EAST BRUNSWICK – Why did the salamander cross the road? How much is New Jersey’s climate changing? How do you grow plants without soil?

Talks on these topics will be featured in the “Option Green” Speakers Series co-sponsored by the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission and East Brunswick Public Library this spring at the library, 2 Jean Walling Civic Center. All programs begin at 7 p.m.  Admission is free.

Wednesday, March 29: “Salamander Migration” East Brunswick Environmental Commission Chairman Dr. David Moskowitz will discuss the annual migration of salamanders, an important ecological event. After noticing that salamanders were crossing Beekman Road in large numbers on rainy, early spring evenings to lay their eggs in vernal pools on the other side, Moskowitz urged the creation of the East Brunswick Vernal Pool Protection Plan, which features annual closures of Beekman Road to allow these amphibians to safely reach their breeding habitats. Each year, these closures draw people from throughout the area to observe this natural phenomenon.

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Moskowitz, who also chairs the Friends of EBEC, is a senior vice president with EcolSciences Inc., an environmental consulting firm. He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from George Washington University, a master’s in environmental policy studies from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and doctorate in entomology from Rutgers.  In addition to the salamander program, he was the driving force behind East Brunswick Butterfly Park, and was a co-founder of the Community Garden and National Moth Week with Liti Haramaty of the Friends.

Wednesday, April 26: “Hydroculture” Stephanie Alea, a field researcher in the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers, will discuss hydroculture – growing plants in a soil-free medium. She holds a bachelor’s degree in plant science from Rutgers and managed the display greenhouse at International Flavors and Fragrances, where she gained experience in hydroculture. She also holds a master’s in public health in epidemiology from Florida International University.

Wednesday, May 24: “New Jersey’s Climate Variability and Change” New Jersey State Climatologist and Rutgers Geography Professor David Robinson will discuss what’s happening to New Jersey’s climate in an era of heightened interest in climate change, its causes and impacts.

Robinson is a frequent speaker on his research interests in applied climate, and climate dynamics and change, particularly focused on global snow cover. He sits on the National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Geographers.

The Friends of EBEC is a nonprofit citizens group dedicated to local environmental education and conservation. In addition to its Option Green speakers series the Friends sponsors National Moth Week, Freecycling Days, Amphibian Protection, Community Garden, Butterfly Park, Moth Nights and events that help to educate the public about the environment and sustainable practices. Membership is free. For more information, go to friendsebec.com.