The E.A.R.T.H. Center in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park at 42 Riva Ave., in South Brunswick, is the headquarters for Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County. The State University’s outreach wing, Rutgers Cooperative Extension offers programs such as the Master Gardeners Environmental Stewardship program, 4-H Youth Development clubs and federally funded nutrition classes for limited resource families. Rutgers Cooperative Extension uses the knowledge of university faculty to offer programs and research to serve Middlesex County’s diverse population.
The many demonstration gardens found in the park, installed and tended to by Master Gardener volunteers and extension staff, are a valuable tool in teaching residents about horticulture, agriculture and nutrition. During the growing season there are many display gardens to experience, such as “the Circle of Thyme” Herb Garden. The enormous vegetable gardens brim with vegetables, from the exotic to New Jersey’s familiar favorites. Visitors can see the best growing practices for their backyard efforts; learn about heirloom varieties and beneficial insect attracting plants. Much of the produce harvested here goes to food banks such as Elijah’s Promise or Farmers Against Hunger. In addition, low maintenance turf grasses and pest resistant trees are on display in the park. A compost demonstration area and rain garden, provide hands-on training for youth and adults seeking to conserve water and reduce solid waste. The butterfly house is a great attraction for kids and adults and is open Saturdays and Sundays 10:00AM to 12 Noon, in June, July and August. The EARTH Center can also be a resource for local scout troops, providing a place to work on gardening or agriculture achievement badges. There are plenty of opportunities for scouts to fulfill community volunteer time needs as well. These demonstration gardens can turn a walk in the park into a learning experience for visitors during normal daylight park hours.
For a guided group tour, contact the EARTH Center at 732-398-5262.