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Miles Schwartz Sax

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At Cornell Miles is researching the long term effects of the use of organic amendments for remediation of urban soils. His research involves studying soils across Cornell’s campus that have been impacted by urbanization and remediated through organic amendment incorporation. These sites after remediation have then been transformed through the efforts of the Horticulture class “Creating the Urban Eden” into ornamental gardens providing ecosystem services and aesthetic value for the campus community. With a legacy of practice since 2000 these gardens provide an opportunity to study effects of landscape management and ecosystem processes across extended time periods. This work is being conducted in collaboration with Cornell’s Urban Horticultural Institute (


Originally from Western Massachusetts, Miles Schwartz Sax grew up amongst the Berkshire Mountains and the New England-Acadian forests. In 2008, he earned a BS in Environmental Conservation Studies from the University of New Hampshire with a focus on Outdoor Education and Organic Agriculture.
Post-graduation, Miles took an extended period of time studying and backpacking in New Zealand. Upon returning to the US, he worked as a botany intern for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Oregon. While there, he collected wild germplasm for the Seeds of Success program and conducted education programs on invasive plant species of the Pacific Northwest.

In 2010, Miles moved to Boston to work at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. First hired as an intern, then as the apprentice in Horticulture & Curation, Miles was given the Arboretum’s Malus (apple) collection to restore and manage. The aim of the apprentice program was to provide an enhanced level of horticultural care as well as curatorial review of the collection. Read more.

Miles other research interests include ornamental woody plants, curation and collections management, organic and holistic land care, plant pathology and the history, floristics and taxonomy of the genus Malus (Apple). When not hitting the books he enjoys exploring the Finger Lakes region by bike, seeing live music and botanizing.