Fight is on against Zika virus although outbreak unlikely

Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties occupy a combined area of nearly 1,500 square miles, yet officials are on the hunt for predators that could fit inside the palm of one’s hand… "We’re working on getting [an answer]… More than likely, an infected person was set upon by mosquitoes in a tropical area. Those mosquitoes then went about spreading it," explained Scott Crans, senior program coordinator at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), who also teaches mosquito biology.

Read the entire article at Alanticville News »

GARDENER STATE: Jersey Fresh: Loud and proud!

Jersey Fresh. Now, you might be thinking this may be more about that stray salad item that landed on your lap or the food fight tomato or pie in the face? While those may be embarrassing or even a bit funny, this is really about promoting NJ agriculture long before your backyard garden is ready for harvest… Now that the onion grass has started poking through your lawn and thoughts of gardeners everywhere turn to tilling the great outdoors, Rutgers Master Gardener programs across the state have opened their Garden Helplines. With weekday hours available for calls, emails, and of course walk-in gardening and landscape questions, these trained volunteers of Rutgers Cooperative Extension will research and assist in finding the solution to insect, disease, soil health, and many other seasonal questions.

Read the entire article at »

RCE Water Resources Program Develops Green Program to Aid Coastal Communities in New Jersey

RCE Water Resources Program logo.

RCE Water Resources Program logo.

Flooding, even from small storm events, has been damaging the quality of life of New Jersey’s residents. Based upon a preliminary land cover analysis of New Jersey, 12.1% of the state is covered with impervious surfaces. This translates into 1,055 square miles or 675,200 acres of impervious cover in the state. It’s estimated that during a one-inch rainfall event, 18.3 billion gallons of stormwater drains from these surfaces. Many of these impervious surfaces are directly connected to local waterways, meaning that every drop of rain that lands on these surfaces drains directly to a stream, river, lake, or bay without any treatment or having the opportunity to infiltrate into the soil. Pollutants accumulate on these impervious surfaces and are washed directly into waterways during storm events. In addition, these impervious surfaces prevent rainfall from infiltrating into the ground to replenish the state’s aquifers. Limited infiltration of rainwater results in reduced base flow to the local streams that rely on groundwater during the dry summer months. [Read more…]

4-H youth from 13 N.J. counties learn about leadership

A group of 41 4-H members from 13 counties will be participating in the Discover the Leader in You! 4-H Leadership Conference being held Saturday on the George H. Cook Campus at Rutgers University in New Brunswick in Middlesex County. The conference provides an opportunity for middle school age youth to learn about and develop leadership knowledge and skills through large and small group interactive workshops and hands-on activities, according to Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

Read the entire article at »

4-H Members Represent New Jersey at National Healthy Living Summit

4-H Healthy Living Summit delegation included Michael Newton, Jr. (Burlington Co.), Victoria Matt (Cape May Co.), Amanda Erbe (Ocean Co.) and McKayla Tyrrell (Monmouth Co.).

4-H Healthy Living Summit delegates: Michael Newton, Jr. (Burlington Co.), Victoria Matt (Cape May Co.), Amanda Erbe (Ocean Co.) and McKayla Tyrrell (Monmouth Co.). Photo: Kenny Faillace.

Four 4-H members represented New Jersey at the National Youth Summit on Healthy Living held Feb. 12-15 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The purpose of the summit was to provide high school youth with an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills to address issues like nutrition education, physical fitness, wellness and emotional wellbeing. Delegates discussed how they would share what they learned at the Healthy Living Youth Summit and created action plans to implement in their home communities.

New Jersey delegates attending the summit included Michael Newton, Jr. (Burlington County), Victoria Matt (Cape May County), Amanda Erbe (Ocean County) and McKayla Tyrrell (Monmouth County). The delegation was chaperoned by Kenny Faillace, Passaic County 4-H community assistant and Kalin Axelsson, a 4-H volunteer from Cape May County.

The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers Cooperative extension, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. 4-H educational programs are offered to all youth, grades K-13 (one year out of high school), on an age-appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, marital status, domestic partnership status, military service, veteran status and any other category protected by law.

For more information, visit the New Jersey 4-H Program website.

Tree-Killing Emerald Ash Borer Found in Six New Jersey Counties

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

New Jersey Department of Agriculture officials reported the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive beetle that attacks and kills ash trees, is active in 14 towns in six counties.

A trapping program in 82 towns over the summer and reporting from homeowners has resulted in the discovery to date of the beetle in Hillsdale, Bergen County; Edgewater Park and Westampton, Burlington County;  Ewing, Hamilton Township, Hopewell, Princeton, West Windsor., Mercer County; Monroe and South Brunswick, Middlesex County; Bridgewater, Franklin Township and Hillsborough, Somerset County; and Allentown, Monmouth County.

“Just as emerald ash borer has swiftly spread through other states in the nation, it has now moved to New Jersey and we must prepare for the impact of this highly destructive invasive pest, which could lead to the death of ash trees,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher.  “We ask that towns and counties act now to put plans in place to respond to the beetle.” [Read more…]

NJ 4-H Members to Attend National 4-H Citizenship Conference

New Jersey 4-H representatives for the 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus Conference

New Jersey 4-H representatives at the 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus Conference

Thirty 4-H members have been selected to represent New Jersey at the 2015 Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) Conference. This conference, now in its 56th year, will be held July 5-11 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Citizenship Washington Focus is a 4-H leadership program for high school youth. Delegations from across the country attend this six-day program at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, located just outside Washington, D.C. The program is aimed at enriching young people’s lives by broadening their appreciation and respect for themselves and others in the world. Participants attend workshops, committee meetings, field trips and social events, giving them hands-on opportunities to learn and grow. They learn and practice skills that will make them better citizens and more successful individuals. [Read more…]

2015 Sustainable Raritan Conference Opens NY/NJ Dialogue on Future of Bay

SEBS Professors Steve Handel and Bonnie McCay participated in the "Towards a Shared Agenda" panel at the Raritan Bay conference.

SEBS professors Steven Handel and Bonnie McCay participated in the “Towards a Shared Agenda” panel at the Raritan Bay conference.

“Two States: One Bay, a bi-state conversation about the future of Raritan Bay” was the 2015 annual conference sponsored by the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative, a program of the Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. The conference, held June 12 at the Douglass Student Center at Rutgers, initiated a dialogue among representatives from New Jersey and New York that focused on the future of the bay that is flanked by both states.

The initiative hosts the annual conference to support the goals of the Sustainable Raritan River Collaborative in restoring the Raritan River. The collaborative has over 130 members, including environmental organizations, Raritan-based counties and municipalities, foundations and charities, businesses, and key regional, state and federal agencies. The Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences is one of the academic partners of the collaborative. [Read more…]

State 4-H Small Animal Educational Symposium Drew Participants from Nine Counties

Rabbit hopping in action.

Rabbit hopping in action.

Nearly 100 4-H members and volunteers representing nine counties (Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Salem, and Warren) attended the State 4-H Small Animal Educational Symposium on Feb. 28 in Clayton, New Jersey.

“The State 4-H Small Animal Educational Symposium is an annual event, now in its second year, that offers  4-H’ers an opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills in topics related to poultry, reptiles, small animals, cavy and rabbits,” said Jeannette Rea Keywood, New Jersey 4-H Youth Development Program – Small Animal Project Advisory Council liaison. “In addition, the event provides a venue to compete at an advanced level and meet other 4-H members from around the state.” [Read more…]

Restoring the Manalapan Brook Watershed: An Introduction

This video is the first in a series describing the restoration efforts within the Manalapan Brook watershed. The Manalapan Brook is part of the Raritan River Basin in central New Jersey. This introduction begins with a description of urban watershed problems throughout New Jersey such as polluted stormwater runoff, urbanization, and flooding. It provides examples of how local partners are trying to overcome these problems within Manalapan Brook watershed. Solutions such as naturalizing detention basins, shoreline restoration and floating wetland islands are presented.

Developed for New Jersey municipalities, residents and schools, the video was funded by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and project partners are Freehold Soil Conservation District, Monroe Township, Township of Manalapan, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County, Princeton Hydro, Middlesex County Parks and Recreation and Middlesex County Office of Planning.