Sustainable Raritan River Collaborative Recognizes Eight Stewards of the Raritan River and Bay

2016 awardees, left to right. Front row: Walter Lane and Tara Kenyon of Somerset County Planning Division; Jim Waltman and Kate Hutelmyer of Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association; Bill Schultz, Raritan Riverkeeper; Rosana Da Silva and Chris Obropta of Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program; Julia Somers of the Highlands Coalition; Larry Jacobs and Beth Davisson; Eric Zwerling. Second row: Cody Obropta, Maithreyi Thukaram, Dominick Cardella, Tyler Obropta, Adam Cucchiara, Kaylene Campbell, Tekla Pontius-Courtney with Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program. Third row: Brittany Musolino, Erin Stretz and Mike Pisauro of Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association; Debbie Mans; Bill Kibler; Michael Catania. Not shown: Candace Ashmun. Photo credit: Nick Romanenko.

2016 awardees, left to right. Front row: Walter Lane and Tara Kenyon of Somerset County Planning Division; Jim Waltman and Kate Hutelmyer of Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association; Bill Schultz, Raritan Riverkeeper; Rosana Da Silva and Chris Obropta of Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program; Julia Somers of the Highlands Coalition; Larry Jacobs and Beth Davisson; and Eric Zwerling. Second row: Cody Obropta, Maithreyi Thukaram, Dominick Cardella, Tyler Obropta, Adam Cucchiara, Kaylene Campbell and Tekla Pontius-Courtney with Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program. Third row: Brittany Musolino, Erin Stretz and Mike Pisauro of Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association; Debbie Mans; Bill Kibler; and Michael Catania. Not shown: Candace Ashmun. Photo credit: Nick Romanenko.

Extension specialist Chris Obropta and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program Team, along with director of the Rutgers Noise Technical Assistance Center Eric Zwerling—in his capacity as a Readington Township Board of Education member and chairperson of the Green Committee—were among eight individuals and organizations to receive 2016 Sustainable Raritan River Awards at the 8th Annual Sustainable Raritan Conference and Awards Ceremony held at Rutgers on June 10.

“The purpose of these awards is to recognize some of the more creative and impressive accomplishments by genuine leaders throughout the Raritan Watershed,” said Michael Catania, executive director of Duke Farms Foundation and a member of the Sustainable Raritan Awards Committee.

Each year at its Annual Conference, the Sustainable Raritan River Collaborative and the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative give awards to recognize outstanding achievement in efforts to revitalize, restore and protect the Raritan resources and promote the area as a premiere place to live, work and raise a family.

Rutgers University launched the Sustainable Raritan River Initiative in 2009 to bring together concerned scientists, environmentalists, engineers, businesses, community leaders and governmental entities to craft an agenda that meets the goals of the U.S. Clean Water Act to restore and preserve New Jersey’s Raritan River, its tributaries and its bay. The Initiative, a joint program of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, partners with other Rutgers schools, centers and programs to ensure the best contributions from the sciences, planning and policy. [Read more…]

Competition Between Oyster Aquaculture and Horseshoe Crabs Could Be Affecting Red Knot Foraging

Red Knot (Calidris canutus).

Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa).

Aquaculture is a burgeoning industry along the Delaware Bayshore, infusing millions of dollars and jobs into local economies each year. A particular area of growth over the last decade has been intertidal rack and bag oyster production of eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica).

Farm raised oysters ready for harvest at a Cape May County oyster farm.

Farm raised oysters ready for harvest at a Cape May County oyster farm.

The majority of existing oyster farms in New Jersey are located along the Cape Shore region of Delaware Bay where oyster cultivation developed more than a century ago. The region is also an important stopover site for the federally listed red knot (Calidris canutus rufa), a shorebird that migrates from southern Argentina to breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic.

Red knots rely heavily on the lipid-rich eggs deposited by spawning horseshoe crabs in order to gain enough weight to complete their migration and begin their breeding season in the Arctic. Horseshoe crabs deposit eggs over a three- to seven-week window each spring, and red knots have evolved over millennia to time their migration and stopover to take advantage of this energetically rewarding food source during the brief period it is available. [Read more…]

Rutgers Gardens: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Clever signage in the flower beds surrounding the Log Cabin at the annual RU Gardens Gala.

Clever signage in the flower beds surrounding the Log Cabin at the Rutgers Gardens.

As Rutgers Gardens celebrates its 100th anniversary, it’s the perfect time to look back at its roots, celebrate its growth and anticipate a new season for one of the university’s most beloved spaces.

Looking Back
Rutgers Gardens was never meant to be a public space. In fact, quite the opposite was true: according to director Bruce Crawford, the Gardens began as a purely functional learning space for local farmers. In the mid-1800s, ornamental horticulture was a new trend. “You didn’t really landscape your house back then,” quips Crawford. “Having plants and having the time to appreciate and cultivate them was completely new.” So when it became clear that New Jersey was about to experience a housing boom, it also became clear that New Jersey’s farmers—at that time, focused on dairy, poultry, and grain—weren’t prepared to offer the shrubs and trees that were suddenly in demand. The nursing industry simply did not exist.

Signage at the entrance to the Rutgers Gardens.

Signage at the entrance to the Rutgers Gardens.

“So, that instigated Rutgers to develop the Gardens,” explains Crawford. “The focus was really for farmers, and teaching them about this new field. “There’s no recorded history of when Gardens’ leadership finished their nursery mission and started to move on, nor do we know what they intended to move on to,” says Crawford. “We may not know how the evolution existed and, to this day, when you walk through the Gardens, you stumble onto this and that. [Read more…]

Ice Cream: A Food Science Tradition for Over 30 Years!

Anna Molinski, program coordinator for NJAES.

Anna Molinski, program coordinator for NJAES. Photo: Jennifer Simon.

Summer arrived this week and so did a new summer tradition for the staff of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.  On Thursday, June 23 the SEBS Staff Initiative held an ice cream social featuring homemade ice cream from the Department of Food Science. The tradition of ice cream has been part of the Department of Food Science for over 30 years, beginning with dairy science professor Dick H. Kleyn who started it in the 70’s. Back then, Kleyn taught an industrial ice cream course in January over a three week period and students have been making ice cream ever since.

These days, Karen Schaich, associate professor in the Department of Food Science, teaches the course on how to make ice cream. Students are taught the formulations and other aspects of home-based or industry-based ice cream production.

“The undergraduate Food Science Club makes the ice cream completely on its own,” says Schaich. “From deciding what flavors to make to buying the ingredients and making the confection, there is minimal faculty involvement.”

[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…]

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…]

Rutgers NJAES Board of Managers Hosts Rutgers Research Tour

Jim Simon (far left) gave the Rutgers NJAES Board of Managers and guests a tour of his greenhouse research.

Prof. Jim Simon (far left) gave the Rutgers NJAES Board of Managers and guests a tour of his campus greenhouse.

The Board of Managers (BOM), an advisory group to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), is made up of representatives from New Jersey’s county boards of agriculture. The BOM also serves as advocate for the experiment station and provides input to NJAES’ directors on matters concerning the state’s agricultural enterprise. In addition to quarterly board meetings where members listen to faculty talk about their programs, the BOM hosts an annual tour of NJAES research facilities to get an in-depth perspective of the agricultural research conducted by Rutgers faculty. The BOM representatives invite fellow county board of ag members as well as county legislators and state ag officials to attend the tour. The 2016 tour took place on March 24 and encompassed research conducted on the George H. Cook Campus in New Brunswick and at the Snyder Research Farm in Pittstown, NJ. The county representatives were joined by Al Murray, assistant secretary of agriculture, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and Peter Furey, executive director, New Jersey Farm Bureau. [Read more…]

State 4-H Agent Jeanette Rea Keywood Honored With RCE Award for Excellence

RCE Director Larry Katz congratulates Jeanette Rea Keywood.

RCE Director Larry Katz congratulates Jeanette Rea Keywood.

Jeannette Rea Keywood, State 4-H agent in the Department of 4-H Youth Development, was awarded the Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) Award for Excellence–Extension Faculty at a year-end ceremony by Larry Katz, director of RCE and senior associate director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

According to Katz, dedication to and passion for the youth development profession has been a distinguishing characteristic of Keywood’s career. Her commitment to excellence and strong impact in teaching, extension practice, and service to Cooperative Extension and to the university has spanned more than a quarter century. This includes significant accomplishments as the Cumberland County 4-H Agent for 22 years and as a NJ State 4-H Agent for the past three years. Jeannette’s work as a county 4-H agent reached more than 1,400 youth in club programming and more than 5,000 through enrichment, special interest and after-school programming focused on developing community partnerships, 21st Century grants, youth-at-risk audiences as well as experiential and inquiry-based science, technology and environmental education. [Read more…]

Rutgers Cooperative Extension FCHS Members Awarded at National Conference

Rutgers Cooperative Extension NEAFCS NJ Affiliate 2015 award winners at the NEAFCS Annual Session in West Virginia: (l-r) Michelle Brill, Barbara O’Neill, Karen Ensle, Alexandra Grenci, Sherri Cirignano, Daryl Minch, and Kathleen Morgan. (Not pictured: Joanne Kinsey)

Rutgers Cooperative Extension NEAFCS NJ Affiliate 2015 award winners at the NEAFCS Annual Session in West Virginia: (l-r) Michelle Brill, Barbara O’Neill, Karen Ensle, Alexandra Grenci, Sherri Cirignano, Daryl Minch, and Kathleen Morgan. (Not pictured: Joanne Kinsey)

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS) Department members, along with other team members, won national and regional recognition at the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Annual Session in West Virginia in November. (FCHS department members are listed in bold)

  • Karen Ensle, Michelle Brill, Alexandra Grenci & Kathleen Morgan. 1st Place National. Newsletter for Visions
  • Daryl Minch, Michelle Brill, Sherri Cirignano, Alexandra Grenci, Luanne Hughes, Kathleen Morgan, Karen Ensle, Carly Fisher-Maltese, Melissa Helfrich, Joanne Kinsey, Sharese Porter, Lynn Reid, Marilou Rochford, LeeAnne Savoca, Jennifer Shukaitis, Rachel Tansey & Corey Wu-Jung . 1st Place Eastern Region. School Wellness for Grow Healthy – Team Nutrition
  • Daryl Minch & Kristen Mullane – 2nd Place Eastern Region. Educational Publication for the RCE fact sheet Let’s Eat! Healthier Snacks and Parties: A Guide for Families, Schools and Organizations

All of the above were also NEAFCS NJ Affiliate winners. In addition, the following team won at the Affiliate level:

  • Michelle Brill, Sherri Cirignano, Daryl Minch, Alexandra Grenci, Luanne Hughes & Kathleen Morgan. Early Childhood Child Care Training Award for Grow Healthy Team Nutrition Early Care Training Program: A Multi-Faceted Approach to Reach Busy Professionals

 

Monster Mash 2015 [PHOTO GALLERY]

More than 80 Rutgers student groups participated in this year’s Monster Mash – an alternative Halloween event at Rutgers, and welcomed more than 2,500 local elementary school children and their families on the Cook/Douglass campus on Oct. 30

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