Edison Volunteer Receives Award for Excellence as a Master Gardner

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension is recognizing two Master Gardeners as recipients of this year’s Awards for Excellence at the 2014 Middlesex County Master Gardener Fall Conference. Master Gardener Linda Larson of Edison was recognized for her efforts in the Evergreen Garden of Memories and Susan Herzig of Old Bridge was recognized for her efforts in the Breast Cancer Awareness Garden. "The Masters Gardeners work hard to make Middlesex County a more green and beautiful place," said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the County’s Business Development and Education Committee.

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Rutgers Environmental Science Students Volunteer at Local “Freecycle” Event

Rutgers student volunteers from Craig Phelps' Intro to Environmental Science class. Phelps is in the back row, center. Photo by Liti Haramaty

Rutgers student volunteers from Craig Phelps’ “Intro to Environmental Science” class. Phelps is in the back row, center. Photo by Liti Haramaty

Freecycling is a grassroots effort by people who are giving and getting used items for free and keeping usable stuff out of local landfills. The Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission (Friends EBEC), a nonprofit citizens group dedicated to local environmental education and conservation, has sponsored several Freecycling events for the past few years, with the most recent event on October 26 in the parking lot of Crystal Springs Family Aquatic Center in East Brunswick, NJ.

An essential element to a successful Freecycling event is having a number of volunteers on hand to keep the flow of traffic and contributed items organized, from drop off to take away. At each Friends EBEC event, a group of volunteers, often well represented by East Brunswick High School students, has effectively maintained the distribution of goods from removing from car trunks to dispersal in the display/pick up area. Rutgers students have joined the ranks of volunteers that enable this flow so that local residents can easily partake in the event. [Read more…]

New Brunswick Community Farmers Market Hosts Día de los Muertos Marigold Sales, Oct. 25 – 27

A monarch butterfly makes a stop on the marigolds growing in the Jones Avenue hoop house.

A monarch butterfly makes a stop on the marigolds growing in the Jones Avenue hoop house.

The Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a time to celebrate and remember loved ones who have passed. It’s also a time when bright orange marigolds, or cempzuchilt, an Aztec term, are in high demand for the annual holiday. New Brunswick has a growing community of migrants from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, a largely indigenous state in southern Mexico. Although Día de los Muertos is recognized all over Mexico, Oaxaca is known for its colorful celebrations honoring the return of deceased loved ones on November 1st and 2nd. [Read more…]

Rutgers Gardens celebrates nature at Fall Festival

Rutgers Gardens hosted its annual Fall Festival over the weekend to help raise funds for the 180-acre public garden. Bruce Crawford, director of Rutgers Gardens, said the festival is a fun day out intended to serve as a fundraiser and community awareness event. "As long as the gardens have been here, there are still a number of families who don’t know we exist," he said. "There’s nothing out front that screams ‘Rutgers Gardens.’"…The preserve, which opened in 1922, is tucked away off Ryders Lane between New Brunswick and East Brunswick.

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New Jersey 4-H Youth Develop Skills at Leadership Washington Focus Conference

LWF delegates at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center

LWF delegates at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center

Fifteen New Jersey 4-H youth are ready to take on the challenges of leadership in the 21st century after experiencing the vibrant, living classroom of the nation’s capital as part of Leadership Washington Focus (LWF), an intensive 4-H leadership development program for middle-school youth. The conference was held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, from July 15-19.

The four-day 4-H conference provided 135 youth and 30 adult chaperones from 15 states with the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in experiential learning that boosted leadership competency in the four key areas of critical thinking, collaboration, communication and confidence. In addition, the LWF conference also prepared youth to return home with important skills to make positive changes in their own communities. [Read more…]