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Trail closure on Beebe Lake

3 weeks 4 days ago

All lake side trails around Beebe Lake are closed until further notice, due to high risk ice flood and flash flood conditions. Closed sections include the trail between the Tripphammer Footbridge and Sackett’s Bridge on the north side, and the trail east of Toboggan Lodge on the south side of Beebe Lake. All closed trails are marked with barricades and closure notices.

Holiday Closing at the Nevin Welcome Center and Gift Shop

8 weeks 2 days ago

The Nevin Welcome Center will be closed from Monday, December 24, 2018 - Monday, January 7 and reopen at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 8.


Winter Solstice Garden Tour

9 weeks 6 days ago
As the sun reaches its lowest arc in the sky on the shortest day of the year, join us for a look at the plants of the Mullestein Family Winter Garden. Learn how plants cope with winter’s cold and enjoy some seasonal plant folklore. After the tour, savor some hot wassail in the warmth of the Nevin Welcome Center and do some seasonal shopping in our Gift Shop.

Date/time: Friday, December 21; noon- 1:30 p.m.
Cost: Free; pre-registration requested
Instructor: Peter Davies, Professor Emeritus, Plant Sciences
Location: Meet at the Nevin Welcome Center

Click here to register.

Alum’s Legacy Gift will Support Student Experience in Wetlands Conservation

10 weeks 3 days ago
Growing up on Staten Island, Paul DuBowy ’75 loved mucking about in marshes, swamps, and estuaries. At Cornell, he enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and majored in Natural Resources. Now, after a lifetime spent in research and teaching as a wetland ecologist, he’s made a commitment for a legacy gift to ensure that future Cornell students have the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge and skills in wetland conservation.

Paul’s credits his own experience as a student exploring and studying the bogs and wetlands in Cornell Botanic Gardens’ natural areas as integral to his career choice. “I have great memories of field trips to McLean Bog and Ringwood Ponds,” he said. “Cornell helped me realize I could turn my love for wetlands and wildlife into a life’s work.”

Earlier this year, Paul and his wife, Virginia, decided to update their estate plan and create a legacy at each of their universities, to promote academic and career opportunities for students in their fields.

Paul contacted Cornell Botanic Gardens with the goal of using his future gift to expose more students to wetland ecology and conservation.  After talking with Todd Bittner, our Director of Natural Areas, he and Virginia have designated a bequest in their Wills to establish an endowment to fund a student internship at Cornell Botanic Gardens.  When their gift is realized, the Paul DuBowy Internship in Bog and Wetland Conservation will allow Cornell students to broaden their knowledge and skills in bog and wetland science and management.

“This internship will provide the hands-on learning needed to evaluate the conservation of bog and wetland plants in actual situations - what works vs. what doesn't,” Paul said. “Cornell’s natural areas are integral to understanding the interactions between biotic and abiotic functions in bog and wetland ecosystems.”

Virginia Steinhaus DuBowy was the first woman to graduate from the University of North Dakota (UND) with a bachelor of science degree in fisheries and wildlife biology.  Their bequest to UND will establish an endowed scholarship fund to assist undergraduate women pursuing majors in that discipline.

Paul and Virginia met when he was a graduate student at UND, studying for his master’s degree in Wildlife Biology.  After earning a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of California, Davis, Paul embarked upon an academic career that included faculty positions in wildlife and wetland science at Purdue University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Newcastle, Australia.  He and his graduate students have studied aquatic ecosystems throughout the U.S. and around the world, examining ecosystem dynamics at every level from hydrology and biogeochemistry, through plants and invertebrates, to fish and wildlife management, landscape ecology and conservation biology.  He retired from academia in 2001 and began a second career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, working on environmental restoration programs in the Everglades and for the Mississippi River and Tributaries Regional Technical Center. He also has served as UNESCO Ecohydrology Scholar at the University of ?ód?, Poland and University of Algarve, Portugal, Tanoto Visiting Scientist at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia, and Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Ecohydrology at Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Brazil.

Since 2014 Paul has been Principal of Ecohydrology Associates LLC, where he coordinates an international network of aquatic scientists involved in environmental remediation and provides graduate-level courses in ecohydrology and restoration ecology.  Virginia is Chief of Cultural and Natural Resources at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, a National Park Service site that spans 120,000 acres in Montana and Wyoming.

“Virginia and I feel this bequest will provide interns with more opportunities to study wetland conservation and make important impacts in the field as they pursue their careers,” Paul said.

For more information about how you can create your own legacy at Cornell Botanic Gardens, click here or contact Lynn Swain at 607-255-7416 or

Donated treatments give campus ash tree protection a leg up

11 weeks 3 days ago

Cornell Botanic Gardens made headway this fall in its efforts to manage emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive insect that decimates ash forests. Some 50 priority ash trees within campus natural areas were treated with pesticide injections  donated by Arborjet. Read more in a November 26 Cornell Chronicle article.

Gift Endows Horticulture Directorship at Cornell Botanic Gardens

11 weeks 3 days ago
By vote of the university Board of Trustees, Cornell Botanic Gardens has established the Elizabeth Weaver Director of Horticulture position. The endowed position honors Elizabeth Weaver’57, whose recent bequest to the botanic gardens is designated to support the ongoing care, management, and enhancement of its horticultural collections.

The horticulture director at Cornell Botanic Gardens has principal responsibility for the curatorial vision and stewardship of the botanic gardens’ diverse collections of more than 10,078 accessioned plants and 3,044 trees. The director supervises a staff of 18 and oversees the maintenance and enhancement of 100 acres, comprising the cultivated gardens around the Nevin Welcome Center and the F. R. Newman Arboretum.

“Elizabeth Weaver’s generosity is an investment in our mission and a statement of confidence in our work,” said Christopher Dunn, the Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Cornell Botanic Gardens. “Her foresight in designating the gift to establish an endowment means that we will have a permanent stream of income to support the director of horticulture position, as well as to create exciting gardens that help nurture the connections people have to plants.”

Cornell Botanic Gardens soon will undertake a national search for a director of horticulture to fill the now-vacant position. The establishment of the Elizabeth Weaver Director of Horticulture position will help the organization recruit and retain exceptional horticultural talent now, and in perpetuity, Dunn said.

Elizabeth Weaver majored in history in Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences, graduating in 1957. She went on to become a Russia specialist at the National Security Agency, and at one time, worked for the Library of Congress. She died February 7, 2018.

Hope for Global Plant Diversity

11 weeks 3 days ago

World plant conservation leaders met this summer to evaluate progress, plan for the next 10 years

By Christopher Dunn, Elizabeth Newman Wilds Executive Director

I recently had the distinct honor and pleasure of participating in an important plant conservation meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. A bit of background:

In 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It went into effect in December 1993, after being signed by 168 countries. It has now been signed by more than 190 countries, the U.S. being the notable exception. Regardless, the CBD is the world’s most important and binding multi-lateral treaty, period, and is administered by the United Nations.

The three main goals of the CBD are to (1) develop strategies that ensure the conservation of world’s biological diversity (or biodiversity); (2) provide mechanisms for the sustainable use of its biodiversity; and (3) ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from natural and genetic resources.

Biological diversity refers to the full suite of the world’s living biological riches: the plants, animals, fungi, and microbes that live on land and in water. They are essential to our wellbeing. In 2002, the CBD “parties” (signatory countries) agreed to develop a conservation strategy specifically for the world’s plants. This is unusual in that there is no similar or parallel CBD conservation strategy for animals or other life forms. However, it is crucial, because all life on earth depends on plants for food and for the oxygen that they produce.

The CBD’s conservation strategy known as This Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) has been adopted by many national governments, governmental agencies, zoos, and botanic gardens. The GSPC has 16 targets, which are reviewed and revised every ten years. Targets range from developing a global searchable database of all known plants in the world, to ensuring that all rare plants are conserved in nature and in other living collections (e.g., at botanic gardens), to ensuring that botanical diversity is preserved so that local and indigenous livelihoods are maintained and supported.

The current GSPC targets expire in 2020, a mere year and a bit from now. The Cape Town summit focused on (1) determining what progress has been made under the 2011-2020 plan, (2) if or how the targets for the next 10 years should be revised, and (3) developing metrics by which we can measure progress.

My role was to provide a global status report on Target 13: “Indigenous and local knowledge innovations and practices associated with plant resources maintained or increased, as appropriate, to support customary use, sustainable livelihoods, local food security and health care.”

This was not an easy task! However, I am delighted that Cornell Botanic Gardens is seen as global leader in this area of “biocultural conservation” and that there actually has been considerable progress to date. Many countries, in fact, have reported on significant advances, including greater protections for natural areas that are significant to indigenous peoples, greater emphasis on ethnobotany at universities and botanic gardens, and language revitalization programs in many parts of the world, including endangered dialects on coastal islands of Scotland (my native land)!

For those who have seen our new 2018-2023 strategic plan, you know that our mantra is creating a world of diversity, beauty, and hope. Given the reports provided at the CBD summit in Cape Town, there is good reason for hope. Thank you all for creating it with us.

New pedestrian signs connect campus

14 weeks 3 days ago
Cornell Botanic Gardens recently completed a project designed to make Cornell’s large and complex campus easier to navigate. A series of 23 pedestrian wayfinding signs now connect North Campus, the Arts and Ag Quads and Cornell Botanic Gardens along Beebe Lake and nearby trails. With directional signs in place, Cornell Botanic Gardens’ Beebe Lake natural area is now more accessible and its walkways can be better utilized to join adjacent campus areas. The project represents the first pedestrian implementation of the university’s signage and wayfinding master plan.

Read the full article in the November 7 Cornell Chronicle article "New pedestrian signs connect campus."

Monarchs and Milkweed: Coevolution, Chemistry, and Conservation

15 weeks 6 days ago

Anurag Agrawal, Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University

Monarch butterflies are one of nature's most recognizable creatures, known for their bright colors and epic annual migration from the United States and Canada to Mexico. Yet there is much more to the monarch than its distinctive presence and mythic journeying. Anurag Agrawal will present a vivid investigation into how the monarch butterfly has evolved closely alongside the milkweed -a toxic plant named for the sticky white substance emitted when its leaves are damaged- and how this inextricable and intimate relationship has been like an arms race over the millennia, a battle of exploitation and defense between two fascinating species.

Date/time: Wednesday, November 7; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Location: Statler Hall, Cornell University

View full line-up of lectures.

Lecture: The New Heirloom Garden—Modern Designs for Old-Fashioned Gardeners

17 weeks 2 days ago
Ellen Ogden, Author

In a world where supermarket options have largely dulled our palates and choices are homogenized, food gardens are more important than ever. Tasting food pulled from the ground, twisting off a green stem, or picking up an apple dropped from a tree at the peak of ripeness is the way I wish we all ate. In this lecture, join us to learn how to design and plant a true kitchen garden that will open all of your senses both in the garden and in the kitchen. Ellen Ecker Ogden will show you how to grow an edible garden with an eye towards beauty, easy care, and pleasure. Learn the difference between an heirloom and open-pollinated seed, and why growing heirlooms is essential to the future of gardeners. Be inspired to take a new look at fruits, flowers, and vegetables to add color, aroma, and exceptional taste to your repertoire of plants.

William J. Hamilton Lecture
Wednesday, October 24; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Location: Statler Hall, Cornell University

‘Sioux Chef’ speaks on restoring indigenous foods, bridging cultures

18 weeks 4 days ago

Sean Sherman, James Beard award-winning chef, founder/CEO of The Sioux Chef, talked about the connections between indigenous food systems, food security, and health at Cornell Botanic Gardens’ Fall Lecture Series. Read more in an October 2 Cornell Chronicle article.

Enjoy a fall hike through the gardens and arboretum

19 weeks 6 days ago
Gardens and Arboretum Hike, October 13

Experience the beautiful gardens, arboretum, woodland trails, and panoramic views that helped Cornell Botanic Gardens earn its #1 ranking as the most beautiful college arboretum. Participants will enjoy an extended hike and learn about the diverse plant collections and landscapes of Cornell Botanic Gardens. Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Walks will be held rain or shine and will include some slopes and stairs.

Date/time: Sunday, October 13; 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Cost: Free; $5 suggested donation; registration is not required
Instructor: Dr. Peter Davies, Cornell Professor Emeritus, Plant Biology and Horticulture
Location: Meet at the Nevin Welcome Center

LECTURE: A Bird's Eye View of Nature in the City, and the Surprising Ways we Affect Ecological Communities

19 weeks 6 days ago
Amanda D. Rodewald, Garvin Professor of Ornithology and Director of Conservation Science, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University

Safeguarding ecosystem services, biodiversity, and human well-being on an urbanizing planet requires that we understand how we influence ecological communities. Because birds are relatively easy to observe, sensitive to environmental conditions, and charismatic, they provide a useful lens to study factors that shape urban systems. Join Amanda Rodewald for a discussion of the ecological consequences of three common attributes of residential areas – invasive plants, abundant predators, and a rich assortment of human-provided foods.  A growing body of research shows the surprising ways these attributes can alter interactions between breeding birds and plants, change the nature of predator-prey relationships, and drive natural selection on plumage coloration. We will explore the implications of these findings for conserving biodiversity within urban landscapes and gardens. 

Elizabeth E. Rowley Lecture
Date/time: Wednesday, October 10; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium, Cornell University

We received a $192,000 grant to make our plant records accessible

21 weeks 4 days ago

The grant from the federal government’s Institute of Museum and Library Services will enable us to upgrade our plant records database, digitize tree health and pest management data, and to integrate plant records in a new website. Read more in a September 19 Cornell Chronicle article.

Cultures and Cuisine: Food of the Ancients

22 weeks 1 hour ago
Quinoa, amaranth and chia have long been food staples of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, Central and South America, in cultivation as many as 8,000 years ago by the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans. Recent research shows them to be highly nutritious and able to be grown more sustainably than many other crops. Learn about the cultural and natural history of these plants and sample some delectable dishes paired with unique beers, made with a modern spin from these ancient staples by the gourmet chefs of Cornell Catering. Participants must be 21 or older and prepared to show proof of age.

Date/time: Sunday, October 14; 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Cost: $42 members, $50 non-members
Instructor: Emily Detrick
Location: Nevin Welcome Center

Register here.

Join the effort to stop the spread of emerald ash borer

22 weeks 2 days ago
Join Us!

Monitoring and Managing Ash (MaMA) program for citizen scientists and land managers in the Finger Lakes
Date/time: September 25, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Nevin Welcome Center
Registration: Please register by September 22 to Space is limited, reserve your seat today!
More Information: Contact Hilary Mosher, Coordinator, Finger Lakes PRISM-
This program is sponsored by the Finger Lakes PRISM and Cornell Botanic Gardens
Monitoring and Managing Ash (MaMA) is an innovative ash conservation and emerald ash borer (EAB) mitigation program created and directed by the Ecological Research Institute (ERI), in close consultation with the US Forest Service. It provides specific actions for each stage of EAB invasion, including pre-invasion. These include participating in MaMA’s land-manager and citizen-science projects enabling detection of “lingering ash”, naturally occurring trees that stay healthy even when the nearby trees around them have died from EAB. Our partners at the US Forest Service use lingering ash to yield EAB-resistant lines of native ash, with these trees offering the best hope for ash conservation and restoration.

Learn more on the Finger Lakes PRISMhere

Cascadilla Gorge is Open

22 weeks 2 days ago

Repair work on the Cascadilla Gorge Trail is now complete. Enjoy the gorge trail before it is closed for the winter later this fall.


Beebe Lake featured in Cornell Alumni Magazine

22 weeks 4 days ago
The article "Water World" looks at the past, present, and future of Cornell's iconic Beebe Lake—which, like the University itself, traces its roots to Ezra.
"Every Cornellian has a Beebe Lake story.” Learn more about this campus jewel, stewarded by Cornell Botanic Gardens, in a cover feature in Cornell Alumni Magazine. Learn how Beebe Lake was the cradle of the New Chinese Culture Movement, and plans to enhance its accessibility and enjoyment by future generations.

Link to full article.

Sips & Samples: A Veggie Garden Tasting Tour

23 weeks 3 days ago
Join us for a special “tasting tour” of our Pounder Vegetable Garden. We’ll nibble on fresh vegetables as we walk through the garden beds, and learn about sustainable home vegetable gardening. Afterward, we’ll enjoy samples of local hard ciders. Pre-registration is required. Participants must be 21 or older and able to show proof of age.

Date/time: Friday, September 14; 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Cost: $10 members; $15 non-members
Instructor: Emily Detrick, Staff Gardener
Location: Pounder Vegetable Garden

Register here.

Lecture: Botanical Adventurers—The Men Who Roamed the Planet to Find Our Everyday Foods

23 weeks 3 days ago
American supermarkets were not always abundant and diverse as they are today. At the turn of the 20th century, David Fairchild and his team of USDA botanists circled the world in search of novel plants—and in turn, they transformed the American diet. Join their adventures with National Geographic writer Daniel Stone, author of The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats.

Class of '45 Lecture
Date/time: Wednesday, September 26; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Location: Statler Hall, Cornell University