The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County has a mission of fostering community health and nutrition by sharing science-based information with the public, and its efforts have been recognized with two recent awards.

The Union County Extension is headed by Karen M. Ensle, EdD, RDN, FAND, CFCS, a nutrition expert and member of the Family and Community Health Sciences faculty at Rutgers University.

“Every year the Extension touches hundreds of Union County residents with popular volunteer and youth activity programs including the Master Gardeners, Master Tree-Stewards, and 4-H Clubs,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “On behalf of the Freeholder Board, I would like to congratulate Dr. Ensle and her staff and thank them for helping to enhance nutrition and wellness among our residents, as well.”

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The Rutgers Department of Family and Community Health Sciences received a prestigious Culture of Health award from YMCA Alliance in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, during the Culture of Health conference in December.

Dr. Ensle was also among the faculty members recently honored by a “Team Award Best of the Best” recognition by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a statewide program that has branches in each county.

Both awards recognized the Family and Community Health Sciences faculty for a multi-faceted nutrition initiative for schools throughout New Jersey. The initiative involves training food service professionals, teachers and volunteers to encourage students to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and to share their knowledge with their families at home. It also includes establishing fully wheelchair-accessible school gardens that serve as teaching tools.

Chairman Bergen also noted that Dr. Ensle is the co-author of the nationally recognized, common sense wellness guide “Small Steps to Health and Wealth.”

“The ‘Small Steps’ guide puts expert knowledge and research to work for you, and I encourage our residents to look it up on the county web site,” said Chairman Bergen.

To access “Small Steps to Health and Wealth” online, along with related articles on practical health tips and fad dieting, visit Union County online at ucnj.org/rce.

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County is supported by the Freeholder Board as part of the national Extension academic research and community outreach system, established in 1914 under the U.S. Department of Agriculture by Act of Congress. For all Union County programs visit ucnj.org/rce or call the Extension offices, 908-654-9854.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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