Gef Flimlin, marine county agent, has been working on high-pressure shellfish processing, the development of best management practices for East Coast shellfish growers, and small-scale aquaponics projects with commercial growers. Cara Muscio, a fellow marine county agent, has been developing volunteer protocols for tracking pathogens in coastal watersheds, teaching landscape water conservation and stormwater reduction, and initiating an expired marine flare recycling program. Both are intimately involved in the Shellfish Restoration Program, which has trained volunteers to grow clams and oysters in Barnegat Bay and to educate the public to reduce al impacts on the watershed. Through its volunteer corps, the program has educated almost 3,000 people this past year at 136 events.
The Rutgers University Laboratory for Digestive Studies on the George H. Cook Campus was dedicated on January 16 as part of a collaborative arrangement with the Dutch company, TNO. This laboratory allows Rutgers scientists to examine various compounds as they pass through a fully functional model of the human digestive system, called the TIM-1, which was developed by TNO veterinary scientist Rob Havenaar. Rutgers is the first U.S. university to have one of the TIM instruments on site, expanding its reach in solving problems related to food, nutrition, and health. Rutgers scientists Judith Storch, who studies lipids and human obesity, and Ilya Raskin and David Ribnicky, who study the biology of natural plant products, have initiated projects using the TIM system.
Family and Community Health Sciences educators invited 10 New Jersey middle schools in seven counties to participate in the Get Moving–Get Healthy Walk New Jersey Point to Point school walking program. Students and teachers were taught how to use pedometers to track their steps during the school day for approximately six weeks. The goals of the program were to have students increase the number of steps that they took during the average school day and to increase awareness of the importance of physical activity and its role in health. Over 1,000 students participated in the program, walking a total of 53,037 miles. One school walked to Key West, FL, and back after walking the length of New Jersey!
Few enterprises are as vulnerable to weather and climate as is the business of farming. Rutgers scientist Dave Robinson, New Jersey's State Climatologist since 1991, plays a key role in collecting data pertaining to, for example, climate change, drought, and flooding. He collaborates with decision makers in the agricultural, transportation, public safety, energy, and commerce sectors to address climate concerns. The Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist provides climate education and information to policy makers, the media, and residents, and helps the agricultural community manage the ever-present threat of weather and climate vagaries to agricultural sustainability. The office operates the NJ Weather and Climate Network, a unique collection of hourly environmental data from stations across the state.
Nearly 200,000 acres of New Jersey farmland are devoted to equine production and use, and the environmental impact of these operations has become a state and regional issue. Seeing the need for a comprehensive response, the Rutgers Equine Science Center organized a national project, approved by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, that will incorporate the best regionally available data to develop a systematic model of nutrient flow in soil, water, and air occurring on horse farms. In addition to identifying system-wide losses on equine farms, this project will assist farmers and those who work with them in determining the value of equine management practices and other accepted best management practices.
The NJAES Office of Continuing Professional Education's Transitional Education and Employment Management (T.E.E.M.) Gateway, together with the New Jersey State Commission on National and Community Service, was awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the AmeriCorps program. The grant will support 30 participants who will serve a total of 105,000 hours while participating in a wide array of life skill-building projects, including financial literacy, teen pregnancy, childhood obesity, landscaping and community gardening, and volunteer management. Content for these projects is provided by Rutgers and its statewide network of nonprofit organizations. Participants will collectively receive nearly $285,000 in educational awards as well as training and a living allowance during their service.
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