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

3 years 11 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

3 years 11 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

3 years 11 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

3 years 11 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

3 years 12 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?

3 years 13 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

3 years 13 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.

Travel the tropics during a lecture on modern plant exploration

3 years 14 weeks ago
Marc Hachadourian, Director of the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections and Curator of the Orchid Collection at The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) will give the William Hamilton Lecture of Cornell Plantations’ Fall Lecture Series. His lecture is entitled “Modern Plant Exploration in the Tropics: The Age of Rediscovery,” and will take place on Wednesday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m. in Statler Hall Auditorium on Cornell University’s campus.
Plant exploration in the Tropics of the world helped drive the construction of the Great Glasshouse Conservatories of Europe and North America. These magnificent pieces of architecture were once overflowing with plants infused with legend and lore just as wild and exotic as the flowers themselves.  Even these great empires under glass could barely satisfy the insatiable appetite for new and unusual tropical plants including orchids, palms, Aroids and Begonias. Many of these wonderful plants made only short appearances in cultivation only to survive within the pages of horticultural literature as vestiges of a once glorious period of discovery for glasshouse horticulture.  As time has passed the once remote and virtually inaccessible habitats these plants called home are now reachable and the plants, both those known and some unknown, are within the grasp of horticulture once again. Hachadourian’s lecture will focus on modern tropical plant exploration using both traditional and modern tools, hunting for spectacular plants that have been long absent from cultivation, and their rediscovery and reintroduction to modern glasshouse collections.
“We’re very excited to have Marc take part in our Fall Lecture Series,” stated Sonja Skelly, director of education at Cornell Plantations.  “Marc is not a stranger to Plantations, or to Cornell for that matter. He earned his degree in Plant Sciences from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, and we are very glad to welcome him home and to travel the world through his lecture to see some of the great plants that are being rediscovered.”
As Director of the Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections, Hachadourian oversees the state-of-the-art greenhouse complex where tens of thousands of plants are grown for Conservatory exhibitions; the gardens, collections, and seasonal displays; and scientific research at NYBG. Hachadourian began his career at NYBG as horticulturist for the orchid collection and now serves in a curatorial capacity for that collection. With over 25 years of experience in professional horticulture, Hachadourian has dedicated himself to increasing public awareness about the importance of global plant conservation and the appreciation of plant biodiversity.

William H. Hamilton Lecture
: Wednesday, October 14; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium, Cornell University

View the full line-up of fall lectures here.

Film and Discussion: The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on October 21

3 years 15 weeks ago
The Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, a film by Chris Foito, aims to engage and educate the viewer on this devastating invasive species by explaining its past, present, and possible future. Through the use of archival footage and beautiful cinematic visuals, the film illustrates the vital importance of the eastern hemlock tree and raises the questions of what should be done to prevent the spread of the hemlock woolly adelgid and invasive species as a whole.

View the trailer of the film here.


Date/time: Wednesday, October 21; 7:00 p.m. with panel discussion on local impacts of the hemlock woolly adelgid to follow the film.
Cost: Free; pre-registration required
Panelists: Chris Foito, filmmaker; Mark Whitmore, forest entomologist; Todd Bittner, Plantations’ Director of Natural Areas.
Location: Nevin Welcome Center

Click here to register.

Cascadilla voted best gorge in "Best of Ithaca" 2015

3 years 15 weeks ago

The Ithaca community was so happy the Cascadilla Gorge Trail was reopened after a five-year closure, they voted Cascadilla the best gorge in Ithaca. Click here to read the "Best of Ithaca" special Ithaca Times section on September 30.


Create a succulent dish garden with us on October 18

3 years 15 weeks ago

Don’t have a green thumb? No worries! A succulent dish garden is a great project that can help green up your indoor space, using plants that are virtually indestructible and require very little care. Each participant will design a beautiful dish garden to take home, using popular succulent plants. Pre-registration is required.

Date/time: Sunday, October 18; 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $30 ($27 for Plantations members) Fee includes all materials.
Instructor: Missy Bidwell, Plantations Greenhouse Manager
Location: Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive

Click here to register.

Find out what makes our teen mentor program (PEEPS) special in this interview

3 years 16 weeks ago
Abe Messing (bottom left of image), a participant of Plantations’ PEEPS program, interviews Donna Levy, Coordinator of Teen Programs at Plantations about Cornell’s Plantations Environmental Education Program for Sustainability (PEEPS)— a program for teenagers.

This program aired on September 9, 2015.
Listen here:

Images of glaciers by Gary Braasch on display

3 years 16 weeks ago
Powerful images of glaciers by photojournalist Gary Braasch are on display in the Nevin Welcome Center through October. Mr. Braasch has traveled from the polar regions to the Himalayas and the Great Barrier Reef following scientists at work and witnessing the effects of global warming. His work, which has appeared in Time, Life, and National Geographic, presents the human connection, making the science relevant to our lives.

This exhibit is part of a series of events at Cornell University from September 30 to October 2 including a lecture at the Statler Auditorium on Wednesday, September 30 and selections from the exhibition “World View of Global Warming” at Cornell’s Mann Library. He will lecture on “Villages on the Verge,” Friday, October 2 as part of the Department of Development Sociology seminar series. Mr. Braasch will also interact with students, faculty, and community members both on and off campus during his visit.

Photojournalist Gary Braasch speaks on how climate change affects landscapes and lives

3 years 17 weeks ago
Photojournalist Gary Braasch will present powerful images of climate change across the planet with an emphasis on the people who study it, are caught up in it, and who are working to change our energy sources and limit the effects of global climate disruption.  Gary has traveled from the polar regions to the Himalayas and the Great Barrier Reef following scientists at work and witnessing the effects of global warming. He presents the human connection, making the science relevant to our lives.

Date/time: Wednesday, September 30; 7:30 p.m.
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium, Cornell campus
Cost: Free, no registration required

Click here for a full list of our Fall Lectures.

Plant Sale October 3

3 years 17 weeks ago

Take home some of our gardeners’ top picks for your own home landscape! This fall's offerings will include dozens of varieties of daylilies, as well as coneflower, iris, peony and ornamental grasses. 

Admission and parking are free – more information: 607-255-2400.
Date/time: 9:00 a.m. - noon; Saturday, October 3
**Members-Only Early Bird Preview: Friday, Oct. 2, 4:00–5:00 pm
Location: Cornell Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive

Sign up for "Shoot, Edit and Share" on October 3

3 years 17 weeks ago
Digital technology has revolutionized photography for the non-professional: you no longer have to wait for a roll of film to be processed, computer software allows you to edit your images in a variety of ways, and the internet allows you to quickly share your beautiful work with others. This program will cover the basic steps from capturing the best digital photos on your camera, to editing and sharing them, and safely storing them on your computer. We will spend time in the botanical garden to practice shooting, then head inside to download, edit and discuss your work. Bring your own digital camera -- smartphone, point-and-shoot, or digital single-lens reflex (DSLR). All skill levels are welcome but please have a basic understanding of your camera’s operation. Pre-registration is required.

Date/time: 12:30 - 3:30 p.m; Saturday, October 3
Cost: $40; $36 for Plantations members
Instructor: Paul Schmitt, local photographer
Location: Nevin Welcome Center

Click here to register.

The ‘Pope of Peppers’ Pontificates About Peppers on September 16

3 years 18 weeks ago
Dave DeWitt, author and food historian, helps celebrate Cornell Plantations’ Year of the Pepper with a lecture all about, well, peppers. DeWitt’s lecture takes place on Wednesday, September 16 and begins at 7:30 p.m. in Statler Hall Auditorium on Cornell University’s campus.

DeWitt’s lecture, entitled “Blame it on Columbus: Chile Peppers Around the World”, will be a multi-media presentation on how chile peppers circumnavigated the globe in just a century after Columbus brought pods and seeds back to the Old Word from the New in 1493.  

“We are very excited to celebrate peppers in their seemingly infinite variations in size, shape, origins and spice!” stated Sonja Skelly, director of education at Cornell Plantations.  “In addition to the lecture, we have several other programs that are themed around peppers.  First, on Saturday, September 12 we are hosting one of our popular “Garden to Table” culinary programs with Taverina Banfi, the lecture on Wednesday, September, 16; followed by a guided tour of the peppers in Plantations botanic garden with Dave DeWitt on Thursday, September 17;  and we’ll finish up the week with our Family Pepper Party: A Judy’s Day Program on Saturday, September 19 from 1pm to 5pm featuring tastings, dancing, and lots of pepper fun!”

Mr. DeWitt is a food historian and one of the foremost authorities in the world on chile peppers, spices, and spicy foods. He is the author of numerous articles and several books on peppers – most notably The Pepper Garden (gardening guide, 1993), The Hot Sauce Bible (food history/cookbook, 1996), The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia (reference, 1999) The Spicy Food Lover’s Bible (food history, cookbook, 2005). He continues to write books about chile peppers and spicy food, including The Complete Chile Pepper Book (gardening guide/cookbook, 2009), co-authored with Dr. Paul Bosland, the renowned chile pepper breeder at New Mexico State University. He’s made 100’s of apperances on TV, and has also been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, USA Today, American Way, Smithsonian, and approximately 300 newspapers and magazines across the country. Publishers Weekly has dubbed him “a veteran spice-meister.” Several years later, Dave received his ultimate accolade from no less than The New York Times that declared him to be “The Pope of Peppers.”

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Click here for the 2015 Fall Lecture lineup.

Check out the menu for the "Passion for Peppers" event

3 years 20 weeks ago
When it comes to peppers, some like ‘em hot!  But don’t worry – there are plenty of sweet and tasty varieties for the more sensitive palate.  Chef Eric from Taverna Banfi has had a love affair with peppers since the dawn of his culinary career. This class will give him the opportunity to share his passion for peppers and teach you some delicious ways to wield these botanical marvels in the kitchen. The program will begin with guided walk through the gardens to view and harvest selected varieties from our pepper collection. We will then reconvene at Taverna Banfi in the Statler Hotel for a cooking demo and three course tasting featuring delectable, pepper-enhanced creations from around the world – with a range of hotness to suit everyone’s tastes. 


1st Course:
Scallop and shrimp ceviche: aji amarillo, avocado, corn tortilla cup

2nd Course:
Scotch bonnet lime marmalade glazed salmon: jicama citrus slaw, grilled hearts of palm

3rd Course
Spiced pineapple upside down cakes with a wicked hot chocolate shooter

Date/time: Saturday, September 12; 12:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $55 ($50 for Plantations members) Pre-registration is required.
Instructor: Chef Eric Szymczak
Location: Botanical Garden and Taverna Banfi

Click here to register.

Still spots left for "Beautiful Botanicals" with Camille Doucet

3 years 21 weeks ago
This hands-on class offers an introduction to painting the flora of the Plantations’ botanical collections while guiding artists of all levels to greater breadth of skills. From plant observation and drawing, to plant perspective, composition and color mixing, we will explore black and white, color pencil, pen and ink, and go into greater depth with watercolor. A suggested materials list is available. Pre-registration is required.

Dates/times: Tuesdays from September 1 - October 6
Cost: $200 ($180 for Plantations members)
Instructor: Camille Doucet
Location: Nevin Welcome Center

Click here to register.

2015 Fall Lecture Series kicks off with author Robin Kimmerer

3 years 21 weeks ago
Our Annual Fall Lecture Series begins Wednesday, September 2, with a lecture by the renowned botanist, professor and award-wining author of “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants,” Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer.  The Harder Lecture begins at 5:30 p.m. in Call Alumni Auditorium in Kennedy Hall and will be followed by a complimentary garden party in the botanical garden of Cornell Plantations.

Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer will lecture on topics found in her new book “Braiding Sweetgrass” in which she shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Kimmerer will be kicking-off our lecture series,” stated Dr. Sonja Skelly, director of education at Cornell Plantations.  “I believe that Jane Goodall said it best– ‘[this is] an extraordinary book, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people.’ We are very pleased that Dr. Kimmerer will be sharing her eloquence and wisdom with the Cornell community.”

Dr. Kimmerer is a distinguished teaching professor and the director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY.  As a writer and scientist, she has delivered a TEDx Talk, has addressed the general assembly of the United Nations at the request of UN President Sam Kahamba Kutesa, of Uganda, and has won the prestigious John Burroughs Medal for Writing and the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award.

Date/time: Wednesday, September 2; 5:30 (immediately followed by a garden party in Plantations botanical garden)
Cost: Free
Location: Call Alumni Auditorium in Kennedy Hall on Cornell campus

Click here for the full lecture line up.