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.

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Ramapo Tomato Seed an Option With Flavor

This article was written by Mona Bawgus, a certified master gardener and consumer horticulturist with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County.. With a goal to find the tomato that best represented what people remember as the old Jersey tomato, in 2007 Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) began conducting tomato trials. They began with several varieties that gardeners and farmers associated with that old Jersey taste. NJAES grew each variety and then evaluated them not only for flavor, but also on performance. The public was also invited to participate in several taste tests to collect their opinions… Not only did gardeners love them for their flavor, but also for their resistance to cracking and other common tomato diseases. Commercial seed companies had previously sold this seed to farmers and gardeners, but over the years, had stopped supplying them. Frustrated gardeners contacted Rutgers and a small amount of seed was produced and made available for a short time. Rutgers eventually found a company willing to mass produce the seed and the Ramapo tomato was re-released in 2008.

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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…]