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Rhoda Maurer treks the hills of Kentucky to collect new plants

1 year 50 weeks ago
In September 2016, Director of Horticulture Rhoda Maurer participated in a plant-collecting trip in Southeast Kentucky to add diversity to our collections. Cornell Botanic Gardens is part of the Plant Collecting Collaborative, a network of public gardens and arboreta that collects wild plants to grow at their home institutions. Preserving wild plants ex situ (meaning “off site”) serves as an insurance policy against extinction—an important part of a worldwide plant conservation effort.

Read more about Rhoda’s collection trip with four other curators on our Tumblr blog.

Click here for the full list of species we plan to add to our collections.

"Painting in the Greenhouse" starts February 19

2 years 6 weeks ago
Join our winter art classes in the greenhouses to focus on color. Improve composition, enhance values, and stretch your use of color as you discover an amazing variety of plants. Bring all materials needed for the medium of your choice. We will visit the Botanic Garden’ plant production facility as well as the tropical greenhouses of the Ken Post facility and the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory. All ability levels, and children ages 12 and older, are welcome. Pre-registration is required.

Dates/times: Three Sunday sessions, February 19, 26 and March 5, 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $120 ($108 for CBG members)*
Instructor: Camille Doucet, watercolor artist
Location: Cornell Botanic Gardens' Greenhouse, 397 Forest Home Drive


Click here to learn more and register.

Explore Cornell Botanic Gardens with

2 years 6 weeks ago

Looking for trails to cross-country ski this winter? Want to find those ideal for wildlife watching?  Search for trails throughout Tompkins County by desired activity, trail length and difficulty as well as who "stewards" the trail. Click here to explore the site.

Cornell Botanic Gardens ranked one of the 50 most stunning university gardens and arboretums worldwide

2 years 6 weeks ago ranked Cornell Botanic Gardens 22 out of 50 most stunning university gardens and arboretums throughout the globe. They wrote "The botanical gardens at...Cornell University covers 25 acres with an emphasis on plants native to the New York area. There is also a 150 acre arboretum and an additional 3,500 acres of natural land that encompasses a mixed terrain of bogs, meadows, gorges, and woodlands. Stressing the importance of education connected with the garden, [there is] a LEED Gold certified welcome center with bright, open rooms to host visitors and large multipurpose rooms for education and outreach programs."

Click here to see who made the list.

You can now shop online for Garden Gift Shop merchandise

2 years 10 weeks ago

A selection of merchandise sold at our Garden Gift Shop in the Nevin Welcome Center is now available through The Cornell Store's online store. You can shop for some of our most popular items including "Magic Tees," mugs, magnets, guidebooks and more! Click here to browse the online store.

25% off everything at the Garden Gift Shop this Friday and Saturday

2 years 10 weeks ago
Find the perfect holiday gifts for your friends and family at the Garden Gift Shop at Cornell Botanic Gardens. Everything in the store is 25% off Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10. You’ll find an array of unique gifts including handmade ceramics, jewelry, pins, magnets, prints, cards, Cornell- and Cornell Plantations-branded merchandise.
The Garden Gift Shop is located inside the Nevin Welcome Center (124 Comstock Knoll Drive) and is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. One-hour free parking is available.

A selection of merchandise is also available for purchase online here.

Open House at the Gift Shop today and tomorrow

2 years 13 weeks ago
The Cornell Store’s Garden Gift Shop is holding an Open House on Friday, November 18 from 4:00 - 7:00 pm and Saturday, November 19 from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Take your time to explore the store, shop for unique gifts and enjoy some free refreshments. You’ll receive a free mug with your purchase of $25 or more (while supplies last) and a free Cornell Christmas Bear with your purchase of $125 or more! Merchandise featuring the old Cornell Plantations logo will be 25% off.

Celebrate the Winter Solstice at Cornell Botanic Gardens

2 years 13 weeks ago
Join us for "Plants of the Winter Solstice" on December 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Since ancient times, the winter solstice has been celebrated by cultures around the world as a sacred, festive time. Plants such as oak, holly, ivy, mistletoe, and evergreens have long been a crucial part of these celebrations. Discover the natural history and folklore of these plants while celebrating the longest night of the year. The program will include an indoor presentation, followed by a “lantern tour” of the Mullestein Family Winter Garden to look at some of winter’s wonders and learn how plants cope with the cold. We’ll then head back inside to warm up with some hot apple cider (Wassail) and doughnuts. Please dress warmly and bring an electric lantern or flashlight. Pre-registration is required.

Learn more about how cultures throughout the world celebrate the winter solstice in an article on our Tumblr blog written by Kevin Moss, Adult Education Coordinator.

Date/time: Wednesday, December 21, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Cost:$10; $8 for Plantations members.
Instructors: Kevin Moss, Adult Education Coordinator; Dr. Peter Davies, Cornell Emeritus Professor of Plant Science; Irene Lekstutis, Landscape Designer, and Emily Pratt, Horticulturist.

Click here to register

Natural History walk at Edwards Lake Cliffs on November 13

2 years 14 weeks ago
Visit this unique natural area on a guided afternoon walk with Plantations’ botanist Robert Wesley. This 84-acre preserve protects one of the rarest environments in the local region – the lake cliffs. The preserve also contains Shurger Glen, a forested ravine and winding gorge with breathtaking waterfalls, scenic views and rare species. On the tour, we’ll look at native and naturalized plants, geology, and also some troubling invasive plant species. Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Pre-registration is required.

Date/time: Saturday, November 13, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $10 ($8 for members). Pre-registration is required
Instructor: Robert Wesley, Staff Botanist

Click here to register.

Board approves Cornell Botanic Gardens naming!

2 years 16 weeks ago
(Published in the Cornell Chronicle on October 28, 2016)

Cornell’s living botanical and natural areas collection is getting a new name.

Cornell Botanic Gardens was officially approved Oct. 28 by the Cornell University Board of Trustees, the final step in a broad rebranding effort begun more than two years ago. The new moniker replaces Cornell Plantations as the name of the world-class botanic gardens, arboretum and more than 3,500 acres of natural areas tended by an organization that welcomes to campus more than 70,000 visitors each year.

“We are thrilled by the board’s encouragement as we open a new chapter in our long and illustrious history,” said Christopher Dunn, the Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director. “Cornell Botanic Gardens expresses our position as a full-fledged public garden with first-class horticultural collections and some of the finest conservation and education programs anywhere in the world.”

Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), says the change affirms the college’s and university’s commitment to excellence, openness and diversity.

”Cornell is unrivaled for the astonishing natural beauty accessible right here on campus. The iconic landscapes beloved by generations of students are due in large measure to what is found at Cornell Botanic Gardens,” said Boor. “The new identity more clearly describes the diverse collection of plant life that truly makes Cornell Botanic Gardens not just a treasure on our campus, but a destination for visitors from around the world.”

Since 2014, leadership at CALS and the Cornell Botanic Gardens have thoroughly explored stakeholders’ feelings about a possible rebranding. That process revealed strong support for a move away from a name that many felt did not adequately reflect the full extent of what the organization offers to the university and community. In addition, for many the name Plantations evoked negative associations with slavery and racial oppression.

A broad consensus of those surveyed agreed that Cornell Botanic Gardens more appropriately identifies the organization as a public garden, and reflects its diverse collections, educational programs and vision for the future.

Dunn says the change is an opportunity to promote and strengthen the relevance of the organization and its new mission, “to inspire people – through cultivation, conservation and education – to understand, appreciate and nurture plants and the cultures they sustain.” He envisions deeper engagement with students and faculty as Cornell Botanic Gardens focuses on addressing and interpreting important issues, such as climate change, biocultural conservation and other critical concerns.

That new direction, enshrined in the theme of “cultivation, conservation and education,” according to Dunn, touches on the academic mission of virtually every discipline at Cornell, and more tightly aligns the botanic gardens with all aspects of the university’s academic priorities.

By size, Cornell Botanic Gardens is in the top five gardens in North America. More than 50,000 plants are found in the 150 acres of cultivated gardens, which include world-class collections of herbs, rhododendrons, conifers, maples, oaks and flowering trees. The Cornell Botanic Gardens also stewards 3,400 acres of natural area preserves on campus and throughout Tompkins County. These holdings along with educational outreach efforts support teaching and research at Cornell and learning opportunities for all ages.

Last year the Botanic Gardens’ F.R. Newman Arboretum was ranked the most beautiful college arboretum in the country. The organization’s stewardship of natural areas that are home to rare species helped the university earn full points for biodiversity conservation and, for a fourth consecutive year, attain gold status in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating (STAR) System, a national framework for colleges and universities to track sustainability efforts.

While the term Plantations (applied in 1944, replacing what had been Cornell University Arboretum since 1928) is being left behind, the name will not be erased. Dunn says the organization will fully acknowledge former names and history in its informational materials and educational programs.

Design of a Cornell Botanic Gardens logo is underway. New permanent signage is expected to be installed by spring 2017. The cost for the rebranding efforts will be shared by Cornell Botanic Gardens, CALS and the university.

Matt Hayes is managing editor and social media officer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

For more information about our renaming and strategic planning process, click here.

It's For the Birds: Lecture by Doug Tallamy on November 2

2 years 16 weeks ago
A lecture by Doug Tallamy, professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware will conclude our 2016 Fall Lecture Series at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2nd in the Statler Auditorium in Statler Hall on Cornell University’s campus.

Many bird populations in the U.S. are in steep decline, in part because our gardens and managed landscapes occupy more space than natural areas and we have not designed them with birds in mind. To do that we can no longer view plants only as ornaments but must consider all of their roles when selecting them for our landscapes. Tallamy will discuss what birds need form our landscapes to breed successfully, the important roles native plants play in maintaining food webs vital to birds, emphasize the benefits of designing landscapes with these roles in mind, and explore the consequences of failing to do so. Landscaping in this crowded world carries both moral and ecological responsibilities that we can no longer ignore.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Tallamy take part in our lecture series,” stated Sonja Skelly director of education at Cornell Plantations. “Professor Tallamy is not only a wonderful speaker, but his message is an important one – as gardeners we have a vital role to play in the health of bird populations and in our own food web.  Bird lovers and plant lovers alike will not be disappointed, Dr. Tallamy offers hope and solutions that can easily be accomplished in our own backyards. ”

Doug Tallamy is the author of “Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants” published by Powell’s Books and available on  Tallamy is Professor and Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE.

Elizabeth E. Rowley Lecture
It's For the Birds
Date/time: Wednesday, November 2; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium, Cornell University
Parking:  Free parking in Hoy Road Parking Garage

The Cornell Store will be selling books by the author at the lecture. Books are also available at Plantations' Garden Gift Shop.

Click here for the 2016 Fall Lecture Series lineup.

Cascadilla Gorge is closed until spring

2 years 16 weeks ago
The Cascadilla Gorge Trail from Downtown to College Avenue is now closed for winter season. The trail is closed due to hazardous conditions from wintry conditions and falling rock that create unsafe conditions. The trail will re-open in the spring when conditions allow.

Although the gorge is closed, you can tour it virtually using Google's Street View feature. Click here for a 360 degree view in front of one of the gorge's waterfalls. To view more points in the gorge, click on the yellow “pegman” in the bottom right corner and drag it to a point on the trail.

Lecture: "Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love" on Wednesday, October 26

2 years 17 weeks ago
We continue our Fall Lecture Series, on Wednesday, October 26 with a lecture by the best-selling author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, Simran Sethi. The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Statler Auditorium in Statler Hall on Cornell University’s campus.

Embedded in every conversation about feeding people, conserving natural resources and ensuring a healthy diet, is the threat of losing agricultural biodiversity. Award-winning journalist Simran Sethi spent five years meeting and working with people dedicated to making our food supply more secure, abundant and delicious. Join Cornell Plantations for a lecture by Ms. Sethi as she relates stories from her travels across six continents to interview scientists, farmers, chefs, winemakers, conservationists, and advocates and experts of all types to learn the intimate histories of our foods and ways we can better save—and savor—them. Her talk will include a tasting of Finger Lakes Cider House cider, tracing the journey of local historic apples into non-alcoholic shrub and hard cider. Founded by Cornell alumna Melissa Madden and Garrett Moore, the Cider House and their farm, The Good Life, are committed to preserving heirloom apples and biodiversity.

“We are thrilled to have Simran Sethi as part of our lecture series,” stated Sonja Skelly director of education at Cornell Plantations. “Simran has a fabulous story to share with us about the foods we love, how they are being lost, and what is happening across the globe to save them. It’s going to be an enlightening and delicious evening!”

Simran Sethi is a journalist and educator focused on food, sustainability and social change. Named the environmental “messenger” by Vanity Fair, a top 10 eco-hero of the planet by the U.K.’s Independent, and designated one of the top eight women saving the planet by Marie Claire, Simran is the author of award-winning book Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, about the story of changes in food and agriculture told through bread, wine, chocolate, coffee and beer. She is an associate at the University of Melbourne’s Sustainable Society Institute in Australia, a contributor for Orion Magazine and a recent visiting scholar at the Cocoa Research Centre in St. Augustine, Trinidad.

Date/time: Wednesday, October 26; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium, Statler Hall, Cornell University

Click here for the full lecture series lineup.

Explore Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) agricultural knowledge and traditions in the exhibit "Ah-Theuh-Nyeh-Hah: The Planting Moon"

2 years 17 weeks ago
This summer and fall, Cornell Botanic Gardens collaborated with Cornell’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program to display an earthwork planting in the Pounder Vegetable Garden, an indoor exhibit in the Nevin Welcome Center, and to host public events that explore Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) agricultural knowledge and traditions.

The exhibit in the Nevin Welcome Center celebrates the 100-year relationship between Cornell researchers and the Haudenosaunee that evolved to become the American Indian and Indigneous Studies Program. The display reveals how Haudenosaunee communities are reclaiming traditional agricultural practices as a central way of life today. Two display cases showcase Haudenosaunee contemporary and traditional sculptures.

Shown left: "Calico Corn" sculpture by Natasha Santiago Smoke (Mohawk)



Public Program
On Saturday, October 29, Jolene Rickard, director of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, will provide a tour and interpretation of the “Ah-Theuh-Nyeh-Hah: The Planting Moon” exhibit and “Thirteen Moons Planting”. The program will include singing and growers from the Haudenosaunee communities.

Date/time: Saturday, October 29; 2 - 4 p.m.
Cost: Free and no registration is required
Location: Nevin Welcome Center lobby

About the Thirteen Moons Planting
In June, visual artist and Director of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora) created an earthwork planting in the Pounder Garden. A planting mound styled in the shape of a turtle is growing plants from Haudenosaunee heritage seeds. The garden was planted in a traditional manner and represents the Haudenosaunee story of Earth’s creation. Corn, beans and squash are grown in the “Three Sisters” system of symbiotic intercropping. Heritage tobacco, sunflower and wild strawberry were also planted. Altogether, 13 mounds represent the Haudenosaunee planting tradition based on the ecological calendar guided by 13 lunar cycles.

Read more about this exhibit in the September 14 Ithaca Times article "Planting by 13 Moons With the Haudenosaunee."

Lower part of Cascadilla Gorge is closed

2 years 19 weeks ago

The Cascadilla Gorge Trail between Treman Triangle at Linn Street and College Avenue is closed for maintenance until further notice. Read more in the October 17 Cornell Chronicle article "Cascadilla Gorge trail closes temporarily."


Basic Camera, Beautiful Photos; Saturday, October 15

2 years 20 weeks ago
Basic Camera, Beautiful Photos; Saturday, October 15

Join experienced nature photographer Paul Schmitt in the Herb Garden and then in the classroom to learn how to capture what you see using a digital camera. This introductory workshop is aimed toward those using simple cameras: from smartphones and basic point & shoot designs, to entry-level DSLRs. We will begin in the botanical garden with instruction on how to create the best composition, avoid over- and under-exposure, and bring out your subject from the background.  Then, we’ll proceed to the classroom to learn simple tools for editing your photos so that the final image matches what you saw. Participants should bring their own digital camera. Class size is limited so that each student can receive individual attention. Pre-registration is required.

Date/time: Saturday, October 15; 1-4p.m.
Cost: $36 ($32 for Plantations members)
Paul Schmitt, nature photographer
Location: Meet at the Nevin Welcome Center

Click here to register.

Join us on Friday, October 14 for a lecture by National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis

2 years 20 weeks ago
Class of 1945 Lecture: "The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in a Modern World"
Wade Davis, Ph.D. National Geographic Society Explorer for the Millenium; Anthropology Professor and Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk , University of British Columbia

Every culture has a unique answer to the fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? Of the world’s 7,000 languages, fully half may disappear within our lifetimes. At risk is a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination that is the human legacy. Ethnographer, writer, photographer and filmmaker Wade Davis will lead us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world’s indigenous cultures. From Polynesia to the Amazon, the Andes, Africa, Australia, Nepal and finally the rainforests of Borneo, understanding the lessons of this journey can become our mission for the next century. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time.

Date/time: Friday, October 14; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public. No registration is required
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium, Statler Hall, Cornell University

This lecture is funded, in part, by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

Lecture: Planting in a Post-Wild World

2 years 21 weeks ago
We continue our Fall Lecture Series on Wednesday, September 28 with a lecture by author and planting designer, Claudia West. The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Statler Auditorium in Statler Hall on Cornell University’s campus.

We live in a global city and few wild places remain in today’s world. Planting designers have the opportunity and responsibility to bring wildness and ecological value back into our landscape. This challenge requires a new form of planting design that works with natural principles and marries horticulture with ecology. Join us as we explore how native plants will fit into our future landscape and how plant community based design strategies can help you meet aesthetic and ecological goals during your next planting project.

“We are very excited to have Claudia West as part of our annual Fall Lecture Series,” stated Dr. Sonja Skelly, Plantations' director of education. “At Plantations we know the value of ecologically adaptive and beautiful gardens. Claudia West’s lecture will give us new ideas to help our gardens become more self-sustaining, resilient, and naturally beautiful for years to come.”

Claudia West has an extensive background in horticulture, ecology, and environmental restoration. She is a consultant for North Creek Nurseries and has worked for landscape architects Wolfgang Oehme, Carol Oppenheimer and for Sylva Native Nursery. Her most recent book Planting In A Post-Wild World is published by Timber Press and will be available for purchase after the lecture.

William J. Hamilton Lecture   
"Planting in a Post-Wild World"
Claudia West, Author, Planting Designer and International Landscape Architect

Date/time: Wednesday, September 28; 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open the the public; no registration required
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium, Cornell University campus

Cultures and Cuisine: Cooking with the Three Sisters

2 years 21 weeks ago
The Three Sisters—winter squash, maize, and climbing beans—are the main agricultural crops of various Native American groups, particularly the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). Indigenous farmers in the northeast have been growing these crops for hundreds of years, and continue to do so today.

"Cooking with the Three Sisters" is one installment in our Cultures and Cuisine series where you’ll learn about this unique and efficient form of agriculture, and savor some tasty and filling dishes, both traditional and contemporary adaptations, made from these staple ingredients. The program will include a tour of the Pounder Vegetable Garden, an indoor lecture/discussion, and a cooking demonstration and lunch provided by Cornell Catering.

Pre-registration is required.

Date/time: Sunday, October 9; 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Cost: $45 ($40 for Plantations Members)
Location:Nevin Welcome Center
Instructors: Jane Mt. Pleasant (Tuscarora), Associate Professor, and Interim Director of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program at Cornell; Timothy Oltz, catering chef, Cornell Catering; Emily Detrick, Cornell Plantations gardener.

Click here to register.

Join us for our Judy's Day Family Festival on September 25th

2 years 23 weeks ago
Take a journey of the Americas and discover the food plants that have shaped the cultures, communities, and industries of North, Central and South America at Cornell Plantations, on Sunday, September 25 from 1 to 5 pm in the F. R. Newman Arboretum. Visitors can enjoy hands-on activities, music, storytelling and delicious food at this fun and educational festival. 

This year’s festival theme is “Food Plants of the Americas,” focusing on plants and their unique relationships to their places of origin.  "Every other year we celebrate plants through unique programming, which is brought to life by an army of dedicated Plantations staff and volunteers. Some of the fun activities this year include making ‘fufu’ from Cassava, pounding hickory nuts into milk, and whistling with acorns," said Raylene Ludgate, Plantations’ youth education coordinator and planner of Judy’s Day.
Cornell Plantations celebrates Judy’s Day in memory of Judy Abrams. Judy loved children and visited classrooms. She was an avid gardener and a great friend to Plantations before she passed away in 1996. This program started through the generosity of Judy’s family and friends, to celebrate Judy's love of life, work, kids, and the natural world. Judy’s Day has greatly expanded by generous grants from the Saquish Foundation and SIRUS Fund.
Date/time: Sunday, September 25, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Cost: No admission is charged for Judy’s day, but we ask participants to “pay what they can”.  Suggested donations of $5 per person will go towards keeping great programming like Judy’s Day accessible to our community.
Location: Free parking is available at Cornell’s B-Lot off Route 366 (near the Vet school); shuttles will take visitors to the event.

For more information call 607-255-2400.