Could urban farming provide a much-needed oasis in the Tulsa food desert?

Oklahoma ranks among the worst in the US for national fruit and vegetable consumption, and has one of the lower average national hourly wages: US $7.25… Tulsa, a city of nearly 400,000, is considered one of the nation’s worst food deserts (places with officially "low access" to supermarkets). "Urban farming is one piece of many bigger issues like structural inequality, pollution, health issues, and investment in these communities," says Laura Lawson, dean of the office of agriculture and urban programmes at Rutgers University. "People can get involved in the community, and that is a really great thing, but it is not going to resolve the larger community problems that are shaping the food desert issue."

Read the entire article at The Guardian »

Rutgers is leader in designing new varieties of turf grass

SEPTEMBER IS prime time for starting or renovating lawns, and it may be the only time that homeowners give lawn grass a second thought… New Jersey has stepped up, claiming a nationally prominent role in designing new grass varieties for temperate climates around the world. The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station maintains several sites at which turf grass is grown, managed and studied, but the heart of the breeding operation that produces new breakthroughs is a 206-acre site in Adelphia (Howell Township), much of it presenting an unbroken expanse of mowed "lawn." "They call this the country club," says William Meyer, director of the Turfgrass Breeding Project for the past 20 years. "It may look like one big lawn, but there are actually 40,000 3-foot by 5-foot plots of individually distinct grasses. And each one is rated every month."

Read the entire article at NJ.com »

Three more Bergen towns join flood-plain protection plan

Bergen County freeholders voted unanimously Wednesday night to add Hackensack, Hillsdale and Ridgefield to a list of six other municipalities that joined the program last year. The county will pay $52,500 for contracts with Rutgers University and the Land Conservancy of New Jersey to assist the towns in creating plans for identifying the most flood prone properties and what to do with the land once the properties are acquired, said Adam Strobel, project manager in the county’s Open Space Division. Jeremiah Bergstrom, senior project manager for floodplain work with Rutgers, said that because money becomes available on a revolving basis through various state and federal programs, towns should have a plan in place to be ready to use the money as it comes through.

Read the entire article at The Record »

Crusader Without a Cape Sends Out the Bat Signal in New Jersey

On a recent night, somewhere in the swamps of Jersey, it was the children, primarily, who asked the hard questions. "Could a bat eat a human?" one girl asked. "Only on HBO," answered Joseph D’Angeli, who is known in some quarters as the Batman of New Jersey. Since 2006, white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease, has decimated the hibernating bat population in the Northeast. Brooke Maslo, a professor in the department of ecology, evolution, and natural resources at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., studies North American bats. She said in an interview that the disease had killed millions of bats in the United States. "When it first came through, the bats were just dead on the floor of the caves," she said. "And now there’s just the skeletons. It’s like walking though a graveyard," she said.

Read the entire article at The New York Times »

Local 4-H Youth Gear Up for Start of New Year

4-H is gearing up for another year of fun, friends and learning. The new 4-H year starts Sept. 1 and 4-H clubs throughout New Jersey are reorganizing and enrolling new members… 4-H is a real-life experience. Members learn how to do tasks and make decisions similar to those in adult life. These are called life skills. "Using life skills, members learn how to manage their resources, work together in groups, develop critical thinking skills and communicate with others," says Jeannette Rea Keywood, Rutgers Cooperative Extension State 4-H Agent.

Read the entire article at Cape May County Herald »

Trump’s Climate Proposals = "Existential Threat To This Planet," Michael Mann States

Donald Trump laid out his environmental policies in a speech last week in Bismark, North Dakota. As usual, The Donald spoke in broad generalities without giving specifics. He told his audience he would roll back President Obama’s climate change regulations, build the Keystone XL pipeline, and "cancel" the landmark Paris climate agreement… Other climate scientists were quick to echo Mann’s point of view. Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Science, noted that Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the Paris climate agreement are "absolutely critical steps in the right direction." She said reneging on the Paris climate agreement and rolling back the Clean Power Plan would be detrimental for future generations –  and to her personal patriotism.

Read the entire article at Clean Technica »

Trump Climate Policies Are An “Existential Threat To This Planet”

Donald Trump laid out his environmental policies in a speech last week in Bismark, North Dakota. As usual, The Donald spoke in broad generalities without giving specifics. He told his audience he would roll back President Obama’s climate change regulations, build the Keystone XL pipeline, and "cancel" the landmark Paris climate agreement… Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Science, noted that Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the Paris climate agreement are "absolutely critical steps in the right direction." She said reneging on the Paris climate agreement and rolling back the Clean Power Plan would be detrimental for future generations  – and to her personal patriotism.

Read the entire article at Gas 2 »

Jenny Carleo earns national award for creativity

Jenny S. Carleo, Rutgers Cooperative Extension agent, was given a national award for her creativity during a July conference with her peers in Little Rock, Ark., according to a statement…"We must all learn how to keep up with technology, and our demanding positions, while developing business relationships with our clients," Carleo said. "Through modification of my classroom’s dynamic I have been successful in re-connecting with the people I serve."

Read the entire article at Shore News Today »

Cities as Novel Ecosystems: Adaptions to Urban Conditions

Are cities unnatural? Are urban landscapes disturbed or damaged? "There is no right answer. We can think of cities in many ways," says Dr. Paige S. Warren of the University of Massachusetts. "Cities are sources of novelty, hotpots of resource inputs, and drivers of evolutionary change.".. And what about the plants? With access to floras from 112 cities including both natural and spontaneous vegetation since 1975, Dr. Myla Aronson of Rutgers University along with the Urban Biodiversity Research Coordination Network (UrBioNet) is asking questions about the ways in which cities influence global, regional, and local patterns in plant diversity.

Read the entire article at PLOS Ecology Community blogs »

Use of herbs explored in ‘Gardening by the Seasons’ by Rutgers Cooperative Extension

The next workshop in the "Gardening by the Seasons" series is planned from 5:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 7 and addresses the uses of herbs and their cultivation, and is presented by instructors with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County Agricultural and Resource Management program…

Read the entire article at Shore News Today »