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Family event: Historical Family Fun at Cornell's Botanical Garden

27 weeks 6 days ago

Don't miss the Charter Day fun happening at Cornell's Botanical Garden!

Historical Family Fun on April 25 from 1 - 5 p.m.

On Saturday, April 25 from 1 - 5 p.m., we will be hosting a family event where you can discover what life was like in Ithaca at the time of Cornell’s Charter signing.

There will be lots of hands-on activities based on the diaries of local youth from the 1860's! Taste delicate cake, make a broom, play old-fashioned games, learn about Forest Home’s water mills and more. Sing and dance to old-time musician Dave Ruch!


This is a Judy’s Day Family Program presented in cooperation with The History Center in Tompkins County.

Date/time: Saturday, April 25; 1 - 5 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person/ $10 per family (free for members). Registration is not required
Location: Nevin Welcome Center in the Botanical Garden

Now hiring: Staff Gardener position

28 weeks 6 days ago

Click here for a complete job description.



Thank you for supporting Plantations on Cornell Giving Day!

29 weeks 6 days ago
Thank you for giving to Cornell Plantations!

We reached our goal and raised over $25,000.

 View a short video for a big THANK YOU from our director and staff, and Cornell students exactly how your support will keep us growing

Share the news at #CornellGivingDay and Facebook.

Cornell Plantations would like to say, "thank you!"



Become a natural areas steward: Join the Natural Areas Academy

31 weeks 10 hours ago
Do you love spending time in the forests, meadows and other natural areas of the Finger Lakes region?  Do you care about preserving the integrity of the natural world and do you want to share this love with others?  If so, consider joining Plantations’ Natural Areas Academy (NAA).

NAA is offered twice annually—fall and spring. Each season will focus on specific conservation strategies and a specific restoration project within our natural areas. The management practices learned and re-enforced through hands-on workshops and directed stewardships are
transferable to restoration and land management at multiple scales. Enrollment in the fall program is $90/nonmembers and $80/members and students.

Spring 2015 workshops include creating a rain garden, invasive species control, native seed collection, site preparation and native plant identification. Click here for a full schedule.

The first NAA workshop will be a mandatory orientation, and will be held on Thursday, April 9 at 6:00 p.m.

To learn more and register, click here

Make a Washi paper gourd vase on March 21

31 weeks 3 days ago
Get creative in this workshop and decorate a fully prepared gourd with colorful washi paper and other Asian-inspired embellishments such as beads, rattail cord, and imitation Chinese coins.

Date/time: Saturday, March 21; 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $60; $54 for Plantations members
Location: Nevin Welcome Center
Instructor: Terri Noxel; President, New York State Gourd Society

Click here to learn more and register.

"Treman Willow" sculptures at the Nevin Welcome Center

31 weeks 3 days ago
On Display at the Nevin Welcome Center:

"Five Uneasy Pieces: Reworking the Treman Willow"

These five pieces were once part of a living heritage tree located in the F. R. Newman Arboretum. It was known as the Treman Weeping Willow and was planted 80 years ago around the time of the garden’s founding. In 2011, the tree had to be cut back to its base, as it could no longer support itself, succumbing to age and carpenter ants. Rather than being chipped for mulch, the sculptor, Jack Elliott, asked that the tree segments be delivered to his studio at Cornell University. He did not have a preconception of the results but was intrigued by the burled surfaces and irregular forms. The objective was to rework the pieces to let them reveal their own significances. As the bark and rotted material were removed, judicious cuts were made, allowing various forms and narratives to emerge. Five separate but related pieces were produced, all expressing a sense of uneasiness or tension, characterized by an interplay of organic and planar forms and a contrast of blackened and natural surfaces.

Meet Jack Elliott at a reception on Thursday, March 19 from 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. in the Nevin Welcome Center lobby. Light refreshments will be provided.

Guides needed to explore spring wildflowers with third graders

33 weeks 1 day ago
Join a team of volunteer facilitators who engage 3rd graders and introduce them to their wildflower heritage! Our program—Wildflower Exploration: Learning about Plants through Native Wildflowers—is part of the Kids Discover the Trail program and includes both a class visit and field trip to the Mundy Wildflower Garden. No experience is needed as we offer a full training series and you shadow seasoned facilitators. Training starts on Feb 25th, 10:30 a.m. to noon and meets each Wednesday for six weeks; if interested or curious call Raylene Ludgate at (607) 255-2407, or email

Artist reception this Saturday!

34 weeks 6 days ago
Local artist Laurie Snyder has her cyanotype botanical prints on display in the Nevin Welcome Center. The cyanotype process is one of the earliest photographic processes, introduced in England around 1840. The images are based on the light sensitivity of iron salts and are blue and white.

Laurie Snyder is an Ithaca resident and former photography faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. Most of the images were made in Ithaca with plant material collected near her home and from Cornell Plantations.

Meet Laurie Snyder at a free reception on Saturday, February 7 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the Nevin Welcome Center. This event is free and light refreshments will be served. For more information, call 607-255-2400.

Plantations’ founder Liberty Hyde Bailey catalogued much of his plant collections using Cyanotype prints. Some of Bailey’s prints are displayed as part of this exhibit. Also, you can take home a kit to create your own cyanotype prints on sale in our gift shop.

Rhoda Maurer named Director of Horticulture

35 weeks 2 days ago
Rhoda Maurer from Geneva, NY has been named Director of Horticulture at Cornell Plantations beginning February 2. Prior to joining Plantations, she managed the grounds and greenhouses of Cornell University’s NY State Agriculture Experiment Station in Geneva, NY.
Before her tenure at Cornell, she was the Assistant Curator at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, and has held other positions at The Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden in Washington, and the Royal Horticulture Society’s Wisley Garden in the United Kingdom. Maurer holds degrees in Anthropology and Horticulture from the University of Washington, and will be completing her Masters in Science in a Changing World this May from the University of Massachusetts at Boston.
“I’m delighted that Rhoda will be joining Plantations,” stated Dr. Christopher Dunn, the E. N. Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations. “Her experience, matched with her enthusiasm will only serve to help keep Cornell Plantations growing forward in the years to come. Everyone at Plantations is very excited for this new chapter in our 70-long year history.”
Ms. Maurer states, “Plantations will allow me to connect my affection for public horticulture, concern for our environment, and community engagement alongside a talented and eager staff in new and exciting ways.  I’m excited to start an exploration of how Plantations might add value to people’s lives, inspiring collaborations to discover unforeseen possibilities for how we might connect our living collections with contemporary socio-economic-biological systems in our changing world.”
Maurer’s main responsibilities will be to direct the horticulture program at Plantations, curating more than 40,000 plants representing over 5,000 different taxa, setting a vision for the program with an eye towards conservation and sustainability and the management of Plantations horticulture staff including curators, gardeners, landscape architects, greenhouse staff and seasonal garden staff.  She succeeds Mary Hirshfeld who served as Plantations’ Director of Horticulture for nearly 36 years.

Get to know more about Rhoda in this short video.

Winter survival tip: Treasure hunt for cones in the arboretum

35 weeks 6 days ago

Exploring cones of many shapes and sizes is yet another reason to visit Plantations this time of year. Click here to read about Sarah Nickerson's visit to explore cones with her toddler Leo on our tumblr page.

Amazing summer experiences for high school students

36 weeks 13 hours ago

Calling all middle and high school students: You could spend six weeks of your summer getting your hands dirty while making a positive impact in the community through our PEEPS program (Plantations Envioronmental Education Program for Sustainability). We are accepting applications now through April. Click here to learn more.

Get a taste of what you can experience in this two-minute video:


Become a Volunteer Tour Guide at Cornell Plantations!

36 weeks 3 days ago
Cornell Plantations is offering a spring training program for those interested in becoming a volunteer garden docent (tour guide) for our adult group tour program. 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 to a large and diverse audience throughout the spring, summer and early fall.
Applicants are asked to commit to a weekly training program, which will take place on Wednesday mornings from 10:00 am to 12 noon, at the Nevin Welcome Center, from April 1 through May 13, as well as three additional trainings over the summer. Training is free and all materials will be provided.
A love of plants, gardens and 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, Adult Education & Volunteer Coordinator, at, or call (607) 254-7430.

You can find out more about our volunteer program and other volunteer opportunities, and fill out our online volunteer application form HERE.

Meet the Conifers on Saturday, January 31

39 weeks 2 days ago
Join conifer gardener Phil Syphrit on an easy walk through a portion of Cornell Plantations’ conifer collection in our botanical garden. The tour will highlight conifers, both native and non-native to the Ithaca area, including yew, metasequoia, concolor fir, larch and cedar. The walk will last approximately 90 minutes. Please dress appropriately for the weather.

Date/time: Saturday, January 31, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Cost: $5 (free for members, volunteers and Cornell students) Pre-registration is not required.
Instructor: Phil Syphrit, staff gardener
Location: Meet in front of the Nevin Welcome Center

For more information call 607-255-2400

Cyanotype botanical prints on display at the Nevin Welcome Center

39 weeks 3 days ago
Now through the end of February, cyanotype botanical prints by Laurie Snyder will be on dislplay in the Nevin Welcome Center. Laurie Snyder is an Ithaca resident and former photography faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. She will be exhibiting botanical cyanotypes (also called blueprints). The cyanotype process is one of the earliest photographic processes, introduced in England around 1840.  The images are based on the light sensitivity of iron salts and are blue and white. Most of the images were made in Ithaca with plant material collected near her home and from Cornell Plantations. 

Happy Holidays!

41 weeks 6 days ago

We love the way you've seen us through the years. Click here to view our holiday card featuring pictures taken by visitors.

Pop-up artisan market and holiday sale today!

42 weeks 3 days ago
Just in time to wrap up your holiday shopping, we are hosting a pop-up artisan market from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the garden gift shop. Join us for this unique shopping experience and you can enjoy free Gimme Coffee or Harney & Son Tea while you shop.

Local artisans include:

Spirit and Kitsch: paintings, cards and prints
String & Tooth Letterpress: Hand printed goods
Jeri Nyrop: Fabric bowls, aprons and other handmade goods
Laurel O'Brien: Artisan Jewelry
Rachel Philipson Photography and Design: Cards, prints, and other unique photo gifts

Plus, you will receive an extra 20% off most items in the gift shop (40% off for members!)

Youth educator Raylene Ludgate receives CALS Core Values Award

42 weeks 3 days ago

For over 30 years, Raylene Ludgate has been an inspiration to others around her. She was recognized for this at the 11th annual Research, Extension and Staff awards on November 10th. Read more in the CALS Notes blog "Plantations youth ed leader Ludgate honored for decades of inspiration."

Arboretum now closed to vehicles for winter

42 weeks 6 days ago

The F. R. Newman Arboretum is now closed to vehicle traffic. Please don't let that stop you from enjoying the arboretum this winter. Parking is available at the Mundy Wildflower Garden parking lot off of Caldwell Road at the intersection with Forest Home Drive, which is directly across from the arboretum.

Pedestrians are welcome to explore the arboretum every day from dawn to dusk. Vehicle access will begin again in the srping. Happy winter!

Nevin Welcome Center closing early on December 12

43 weeks 8 hours ago

The Nevin Welcome Center will be open from 10:00 a.m. - noon on Friday, December 12 for a staff holiday party. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Tree Theft at Cornell Plantations

43 weeks 6 days ago
On Thursday, December 4, 2015, Phil Syphrit, Curator of the Conifer Collection at Cornell Plantations, noticed that a white spruce tree (Picea glauca) was stolen from the collection. Sadly, this is an all to often occurrence during the holiday season.

Would you steal a Picasso from the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University? If your answer is no, then you shouldn’t steal a tree or even a plant from Cornell Plantations.  

For the past 70 years, Plantations has served as a living museum on Cornell’s campus. It’s collections have been carefully cultivated to provide visitors with a world class public garden experience. When a tree or plant is lost to theft it is like losing a unique work of art. Please go to your local Christmas tree stand to purchase a tree that was harvested for this purpose.  

“During the holidays, many of us enjoy the tradition of decorating our homes and workplaces with ornaments, trees, and other symbols of the season,” stated Dr. Christopher Dunn, the E. N. Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations. “This is a time of giving. Unfortunately, others seem to see it as a time of taking. It is disappointing that recently, and in the past, some lost souls have deemed it appropriate to steal conifers from our collections, presumably for Christmas trees. Given that we are part of the Cornell University community, of educated and thoughtful citizens, it is all the more disappointing.  Please share the joy of the season with family, friends, and colleagues.”

Click here to view a News 10 Now interview with Phil Syphrit, curator of the Conifer Collection.

If you have any information regarding the theft of this tree please contact Cornell University Police at 607-255-1111.