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New pedestrian signs connect campus

6 days 14 hours 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

2 weeks 2 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

3 weeks 5 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

5 weeks 18 hours 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

6 weeks 2 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

6 weeks 2 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

8 weeks 17 min 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

8 weeks 3 days 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

8 weeks 5 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

8 weeks 5 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

9 weeks 1 hour 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

9 weeks 6 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

9 weeks 6 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

Lecture: The Evolution of the Indigenous Food Systems of North America

11 weeks 16 min ago
Founder of the company The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman is committed to revitalizing Indigenous cuisine. Through his research over the last seven years, he has uncovered the foundations of the Indigenous food systems. This begins by looking at regional differences and diversity of foods throughout North America. As the details of this search materializes, it's possible to apply this to the evolution of Native American foods through cooking techniques, and applying these practices to modern life.

Learn more about Sean in an October, 2017 interview on WBUR's Here & Now.

Audrey O'Connor Lecture
: Wednesday, September 5; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Location: Statler Hall, Cornell University

Presented in partnership with Cornell’s American Indian & Indigenous Studies Program and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

The Discovery Trail: Examining wildflowers at Cornell Botanic Gardens

11 weeks 49 min ago

Each spring, Wildlflower Explorations introduces more than 400 area third graders to the wonder of plants. Read more in an August 27 Tompkins Weekly article.

Cornell American Literature Scholar kicks off Fall Lecture Series

12 weeks 5 days ago
by Degianni Fleming '20

Our annual Fall Lecture Series opens with renowned author George Hutchinson. Hutchinson, Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture in the College of Arts and Sciences, will deliver the 2018 William and Jane Torrence Harder Lecture. The Harder Lecture celebrates the connection between the literary and natural worlds, and is the first of the botanic gardens’ six-lecture series.  The lecture takes place Wednesday, August 29, at 5:30 p.m. in Call Auditorium, and will be followed by a garden party at Cornell Botanic Gardens. The lecture and garden party are free and open to the public.

Hutchinson’s insights dovetail with the purpose of the Harder Lecture and the mission of Cornell Botanic Gardens, said Christopher Dunn, the Elizabeth Newman Wild Director of Cornell Botanic Gardens.  “His work shows the depth of connection between people and nature,” Dunn said. “Through reevaluation of the past, he makes us see the future interrelationship of human culture and biodiversity.”

Hutchinson’s lecture, “Literary Ecology in the 1940’s,” will take a step to the mid-20th century and evaluate traditional perspectives in how “nature” and “literature” are categorized as non-human and human, respectively. The lecture will explore culture as something that happens inevitably, rather than as a conscious choice, focusing on humans and nature not as separate entities, but as one.

“Literature doesn’t simply represent ‘nature’ but is an agent of what we call nature; as Muriel Rukeyser put it, it is a “transfer of energy,” Hutchinson said. “The distinction between ‘Nature’ and ‘Culture’ was deconstructed—something Whitman had earlier intuited. This had important implications for literary form, as well as such movements as Abstract Expressionism in the visual arts.”

Hutchinson’s teaching and research focus on 19th and 20thcentury American literature. The subject of his lecture is also the topic of his forthcoming book on American literature and culture in the 1940s, for which he was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2011.

“It’s amazing how many of the insights of recent theories of the “Anthropocene” actually emerged in the immediate aftermath of World War II, when people first came to the realization that they had the power to destroy the world on which we all depend—and that we were likely to do so,” Hutchinson said. “These insights had a profound impact on American literature and other arts. 

Hutchinson is the author of several books including “In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Color Line,” which has won the Christian Gauss Award of Phi Beta Kappa; and “The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White,” a finalist for the Rea Non-Fiction Prize.

“George is a sparkling writer who draws on an incredibly rich store of knowledge about twentieth-century US culture—not only literature but music, visual art, racial and sexual politics, and philosophy,” said Caroline Levine, the David and Kathleen Ryan Professor of Humanities and chair of the Department of English.

“His research is always innovative and surprising, and his new book on the 1940s is going to reshape the ways we’ve thought about American literature in the past century.”

View the full lecture series lineup.

-Degianni Fleming ‘20 is marketing and communications intern for Cornell Botanic Gardens

Judy’s Day Festival celebrates plants and their families on September 30

12 weeks 5 days ago
Join us on Sunday September 30 for our Judy’s Day Family Festival, themed “Plants Have Families Too" in the beautiful setting of the F. R. Newman Arboretum.

This unique and fun festival will celebrate the fascinating lineage of plant families.
Join us on Sunday, September 30, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., for hands-on activities, tastings, story sharing, music and more to  learn about plants and their families.

Be awed by lycopodium magic, greet the grain goddesses, skip with the spurges, play music with the cucurbits, print flower pigments, taste orchid ice cream, share plant stories, decorate daisy fairy houses, paint a mural, and crawl through a carboniferous forest!

This unique festival is held outside under tents in the beautiful setting of the F.R. Newman Arboretum --- rain or shine. For kids of all ages!

Suggested donation $5/ person
FREE Parking at Cornell’s B-Lot off Route 366, with a shuttle bus to the Arboretum.

Sustainable Landscapes Trail Highlights Numerous Cornell Botanic Gardens Sites

12 weeks 5 days ago
New signs cropped up around Cornell Botanic Gardens’ natural areas and Nevin Welcome Center in summer 2018—markers for sites on Cornell University’s Sustainable Landscapes Trail.

Launched in 2017, the trail highlights sustainable design and green infrastructure across the Cornell campus. It promotes open spaces, natural areas, and landscapes with unique sustainability features that enhance and promote healthy ecosystems.

Cornell Botanic Gardens has long played a prominent role in campus sustainability efforts and is home to seven of the sixteen sites on this trail.

Sustainable landscapes and the ways in which they provide environmental benefits are often invisible to the public.  The trail aims to educate the Cornell community about the many benefits humans gain from the natural environment and from properly functioning ecosystems—known as “ecosystem services. Ecosystem services support our survival and quality of life, either directly or indirectly. They include reducing storm water runoff, improving water and air quality, and conserving energy. The features of the trail also serve as part of the “living laboratory campus,” meaning that each site can be used for research and education.
“Almost everything we do at botanic gardens is sustainable landscape, one way or another,” said Todd Bittner, director of natural areas.  “Our mission to conserve biodiversity aligned perfectly with purpose of this trail. It allows us to share our sustainability efforts, as well as the challenges that follow, and to advocate for sustainable practices.”

Cornell Botanic Gardens’ sites that are on the Sustainable Landscape Trail include: Climate Change Garden, Bioswale Garden, Nevin Center Green Roof, Mundy Wildflower Garden Deer Impact Research and Management, Integrated Pest Management, Biodiversity in Natural Areas, and our Native Lawn located next to the Mundy Wildflower Garden.

New Endowment for Fischer Old-Growth Forest

12 weeks 5 days ago
Demonstrating their continued commitment to preserving our region’s natural treasures, Professor Emeritus David K. Bandler ’55, MPS ’71, and his wife Lenore have established a new endowment at Cornell Botanic Gardens for the Fischer Old-Growth Forest Natural Area.

In the past two years, the Bandlers gifted 60 acres in two tracts of land, known as the Bandler Family Tract and the Bandler Family Forest, to expand the preserve.  The David and Lenore Bandler Endowment for Fischer Old-Growth Forest Natural Area will support the continued conservation, maintenance, and enhancement of the entire 100-acre natural area.

“We wanted to be sure the addition of the acreage didn’t become a burden for the Botanic Gardens,” said David Bandler. “From our own 57 years of stewardship, we know the labor of love it takes to keep a ‘natural area’ natural and accessible.”

“The Bandlers’ vision, conservation ethic, and generosity has enabled the protection and stewardship of a very remarkable natural area,” said Todd Bittner, director of natural areas for Cornell Botanic Gardens. “The benefits to our collective natural heritage, the public, and the Cornell community will be cherished for generations to come.”

Originally acquired by Cornell Botanic Gardens in 1997, Fischer Old-Growth Forest is among the best of a few remaining examples of pre-European settlement forests in the Finger Lakes. With the addition of the Bandler Family Tract and the Bandler Family Forest, visitors can hike through a broad continuum of habitat types and see the changes that agricultural and forestry practices have had on the landscape. The preserve now includes old-growth forest; mature, second-growth forest; meadow; and several successional forests of different ages.

Cornell Botanic Gardens manages a 3,600-acre network of preserves in Tompkins County, protecting the full range of natural community types and most rare plant habitats found in the Finger Lakes Region.  For more information about all of our natural areas, go to here.

Cornell Botanic Gardens Hosts Youth Gardening Educators

12 weeks 5 days ago
A collaboration in July 2018 with the American Horticultural Society helped Cornell Botanic Gardens advance its strategic goal to cultivate the next generation of biocultural guardians. The American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) 26th annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (NCYGS) took place on the Cornell campus July 11, 2018 to July 14, 2018. 

This professional development event brought together hundreds of educators, garden designers, community leaders, youth program coordinators, and others from across the country who are dedicated to connecting children and youth to the natural world. The theme was to cultivate tomorrow’s gardeners by energizing, inspiring, and training today’s garden educators. Cornell Botanic Gardens contributed to the educational offerings of the symposium with tours, an open house, and a session about engaging teen audiences.

Cascadilla Gorge Hike:
During an extended hike, participants learned about the natural and cultural history of Cascadilla Gorge, a beautiful and iconic natural area connecting the Cornell campus with downtown Ithaca. Led by Todd Bittner, director of natural areas, Sarah Fiorello, interpretation coordinator, and Mike Roberts, natural areas project manager, the tour offered views of waterfalls, wildflowers, trees, and exposed Devonian bedrock.

Open House at Nevin Welcome Center:
During the open house, symposium participants explored the specialty gardens around the Nevin Welcome Center, which feature rhododendrons, groundcovers, herbs, tropical containers, ornamentals, vegetables, and more. Volunteer Garden Guides answered questions.

“It was great fun interacting with so many wonderful garden enthusiasts from across the country, and to see the gardens through their eyes,” said Kevin Moss, adult education and volunteer coordinator.

Youth Education Symposium:
In a session titled “Teaching Sustainability through the Lens of Outdoor Experiences,” participants explored the nuts and bolts of running a teen gardening program, as well as the benefits to participating teens. Donna Levy, environmental educator at Cornell Botanic Gardens, shared her experience running the PEEPS (Plantations’ Environmental Education for Sustainability) program, which engaged teens in  participation-based activities that raised ecological awareness and understanding, cultivated an environmental ethic, and developed skills for future action.

When working with teens, leaders must strike a balance between the work students must do to learn, and providing for a fun and fulfilling experience, Levy said. Her key to success: “Help teens develop a love for the work they’re doing, and the rest will follow.”