Earth Center Open House in
South Brunswick, New Jersey
In case if you see overlapped lines of text or some lines of text become obscured behind a picture on this web
page, please change the page magnification (zoom) factor to eliminate such problems by pressing these two
keys "Ctrl +" simultaneously or these two keys "Ctrl -" simultaneously. Depending on your PC setting, it may
be necessary to reduce the magnification factor several steps down in order to eliminate the overlap and
obstructed text lines.

Please press the F11 key (Fn key and F11 key on laptop PC) on your keyboard to get full-screen view of
photos and web page. Pressing F11 key again will return to your normal screen with various tool bars.
About Author                                 Contact Author
讀萬卷書    行萬里路

Home                                                              About Author                                               Contact Author
Beautiful Monarch butterfly in Butterfly House in EARTH Center Open House on Saturday, August 16, 2014 in
Davidson's Mill Pond Park at 42 Riva Ave., South Brunswick, New Jersey. This is a Garden Field Day to
celebrate the 100th Birthday of Extension Education at The EARTH Center, home to Rutgers Cooperative
Extension of Middlesex County. The EARTH Center is the name of Rutgers Extension office here. Thanks to
May Lee for pointing out that "EARTH" here stands for E-nvironment, A-griculture, R-esearch, T-eaching and H-
ealth. Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station is located here. The Middlesex County Master
Gardeners also have their headquarters here.

Extension Agriculture staff and Master Gardeners are on hand, offering advice on horticulture and environmental
stewardship while guiding visitors through their gardens. Examples include Circle of Thyme Herb Garden, the
Children’s Garden, demonstration vegetable display garden, Garden for the Hungry, and the popular Butterfly

Map: Click here for interactive Google Map showing location of Davidson's Mill Pond Park.

Map: Click here for detailed Park Map and Hiking Trails
A Black Swallowtail, also called the American Swallowtail or Parsnip Swallowtail in the Butterfly House.

Butterfly House at the Earth Center is filled with plants that feed and shelter butterflies and larvae. The
enclosed environment allows visitors to get an up-close look at the showy creatures. Children who visit the
butterfly house on Saturdays will also be given the opportunity to catch additional butterflies in the park for the
butterfly house using nets that are provided for them. The public is also invited to net butterflies for the butterfly
house every Friday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. in the park.

The Butterfly House is open every Saturday in June, July and August from 10 a.m. to noon. Admission is free,
and donations are accepted.

For more information, call (732) 398-5220.
Many beautiful Monarch butterflies and colorful flowers in the Butterfly House.
An outside view of the Butterfly House. The enclosed conditions allow visitors to take an up-close look at these
insects and learn from Master Gardeners more about the host plants for butterflies and how to attract
butterflies  to the home garden.
There are also many beautiful flowers in the gardens outside of the Butterfly House.
May be American Lady.

The colorful flowers also attracted many beautiful outdoor butterflies and bees.
The wings of bees are relatively small as compared to those of butterflies.
I usually stands at a substantial distance (e.g., 10 feet or more ) away and zoom in to get such close up
pictures of beautiful flowers, butterfly and bee. The long focal length of my compact super-zoom camera
provides nice effect of Shallow Depth of Field to highlight the flower, butterfly and bee, but blur out the
clutters in the background. Standing at a substantial distance away is less threatening to the butterfly and
the bee and has better chance to get such close up pictures of butterflies and bees.

More information on benefits of using compact super-zoom camera are on my web page at:

Visitors at the Circle of Thyme Herb Garden on this Garden Field Day. It is a nice sunny day for outing and
photography in the park with so many beautiful flowers, butterflies, vegetables, melons, tomatoes, onions, etc.
A band is playing music and singing songs to entertain visitors.
One of many birds in the park busily catching insects.
Watermelons in demonstration vegetable display garden.
Extension Agriculture staff and Master Gardeners are on hand, offering advice on horticulture and environmental
stewardship while guiding visitors through their gardens, answering many questions from the visitors.
Green Roof playhouse in Children’s Garden.
Many exhibitors who collaborate with Middlesex County Extension throughout the year are also here to share
their programs and accomplishments.
We were lucky and saw this green hornworm caterpillar with many white parasite cocoons all over its back in
the garden. Thanks to May Lee and her friend, Mrs. Chiang, to bring my attention to this green hornworm with
many white cocoons and the following associated story.

Usually, a female parasitic wasp laid eggs inside a green hornworm caterpillar. The wasp larvae fed and grew
within the hornworm, nearly killing it in the process. The wasp larvae then emerge (chew their way through the
skin) out on the back of the hornworm, pupate and turn into adults, and spun these white cocoons. Tiny wasps
will soon emerge from the cocoons, mate, then female wasps will seek other hornworms in which to insert their
eggs. Please see such actions in the following YouTube movie:


This is one of the examples of what visitors can learn from Master Gardeners in such Garden Field Day.
Eyeball plant.
More photos and information on this EARTH Center open house are available on May Lee's web page at:


The Davidson's Mill Pond is a dammed pond. The old stone dam and the waterfall going over the dam are
picturesque as shown in the following web pages:


This is where the old mill was once located. A great blue heron often comes here to catch fish.

In autumn season, a nice vista of the autumn foliage on the trees along Davidson's Mill Pond is very beautiful
as shown on first three pictures on my web page at:


After sunset, some night herons may show up at the edges of the ponds in Davidson's Mill Pond Park to catch
fish as shown on the last picture on my web page at:

Also part of the event is the “Greatest of the Garden” competition. Gardeners can bring their biggest or
most outstanding home grown produce to win recognition. Attendees are encouraged to bring their
homegrown entries for categories such as: biggest tomato, biggest cucumber, biggest squash, biggest
watermelon, longest gourd, and for all vegetables.
Garden Field Day attendees also can enjoy samples of locally grown produce courtesy of Middlesex County
farmers, while enjoying the sounds of local musicians.
This year’s celebration takes on special significance because it is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the
Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which officially created the national Cooperative Extension System.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension provides vital services to our state’s farmers, provides educational programs on
food, nutrition and health, urban and community outreach, 4-H youth development and economic and workforce
More detailed descriptions for these gardens are available at:

Monarch butterflies are considered the “king” of the butterflies, hence the name “monarch”. Millions of
Monarch butterflies pass through Cape May in southern New Jersey each autumn on a migratory journey. The
incredible life-cycle and the 2000-mile migration loop involving 4 generations of Monarch butterfly are
described in more details on my web page at: