Earth Day 2020 – At Home and Online Activities

Earth Day at Home webinar series presented by Rutgers Environmental Stewards

Original article –

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Rutgers Cooperative Extension announces its webinar series “Earth Day at Home”. This series will focus on steps everyone can take to protect the environment. We can all do our part to take actions that make our homes more sustainable, from environmentally friendly lawn care, to composting, to reducing plastic waste. These actions, more than ever, start at home.

Details: Join us on Mondays, starting April 20th, at 6:30pm to learn from experts at Rutgers Cooperative Extension. These live, interactive sessions will be 1 hour. To join in you need either a computer, tablet, or smartphone with speakers. Every week we will cover small actions that together reduce negative impacts on the environment.

REGISTER HERE! You must register to participate. All sessions are free and provided via Webex. Click on the title for descriptions.

4/20/20- Get to the Root of Soil Compaction

4/27/20- Environmentally-Friendly Landscape Care

5/4/20- Creating Wildlife Habitat in Your Yard

5/11/20- Home Vegetable Gardening For Food, Fun and Stress Management.

5/18/20- Reducing Food Waste

5/26/20 (Tuesday)- Reducing Plastic Waste

6/1/20- Plant This Not That – Avoiding Invasives in Your Yard.

6/8/20- Exploring Your Watershed from Home

6/15/20- Backyard Composting 101

6/22/20- Ticks and Lyme Disease

6/29/20- Understanding the 2019 Harmful Algae Blooms in NJ

  • 4/20/20- Get to the Root of Soil Compaction.  Soil compaction is a major problem that can impact your lawn, garden, and cause rainwater runoff.  Come learn about what causes compaction, how to figure out if your yard is experiencing compaction, and how to correct soil compaction at home. Steve Yergeau, Assistant Professor/ County Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension- Ocean/Atlantic Counties.
  • 4/27/20- Environmentally-Friendly Landscape Care. Want to reduce chemical use on your lawn and garden? Bill Hlubik will focus on earth-wise land care practices everyone should use including using proper plant genetics, using right plant, right place concepts, having the soil tested, using appropriate cultural practices and educating yourself and the public about the dangers of chemical over-application to home landscapes. William T. Hlubik, Full Professor/ County Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County.
  • 5/4/20- Creating Wildlife Habitat in Your Yard. All creatures need to eat, drink, hide from predators, take cover from harsh weather, and safely raise their young. Whatever the size of your yard, learn how you can transform it into a haven for wildlife. Kathleen Kerwin, Program Associate, Wildlife Conservation and Management Program, Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
  • 5/11/20– Home Vegetable Gardening For Food, Fun, and Stress Management. Growing your own food can be physically and mentally rewarding. There are important tips to consider when starting a home vegetable garden such as location, sunlight, water, soil quality, and wildlife exclusion. This presentation will cover important tips for vegetable gardening including selecting vegetable varieties, starting seeds indoors and outside, planting and spacing, managing pests in the garden, watering, and harvesting the garden. Michelle Infante-Casella, Full Professor/ County Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Gloucester County.
  • 5/18/20- Reducing Food Waste, Thirty to forty percent of all food produced in the US is wasted. This talk will define food waste, its environmental impacts, and will provide tips for reducing food waste at home. Amy Rowe, Associate Professor/ County Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Essex/ Passaic Counties.
  • 5/26/20 (Tuesday)- Reducing Plastic Waste.  Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans. Learn about the impact plastic is having on our environment and the steps you can take to reduce plastic waste in your home.Casey Lippincott, NJDEP Watershed Ambassador.
  • 6/1/20- Plant This Not That – Avoiding Invasives in Your Yard. Some popular ornamental plants are actually garden “bullies” invading local ecosystems and destroying natural wildlife habitats. Learn about the importance of using native plants in your yards for supporting local ecology including examples of species you can use to replace invasives. Michele Bakacs, Associate Professor, Rutgers Cooperative Extension- Middlesex/ Union Counties.
  • 6/8/20- Exploring Your Watershed from Home. We all live in a watershed and you can navigate yours from your computer. Learn about free online platforms and mapping websites that provide all kinds of information for you to explore local streams, habitat, water sources, soil types, and the environment right around your home. Sal Mangiafico, Associate Professor, Rutgers Cooperative Extension- Salem/ Cumberland Counties.
  • 6/15/20- Backyard Composting 101. Starting home composting is one of the easiest ways to reduce waste while improving your soil. Learn how to turn your kitchen scraps and yard waste into black gold for your soil with these tips for success. Michele Bakacs, Associate Professor, Rutgers Cooperative Extension- Middlesex/ Union Counties.
  • 6/22/20- Ticks and Lyme Disease. Protect yourself from ticks and Lyme disease by learning about the tick life cycle, tick removal, and differences between a variety of tick species. Learn also how to reduce tick habitat around your home. Amy Rowe, Associate Professor/ County Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Passaic/ Essex Counties.
  • 6/29/20- Understanding the 2019 Harmful Algae Blooms in NJ. Harmful algal blooms (HABs) plagued many aquatic waterways in 2019. This talk will cover what it is, what to look for, health effects, and how you can do your part to prevent them. Mike Haberland, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Associate Professor/County Agent- Burlington/ Camden Counties.

“What’s In Your Backyard?” – Trailside Nature & Science Center

Original article –

The Trailside Nature and Science Center staff has put together nature activities and a list of resources for families to use at home during this time. These nature and science themed activities and resources are engaging, fun and safe for all ages. We hope that they provide you and your family with some entertainment while learning about the natural world that is right in your own backyard!

Take some nature photos from around your own backyard

Send one or two of your favorite pics to along with the town you live in and your age and we will post a few on our website.

Become a citizen scientist

  • Start your own nature journal
  • From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Vast array of information about every bird you can think of!  Also on this site is a link to their Merlin app, which works on your phone or computer.  This makes identifying birds in your backyard very fun and easy.  There are also bird calls built into this website for identifying by sound. 
  • Contribute to science from your own backyard. Contribute to Science – Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. We share your findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe.
  • Hundreds of citizen science projects.  Along with a handy “Project Finder” tool, you can narrow your search for a project by age group, subject, as well as time. 
  • Allows citizen scientists to connect with other nature observers throughout the country. Observing phenology through Nature’s Notebook offers place-based, hands-on learning opportunities provides a collaborative platform for site-based educators, promotes cross-subject engagement while addressing standards of learning, and can be used to identify and answer local scientific research questions addressed by many natural resources, volunteer, and gardening groups. Phenology is an excellent lens for teaching about the natural world. 
  • Weekly bird themed activities complete with educational workbooks, videos, crafts and more.
  • Ideas, ranging from worksheets to at-home science experiments to do with kids

Live animal webcams from zoos and wildlife organizations

Get Wild…Inside

Original article –

Stuck Inside? Get Wild! As we are forced to spend more time than ever inside, we are fortunate that technology allows us to enjoy nature right on our computer or mobile device. Connecting with the natural world reminds us of the resilience of life and helps us find hope for the future.

Here in New Jersey we witnessed one of the great All-American comebacks – the amazing resurgence of bald eagles in our state. On the verge of being wiped out 40 years ago, bald eagles made a remarkable comeback, and more than 200 pairs now live in New Jersey. While our newfound reality can feel overwhelming, stories of perseverance, like the bald eagle’s, can offer us strength and inspiration.

We’ve collected all kinds of wonderful stories on our new Get Wild Inside web page to help you connect to wildlife and the promise of better times to come.

Brighten up your day with this collection of webcamspodcastseducational lessonsvideosWild New Jersey blog posts, and news stories.


Check out our popular wildlife webcams. But remember – they can be addictive!Image of webcam birds

– Union County Falcon Cam
– Long Beach Island Osprey Cam
– Duke Farms Bald Eagle Cam
– Jersey City Falcon Cam


Our monthly series, State of Change, releases a new episode every month focusing on different species impacted by climate change, each featuring experts in that field.

Catch up on our prior entries if you haven’t yet listened to them.

– Episode 1: Saving Beach Nesting Birds
– Episode 2: The Red Knot’s Journey
– Episode 3: Pollinators in Peril
– Episode 4: The Terrapin’s Trouble
– Episode 5: The Bat’s Misunderstood Identity

Subscribe to State of Change from SpreakerSpotifyApple PodcastsCastbox or Deezer. New episodes will be posted here and on our blog.


We’re launching a new series of education videos designed specifically for these challenging times. Airing each Tuesday and Thursday, our educators will explore both backyard activities and in-home activities that you can do on your own.

Check back here for new installments!


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