National Park Celebrates Earth Day with Children’s Garden Opening

The scissors were barely through the ribbon at the borough’s newly opened children’s garden, when Mother Nature unleashed a brief Earth Day deluge on the soon-to-be growing crops. It was pretty good timing all around, said National Park School Principal Carla Bittner… "Today for Earth Day, in addition to opening the garden, we had health and wellness activities for the students, with different stations around the school," said Bittner following the ceremony, which at the end saw about 275 students fleeing from the rain. "Rutgers Cooperative Extension had a station where the students made veggie egg rolls, with food provided by Food Corps."… In addition, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension is expected to supplement some of the food supplies for some of the garden-related educational events at the school next year.

Read the entire article at www.nj.com »

Dias Receives the President’s Volunteer Service Award

Madara Dias of Bridgewater, an 11th grade member of the Somerset County 4-H Youth Development Program, has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award… The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama. Somerset County 4-H Youth Development, part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, nominated Dias for national honors this fall in recognition of her volunteer service… The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Somerset County, an off-campus division of Rutgers University. The 4-H Program uses a learn-by-doing approach to enable youth to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need to become competent, caring and contributing citizens of the world. This is accomplished by using the knowledge and resources of caring adults. The goals of the 4-H Youth Development Program are to: provide informal, educational programs for youth in grades K-13 (one year out of high school);eEncourage responsibility, community awareness and character development in youth; strengthen skills for adults working with youth through publications and training; and improve community partnerships and collaborations.

Read the entire article at www.mycentraljersey.com »

Atlantic County Senior Citizen Receives 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award

Debi Cole (left) and Navonne Owen (right), Atlantic County 4-H staff and members of the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents presented the 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award to Dorothy Calimer of Cologne.

Debi Cole (right) and Navonne Owen (left), Atlantic County 4-H staff and members of the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents presented the 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award to Dorothy Calimer of Cologne (center).

Dorothy Calimer of Cologne, Atlantic County 4-H Volunteer, was recently recognized by the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents with the 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award for her significant contributions to the New Jersey 4-H program.

This award, which is presented annually, recognizes an individual or a group for outstanding professional educational support of the 4-H Youth Development Program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

For more than 46 years, 82 year-old Dorothy Calimer, commonly known as Dot, has volunteered her time to many organizations, something that has been instilled in her since a very early age by her parents who were also volunteers. As a lifetime volunteer, Dot has had the opportunity to impact countless lives throughout the decades. Even now as a senior citizen, Dorothy is still going strong. Being able to meet people every day helps to keep her body and mind active, and her service impacts a variety of people from youth and middle-aged people to seniors and to the needy. [Read more…]

Co-author of Design It! and Explore It! Afterschool Curricula Receives 4-H Educator of the Year Award

Chad Ripberger (left), Mercer County 4-H Agent and member of the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents, is seen presenting the 4-H Educator of the Year Award to Charlie Hutchison.

Chad Ripberger (left), Mercer County 4-H Agent and member of the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents, is seen presenting the 4-H Educator of the Year Award to Charlie Hutchison.

Charlie Hutchison of Lexington, Massachusetts, Director of Active Science Learning, Inc. and Principal Investigator for the National Partnership for After-School Science project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Informal Science Education Program, was recently recognized by the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents with the 4-H Educator of the Year Award for his significant contributions to the 4-H program.

This award, which is presented annually, recognizes an individual or a group for outstanding professional educational support of the 4-H Youth Development Program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. [Read more…]

A Day in the Life of a FoodCorps New Jersey Leader

Thalya Reyes was on hand to help at the Kids: Cooking, Learning, and Eating event sponsored by the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health.

Thalya Reyes was on hand to help at the “Kids: Cooking, Learning, and Eating” event sponsored by the New Jersey Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health at Rutgers.

FoodCorps is a nationwide team of AmeriCorps leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Through their partnership with AmeriCorps, FoodCorps recruits, trains and places emerging leaders into limited-resource schools for a year of service implementing a three-ingredient recipe for change. FoodCorps service members conduct nutrition education that gives kids the information they need to make smart choices; they engage kids in hands-on activities like gardening and cooking; and they assure access to lunch trays filled with nutritious meals from local farms.

FoodCorps New Jersey is co-hosted by the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the New Jersey Farm-to-School Network. FoodCorps service members work in various sites throughout New Jersey. Thalya Reyes is a FoodCorps New Jersey leader in New Brunswick and works with the Greater Brunswick Charter School and the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market. Thalya provided a peek into FoodCorps’ mission by posting “A Day in the Life…” on the FoodCorps New Brunswick blog site. Read about Thalya’s work.