Rock out to a good cause on Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at the Princeton Airport Hangar, 41 Airpark Road in Princeton, in a benefit for Greenwood House. Live music will be accompanied by dinners prepared by award-winning chef Max Hansen and desserts from featured food trucks, Glazed & Confused Fresh Mini Donuts and Rita’s Italian Ice. Guests will also be able to eat, drink, and bid on auction items such as rock star-autographed guitars and world-class vacations.  more

Join New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) for a special virtual presentation on Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. to celebrate International Jazz Day, National Poetry Month, and the playwright and novelist Langston Hughes. 

Viewers will be treated to song and poetry performances by NJPAC’s Verses and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Two local Newark poets, Dimitri Reyes and Treasure Borde, will share poetry inspired by Hughes’ life and times. Renowned jazz saxophonist Mark Gross and his quartet will also share their interpretations of Hughes’ compendium of writing.  more

Located at 100 Straube Center Boulevard in Pennington, Cambridge School is an independent K-12 day school that specializes in helping students with language-based learning differences, such as dyslexia, ADHD, dysgraphia, auditory processing disorder, and executive function difficulties, among others. However, the school prides itself on teaching to learning differences, not disabilities, as some educational institutions perceive it.  more

Now on view at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., “Keith Haring: A Radiant Legacy” is drawing visitors from around the region for this intimate and extensive collection of a beloved artist. The exhibit will run through July 31, 2022.

Born in Reading, Pa., and raised in nearby Kutztown, Pa., Haring (1958-1990) developed an early love for drawing, which eventually expanded into paintings, prints, posters, sculpture, and his famous street art. Completely unique to himself, Haring developed a style that became as recognizable as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf. Haring’s colorful graffiti, which punctuated New York City’s streetscape, helped to contribute to his meteoric rise.  more

On Saturday, April 9, Princeton Junior School’s Odyssey of the Mind teams competed in the New Jersey State Finals at Princeton High School. There, both teams qualified to advance to the World Finals taking place at Iowa State University, May 25-28.

The Grade 6 Team competed in Division II against other New Jersey middle school 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students and placed second in their long-term problem, Escape Vroom. The Grade 5 Team competed in Division I against elementary students and placed third for their Matryoshka Structure. more

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the Spring issue of Princeton Magazine where you will discover a range of articles exploring how we can protect, enjoy, and learn from Mother Earth.

The cover illustration created by our Art Director, Jeffrey Tryon, blends a painterly image of Earth with a portrait of Pearl S. Buck, author of The Good Earth. Donald Sanborn’s article about Buck explains how her time in China inspired her to write the book in 1931, which is known for its epic descriptions of peasant farm life in China. The “nourishing power of the land” is the book’s central theme, and that still resonates strongly today.

In addition to being a Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author, Buck was an advocate for women’s rights, minority groups, and mixed-race adoptions. Today, her home in Bucks County is a museum and the location of her active and impactful foundation.

The original intention of an Earth issue has taken on new meaning as countries around the globe unite in support of Ukraine. There is an age-old Russian military deception tactic known as “maskirovka,” or little masquerade. It is clear that the world won’t allow Vladimir Putin to hide behind a veil of maskirovka as he demonstrates blatant disregard for human life and world order.  more

Pearl S. Buck, circa 1931. (Wikipedia/Arnold Genthe)

“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday,” author and activist Pearl S. Buck is quoted as saying. To understand Buck’s work as the author of The Good Earth and founder of the organization that became Pearl S. Buck International, based in Bucks County, Pa., it is helpful to search her upbringing as the daughter of a missionary in China.

Buck (1892-1973) was the daughter of Absalom Sydenstricker, a Southern Presbyterian missionary, and Caroline Stulting Sydenstricker. When Buck was 5 months old, the family moved to China, eventually settling near Nanking; they chose to live among the Chinese people rather than in a missionary compound. Pearl S. Buck International’s biography of Buck notes that she “played with Chinese children and visited their homes … she later used this material in her novels.”

However, Buck also observed the suffocating effect of Absalom’s work on his relationship with his family, especially his treatment of Caroline. Buck’s mother had “accompanied her husband to China, where she was homesick for the remaining 40 years of her life,” writes Peter Conn in Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography (Cambridge University Press, 1996).

“Carie’s emotionally impoverished marriage and exile provided Pearl a tragic example of the price that women pay for the loyalty to codes and customs that oppress them. It was the most important lesson Pearl would ever learn … [she] would not, as Carie had done, collaborate in her own defeat,” Conn writes. But he adds that, despite Buck’s rejection of her father’s religious beliefs, she inherited “his evangelical zeal, his sense of rectitude, and his passion for learning … she became, in effect, a secular missionary, bringing the gospels of civil rights and cross-cultural understanding to people on two continents.”

Conn writes of Buck’s mother, “Wherever she lived in China … Carie always made a flower garden. These were places of beauty and refuge, walled off from the Chinese streets that surrounded them.”

Asked whether this influenced the agrarian theme of The Good Earth, Conn tells this writer, “I thought of the gardens much more … in terms of a kind of emblem for the general disquiet and sense of loneliness that Pearl’s mother confronted, from the time she got to China until she died.”

VJ Kopacki, historic house director and curator for Pearl S. Buck International, adds that Caroline was “vibrant, thoughtful, and had a head full of ideas — and the only place in which she could express herself … was in that space of her garden. She could release some of that feeling of isolation and exile.” Kopacki observes that Buck “was an outspoken critic of the way that men, specifically American men, tended to treat their wives.” more

Thanks to the Pandemic, Mushroom Hunting is an Increasingly Popular Pursuit

By Anne Levin | Photos by Jeffrey E. Tryon

(Photo by Ed Ashton)

Spend some time talking to mushroom foragers about what they do and how they do it, and you are likely to start looking at trees differently. That feathery cluster you spy under an old oak — is that a hen of the woods? That funnel-shaped stalk with yellow flesh, peeking out of some moss — could it be a chanterelle?

Seeking out mushrooms is a treasure hunt that can become addictive. And when the hunt yields culinary prizes, it’s even better. But those fascinated by fungi do not restrict their curiosity to specimens that can be turned into gourmet meals. Photography, cultivation, botanical illustrations, and even jewelry-making can come into the picture. And the practice has become increasingly popular, especially during COVID-19.

“We’ve had an explosion of members this year,” said Jim Barg, a past president of the New Jersey Mycological Association and a consultant to the New Jersey Poison Control Center. “The pandemic definitely has something to do with it. People want to get out into nature and take part in outdoor activities. There are now somewhere between 800 and 900 people in the association.”

Although mushrooms are classified as vegetables, they are technically part of the kingdom called fungi. The edible ones are nutritious — low in calories, almost devoid of fat and cholesterol, and low in sodium.

Mushroom hunters tend to be tight-lipped about where they look. “Foragers are very protective,” said Princeton resident Steve Omiecinski, who ventures out on hunting expeditions in and around town, and in upstate New York where he and his family have a home. “No one wants to share their spots. The last thing I want is to find other people looking in my good places.”

“I have not found anybody who will share where they have found mushrooms, and I understand why,” says Ed Ashton, who lives in Hunterdon County and does technological work and facilities maintenance when not pursuing black trumpets, oysters, lion’s mane, and other mushroom varieties. “You really don’t want to go to a wild mushroom patch and find somebody else there already.” more

Photos courtesy of Princeton Theological Seminary’s Farminary 

Princeton Theological Seminary’s sustainable farm helps teach prospective theologians about the meaning of life

By Ilene Dube

It was a blustery day when I went to visit Princeton Theological Seminary’s (PTS) Farminary. The property — 21 acres off Princeton Pike — includes a few outbuildings and a pond. Chickens and bees are lovingly cared for in this serene agricultural oasis.

Suddenly a flock of geese took off from the pond, filling the sky with a chorus of honking and chattering. “The geese are our neighbors,” says Farminary Founder and Director Nathan Stucky. “They remind us we are all bodies in need of food, shelter, and warmth.”

I first learned about the Farminary listening to NPR’s “On Being,” when host Krista Tippett interviewed journalist and Farminary alum Jeff Chu.

Chu had had a revelatory moment gazing into the compost pile, but his love affair with the rotting vegetables, banana peels, and coffee grounds was not of the at-first-sight variety. His initial reaction: “I thought it was disgusting,” Chu told Tippett, “it was … all these things we would typically see as trash, as waste, which gets carted off to a landfill out of our sight.”

What changed it all for Chu was when “Nate told us to dig around and look for signs of new life.”

That taught Chu that there is an opportunity to “steward death well when death happens, which it will — not erasing the pain, not erasing the brutality, but acknowledging both it and the possibilities that still remain, afterwards … I refuse to believe that death is the end of the story.”

And that’s what Stucky hopes everyone will get from the Farminary.

On its website, it is described as an experiment in sustainable agriculture. “The Farminary is a place where theological education is integrated with small-scale regenerative agriculture to train faith leaders who are conversant in the areas of ecology, sustainability, and food justice,” it notes. “It is designed to train students to challenge society’s 24/7 culture of productivity by following a different rhythm, one that is governed by the seasons and Sabbath.” more

Mercer Center for Implants and Periodontics at Princeton

Interview by Laurie Pellichero

Where is your practice located, and what is your specialty?

Mercer Center for Implants and Periodontics at Princeton is in a unique, environmentally friendly building at 601 Ewing Street, Suite B-15. I am the only board-certified periodontist and implant surgeon practicing in Princeton in a specialty practice setting. I have more than 30 years of clinical experience and have served as a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and Implant Surgery since 2006, and recently I was successfully recertified by the American Board of Periodontology. We are proud to be part of the Princeton community. We serve patients from the greater Central New Jersey area, as well as Philadelphia and New York City. We also have patients flying in from Texas and the United Kingdom for treatment.

What is your professional background?

I come from a dentistry family; my father and brother are orthodontists. Along with a DMD, I earned a Doctor of Science in Oral Biology and taught at Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania. I have always been very committed to education, as a scientist on bone, connective tissue, and cancer cells; an author of scientific articles and book chapters; a teacher for 11 years to many successful dentists and periodontists for periodontal and implant surgical treatment; and as a clinician for 30 years who has performed more than 10,000 procedures and served more than 5,000 patients. My unique scientific background and extensive clinical experience direct my treatment approach for the best possible care and outcomes for our patients, using less invasive techniques with lifelong and comfortable results. more

A Passive House, utilizing photovoltaic panels. (Shutterstock.com)

The Future Is Now

By Donald Gilpin

Buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of all greenhouse gases, and every building, including your home, creates CO2 through the energy used in construction and the energy required to operate it.

Most climate scientists (along with the Paris Agreement of 2015) warn that the world must reach net-zero carbon by 2050 to avoid the most disastrous effects of heat, flooding, sea level rise, and weather extremes. The climate crisis is an international security threat, as it increasingly creates dislocation of millions and migration of vast populations. This climate-fueled instability creates military tensions, financial hazards, and world health emergencies.

In the United States the climate catastrophe has resulted in record droughts in the West; wildfires in California, Montana, Utah and elsewhere; power grids strained in Texas and throughout the nation; reservoir water supplies at record lows; flooding throughout the country; and pervasive crises caused by extreme weather.

Sooner or later – and many experts say our planet’s survival depends on making that sooner – all buildings will need to achieve net-zero carbon. Homeowners and buyers, as well as designers and builders, must focus on net-zero carbon in all facets of construction, renovations, and operation. This may extend further as time goes on, for example, if a homeowner needs an electrician in Charlotte or wherever they are based, then these professionals might need to be trained in eco-friendly services and know how to service a home that has been constructed with net-zero carbon, the same can be a possibility for others like plumbers and contractors. more

STEM Ambassadors in a lab on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus. (Photo courtesy of 4-H of Mercer County)

Broadening its mission from the farm to the science lab

By Wendy Greenberg

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world
—The 4-H Pledge since 1927

The almost-century-old 4-H Pledge still stands, as does its patented clover logo and community club structure. But one hint that this is not your grandparents’ 4-H is its local headquarters in semi-urban Ewing, next to a strip shopping center.

A more significant sign is what goes on inside: STEM classes, robotics, marine science, and lessons on climate change and sustainable energy. Members are not only teens from rural areas of Mercer County, but a large contingent from Trenton and suburban areas as well.

The goats and the chickens? Animals are the focus of several clubs where members have an interest — and there is a lot of interest — including rabbits, calves, and hogs as well. But there is also a youth investment club, 4-H Investment Club of Mercer County; an archery club, Hot Shots Shooting Sports; a wellness club, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind Club, which has a large membership from Princeton; and one that addresses composting and recycling called Treasuring the Trash.

Whatever the project, the goal is to develop leadership, and other skills, among youths and teens. The 4-H programs in all 21 New Jersey counties have evolved since the early 1900s but have kept the same emphasis, whether it’s a teen developing a Saturday STEM program in Robbinsville or presenting a project on raising chickens in Lawrence.

A graphic on the national 4-H website notes that nationally, serving 6 million youths, the organization has 2.6 million rural participants, but also 1.8 million urban and 1.6 million suburban participants — a combined 3.4 million.

Locally, 4-H programs are part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County, a partnership between Rutgers University, Mercer County, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Cooperative Extension is led by land grant universities — in New Jersey, Rutgers; in Pennsylvania, Penn State University; and in New York, Cornell University. The Mercer County chapter is headed by Chad Ripberger, a longtime 4-H extension agent with a background in teaching. more

A technician working on a used lithium-ion battery from an electric car. (Shutterstock.com)

Overcoming the Lithium-Ion Battery’s Achilles Heel

By Will Uhl

Since the early ‘90s, the tech world — and shortly after, everyday life — has been increasingly dependent on lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Lighter and longer-lasting than yesteryear’s alkaline batteries, they’ve become the standard for powering portable electronics. And as the price of Li-ion batteries has plummeted, dropping 97 percent over the past three decades, they’ve become ubiquitous.

But as increasing numbers of Li-ion batteries are reaching the end of their lifecycle, a problem has emerged with growing urgency: recycling. Li-ion batteries are complex and potentially dangerous to disassemble — much more than traditional alkaline and lead-acid batteries. Because of this, less than five percent of Li-ion batteries are currently recycled. Now, as the market for Li-ion batteries balloons, a Princeton startup is poised to pioneer the next generation of Li-ion battery recycling. more

By Stuart Mitchner

“After all there’s a lot in that vegetarian fine flavour of things from the earth….”
—James Joyce, from Ulysses

So thinks Leopold Bloom on his way to lunch at Davy Byrne’s in Dublin on June 16, 1904. He settles for a cheese sandwich. I’m beginning with a vegetarian-friendly quote from Ulysses in recognition of its 100th anniversary. For a whole book of Joycean recipes, there’s Alison Armstrong’s The Joyce of Cooking: Food and Drink from James Joyce’s Dublin (Station Hill Press $14.99), which has a foreword from novelist Anthony Burgess.

Although I’m neither a vegan nor a vegetarian, my fondness for Moby’s music and my memories of India have led me to two volumes recommended by a discriminating colleague: Moby’s Little Pine Cookbook: Modern Plant-Based Comfort (Avery $24.99) and The Modern Tiffin: On-the-Go Vegan Dishes with a Global Flair by Priyanka Naik (Simon and Schuster $24.99).

Cooking with Moby

Quoted in The Guardian’s “What’s in your basket” column from the early 2000s when music from Moby’s worldwide best-selling album Play could be heard in shops all over London, he recommended garlic and ginger as “the key to a long, happy and full life because they’re such concentrated foods you think if there is anything bad and nasty living in your body, garlic and ginger will go in like a cartoon superhero and drive out the invaders.” Admitting that as much as he loves the U.K., he adds that he finds it difficult to get fresh bread there like the wholemeal organic loaf he likes to eat with organic peanut butter. Although I’ve never thought of myself as a vegan, the comfort food closest to my heart is peanut butter, so I guess you could say I’ve come out of the closet.

Moby named his cookbook after Little Pine, the restaurant he opened decades ago in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Actress Rooney Mara has said, “I have literally walked for miles to get the Little Pine Mac n’ Cheese.” Among the 125 recipes are dishes like Panko-Crusted Piccata and Fried Cauliflower with Kimchi Aioli. Desserts include Chocolate Bread Pudding, which suggests the possibility of an energy rush equal to “Feeling So Real,” possibly the most deliriously exciting music Moby ever recorded. more

Spring is a great time to get outside and visit the many area wineries. Mark your calendar for these upcoming happenings…

By Laurie Pellichero

Hopewell Valley Vineyards
46 Yard Road, Pennington
609.737.4465
hopewellvalleyvineyards.com

Hopewell Valley Vineyards, led by proprietors Sergio and Violetta Neri, is dedicated to the creation of handcrafted wines by blending Old World flair with New World style. The vineyards, first planted in 2001, now include 25 acres of grapes under cultivation. Their mission is to provide a relaxing, quaint, and beautiful environment where one can experience award-winning wines and enjoy the company of friends.

Events at Hopewell Valley Vineyards include Music & Vino every Friday evening from 5 to 8pm, and every Saturday from 1-4pm and 5-8pm with a variety of live music to enjoy along with artisan brick oven pizza and a light fare menu. Wines are available by the glass or bottle. Upcoming Friday acts include Catmoondaddy on April 15, Deb & Mike on April 22, and Karen Payne on April 29. The Saturday 1-4pm concerts include Winery Catz on April 16, Mixtape Mojo on April 22, and Silent Q on April 30. The Saturday evening concerts will feature Mike Herz Duo on April 16, Rainbow Fresh on April 23, and Craig Leach Group on April 30. Live music is also presented on Sundays from 1:30-4:30pm, including Blue Jersey Band on April 17, HVV Jazz Band on April 24, and Mark Feingold Group on May 1. See the website for other upcoming acts and events.

Winery hours are Monday through Thursday 11am to 3pm, Friday and Saturday 12 to 8:30pm, and Sunday 12 to 5pm. more

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/peacepieworld/

Everyone has their favorite ice cream shop and ice cream flavor, but have you ever tried a Peace Pie? With locations in Cape May and Lambertville, .(among others), Peace Pie has established itself as a unique ice cream destination. 

According to founder and creator Jerry Klause, Peace Pie began Thanksgiving night 2010, over a delicious batch of pie filling and a forgotten pie crust. Klause baked the pie filling and two giant shortbread cookies, then combined it all in layers with vanilla ice cream. Thus, he served a Pecan Pie Lasagna for dessert and it was a hit with the whole crowd. The following summer, the Klause family decided to take their delicious idea and put it into action with the design and production of Peace Pie, an ice cream sandwich with a layer of pie filling! more

Image Source: https://japanphilly.org/shofuso/

Located in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, every year the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center celebrates Children’s Day on May 5. Children’s Day is a Japanese national holiday and is the final celebration of Golden Week, a collection of four national holidays within seven days. It is a day set aside to respect children’s individual personalities and to celebrate their happiness. more

Image Source: https://drew.edu

Drew University in Madison, N.J.  has recently announced the addition of a musical theater minor. This new program will supplement the popular theater arts major and four other program minors. 

The minor is an interdisciplinary program incorporating the study of acting, dance, movement, vocal arts, performance history, and related musical subjects. The program distinctively offers students the opportunity to create original musicals as well as to participate in immersive experiences.  more

True Farmstead (Image Source: www.ssaamuseum.org)

The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM) and Sourland Conservancy have joined forces to purchase and save the historic True family farmstead in Skillman, N.J. 

The property was originally owned by an African American Union army veteran who worked as a farmer after the Civil War. In 1891, after his death, his wife Cordina married Spencer True, a descendant of the former slave Friday Truehart. Interestingly, Truehart had gained his freedom in 1819 and became an early African American landowner in the Sourland region. Spencer and Corinda made their home on the farmstead, which originally included the land on which the National Historic Register-listed Mt. Zion AME Church stands today. Spencer and Corinda donated the land for the church in 1899 after the original church, built around 1866 on the Sourland Mountain, burned down. Mt. Zion AME Church welcomed its African American congregants until 2005, and now serves as the home of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum. more