In concert with the construction of the Nevin Welcome Center, which was opened in 2011, Cornell Plantations also made significant improvements to the surrounding botanical garden. These improvements started with a new parking area and tour- bus drop off zone. The parking area and arrival plaza were partially constructed of Cornell Structural SoilTM, a special substrate design that allows better root penetration to encourage vigorous tree growth. The filter strip at the parking area is shaded by trees that will become part of our Urban Tree Collection. Adjacent to the parking area, a new bioswale provides an innovative landscaping approach that precludes the need for conventional underground drainage systems. The bioswale garden includes plants that can withstand dry and wet conditions, all of which filter surface water runoff from the parking lot and surrounding areas. In addition to its usefulness, the bioswale has fast become one of the most beloved gardens at Cornell Plantations. “We are thrilled that our hard work and conscientious development has been recognized by this prestigious organization,” stated Don Rakow the E. N. Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations. “Cornell Plantations strives to be a model of bold, sustainable design in all of our projects.”
About The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP):
SCUP was established in 1965 and is a community of senior, higher education leaders and the professionals who support them who are responsible for or are involved in the integration of planning on their campuses. The Society for College and University (SCUP) Excellence Awards Program began in 2000 to provide a high-quality program that acknowledges innovative, collaborative, multidisciplinary, and integrated approaches to planning and design, and share lessons learned. The program supports the Society’s goals by identifying emerging areas of knowledge and trends, recognizing significant contributions to the field of higher education planning, and enriching SCUP’s body of knowledge by including the experience and expertise of planners and designers throughout the world.
The Cascadilla Gorge Trail, between Lynn Street and Stewart Avenue, is now reopened after being closed for the winter. The trail weathered the winter relatively well, having no major damage upon initial inspection. Major repair work on upstream sections of the trail will commence in the next week or two, with contractors starting where they left off last year, rebuilding trail sections below the Stewart Avenue bridge. The current plan is to reopen the fully repaired trail by October of this year.
Ms. Oliver spent the last few years traveling the U.S. to record poets reading their poems, creating the “Knox Writers House,” a ‘map of voices’ literary audio archive. She wanted to find an unusual way to make the recordings accessible to the public and approached Cornell Plantations with the idea of a Poetry Walk.
“I’ve been looking for new ways to repurpose these recordings,” stated Ms. Oliver. “I wanted to use these poems to create new ways for people to experience the art of poetry. As I learned about each flower, it just became clear which poem to choose... the detail of the natural description felt akin to an image or phrase in something I’ve recorded.”
April is National Poetry Month and is the time when early-spring wildflowers are prolific in the Mundy Wildflower Garden – so pairing poems from the audio collection to blooming wildflowers became the perfect match! Ms. Oliver worked closely with Krissy Boys, who oversees the Mundy Wildflower Garden, to match poems to the essence of each spring wildflower.
View this short interivew with Emily Oliver about her project.
Learn about a new exhibit by landscape architect, writer, and artist Marc Peter Keane on display at the Nevin Welcome Center and view a short video of the artist discussing his sculptures. Read more
Marc's works are made from substrates of leaves and meadows grasses,some of which were harvested at the Plantations itself. The works, which resemble nests and cocoons, are fired for 5 days in a traditional Japanese wood-kiln. The color patterns and textures of the surfaces are the result of the serendipitous effects of flame on raw clay. The exhibit also includes two ceramic pieces by Momoko Takeshita Keane, Marc’s wife and noted sculptor.
Marc has also designed a new East Asian garden for Plantations. Learn more here.
View this 7-minute video of Marc discussing his sculptures.
Mr. Keane is a graduate of Cornell University; he lived and worked in Kyoto, Japan for 18 years, and has traveled extensively in Asia. In addition to his work as a landscape architect, Keane has published several books on the design of Asian Gardens, and poetry. His most recent garden, The Tiger Glen Garden, was completed in 2011 at the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University. Ms. Takeshita Keane was raised in Kyoto, Japan. She began studying as a potter in the famous kiln-town of Shigaraki. She went on to study in the Kyoto Laboratory of Traditional Crafts, learning many aspects of traditional glazes and clay bodies.
Cornell Plantations offers an annual spring training program for anyone interested in becoming a garden docent (tour guide) for the adult group tour program. Volunteer docents interpret the diverse plant collections,unique landscapes and compelling history of Cornell Plantations, and educate adult visitors about the importance and interdependence of plants, people and the natural world. Docents serve as ambassadors throughout the spring, summer and early fall.
Applicants are asked to commit to an eight-week training program, which will take place on Wednesday mornings from 10:00 am to 12 noon, at the Nevin Welcome Center, from March 20 through May 8. Additional monthly training sessions will be scheduled for the remainder of the season (June through October). Training is free and all materials will be provided.
A love of plants, gardens the natural world, and a desire to share that love with others is an essential qualification! Additionally, applicants should possess good oral and interpersonal communication skills, as well as a flexible schedule and availability to lead tours on weekdays, evenings, weekends, and/or holidays. General knowledge of or interest in plants, gardening, horticulture, botany, natural history and/or related areas is extremely helpful; public speaking, teaching or related experience with adult learners is desirable but not required.
If interested in signing up or learning more, please contact Kevin Moss, community outreach coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (607) 254-7430.
On Saturday, February 16, come enjoy the beautiful winter landscape and stop by our gift shop to enjoy 15% off your entire purchase (members receive 30% off).
No experience is necessary just a love for kids and commitment to attend training sessions to learn about our local wildflowers.
If you are interested in delivering this program to children in area schools, contact Raylene Ludgate at (607) 255-2407 or RGL3@cornell.edu.
The training sessions are held on Wednesdays starting February 13th from 10:30 to 12 noon and continue once per week until the end of April. The sessions are designed to prepare you for facilitating activities in the classroom and leading field trips through the Mundy Wildflower Garden at Cornell Plantations. You will also have the opportunity to shadow experienced guides.
School and Garden Visits
School and garden visits take place weekdays during school hours (8am to 2pm) starting May 1st. You pick the actual dates/times that work with your schedule.
Please note: The gift shop and the Nevin Welcome Center are closed on weekends in January. It is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting in February, it will again be open on Saturdays.
Bo Lipari, a local resident and volunteer Docent at Cornell Plantations, has taken pleasure in the beauty of the Arboretum for many years. In 2008 he began photographing Arboretum views, scenes and trees, trying to capture some of the brilliance and beauty he has found there. This exhibit focuses on the trees - the bark, branches, forms and foliage that capture the eyes and stir the primal connections that still reside within us.
Bo's photographs will be on display in the lobby of the Nevin Welcome Center from now through February.
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 directly across from the arboretum.
The Cascadilla Gorge Trail from Downtown to Stewart Avenue is now closed for the Winter. Read more
The Cascadilla Gorge Trail from Downtown to Stewart Avenue is now closed for the Winter. The trail is closed due to hazardous conditions from snow, ice, and falling rock that create unsafe conditions. This section of trail will re-open in the spring when conditions allow.
Dr. Peter B. Stifel ’58 has made the lead gift commitment for Cornell Plantations’ new Peony and Perennial Gardens, in honor of his daughter, Katherine Stifel ’87. Building on the success of the opening of the Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center, Plantations is now moving forward in the next phase of an ambitious plan to reimagine the Botanical Garden. In the most significant horticultural development since the F. R. Newman Arboretum was created in 1981, the broad expanse of lawn in front of the Nevin Center will be transformed into a beautiful series of new perennial gardens, while the plateau on Comstock Knoll will become a dramatic East Asian garden.
Click here to read more.
Join us on Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15 for another holiday sale! Cornell Plantations members along with Cornell faculty, staff and students will receive 30% off their total purchase*.
Non-members will get 20% off their total purchase*.
*Discount excludes prints and other works of art, and Cornell Sheep Program blankets.
The Nevin Welcome Center will be closed from Saturday, December 22nd and reopen on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.
As always, the grounds are free and open to the public every day from dawn to dusk.
Enjoy the holiday season!
Read more in the November 29 Cornell Chronicle online article, "FEMA awards $880,000 grant to repair gorge trail."
The Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center was completed in November 2010 and officially opened to the public on February 1, 2011. The Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center is an important part of modernization and infrastructural improvements made at Plantations over the last decade; it is referred to as the "grand finale" of a decade-long construction cycle that has seen new gardens, the redesign of office space, and multiple other projects. Built in the center of the Botanical Garden, at the confluence of existing walking paths, the building is tucked itself into the center of the gardens offering visitors a welcoming experience to Cornell Plantations.
Photo by Jon Reis
Among the notable green building features of the Nevin Welcome Center are wood louvers across the front of the building which serve to filter summer sunlight and admit winter sun for passive heating; rooftop solar tube collectors which generate winter heat; a motorized vent/skylight that provides natural ventilation, and a green roof which helps insulate and protect the roof while also treating stormwater.
Green roof (photo by Toby Wolf)
Additional features include the extensive use of natural light, local and recycled materials; low-emitting healthy materials; and energy saving lighting fixtures and controls. In addition to the building itself, the project received points for its construction management techniques, recycling up to 96% of the waste generated during construction. Rounding out the project were significant landscape elements that contributed to the sustainable sites LEED category including a beautifully designed bioswale garden that cleanses water as it runs off the site and parking areas and the use of structural soil to allow for tree growth in a paved environment.
Buildings that receive LEED V.2 Gold designation from the U.S. Green Building Council must earn 39 to 51 points points distributed across five major credit categories: Cornell Plantations’ Nevin Welcome Center received 47 points, obtaining points across each category – Sustainable Sites (10), Water Efficiency (2), Energy and Atmosphere (11), Materials and Resources (5), Indoor Environmental Quality (14), and Innovation and Design (5).
Bioswale garden and parking lot (photo by Chris Kitchen)
In addition to being a welcome center for Plantations visitors, the building also serves as a teaching tool for many groups interested in learning more about green buildings, “I direct many of the campus and student groups interested in green buildings to tour the Nevin Welcome Center. Not only does the building have a connection with the natural world in both form and materials, but many of the technological and design aspects of green building are clearly visible and are easily described to and understood by visitors.” says Matt Kozlowski, environmental project coordinator at Cornell University.
The Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center is named for Brian C. Nevin ’50, at the request of the primary benefactor, C. Sherwood “Woody” Southwick Jr. The Nevin Welcome Center with its Gold LEED designation is a significant step forward in Plantations’ and Cornell’s commitment to sustainability. Don Rakow, the Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations states, “Cornell Plantations is committed to a sustainable future, as such we are thrilled to receive the USGBC's LEED Gold designation for the Nevin Welcome Center. Plantations has long needed a single site where we can greet visitors, provide them with orientation and interpretation about our collections and meet their amenity needs. This dream was fulfilled with the opening of the Center, which helps us achieve our sustainability and educational goals.”
Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, the designers of the Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center at the Cornell Plantations, have received much recognition for their design of this ultra-green building. The Nevin Welcome Center has won a “Award of Excellence” from the AIA New York Chapter, an “Honor Award” at the Tri-state AIA annual conference, a “Design Excellence” award from the Ontario Architects’ Association, and Canadian Architect magazine and online journal. The building has been featured in several publications and most recently was featured in Greensource Magazine in May 2012. The general contractor for the project was Welliver, landscape construction was provided by Cayuga Landscape, and the project was managed by the Cornell Facilities Services department formerly known as Planning Design and Construction. On November 27, 2012, Cornell Plantations will receive its LEED Gold plaque from Tracie Hall, the Executive Director of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Upstate New York Chapter in a small ceremony.
In an effort to make trails in and around Fall Creek safer, approximately 2,200 feet of trails and staircases have been renovated, with 2,700 feet of new railings and fences installed on trails between the Stewart and Thurston Avenue bridges. This is just one part of the renovations that have been completed since May 2012.
Read more in the November 1 Cornell Chronicle online article, "Phase one of Fall Creek Gorge trails renovation completed."
Cornell Plantations F.R. Newman Arboretum and all Fall Creek and Cascadilla Gorge trails not previously under construction have been reopened to the public.
Cornell Plantations hosted their second annual Let’s Move! Family Hike on Saturday, September 15, with over 300 families in attendance.
Visitors hiked through one of Plantations’ best-known natural areas – Beebe Lake. This one-mile loop was a perfect spot for families to explore the beautiful flowers and trees along the path, and enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding Cornell campus. Along the way young hikers (and even their parents) had fun with a letter-boxing activity where they searched for hidden treasures, learning about the natural surroundings along with fun facts about the importance of physical activity.
At the start of the hike, each child was given a pedometer to keep track of their steps. On their return, hikers submitted their total number of steps; the total tally for the hike was 325,156 steps (the equivalent of 149 miles*)!
“As a mom, I find there is no shortage of things to do for busy families, and in the rush of our daily lives it’s easy to forget to stop and experience our surroundings.” states Sonja Skelly, director of education at Cornell Plantations, “Plantations is one of the most stunning spots in Ithaca, NY and the region, the arboretum, gardens, and natural areas we manage are perfect places where families can come for a walk, a run, and some Vitamin N (Nature) to increase overall wellness, physical activity. I’m asked a lot about why we are part of the Let’s Move initiative, and the answer is simple – Take It Outside! It’s become somewhat of a mantra here – Taking it Outside – going out in nature does a lot for people – relieves stress, provides a way to be physically active, and yet at the same time provides an enjoyable way to have fun in beautiful surroundings!”
Plantations has committed to participating in First Lady, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative for three years. In 2011, Plantations was the first organization in Ithaca, NY to offer a Let’s Move! program and plans to continue to offer additional programs that help to put children on the path to healthy futures.
*Miles calculated using stride of 2.5 on walk4life.com.
About Let’s Move!
Let’s Move! combines comprehensive strategies with common sense, and is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. Giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices and helping kids become more physically active are among a few of the goals of Let’s Move! For more information about Let’s Move! visit www.letsmove.gov.