Rutgers 4-H and Environmental Resources Collaborate to Create Active Learners

Tamara Pellien, 4-H Agent with Ocean County, demonstrates a watershed model activity for educators as part of the Water Engineers Program Photo credit: Steve Yergeau.

Tamara Pellien, 4-H Agent with Ocean County, demonstrates a watershed model activity for educators as part of the Water Engineers Program Photo credit: Steve Yergeau.

Educating students in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) has become a focus of schools across the country.  This is mainly due to the need for a well-prepared future workforce, as the growth of STEM-related jobs from 2000 – 2010 rose at a rate three times faster than non-STEM-related employment.  Many educators conduct instruction targeted in the STEM areas to fulfill this need, but through the use of the same conventional model in education: lecture, memorize, and test.  For years, educators have discussed and attempted to address STEM in the context of real-world, applied science.  In trying to implement a hands-on approach to learning, educators continue to face challenges: a lack of learning opportunities and limited funds to allow for project-based learning.  These factors hinder the ability of educators and youth to put their new understanding of STEM to effective use.  Ocean County’s 4-H and environmental resource agents are collaborating to meet the challenges of teaching students the STEM disciplines in new and innovative ways.  This partnership has resulted in the creation of two programs: the Water Engineers Program and Growing with Vertical Gardens Program. [Read more…]

John and Anne Gerwig Directors Fund Presents First Awards

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Larry S. Katz, director-Rutgers Cooperative Extension, with Anne and John Gerwig.

The first John and Anne Gerwig Director’s Fund awards for Rutgers Cooperative Extension were given out on May 4, 2016 at an event at the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health that celebrated the Gerwigs and their tireless devotion to extension and underserved populations in New Jersey. The Gerwigs were presented with the commemorative book, “Rutgers, A 250th Anniversary Portrait” by current RCE director, Larry S. Katz, and after some thoughtful and moving remarks by Mr. Gerwig, certificates were presented to Nicholas Polanin and his team for programing designed to empower women in agriculture, and to Michelle Brill and Jeannette Rey-Keywood for a professional development series to create programming for the developmentally disabled.

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John Gerwig.

John and Anne Gerwig are the embodiment of Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE). John joined 4-H when he was 5, became the extension agronomist early in his career, and is the longest serving director (1962-1992) in its history. Anne led the university’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program reaching limited resource families and was instrumental in obtaining critical employee benefits for paraprofessionals in extension.

John and Anne Gerwig wanted to help all of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. This devotion and desire led them to establish a fund that will provide resources to extension professionals in perpetuity. The goal of their $200,000 is to empower cooperative extension professionals so that they can make a bigger impact on New Jersey’s communities. A portion of the fund will be reserved to award through a formal “request for proposal” process set up and managed by the RCE director’s office. Remaining funds will be used to support emerging issues, internships, awarding additional proposals, and other needs that arise.

[Read more…]

Rutgers Gardens Celebrates its Centennial Anniversary

Installation of permanent benches.

Installation of permanent benches.

During Rutgers Historic 250th Year its ‘Secret Garden’ turns 100!

Rutgers Gardens celebrated its Centennial on May 17th with an outdoor reception under a large tent in the Roy DeBoer Evergreen Gardens. Despite the rain, the tent was packed with faculty, staff, and many supporters and volunteers. This historic moment in the Gardens’ history was commemorated with the installation of two permanent benches, a plaque, and the naming of a new commemorative bearded iris hybrid ‘Centennial Charm.’  Bob Lyons, chairman of the Advisory Board proudly announced the Horticulture Landmark Designation Award from the American Society for Horticulture Science and Bruce Crawford, director Rutgers Gardens was also honored with the Rutgers Gardens Centennial Award of Distinction.

Dean Bob Goodman.

Dean Bob Goodman.

Dean Bob Goodman kicked off the gala with some remarks regarding his introduction to the Gardens.  He said that during the interview process for the position of Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Studies and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, he was given a tour of the Gardens and then was told that the Gardens would be under his supervision as Dean. “You mean they’ll be mine?” He was clearly delighted!

Bruce Crawford, Rutgers Gardens director, gave a brief history of the Gardens, which began in 1916, when 35.7 acres of land—known as Wolpert Farm—was purchased on May 17, 1916 from Jacob and Celia Lipman. The Gardens  were intended as a functional learning space for local farmers to teach them about the new trend at the turn of the century—ornamental horticulture—and were never meant to be public, leading some to call them Rutgers’ ‘Secret Garden.’ They were never denied to the public, however, and the love for and dedication to the gardens by students, faculty and the public blossomed along with the gardens!

[Read more…]

Edible Jersey Profiles the ‘Rutgers Scarlet’ Strawberry: The Jersey Berry

Bill Hlubik, Middlesex County agricultural agent

Bill Hlubik, Middlesex County agricultural agent

If Bill Hlubik has his way, there will be strawberry fields forever— or at least a little longer each year— in the Garden State. Hlubik and his team at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station hope to someday introduce new varieties that will extend the growing season beyond the traditional four weeks for June-bearing strawberries. For now, however, it’s all about the flavor. Read more at Edible Jersey.

 

Students Learn About Marine Science On Cape May Trip

You may not think of the life cycle of an oyster when you see the tasty mollusk on the menu, but East Windsor students recently got to learn not only about the science behind the shellfish, but also the history of the oyster trade and its impact on the Delaware Bay economy… "For a lot of kids, these experiences are eye-openers, even for our local students — they may not be aware of the Delaware Bay and its importance in the local economy and environment," said Jenny Paterno, Program Coordinator II of the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory at Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at Hartford Courant »

Are microwave ovens safe & nutritious? Or just convenient?

Over the last several decades, microwave ovens have become a standard kitchen appliance in many American homes. But for some, doubts remain about their safety and impact on the nutritional value of food cooked in them… This week on "Take Care," food scientist Don Schaffner takes us behind the microwave door to explain how microwave ovens work, and the ways this kind of cooking technology interacts with food. Schaffner is an extension specialist in food science and distinguished professor at Rutgers University. He is a world-renowned expert on food safety and protection and is the co-host of a podcast on microbial food safety.

Read the entire article at WRVO Public Media »

N.J. decision ignites Shore strife: Oysters vs. red knots

A car door slammed on South Reeds Beach Road, and 300 feeding shorebirds – ruddy turnstones, sandpipers, and red knots – took wing, shrieking out over the Delaware Bay… "The U.S. Division of Fish and Wildlife has determined that these activities do not threaten the survival of the species," said David Bushek, director of Rutgers’ Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory in Port Norris. "There’s a bit of exaggeration about the dangers" of aquaculture, he said.

Read the entire article at Philly.com »

Why the new Rutgers tomato is a sell-out hit with gardeners

The hunger for a Jersey tomato is so great that it’s already sold out… The Rutgers tomato has been popular for decades because it gave growers that "tomato tastiness" that came to be lacking in the tomatoes sold at grocery stores. Those tomatoes have to be tough enough to withstand factory farming and transportation, Rutgers plant biologist Thomas Orton says.

Read the entire article at New Jersey 101.5 »

A Celebration of Excellence 2016

2016 Excellence Award winners. Back row, l-r: Rick Ludescher, Weilin Huang, Christopher Obropta, Marci Meixler, Jennifer Francis. Front row: Dalynn Knigge, Jennifer Todd, Meredith Melendez, Wesley Kline, and Jenice Sabb.

2016 Excellence Award winners. Back row, l-r: Rick Ludescher, Weilin Huang, Christopher Obropta, Marci Meixler, Jennifer Francis. Front row: Dalynn Knigge, Jennifer Todd, Meredith Melendez, Wesley Kline, and Jenice Sabb. Photo by Jeff Heckman.

On April 21, faculty, staff, and students attended the 23rd annual Celebration of Excellence for the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station held at Neilson Dining Hall.

According to executive dean Bob Goodman, this signature event acknowledges contributions that meet carefully-considered criteria, including creativity, original work and ideas, innovation, effectiveness, integrity, leadership, impact, community engagement, and excellence.

The awards were presented by dean of academic programs, Rick Ludescher. SEBS students Sarah Waxman and Nicole Tallman also presented the Alpha Zeta Honor Society Awards at the event. [Read more…]

NJTV Spotlights Ag Field Day at Rutgers Day

NJTV made a visit to the George H. Cook campus to get an overview of Ag Field Day. Executive Dean Bob Goodman is featured.
Video: Family Fun and Tradition Are at the Heart of Rutgers Day