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Take a hike with the Cornell Gorge Stewards

13 weeks 5 days ago
Join the Cornell Gorge Stewards on weekly hikes around Fall Creek and Beebe Lake. Tours of Fall Creek Gorge are offered on Thursdays and tours around Beebe Lake are offered on Sundays. They will focus on the history of the area, geology and local flora and fauna.

Fall Creek Gorge Hikes: Thursdays,  5:30 - 6:30 p.m., August 6, 13, 20
Beebe Lake Hikes: Sundays, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., August 9, 16, 23
Fee: Free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required.
Instructors: Cornell Gorge Stewards
Fall Creek Gorge Hikes: Meet at the corner of University Avenue and Central Avenue (Near the Johnson Museum of Art).
Beebe Lake Hikes: Meet at the front of Noyes Lodge.

Click here to view this event on our calendar.

On display at the Nevin Welcome Center

13 weeks 5 days ago
Find enchantment in “Les Papillons,” a photographic look at butterflies amongst the floral backdrop of the tropics. This collection of photos by local photographer Jason Cox brings the vibrancy of life housed at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy here to the Finger Lakes. This art exhibit will be on display from July 6 to the end of August.

Plantations rated one of "50 Most Amazing University Gardens"

13 weeks 5 days ago

On, Cornell Plantations is rated one of the “50 Most Amazing University Gardens." Each University garden or arboreta received points for variety of species, local or international recognition, education programs and conservation efforts. Click here to see who also made the list.

Botanical Garden tours every Saturday and Sunday

17 weeks 1 day ago
Enjoy a guided tour through the Botanical Gardens and discover the beauty and diversity of our numerous theme gardens, including the Herb Garden, Rhododendron Collection, Flower Garden, Groundcover Collections, Tropical Container Display, Vegetable Garden and more. Actual tour content will vary from week to week, depending on the plants, season, interests of the group, and whim of the docent.

Date/time: Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 p.m.; June 13- September 27
Cost: $5 (free for Plantations members, volunteers and Cornell students) Pre-registration is not required.
Location: Meet in front of the Nevin Welcome Center.

Reunion Weekend events, June 4-6

18 weeks 4 days ago

Cornell Plantations -- the arboretum, botanical garden and natural areas of Cornell University -- welcomes all alumni and their families to Reunion Weekend, June 4-6, 2015.

During Reunion our rhododendrons, irises, and magnolias will be blooming, and you may still find many spring wildflowers in the Mundy Wildflower Garden and natural areas.

At the botanical garden you can take a mini-tour, pick up a visitor map and explore on your own, browse the exhibits and gift shop in the Nevin Welcome Center, or just relax and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the gardens and grounds.

Free parking is available at the Nevin Welcome Center, or you can ride our shuttle van from Barton Hall (Statler Hotel side) or the Peterson parking lot across from the Dairy Bar/Stocking Hall on Tower Road. Plantations shuttle service is provided approximately every 20 minutes from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday only.

For more information, contact Kevin Moss at, (607) 254-7430.

Welcome back -- to Cornell Plantations!
A variety of tours and programs are planned for Reunion Weekend. Activities are free and are open to all Reunion attendees, the general public and members of the Ithaca community:

Nevin Welcome Center open from 9:30 to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

Shuttle service available from 12:00 to 5:00, Friday and Saturday. Stops at Barton Hall/Statler Hall and Peterson Lot (across from Dairy Bar).

Thursday, June 4 

Beebe Lake Natural History Walk
Location: Meet at Beebe Beach
Thursday, June 4; 3:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Stroll around the lake to discover the history, flora, and fauna of Cornell's favorite natural area.

Friday, June 5

Plantations Botanical Garden Highlights Tour
Location: Meet at the Nevin Welcome Center
10:00 -11:00 a.m.
Guided one-hour tour through the numerous theme gardens in the Botanical Garden. 

Cascadilla Gorge Hike
Meet at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts in Collegetown,
Friday, 10:00 - 11:30  a.m. and 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Hike through Cascadilla Gorge and learn about the geology, natural history, and beauty of this scenic greenway. The round-trip one milehike is moderately strenuous and involves some steep stair climbing. Friday hikers have the option to take the #10 TCAT Bus back to campus
instead of returning on the trail, but there is no bus service on Saturday.

Plantations Botanical Garden Mini Tours
Nevin Welcome Center
1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
15-minute mini-tours highlighting significant plants and gardens, launching approximately every 20 minutes.  

Plantations Mundy Wildflower Garden Tour
Mundy Wildflower Garden, Caldwell Road entrance
11 a.m.- noon
Explore this woodland wildflower garden and discover a rich variety of native flora.

Members-only sneak preview of the Spring Plant Sale
Cornell Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Take home some of Plantations’ gardeners’ top picks for your own home landscape! This spring’s offerings will include some small shrubs, a wide variety of perennials, and some new additions to the horticulture trade.

Saturday, June 6

Spring Plant Sale
Cornell Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive
9:00 a.m. – noon
Take home some of Plantations’ gardeners’ top picks for your own home landscape! This spring’s offerings will include some small shrubs, a wide variety of perennials, and some new additions to the horticulture trade.

Plantations Botanical Garden Mini Tours
Nevin Welcome Center
10:00 a.m. - noon
15-minute mini-tours highlighting significant plants and gardens, launching approximately every 20 minutes.

Cascadilla Gorge Hike
Meet at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts in Collegetown,
10:00 - 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
Hike through Cascadilla Gorge and learn about the geology, natural history, and beauty of this scenic greenway. The round-trip one mile hike is moderately strenuous and involves some steep stair climbing.

Comstock Knoll Rhododendron Tour
Meet at the Nevin Welcome Center
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Join gardener Phil Syphrit for this tour of one of the most beautiful places
on campus: the Bowers Rhododendron Collection on Comstock Knoll, home to over 130 different varieties of rhododendron and azalea.

“The Hangovers” - Allan Hosie Treman '21 Memorial Concert
Nevin Welcome Center lawn
2:30 – 3:30 pm
Relax in the shade and enjoy this performance by The Hangovers, the popular a capella subset of the Cornell Glee Club.  Refreshments provided.

Cascadilla Gorge Trail vanadalized again

18 weeks 4 days ago
The Cascadilla Gorge Trail was vandalized for the second time in six months this week.

"We spent six years trying to get the gorge trail fully reopened, a huge commitment, and it was really fantastic to hear the response of the community to having the trail reopened, to feel safe, to look beautiful, to look like a historic gorge trail should look," said Plantations director of Natural Areas, Todd Bittner.

Seven different areas have now been defaced, including staircases, part of a stone wall, the new cement staircase, under the stone arch foot bridge and part of a retaining wall. The removal could cost up to $20,000.

Read more in the following articles:

Ithaca Journal: Cascadilla Gorge Trail vanadalized again, May 28

Ithaca Voice: Ithaca’s reopened Cascadilla Gorge Trail vandalized again, May 28

WHCU: Gorge vandalism clean up could be difficult and costly, May 29

Plantations staff help Cornell Class of 2015 honor lives lost

18 weeks 4 days ago

Plantations natural areas staff helped the senior honor society Quill & Dagger plant a grove of trees along Cascadilla Creek to celebrate the students of the Class of 2015 whose lives were lost. In addition, the senior class, spearheaded by Lara Keskinkaya and Sam Coleman, raised
funds to plant a “Tribute Tree” on the pathway between the Engineering
Quad and Collegetown, for seven members of the Class of 2015 who died.

President Skorton paid tribute to these gestures in his Commencement speech on May 24. Read more in the Cornell Chronicle article, "At Commencement, Skorton confers the 'generosity of spirit.'"


Cornell Plantations Contributes to Cornell’s STARS 2014 Gold Rating

19 weeks 5 days ago
In the continuing effort to save energy, enhance environmental operations and increase sustainability research and education, Cornell earned its fourth consecutive gold STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. STARS – the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System – is a self-reporting tool that colleges and universities can use to measure progress and compare their rankings. Cornell is one of 75 schools earning gold status out of 299 rated schools for 2014.
Participating schools self-report on ways that they are contributing to the sustainability from student life, to carbon sequestering, and even to preserving bio-diversity on it’s campus.  

Click here to read more on the Plantations Tumblr blog.

Plant Sale, Saturday June 6

19 weeks 5 days ago
Take home some of our gardeners’ top picks for your own home landscape! Offerings will include a wide variety of perennials, and some new additions to the horticulture trade. We have several varieties of peonies, baptisia, hellebores, geum and nepeta. Recess Coffee from Syracuse, NY will be on hand selling their delicious artisan brews and baked goods beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Date/time: Saturday, June 6; 9:00 a.m. – noon
Cost: Admission and parking are free
Location: Cornell Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive
For more information, call 607-255-2400 or contact

Member-Only Early Bird Preview: Friday, June 5; 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
This is an exclusive opportunity for current Plantations members and donors to shop early for the best selection at our spring Plant Sale.  And, the first 50 members to arrive will receive a free packet of our beautiful note cards! Not a member? Join now online or that day at the Plant Sale Preview. For more information, email Lori Hammond-Colwell or call 607-255-8734.

Evening wildflower walk this Thursday!

21 weeks 1 day ago
Tour the woodland pathways and plant habitats of the Mundy Wildflower Garden, an 8-acre natural area with naturalistic
gardens on Thursday, May 14 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Early spring is the ideal season for learning the natural history and identification of wildflowers such as Dutchman’s breeches, trillium, bloodroot, and Solomon’s seal. There is no registration required, but we are asking for a $5 suggested donation.

Date/time: Thursday, May 14; 7 - 8 p.m.
Cost: $5 suggested donation; pre-registration is not required
Instructor: Krissy Boys, staff gardener
Location: Meet at the entrance to the Mundy Wildflower Garden, located at the intersection of Caldwell Road and Forest Home Drive. Limited free parking is available.

Questions? Contact Kevin Moss at or call 274-7430

Celebrate spring with a visit to our gardens and natural areas!

21 weeks 5 days ago
Spring is in full swing here, just in time for Mother's Day weekend. This week's warm weather has coaxed the tulips, daffodils, magnolias, crabapples, cherries and spring woodland wildflowers to bloom.

In the Botanical Garden

Hundreds of daffodils are in bloom on Conifer Slope.

Many varieties of tulips are blooming in the Young Flower Garden.

The first of the rhododendrons are blooming on Comstock Knoll, including Rhododendron 'Mary Fleming,' planted last season (shown above). This is one of 12 varieties planted in the rhododendron collection that were bred by Guy Nearing, whom the Nearing Summerhouse was named in honor of.

In the F. R. Newman Arboretum

Magnolias, crabapples and cherries have just started blooming in the Flowering Tree Collection and Flowering Crabapple Collection.

In the Mundy Wildflower Garden

Now is the time to visit the Mundy Wildflower Garden to enjoy the delicate early-blooming woodand wildflowers. Trilliums, hepaticas, trout lilies (shown above), bellwort and dutchman's britches are just a few of the dozens of species growing there.

Plantations part of grant for new interactive County trails map

21 weeks 6 days ago

The Tompkins County Tourism Bureau awarded Cornell Plantations, the Human Services Coalition and the Town of Ulysses $14,500 to create a digital interactive map to search and explore all county recreation trails. Read more in the May 2 article "Mapping the Trails."

Cornell Plantations’ Ringwood Natural Area Suffers Forest Fire

22 weeks 20 hours ago
An alert neighbor called 911 and responders from eight different volunteer fire companies assisted in putting out the blaze. The local fire departments on hand were: Dryden, Varna, Freeville, McLean, Brooktondale, Cayuga Heights, Slaterville, and Etna with the Varna Fire Department leading the incident command under chief Vincent Monticello. The departments battled the fire using traditional trucks, off road UTV units, and hand equipment.

“Their quick and effective response limited what could have been catastrophic damage to the natural area and local community,” state Todd Bittner, director of natural areas at Cornell Plantations. “As a result, no one was injured, no structures were lost and less than five acres were burned.”

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all the responders for their efforts in putting this fire out. Please be aware that Ithaca and the surrounding areas are under a “Red Flag Warning,” and there is a “no open burn ban” until May 15, 2015.  At this time the authorities are unsure of how the fire started.  We ask all visitors to our natural areas, and all those in our community to be aware of your surroundings, and to not start unauthorized fires, or discard of lit cigarettes on the ground. Please remember that in these dry conditions a fire can be started and can be spread very quickly.

For more information about the Ringwood Natural Areas, click here.

Homegrown Peppers workshop on May 20

22 weeks 22 hours ago
In this presentation you’ll learn about the natural and cultural history of peppers, the fascinating diversity of pepper varieties, and some tips and best practices for cultivating your own bountiful pepper harvest at home. Each participant will receive six different types of young pepper plants to take and grow at home. Presented by Irene Lekstutis, Plantations Landscape Designer, and Paul Cooper, L.H. Bailey Conservatory Grower. Pre-registration required.

Date/time: Wednesday, May 20; 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $15 ($12 for Plantations members, volunteers and Cornell students)
Location: Nevin Welcome Center
Instructors:Irene Lekstutis, Plantations Landscape Designer, and Paul Cooper, L.H. Bailey Conservatory Grower

Click here to register.

2015 is the Year of the Pepper at Plantations! We are offering activities and events throughout the growing season to celebrate peppers including exhibits, a self-guided tour of dozens of varieties displayed in our gardens and a Plantations Pepper Party on September 20.

On display at the Nevin Welcome Center: A Floral Love Affair

22 weeks 23 hours ago
During May and June, enjoy botanical paintings by Marcia Eames-Sheavly, horticulture educator at Cornell University. Marcia’s paintings reflect her deep fondness for this region, with its evocative, sensual and joyous flowers, as well as the gardens, hedgerows and lakes that abound here.

Read more about her art in the May 13 Cornell Chronicle article, "Eames-Sheavley's botanical art classes teach how to 'see'."

Bird and wildflower walks every Friday and Sunday in May

23 weeks 1 day ago
In collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Cayuga Bird Club, Cornell Plantations presents "Birds and Blossoms" -- a series of Friday morning bird walks in the Newman Arboretum, and Sunday afternoon wildflower walks in Sapsucker Woods. Walks will be held rain or shine. Pre-registration is not required.

Bird walks will occur Friday mornings at 8:00 a.m. at Cornell Plantations from May 1 through May 29 (Meet by the Sculpture Garden, in the F. R. Newman Arboretum off Caldwell Road).

Wildflower walks will be held Sunday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. at Sapsucker Woods, from May 3 through May 31 (Meet at the Lab of Ornithology visitor center).

For more information, contact 255-2400 or

Vandalism on the Cascadilla Gorge Trail

24 weeks 1 day ago

Just days before opening the Cascadilla Gorge trail after being closed for winter, someone spraypainted the concrete staircase and gorge wall under the Stewart Avenue bridge. Read more in an April 16 Ithaca voice article here.

Cascadilla Gorge trail is now open!

24 weeks 1 day ago
After Cascadilla Gorge's opening on  Friday, April 17, you can now enjoy hiking the gorge from downtown Ithaca off of Linn Street to College Avenue in Collegetown. The Cascadilla Gorge trail is open from dusk to dawn, but please note, that it may close if heavy rains cause dangerous conditions. You can view updates on gorge conditions on Cornell's Gorge Safety Website

Cornell Plantations ranked 3rd of 50 best campus meditation spaces

26 weeks 18 hours ago

Emotional and spiritual health are key to success in college. The Botanical Garden and F. R. Newman Arboretum of Plantations were recognized for providing "escape from the academic pressures" and a "balance between mind and spirit." Read the online article from here.

The F. R. Newman Arboretum is now open to vehicles

26 weeks 19 hours ago

Another sign that spring is here! The daffodils are starting to emerge and our magnolias and flowering trees will soon follow. We invite you to observe the unraveling of spring with a walk through the arboretum any day, dawn to dusk.