Rutgers Cooperative Extension

by Dave Smela, Public Information Assistant

Rutgers Cooperative Extension is the outreach wing of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment station at Rutgers, The State University. Cooperative funding provided by county government, the state of New Jersey through NJAES and the federal USDA partnership supports these outreach efforts. The outreach aims to bring the scientific research and findings of the State University, and other universities throughout the country, to the residents of New Jersey. Rutgers Cooperative Extension has an office in each of the state’s 21 Counties with departments in the areas of Agricultural & Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development and Family & Community Health Sciences. Some of the more familiar sounding programs offered by RCE include the Master Gardener program and local 4-H clubs for youth. Rutgers Extension faculty and staff are dedicated to connecting residents with the latest in research-based information to help solve current problems in agricultural and food systems, enhance youth leadership and encourage practical environmental stewardship in our communities.

In Middlesex County, Extension Director and Rutgers Agriculture Agent Bill Hlubik and his team have been using video to teach and disseminate information for over 20 years. Our first educational video products were half-hour gardening, landscaping, and agriculture programs called “If Plants Could Talk.” Each program covered a variety of topics and issues relevant to the residents of New Jersey and the northeast. Programs were distributed to local cable access stations; eventually progressing to statewide and regional distribution through New Jersey Network (NJN) Public Television station. Some portions of this program were re-packaged and remain on the server as short pieces called Plant Talk. The video offered from this era is of SD quality. In recent years, educational video production has focused on more specialized training videos for green industry professionals with the same goal of providing quality research-based information to all clientele.

By partnering with the Jersey Access Groups (JAG) cable channel consortium we were introduced to the TelVue server based system which assists in sharing content with stations in need of locally focused content.

Examples of our videos currently available on the TelVue Connect Server include:

Videos on Horticultural Content and nuisance insects:

• PlantTalk- Do I Need Pesticides? SD

• PlantTalk- Selecting Trees

• Mosquito Reduction Tips (60 sec. PSA) SD

• The Green Menace – spotlighting the Invasive Emerald Ask Borer

• What’s Bugging You? Prevent Ticks (7 min.) SD
Short promo videos for Jersey Fresh agricultural products

• What is a CSA? PSA HD

• Jersey Fresh Promo (2 min.); HD

• New Jersey’s Sweet Summer Crops Jersey Fresh Promo (60 sec.). HD

More specific examples include Mosquito Reduction Tips PSA, the Green Menace (a 30 minute USDA produced show on the tree threatening invasive insect discovered in New Jersey, the Emerald Ash Borer), Plant Talk on Using Pesticides in Your Landscape and What’s Bugging You? Prevent Ticks (shedding light on how to avoid tick bites and Lyme disease).

In recent years, the County Environmental Agent was tasked with presenting information on a series of the NJ DEP projects to improve the quality of our freshwater resources. The series of videos entitled Restoring the Manalapan Brook Watershed showcases projects aimed at reducing polluted overland runoff problems such as naturalizing detention basins, shoreline restoration and floating wetland islands. The Manalapan Brook is part of the Raritan River Basin in central New Jersey. The video was developed to be used by local governments, residents, and schools. But can serve as quality content for Earth Day or Arbor Day airing.

Since the start of the pandemic, our Extension office has cancelled all in-person learning opportunities until further notice. As a temporary substitute, for what would usually be in person gardening workshops and Master Gardener programs, starting in April 30 of 2020 we have presented free online webinars under the moniker RU Ready 2 Garden. Select episodes may be available for airing on local cable access stations.

If you would like join in these live online teaching events visit and search “RU Ready” where
you can view the schedule and register for participation.

To view any of these recorded webinars visit courtesy of the Middlesex County Office of Communications.

Look for Rutgers Cooperative Extension videos on the TelVue Server.
Contact Dave Smela for this request. or call 732-398-5268