season on guided nature walks to learn about the critical role that trees play in our environment, and each spring they fan out to share their knowledge with hundreds fourth grade students in Union County schools… Master Tree Steward volunteers are trained and certified by experts from the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County. The training course begins each September and consists of guided visits to state parks including Cheesequake, Hacklebarney and others.

Read the entire article at Tap Into »

New York City’s Chief Zika Hunter, Dr. Jennifer Rakeman (CC’94)

Dr. Jennifer Rakeman, director for the New York City Public Health Laboratory,

Dr. Jennifer Rakeman, director for the New York City Public Health Laboratory,

When the Zika virus emerged in the U.S. this year, Dr. Rakeman faced different demands than she did with the Ebola crisis in 2014.  She had to quickly training staff to probe for signs of a little-understood virus that lurks for only a short time in urine samples and even more briefly in blood. Public health laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are among the only facilities equipped to test for the Zika virus, which is spread by a certain species of infected mosquito and it is Rakeman’s job to make sure every test result is 100% correct. “We’ve gone from getting zero Zika specimens to getting hundreds a day,” she said.

Originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2016

Using Gardens to Improve Community Health and Manage Stormwater Runoff

Shiloh Community Garden.

Shiloh Community Garden.

The Shiloh Community Garden in downtown New Brunswick has been the focal point of a unique health project that seeks to foster positive physical, emotional, and social health outcomes for an underserved city population: uninsured clients of Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen. These clients, who receive free primary care through the Promise Clinic, a volunteer clinic run by medical students associated with Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, obtain gardening skills while they learn about healthy food and improving personal health.

Through the efforts of Richard Alomar, assistant professor, and Megan Pilla, graduate student, in the Department of Landscape Architecture, sketching at the Shiloh Community Garden has been integrated into the community-based project. Pre-and post-health assessments will evaluate whether the experience leads to positive health outcomes, and sketching journals will document the work recollections and attitudes of the participants. The results will inform future Elijah’s Promise programming, community gardening expansions, further scholarship in community-based health, and an expanded study. The project, a collaboration of Elijah’s Promise, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Rutgers, is funded by a Community-University Partnership grant.

[Read more…]

It’s Peak Mosquito Time on the Atlantic Coast: Will Zika Follow?

Now that Florida has become ground zero for locally-transmitted Zika virus in the United States, researchers are scrambling to quantify the risk to other regions of the country… After running their model in Philadelphia, for example, the scientists predicted that in 14 percent of scenarios, more than 100 people would become infected if Zika was introduced by a traveler returning with the disease. In more than half of the runs of that model, at least one new person was infected. The model also showed that the risk of serious outbreaks rose as the mosquito season lengthened, a concern that would increase should the weather remain hot and sticky later into the year. Such results don’t surprise Dina Fonseca, an entomologist at Rutgers University, who studies the habits of mosquitoes. "Right now we’re entering the most dangerous time in terms of density of Aedes albopictus," she said, referring to the Asian tiger mosquito. "In July is when they start to go crazy, at least here in New Jersey, but they peak in August."

Read the entire article at Undark.org »

Urban High School Students Dive Deep into Science at Rutgers University

Summer Science Students.

Summer Science Students.

Annual 4-H Summer Science Program was held July 11-15 on the Cook Campus

Over sixty high school students from Elizabeth, Newark, New Brunswick, Passaic, Paterson, Trenton, Rahway and Atlantic City participated in hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities alongside Rutgers faculty at the 8th annual 4-H Summer Science Program on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus.

“The students spent a week with Rutgers scientists–touring their labs, learning about their research, and how their scientific inquiry is relevant to our daily lives,” said Chad Ripberger, Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) 4-H agent, Mercer County. And because the students were living on campus, they also got a taste of university life.

[Read more…]

Got Moths? Celebrate National Moth Week and Global Citizen Science

Spot any underwings lately? These popular moths, known for revealing their true, vibrant colors when their wings are fully spread, will be spotlighted this summer as National Moth Week marks its fifth consecutive year across the U.S and around the world. This year National Moth Week is being held July 23 through July 31… Dr. David Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty are the co-founders of National Moth Week. David holds a PhD in entomology from Rutgers University for his research on the tiger spiketail dragonfly and is a senior vice president with EcolSciences, Inc. in Rockaway, New Jersey. Liti holds a master’s degree in ecology for her work on morphology and ecological adaption in corals. She has worked at SUNY Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Lab, and since 1999 has been employed at the Rutgers University Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

Read the entire article at Entomology Today »

Sip slowly, NJ: Half the state’s under a drought watch

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued a drought watch for the northern half of the state… Dave Robinson, New Jersey’s state climatologist at Rutgers University, said the declaration makes sense. "This is a prudent step given that we have had a very hot spell and of late have not had rainfall," he said. "We dodged this action about three weeks ago when we had significant rains sweep through the state, but now we’re seeing the reservoir levels starting to fall again and things dry out. It is prudent to give people a heads up that things are dry and we really do need to conserve water."

Read the entire article at NJ 101.5 »