The Mercer Educational Gardens in Hopewell Township, a section of the Mercer County Parks that is overseen by the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County, recently benefited from a partnership formed between the Master Gardeners and Nicholas Dunham, an Eagle Scout candidate from Troop 850 in Montgomery Township.

Over the course of several days in late fall, Nicholas, who was required to complete a community service project, recruited and supervised a crew that included boys from both Mercer and Somerset counties. He removed, replaced, leveled and secured 28 landscape ties that had bordered a compost demonstration area and two garden plots since 1997. The ties had rotted and become a safety hazard for the public. The work required more skill and physical strength than the Rutgers Master Gardeners could provide. Careful measurement, patience and diligence were required to cut, place, level and secure the replacement ties. Scout adviser David Dunham was on hand to provide guidance and carpentry instruction.

The Rutgers Master Gardeners are delighted that the work has been successfully completed, and that visitors to the first 2016 community education program on April 17 will face no safety hazards as they watch Rutgers Master Gardeners demonstrate home composting.

The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County is a volunteer educational outreach program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, 930 Spruce St., Lawrence. Master Gardeners participate in many volunteer programs throughout the county, as well as answer home horticulture questions through their Rutgers Master Gardener Helpline, (609) 989-6853, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. November through February, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March through October.

For more information on the Master Gardener program, the Mercer Education Gardens, or other Extension educational programs, contact Rutgers Cooperative Extension at 609-989-6830 or visit the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County website at

Cooperating Agencies: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; U.S. Department of Agriculture; and County Boards of Chosen Freeholders. Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experimental Station, is an equal opportunity program provider and employer. Contact your local Extension Office for information regarding special needs or accommodations. Contact the State Extension Director’s Office if you have concerns related to discrimination, (732) 932-5000, ext. 584.

Local Scouts (left to right) Alden Mallory, Princeton; Nicholas Dunham, Belle Mead; Scout adviser Dave Dunham, Belle Mead;  Jason Orbe, Belle Mead; Harrison May, Princeton; Kevin Walker, Skillman and Alex Dunbar, Belle Mead, recently partnered with Rutgers Master Gardeners to complete a community service project at Mercer Educational Gardens in Hopewell Township.