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F. R. Newman Arboretum is now closed to vehicles

2 years 23 weeks ago

The F. R. Newman Arboretum is now closed to vehicle traffic. Please
don't let that stop you from enjoying the arboretum this winter. Parking
is available at the Mundy Wildflower Garden parking lot off of Caldwell
Road at the intersection with Forest Home Drive, which is directly
across from the arboretum.

Pedestrians are welcome to explore the arboretum every day from dawn
to dusk. Vehicle access will begin again in the spring. Happy winter!

Watercolor art on display at the Nevin Welcome Center

2 years 23 weeks ago
"A Celebration of Life" is a display of delicate wildflowers painted by former volunteer Wilma (Willie) Gilmore.

Willie was a long-time volunteer at Cornell Plantations, gardener, and artist. Her work, a series of delicate watercolors of blossoms and fruits, will be on display in the Nevin Welcome Center until February 29. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, January 9th from 2pm – 4pm light refreshments will be served, and the event is free and open to the public.

In her prime, Willie was an avid gardener and for decades she enjoyed visiting Cornell Plantations, where she was a long-time volunteer and active member and past president of the Auraca Herbarists. Confronting serious ailments, her prolific gardening activities changed from shovel and wheelbarrow to container plantings. Then, in time, her focus shifted to creating these beautiful watercolors of blossoms and fruits which are on display. These delicate paintings were found in a drawer after her passing.

They came as a surprise even to her family and close friends. As her beloved husband of over 60 years said, “Perhaps Willie saw the paintings as metaphor for life: blossoming, then fading and dying, as we all do, with youth, maturity, and finally, passing on. It is our good fortune that Willie’s last flower creations, the paintings, her Celebration of Life, are ours to enjoy, forever.”

The Nevin Welcome Center, located in the botanical garden of Cornell Plantations, is open Tuesday – Saturday, from 10am – 4pm. 

F. R. Newman Arboretum remains open to vehicles

2 years 25 weeks ago

With the weather forecast calling for unseasonably warm temperatures, we decided to keep the arboretum open. Cornell Plantations' Botanical Garden and Arboretum are open from dawn to dusk every day, and we invite you to visit and enjoy the fresh air over the holiday break.

Cascadilla Gorge is closed for the winter

2 years 25 weeks ago
The Cascadilla Gorge Trail from Downtown to College Avenue is now closed for winter. The trail is closed due to hazardous conditions from snow, ice, and falling rock that create unsafe conditions. The trail will re-open in the spring when conditions allow.

Although the gorge is closed, you can tour it virtually using Google's Street View feature. Click here for a 360 degree view in front of one of the gorge's waterfalls. To view more points in the gorge, click on the yellow “pegman” in the bottom right corner and drag it to a point on the trail.

Happy Holidays!

2 years 26 weeks ago

Click here to view our holiday greeting!



Cornell staff honor volunteers at "thank you" luncheon

2 years 27 weeks ago
We could not carry out all that we do without our large group of volunteers who help tend our gardens, lead public tours, educate school-aged children and a lot more! In 2015, over one hundred individuals contributed approximately 3,800 hours of service, while nearly two hundred more (mostly students) contributed over 1,200 hours as part of various group service projects. Altogether, nearly 300 volunteers served a total of 5,100 hours!

On December 4, Plantations staff honored the volunteers during a luncheon, where we recognized volunteers for their dedicated service. Read more on our Tumblr blog

Tom Reimers (shown left) was givien special recognition for 30 years of service PLUS over 1000 lifetime hours of service.

Holiday Gift Shop Sale on Monday, November 30

2 years 30 weeks ago
The Garden Gift Shop in the Nevin Welcome Center will be open for a special holiday sale on Monday, November 30 from 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. (Early Bird hours for Plantations Members start at 11:30 a.m.). Members will receive a 30% discount on most items. Non-members will receive 15% off most items. The shop has a variety of unique offerings such as handcrafted ornaments, locally sourced gift items, high quality gardening books and more! The shop is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00–4:00, through December 19 for all your holiday shopping needs!

Winter Solstice Garden Walk, December 19

2 years 30 weeks ago
As the sun sinks towards its lowest arc in the sky and the longest night of the year (December 22), come join plant science Professor Peter Davies for a look at the plants of the Mullestein Family Winter Garden. Learn how plants cope with winter’s cold and enjoy some seasonal countryside folk tales. After the walk, we’ll savor some cider and doughnuts in the warmth of the Nevin Welcome Center.

Date/time: Saturday, December 19; 2:00 -3:00 p.m.
Cost:$5 (free for Plantations members and Cornell students) Pre-registration is not required.
Instructor: Professor Peter Davies
Location: Meet in front of the Nevin Welcome Center

Cornell ranked 3rd of 10 best colleges for outdoor enthusiasts

2 years 30 weeks ago

College Magazine recognized Cornell University for its beautiful scenery including Ithaca's 150 waterfalls and Beebe Lake on campus along with the breadth of outdoor offerings through P.E. and Cornell Outdoor Education. Click here to view the full article.

Apply for a summer internship with us

2 years 31 weeks ago
Become a member of the Plantations' professional team and learn about the operations of a public garden. We are accepting applications for positions working with staff in our botanic gardens, natural areas, and education department. Learn more on our internship page.

F. R. Newman Arboretum named best college arboretum

2 years 32 weeks ago ranked the arboretum as #1 of 50 most beautiful college arboretums for its rolling hills, panoramic views and beautiful gardens that make Cornell one of the nation's most beautiful campuses. Click here to see who made the list.

Students help repair amphibian crossing at Ringwood Natural Area

2 years 32 weeks ago
Catherine Li ’18, Caroline Wollman ’18 and Abigail Shilvock ’17 are three Cornell students helping migrating amphibians safely cross a roadway in one of Cornell Plantations Natural Areas. Part of their project includes rebuilding a long, curved fence that leads the salamanders to an underground tunnel. They are members of Biology Service Leaders, a group on campus that organizes teams of students that want to relate their science education with giving back to their community.

Read more about their project in the November 3 Cornell Daily Sun article "Cornell Team Looks at Automotive Dangers Faced by Local Amphibians."

Yale Professor Sir Peter Crane will give the final Fall Lecture "Ginkgo: The Tree that Time Forgot"

2 years 33 weeks ago
Sir Peter Crane, the Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Professor of Botany at Yale University, will give the final lecture in the Cornell Plantations’ Fall Lecture Series.  His lecture, entitled “Ginkgo: The Tree that Time Forgot,” will take place on Wednesday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Statler Hall Auditorium on Cornell University’s campus.

Perhaps the world’s most distinctive tree, Ginkgo, a native of China, is a botanical oddity and a widely recognized botanical “living fossil.” Long thought to be extinct in the wild, Ginkgo is today widely cultivated and is beloved for the elegance of its leaves, prized for its edible nuts, and revered for its longevity. It is one of the world’s most popular street trees and source of herbal medicines. Professor Crane’s lecture will explore the evolutionary and cultural history of the species from its mysterious origin through its proliferation, drastic decline, and ultimate resurgence.

Christopher Dunn, the E. N. Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations says, “having known Professor Crane for more than 20 years and having the utmost respect and admiration for his scientific work, his keen interest in plant conservation, and his promotion of citizen science, I am thrilled that we can welcome and host such an influential botanist, and introduce him to the Cornell community. “  

Prof. Peter Crane’s work focuses on the diversity of plant life: its origin and fossil history, current status, and conservation and use. From 1992 to 1999 he was Vice President of the Field Museum in Chicago with overall responsibility for the museum’s scientific programs. During this time he established the Office of Environmental and Conservation Programs and the Center for Cultural Understanding and Change, which today make up the Division of Environment, Culture, and Conservation (ECCo). From 1999 to 2006 he was director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, one of the largest and most influential botanical gardens in the world. His tenure at Kew saw strengthening and expansion of the gardens’ scientific, conservation, and public programs. Prof. Crane was elected to the Royal Society (the U.K. academy of sciences) in 1998. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and a member of the German Academy Leopoldina. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 for services to horticulture and conservation. Prof. Crane currently serves on the Board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas, and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.

Take It Outside: A Cold Weather Nature Stroll with President Garrett

2 years 33 weeks ago
Does cold weather make you feel less energetic?  Are you feeling stressed, preparing for a pre-lim, or just need a break? Take It Outside!

President Elizabeth Garrett, Provost Michael Kotlikoff, and Vice President Ryan Lombardi invite Cornell students, staff and faculty and members of the Ithaca community to join them for a cold weather walk in the Beebe Lake area and Mullestein Winter Garden. "Pop-up" stations and signs along the route will help you stay active in cold weather by reminding you of resources for renting cold weather gear, reducing stress through exercise, using nature to reduce stress and increase physical and mental health, and appreciating Cornell's abundant natural resources in cold weather.

Hot chocolate will be served at the Nevin Welcome Center, and the Cornell Wellness Program will give free Cornell hats to the first 50 people to arrive for the walk.

Date/time: Sunday, November 15; 9:30 a.m.
Cost: Free and no registration is required
Location: Meet in front of Appel Commons off of Cradit Farm Road on Cornell's north campus.

Floral acrylic paintings on display at the Nevin Welcome Center

2 years 33 weeks ago
Enjoy acrylic painting of flowers by Jim Kozlowski from Cornell Plantations and Jim's home garden in the lobby of the Nevin Welcome Center. This exhibit will be on display during November and December.

Northern Catalpa tree removed from the Botanical Garden

2 years 33 weeks ago
As a museum which displays and curates living specimens, we are often faced with the unfortunate reality of having to de-accession one of our living specimens. We made the difficult decision, after several thorough examinations, to remove our Northern Catalpa tree, Catalpa speciosa, from the Young Flower Garden.  

The normal life span of a Northern Catalpa tree is approximately 60 years. Through archival research, we determined that ours has lived to be at least 75 years old. As part of our regular tree monitoring process, our professional arborists noted significant and widespread decay in the tree this year. They determined that, because of this decay, it fell well below our threshold for risk and deemed it unsafe to visitors, staff, and to the other plant collections found in the Young Flower Garden. As a result, this tree was recently removed.

This Catalpa has been around since the inception of Cornell Plantations, as such, removing it was a difficult decision and process to undertake. We will miss this beautiful tree and all the ways it has graced our garden over the years.

To learn more about how our arborists made this decision, watch this short video.


Catalpa Tree from Cornell Plantations on Vimeo.

Lead arborist Lee Dean (shown right) removing branches from the catalpa tree on November 2.

Plantations Director named to the US Board of the International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

2 years 33 weeks ago
Dr. Christopher Dunn, the E. N. Wilds director, has been named to the board of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources – United States (IUCN-US).  

IUCN-US is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in Washington, DC, which supports its partner organization, IUCN, and other partner organizations with similar missions in valuing and conserving nature, ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world, and brings governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.  IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,300 government and NGO Members and almost 13,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.  
Regarding his appointment Dr. Dunn states, “The International Union for the Conservation of Nature is the world’s oldest and largest NGO focused on major environmental issues.  As such, I am honored to be appointed to the Board of IUCN-US, as this affords Cornell Plantations and Cornell University to be recognized as a global player in addressing major conservation and policy priorities in the coming decades.”

For more information on the work of IUCN and its members and partners see

This Wednesday: Lecture on the history of plant-based medicines

2 years 34 weeks ago
Courtney Roby, Assistant Professor of Classics at Cornell University will give the lecture entitled “Plant-Based Medicines: Ancient Greece and Rome and Beyond,” on Wednesday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Statler Hall Auditorium on Cornell’s campus.
Classical Greece was the birthplace of a medical model that persisted throughout the Roman Empire, the medieval Western and Islamic worlds, and even into the 19th century. This talk will present the history of pharmaceuticals, based on cultivated and wild plants, that were developed through the collaboration of physicians and herbalists that started in Greece. That history now includes the Cornell Plantations themselves, which furnished the raw materials for some recent experiments testing the efficacy of ancient pharmaceuticals against microbes and cancer cells.

Click here to read more on our Tumblr blog.

Date/time: Wednesday, October 28; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium

Click here for the full line-up of lectures.

What causes the breathtaking display of fall color year after year?

2 years 35 weeks ago

Plantations is a rainbow of color! Now is the ideal time to enjoy peak fall color in our gardens and natural areas. Learn what's reponsible for this beauty in the article "Autumn's Rainbow" by staff arborist Lee Dean.

Take a virtual tour of Plantations with WNEP Channel 16

2 years 35 weeks ago
The Scranton area's WNEP news "Home and Backyard" program recently highlighted all that Cornell Plantations has to offer. Click below for a virtual tour of Plantations' Botanical Garden, Arboretum and natural areas near Cornell campus.