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RED BANK: SUNSET PARK CONCEPT TO DEBUT

The so-called Sunset Park concept plan includes a soccer field, riverfront boardwalk, kayak launch and other amenities. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank residents will get their first look Monday night at a concept plan for a new park on the town’s long-closed landfill site overlooking the Swimming River.

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SANDY HOOK: BE IN ON THE BLITZ

Students of all ages and their family members are invited to participate in the annual “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, hosted by the American Littoral Society on Friday.

[CORRECTION: The original version of this post reported the event is occurring Saturday. It’s on Friday.]

It happens every September, around the ocean and bay beaches, coves, trails, and forested areas of Sandy Hook — and for 12 hours beginning Saturday morning, “citizen scientists” of all ages are invited to assist a team of naturalists in the annual census operation known as “BioBlitz.”

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RUMSON: MARINE SCIENCE CENTER PLANNED

A concept drawing of the proposed Monmouth Marine and Environmental Field Station, which would be built atop the existing sanitary sewer pump station in the background. The red star on the satellite photo below indicates the location. (Photo by John T. Ward, map by Google Maps. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A sewage pump station on the Navesink River in Rumson would serve as the foundation, literally, for an ambitious new marine science center announced in Rumson Tuesday.

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MIDDLETOWN: ‘GIANTS OF SCIENCE’ POP BY

Their not-so-secret identities include familiar names that span centuries: founding father Ben Franklin, inventor Thomas Edison, anthropologist Dian Fossey and Silicon Valley visionary Steve Jobs. Considered together, they’re the American Giants of Science — a superteam with a mission to rekindle a young nation’s intellectual curiosity in a tech-driven age when scientific inquiry appears under siege.

On Wednesday morning, explorers aged 7 and up are invited to take part in an interactive “whirlwind tour through time,” with the point of departure the Middletown Township Public Library.

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RED BANK: RESIDENTS RESIST DUMP-SITE PARK

The audience at the Celestial Lodge Friday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank residents delivered a message to borough officials Friday night about a new park proposed at the town’s long-closed landfill site: not everyone wants it.

At a town-hall-style meeting held at the Celestial Lodge #36 on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, area residents expressed concerns that the dump might never be made safe for public use.

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RED BANK: PLANTING SEEDS FOR FUTURE PARK

A map showing the extended former landfill site outlined in green. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

We need a skatepark. We need a playgrounds for West Side kids. We need to remember that this is a neighborhood that can’t handle throngs of out-of-town visitors.

Red Bank residents offered those and other suggestions as the process of shaping a new waterfront park out of the former town dump got underway with a community brainstorming session last Thursday night.

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RED BANK HUMANISTS MARK DARWIN DAY

Press release from Red Bank Humanists

Since 2005, the Red Bank Humanists have used the February edition of their monthly forum to celebrate International Darwin Day.  The goal of Darwin Day is to inspire people to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth, as embodied in the life and work of Charles Darwin.

On the morning of Sunday, February 12, RBH will host the latest in its monthly series, hosted at the Red Bank Charter School, 58 Oakland Street. The program, going on from from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon, is open to the public and admission is free — and the theme for Darwin Day 2017 is “The Self-Domestication of Humans,” featuring guest speaker Ron Flannery (pictured).

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RUMSON: THINKING AHEAD TO FUTURE CITY

Press release from Rumson School District

It starts with the question, “How can we make the world a better place?”  To answer that question 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students imagine, research, design, and build model “Future Cities” that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue.

On January 14, Forrestdale School sent eighth grade students Jackson Patton and Lang Daly to Rutgers University to represent their fellow members of the school’s Future City Team, in the 25th annual Future City Competition — an event at which Forrestdale’s future city, named Forrestopia, was granted  the “Most Environmentally Friendly City” award.

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FAIR HAVEN, LINCROFT: BIG GRANTS LANDED

small_factory_2Special-needs education programs developed by the Fair Haven animation studio Small Factory have been recognized with a substantial grant from the National Science Foundation.

Two small businesses on the Greater Red Bank Green — one in Fair Haven, the other in Lincroft — have been named recipients of major grants from the National Science Foundation.

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RBR FEMALE STUDENTS EXPLORE ENGINEERING

mikayla-byron-rbrSenior Mikayla Byron of Red Bank, a student at Red Bank Regional’s Academy of Engineering, works on a project during engineering class.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

For over 15 years, Red Bank Regional High School has provided an engineering program academy as a rich curriculum option for its students. RBR’s Academy of Engineering program is modeled on curriculum developed from Project Lead the Way (a non-profit organization that develops educational S.T.E.M programs in conjunction with industry).

Since its inception, it has more than doubled its enrollment with over 120 students enrolled this year, of which nearly 20% are female.  This fairly represents the percentage of women who graduate college with engineering degrees; however, RBR is one of the few schools that give students a real flavor for the industry prior to attending college.

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SANDY HOOK: JOIN THE 100TH BIRTHDAY BLITZ

sandy hook 070415 1Amateur naturalists, “citizen scientists” and other volunteers are invited to participate in a “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, September 23 and 24.

This year, the National Parks Service observes the 100th anniversary of its founding — and as part of the year-long celebration, the federal agency will coordinate more than 100 “BioBlitz” initiatives at parks and other protected lands across the nation.

Out on the Sandy Hook peninsula, administered by the NPS as a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, the past several Septembers have seen a local BioBlitz effort coordinated with the Hook-based nonprofit American Littoral Society — and for 24 hours beginning Friday, September 23, “citizen scientists” from all walks of life are invited to be a part of this important annual wildlife census.

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LINCROFT: CBA HOSTS 1ST SCHOLARS PROGRAM

CBA Baldes-quadcopterMatthew Baldes was among the five members of the Christian Brothers Academy Class of 2016 who showcased their capstone projects during the school’s first-ever Scholars Program Colloquium on May 17. The CBA senior — who explained and demonstrated a model of his design for a quad copter, used to shoot video and to conduct search and rescue operations — joined fellow classmen Jonathan Alicea, Corbin Richardson, Anthony Sardella and Richard Stefanik in an evening exhibition of their top-ranked projects in the areas of engineering, music, drama and civics scholarship. Directed by history department chair Mr. Jeffrey Matson since the program’s inception in 2010, the Scholars Program offers select juniors a unique research-driven experience that continues throughout their senior year, when the scholars develop an independent project that permits them to explore in depth areas of individual interest under the direction of a personal mentor, from the CBA faculty or the private sector. 

RED BANK’S RAMIREZ A MODEL STUDENT

Jose RamirezRed Bank Regional senior Jose Ramirez recently took first place at the State Technology Student Association Competition, for his portfolio and project in Transportation Modeling.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

For students like Jose Ramirez, assembling a “modeling portfolio” means something far different from photo-studio head shots and location couture shoots. Like his fellow entrants in the State Technology Student Association competition, the Red Bank Regional High School senior employs three-dimensional modelmaking to solve engineering design challenges — and during last month’s TSA event at the College of New Jersey, the Red Bank resident’s skills enabled him to achieve First Place for his portfolio and project in the category of Transportation Modeling.

A student in RBR’s Academy of Pre-Engineering, Jose attends TSA events as an extra-curricular club which enters competitions with other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students from around the country. Having taken top honors in the April event, Jose is now eligible to enter his project in the national competition which takes place in June in Nashville, TN.

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RUMSON: GOD + SCIENCE, PERFECT TOGETHER

Press release from Monmouth Community Climate Coalition

Rev. DowdThe public is invited to First Presbyterian Church of Rumson on the evening of Monday, June 6, when guest speaker and “Pro-Future Evangelist” Michael Dowd delivers a talk entitled Standing for the Future: Inspiring Science, Evolving Faith, Realistic Hope.

Scheduled for 7 p.m. and presented by The Monmouth Community Climate Coalition, the program, geared for adults and teens, asks the question “How do we stay inspired in the face of changing climate?” — and focuses on points of agreement held by religious and non-religious people across the globe, suggesting how we can transform “The Great Reckoning” into “The Great Homecoming.”

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RED BANK: A STAR-STUDDED NIGHT @BASIE

degrasse tyson mirmanComedian Eugene Mirman, right, joins affable astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson for a special live edition of their StarTalk program tonight in Red Bank. 

During his “meteoric” rise from little-known planetarium director to instantly (and internationally) recognized spokesman for the importance of science in our daily lives, Neil deGrasse Tyson has often used humor to convey his passionately plain-spoken message that a curiosity about our ever-awesome universe has a place in our popular culture — and that an education in science is something to be celebrated, not shied away from.

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LINCROFT: SPACE TRAVELER TO SPEAK AT BCC

olsen2Press release from Brookdale Community College

Community members of all ages are invited to a special presentation by Greg Olsen, when the entrepreneur, scientist and civilian space traveler visits Brookdale Community College on Thursday, December 3.

The  7 pm presentation, hosted by Brookdale’s Physics and Astronomy Club and STAR Astronomy in Red Bank, is free and open to all. Olsen, a research scientist and tech industry innovator who became the third private citizen to orbit the earth in 2005, will speak at the Student Life Center building on the Lincroft campus.

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RED BANK CHARTER KIDS GO TO WASHINGTON

ChrisSmitthRed Bank Charter School students listen as U.S. Congressman Chris Smith addresses a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting, as part of a school trip to the nation’s capital.

Press release from Red Bank Charter School

On September 18, Red Bank Charter School was invited to participate in the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 45th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) in Washington D.C., the leading policy conference on issues impacting African Americans and the global black community.

The theme of this year’s ALC presentation is, “Pushing the Limits: The Future of Consumer Electronics and the Journey to Mars and Beyond.” Serving as Honorary Host was Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, joined by Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, who provided remarks on the importance of the initiative. A panel of engineers and strategists for NASA also presented discussions on the future of space travel.

RBCS students and staff participated in the Science and Technology Braintrust Sessions; held a special meeting with Congresswoman Johnson that included a guided tour of our nation’s Capital, and sat in on a House Foreign Affairs Committee discussion of U.S.-China relations. The meeting featured talks led by Congressman Chris Smith, senior Committee member and representative from New Jersey’s Fourth Congressional District.

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SANDY HOOK: A BLITZ IN TIME

BioBlitzAmateur naturalists, students and other volunteers are invited to assist a team of scientists in a “BioBlitz” census of species on Sandy Hook, beginning September 18.

Press release from National Parks Service

For 24 hours beginning Friday, September 18, citizen scientists will perform a “BioBlitz” operation, swarming the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area and counting as many species as possible. At the same time, free fun and educational activities will take families and individuals into the coves and trails of this seven-mile peninsula on the New Jersey coast.

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SANDY HOOK: CALLING ALL BIO-BLITZERS

bio-blitzPart public science project, part beat-the-clock fun competition, the second annual Bio-Blitz invites all members of the community to help take a snapshot of the diversity of plant and animal life on Sandy Hook.

Press release from American Littoral Society

It’s part contest (racing against the 24-hour clock), part educational event, part scientific endeavor, and all fun — it’s the second annual Bio-Blitz, and starting right now the American Littoral Society is inviting the public to take part in a major undertaking on September 18 and 19, designed to “create a snapshot” of Sandy Hook’s biodiversity.

By identifying as many species as possible during that 24-hour period, the Littoral Society can paint a picture of 2015 Sandy Hook, and the breathtaking array of plants, fish, birds, bugs, reptiles and furry creatures who make their summer home on the peninsula. Collected over time, this data can lead to valuable information about the effects of climate change and habitat degradation on the species that utilize this area. This will also be a unique opportunity to teach the public about the biodiversity that exists along New Jersey’s coast — particularly the unique mix of species that’s found only within the Gateway National Recreation Area.

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RFH TEAMS COMPETE IN ROBOT CHALLENGE

RobotThe members of “Team Mystery Gang” (Helena Van Hemmen, Jenny Greener, Leigh Forsyth) and “Team Transformers” (Matt Ramirez, Reed DiCenso, John Phelan, Jack Rallo) were among the teams from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional competing in the recent NJ Coast IEEE Robot Challenge.

Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

Seven teams made up of students from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School competed — with one RFH team achieving a third place finish — during the recent New Jersey Coast IEEE Robot Challenge, hosted at the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College.

“Team Starlords,” composed of seniors JC Liang, David Mancuso and Liam Packer, was the top RFH finisher among more than 40 teams representing 15 New Jersey high schools. During the five-hour event on Saturday, May 2, each team was required to build a robot using a kit. The teams were judged on their robots’ performance in a race, and also on oral and written reports. The 28 RFH students who took part in the competition, the goal of which is to make students aware of the requirements and workplace challenges facing today’s professional engineers, were sponsored by the school’s Scientific Frontier Club.

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LINCROFT: A SUPERSIZED SCIENCE MONDAY

Kenneth_Lacovara_at_dig_site_of_DreadnoughtusFamed paleontologist Dr. Kenneth Lacovara — pictured with the bones of Dreadnoughtus schrani, the titanic dinosaur he discovered in Argentina in 2005 — comes to Brookdale Community  College for a Science Mondays presentation on Dinosaurs in NJ…Still.

They called it Dreadnoughtus schrani — the most massive creature ever known to walk the earth; a titanosaur of the Upper Cretaceous period whose fossilized bones were discovered and excavated between 2005 and 2009 (and made public to great acclaim in 2014) by a team under the direction of Drexel University professor Kenneth Lacovara.

While the big-dig discovery in Argentina (and the subsequent determination that this huge specimen had not even reached its full-grown size) made Dr. Lacovara and his colleagues legitimate science superstars, the Jersey-native paleontologist and geologist is quick to point out that there are many more discoveries to be made; much to be learned — and, when he visits the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College this Monday evening, April 27, he’ll be making the point that there are Dinosaurs in NJ…Still.

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RED BANK: LANDFILL PARK STILL YEARS OFF

ballard 071614Engineer Christine Ballard, above, discusses sampling for toxic substances at the former landfill site. One result of the tests: new warning signs, below. (Above photo by John T. Ward; photo below by Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb crab sign 071514Red Bank is on track with testing for toxic substances at its former landfill and incinerator, but the painstaking process is unlikely to yield new parkland within the next five years, the town’s engineer said Wednesday.

Meantime, one immediate upshot of tests at the 8.6-acre West Side site: new warnings about eating fish and crabs caught from the adjoining Swimming River.

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