Click here to view a three minute video to get to know him a little better. We hope you enjoy meeting him!
Learn more about Christopher in his April 23 interview with the Ithaca Times, "New Plantations Director:Plants Integrated into Culture."
This exhibit is a collaboration with Cornell University's American Indian Program.
As the caretaker of much of Cornell’s natural landscapes, efforts by Cornell Plantations staff contribute to this rating in several ways.
Native Plants: The STARS rating systems recognizes universities for making efforts to use native plants in landscaped areas. There has been a long-standing practice of prioritizing and using native plants in campus landscaping, both in the maintained grounds as well as in the campus natural and cultivated landscapes that are used for teaching, research and conservation. At Cornell Plantations, a bioswale garden was constructed in 2010 to filter rainwater using native plants. Additionally, Plantations Natural Areas program dedicates much effort to restoring Cornell’s natural areas by removing invasive plant species and re-establishing native plants. These efforts and many others are guided by Cornell Plantations’ invasive species plant policy.
Management of natural landscapes: The STARS metrics recognizes institutions that have programs in place to protect and/or create wildlife habitat on institution-owned land. Cornell Plantations manages and protects two gorges, 70,425 feet of streams and riparian habitats, mature and successional forests, marsh, wet meadow, and old field habitats, as well as our Botanic Garden and F.R. Newman Arboretum. These areas, which comprise 32% of the campus, are actively protected and managed to support the educational mission of the University. Management activities include monitoring, habitat establishment, natural areas restoration, naturalization, invasive species control, and deer over-population management.
Integrated Pest Management: Cornell was recognized for carrying out the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an approach to controlling insects, weeds and plant diseased to maintain the health of living landscapes plants while minimizing the use of chemical pesticides. Cornell Plantations’ botanical garden and F. R. Newman Arboretum make up a large part of the campus’ cultivated landscape and staff follow an established IPM procedure to control pests which include naturalized landscape design that emphasizes a diversity of species, careful site selection and preparation, use of hearty, disease- and pest-resistant varieties, proper frequencies of watering, pruning, and mowing, mulching and introduction of naturally occurring organisms to control pests.
Read more about Cornell's STARS rating in the March 13 Cornell Chronicle article, “For a greening Cornell, three is a gold STARS charm."
To learn more about Cornell Plantations Natural Areas program, click here.
The symposium and exhibition will focus on the Haudenosaunee symbolism of “The Tree of Peace,” also known as the white pine or Pinus strobus, one of the oldest trees in North America. The white pine is the only five-needled tree in New York State, and has been used by generations of Haudenosaunee storytellers to depict the "bundling" of five nations together under one law.
The program is a collaborative effort by Cornell University’s American Indian Program and Cornell Plantations:
- 3:00 - 4:00 p.m: Staff from the American Indian Program and Cornell Plantations will discuss the new exhibit featuring, a beaded tree titled, “Ganradaisgowah-Peace Tree” by renowned Cayuga artist, Samuel Thomas and a replica of the “Dust or The Ever-growing Tree” wampum, each the embodiment of Haudenosaunee “The Tree of Peace.”
- 4:00 - 6:00 p.m: Tom Porter (Sakokwenionkwas “The One Who Wins”), an expert in Haudenosaunee history and culture and Mohawk elder, will host a dialogue with faculty in Cornell’s American Indian Program about “The Tree of Peace”.
- Coffee, juice and light refreshments will be served.
The exhibit, Ögwe ö:weh Consciousness as Peace, will be on display from March 21 through July 2014. For more information about the exhibition and symposium, view our calendar or contact the American Indian Program website or call 607-255-6587.
The program runs outside of the school schedule during the spring, summer, and fall. Students receive a monetary reward after they complete the program in the fall and are encouraged to return each year to build new skills that come with each progressive tier. Students currently in 8th-10th grade are eligible to apply.
“This is a great opportunity for area students who are interested in the natural world and in sustainability to get hands-on experience,” stated Donna Levy, teen program coordinator at Cornell Plantations. “Since the inception of this program we have seen students cultivate their passions for being green, make serious commitments to making their planet a better place, and really starting in their own backyards. As a life long educator, it’s really an awesome thing to see.”
Teens in the program create a “Sustainable Backyard” garden, which is on display in the Botanical Garden at Cornell Plantations. They participate in weekly interpretive hikes and field trips, community projects, mentoring and leadership opportunities, and discussions around environmental topics. High School students come in regular contact with Cornell students, faculty, and staff and are exposed to many Cornell resources for an extraordinary experience.
Since the number of students accepted is limited, it is important for interested students to submit applications by the deadline of March 7, 2014.
The application window for PEEPS (Plantations Environmental Education Program for Sustainability) is now open and we will be accepting online applications until March 7, 2014.
Click here to learn more and to apply.
The proposed project will allow for the installation of an introductory panel in almost all garden areas within the botanical garden and to develop interpretive books for one garden. The purpose of the introductory signs is to introduce visitors to the main idea behind the creation of each garden, orient them to what they can explore, and share fascinating stories behind the plants found in each garden. The interpretive booklets being developed showcase flowers found in the Young Flower Garden and how they have been depicted in art and literature throughout the world and the cultural importance of the plants. Additionally, the new booklets are ADA compliant and weather resistant.
“Having a sign at the entrance of each garden is a way to ‘greet’ visitors and share with them what is unique about the garden and what they can experience in the garden.” says Sarah Fiorello, interpretation coordinator for Cornell Plantations. “These funds will help Cornell Plantations complete the final set of interpretive priorities from our 2009 Interpretive Master Plan and we are thrilled that Stanley Smith granted us this award.”
The gardens located in the Botanical Garden which are slated for interpretive upgrades are Conifer Slope, the Mullestein Family Winter Garden, Comstock Knoll, and the Young Flower Garden.
The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust was created in 1970 by May Smith, in honor of her late husband. The Trust supports education and research in ornamental horticulture, primarily in North and South America. Grants up to $20,000 are typically made to botanical gardens, arboreta, and universities.
“Plantations is an integral part of Cornell, serving as both the largest laboratory and richest classroom on campus, while furnishing the university with a unique botanical character unlike that of other institutions of higher learning,” said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in her announcement. “I am confident that Christopher’s depth of experience and passion will foster new opportunities for Plantations to enhance its conservation mission while continuing to promote the enrichment and well-being of the entire Cornell community.”
Click here to read the February 5 Cornell Chronicle article, "Plantations appoints botanist from Hawaii as director."
We apologize for the inconvenience. The Welcome Center will reopen on Saturday, February 1st at 10 a.m. Throughout the month of February, all of our holiday-themed gift items will be 40% off. Click here for the Nevin Welcome Center hours.
Starting January 14, 2014, your first hour of parking is FREE! Yes, you read that right – FREE! You will still need to get a display ticket from the parking meter, but no payment is needed if you’re only staying for an hour. For longer visitis, the lot is metered during the weekday at a rate of $1.50 per hour from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for a maximum of three hours. Visitors are not required to pay to park during evening hours and on weekends.
We hope that this new feature will encourage you to come out and take time to visit the Garden Gift Shop and the beautiful botanical garden.
Come see us soon!
In addition to viewing videos of our Fall Lectures, a recording of the Panel Discussion sponsored by Cornell Plantations and Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future about coordinated deer management within Tompkins County is available.
Click here for links to videos of all Fall Lectures.
Click here to view Jim Sterba's lecture and the Deer Management Panel Discussion he participated in.
We apologize for the inconvenience. The welcome center will reopen tomorrow at 10 a.m.
By modern-day reckoning, the winter solstice marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere, though in some earlier traditions the solstice was considered the middle of winter, or ‘midwinter’. Similarly, the summer solstice was once considered ‘midsummer’, as in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. This makes the Winter Garden the perfect spot to celebrate the first day of winter!
“The winter solstice has been celebrated around the world by many cultures since ancient times, and here in the West, a lot of our familiar holiday celebrations have ancient origins,” stated Kevin Moss, adult education and volunteer coordinator at Cornell Plantations. “Plants have always been a big part of those traditions. For example, evergreens were considered sacred by many ancient peoples because they were the plants that never died – they stayed green all winter long while other plants withered and died back when the life-giving sun was the furthest away. Evergreen wreaths, with their circular shape, are symbols of strength and represent the cycle of life, death and rebirth.”
Bringing evergreens indoors was believed to ward off misfortune through the winter season. A wonderful Celtic tradition held that bringing evergreens inside would give woodland spirits and faeries a warm place to spend the winter, and in return they would bring you good fortune. However, you had to make sure you didn’t leave the greens inside too long, or they might take up permanent residence -- and then you’d have a bunch of mischievous pixies living in your house!
Other plants such as oak, holly, ivy, and mistletoe have folk and mythic traditions related to the winter solstice as well. The Oak was usually used for bonfires during the midwinter celebration known as Yule by pre-Christian Germanic peoples. Celtic druids believe the oak to be the most sacred of all trees, and mistletoe that grew on oak trees was considered a powerful and sacred magical plant. Holly was included in the evergreens brought inside during the winter and was especially prized because of its shiny leaves and its ability to bear fruit in winter. Holly trees were sacred to the powerful Roman god Saturn, and holly wreaths with bright red berries were given as gifts during his holiday -- the Saturnalia, which was the winter solstice festival upon which the Christmas holiday was modeled.
You will discover the cultural and natural history of these plants and more at our “Plants of the Winter Solstice” program. The program will include a guided tour of the Mullestein Winter Garden, and participants will make a simple evergreen wreath to take home. Then, as darkness descends, we’ll head back outside for some traditional wassailing and a simple solstice ceremony at our outdoor fire pit. Refreshments and all materials will be provided. The cost is $36 ($30 for Plantations members and Cornell students). Pre-registration is required. Click here to register.
About the Winter Solstice
The winter solstice itself is an astronomical event that occurs as a result of the earth’s 23.4 degree axial tilt, and its relationship to the sun. On the day of the solstice, the northern half of the planet is tilted directly away from the sun, so from the perspective of those living in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun rises and sets in its furthest point south of the equatorial plane, and traces its lowest arc across the daytime sky. This also gives us both the shortest day of the year, and the longest night. From that point on, however, the days will gradually grow longer and longer, and the nights shorter and shorter, as the sun slowly returns to the north.
But everything is relative to your position on the Earth: on the same date, December 21, if you’re in the southern hemisphere, you’ll celebrate the first day of summer. Winter for you would begin around June 21 – which is the time of the summer solstice for us. The winter solstice occurs at 12:11 pm EST on December 21, 2013.
About the Mullestein Family Garden
You can enjoy the Winter Garden at Cornell Plantations throughout the year. This one-acre site contains over 700 plants chosen for their interesting bark texture, bark color, unusual growth habits, winter fruit, cones, or evergreen foliage. These qualities provide color and interest during Ithaca’s long winters, making the winter garden a year-round destination for visitors. Plants found in the garden include shrubby dogwoods, willows, birches, hawthorns, and small conifers in different shades of blue, silver, green, and gold, which provide an attractive backdrop for the bright fruit and bark colors.
Sustainable Tompkins honors Cornell Plantations with four “Sign of Sustainability" Awards
Sustainable Tompkins recognized Plantations with four “Sign of Sustainability” awards which honor individuals and businesses with new initiatives related to sustainability. The four awards recognized Plantations for:
- Our Environmental Education Program for Sustainability (PEEPS), an experiential learning program for local teen-aged youth and Cornell University students which aims to raise ecological awareness and understanding among participants and teach them skills that will allow them to cultivate an environmental ethic for future actions.
- The Fischer Environmental Conservation Award received by our Natural Areas Program from the Town of Ithaca in May. This award recognizes efforts to preserve important environmental resources in the Town.
- Our hosting Peter Raven’s “Conserving Species in a Changing World” Class of 1945 Lecture as part of our public Fall Lecture Series
- Our offering a self-guided Poetry Walk through the Mundy Wildflower Garden this spring where visitors could connect native plants to original poetry through an audio tour.
Plantations is thrilled to offer our community these signs of sustainability and look forward to offering many more!
Cornell Plantations receives a “Pride of Ownership” award from the Ithaca Rotary Club and City of Ithaca
Plantations also received the “Pride in Ownership” award by the Ithaca Rotary Club and the City of Ithaca. This award recognizes owners who have developed projects or taken care of their property in ways that enhance the appearance of neighborhoods and commercial areas. As part of the restoration of Cascadilla Gorge, Plantations commissioned local blacksmith artist, Durand Van Doren, to create a metal gate to close the gorge in winter. The gate beautifully captures the gorge’s natural elements decorated with metal oak leaves, waterfalls, and bedrock complete with fossils.
The F. R. Newman Arboretum is closed to vehicle traffic until further notice. Pedestrians are welcome to explore the arboretum every day from dawn to dusk. 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.
"Les Arbres" is a collection of eight watercolor paintings by Ithaca artist and long-time Plantations instructor Camille Doucet. All paintings reflect Camille's love of trees and honor their generosity, from enriching the soil and producing oxygen to providing shade and adding beauty. The Nevin Welcome Center is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
"In her role managing the entire nursery facility, she needs to work successfully with a wide army of stake holders. She coordinates a large core of volunteers, student workers, interns, and staff who use the greenhouse for both growing plants and teaching. Keeping the highly diverse types of plants from tropical to annuals, trees and herbaceous perennials healthy, and getting them moved into new spaces as they grow requires a high level of organizational skill. Missy is superb at bringing order to this moving target." -Mary Hirshfeld, Director of Horticulture at Cornell Plantations.
The CALS Research and Extension awards recognize a broad range of accomplishments contributing to the realization of their vision, “To be the preeminent college for research, teaching and extension of agriculture and life sciences, developing leaders to address the global challenges of the 21st century.”