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Judd Falls Road closure may affect your route to Cornell Plantations from September 22nd through October 1st

5 years 3 weeks ago
If you are planning to visit Wednesday September 22 through Friday October 1st, please be aware that Judd Falls Road between Forest Home Drive and Tower Road will be closed during construction working hours from during from 7 am to 5 pm.

Alternate Route: In leiu of accessing Plantations Road to the Botanical Garden via Judd Falls Road, we suggest accessing Plantations Road from Caldwell Road, just east of Judd Falls Road, or from Forest Home Drive, at the west end of Plantations Road.

Detour signs will be posted to assist with traffic around the road closure.

New Fall Programs and Classes are now Online

5 years 6 weeks ago

Watercolors, garlic, trees and more await your discovery at Cornell Plantations this fall! Our schedule of classes, programs and lectures for Fall 2010 is now online. You may peruse the schedule and learn more about these programs by visiting our calendar page.  Once on the calendar, you may click on the name of a program for a full description. If there is a charge for the program, you may begin the registration process by clicking the "Add To Cart" button on the right side of the page.

For more information about our adult education programs and tours, please contact Kevin Moss at, or call (607) 254-7430

Restoration work continues on Cascadilla Gorge trails

5 years 7 weeks ago

Cascadilla Gorge -- breathtaking, dynamic, ever-changing. All the adjectives used to describe this natural area are exactly all the reasons that the lower half of the gorge, from College Avenue to Linn Street, has been officially closed since September 2009 for a restoration project scheduled for completion in 2011. The bottom section of the trail, from Stewart Avenue to Treman Triangle, will likely be completed first and may open earlier.

Read more of this Cornell Chronicle story.

To view a photo gallery of gorge restoration work from the Ithaca Journal, click here.

Plantations' Fall Lecture Series Kicks Off September 1!

5 years 9 weeks ago

Cornell Plantations kicks off it's annual Fall Lecture Series on Wednesday September 1, with renowned Cornell English professor, Harry Shaw.  Professor Shaw will be giving the Harder Lecture  entitled "Is Nature Natural? A View from Britain".  The lecture will begin at 5:30 in Warren Hall Auditorium and will be followed by Plantations' annual garden party.

Every other Wednesday from September 15 to November 10  Plantations will offer lectures at 7:30 in Statler Auditorium topics range from Wicked Plants to Earthworms to Wild Plants and more!  For details, speaker information, and lecture descriptions go here.

The lecture series may be taken for Cornell course credit as Hort 4800.  

Cornell Bridge Fencing Information

5 years 13 weeks ago

In the wake of several suicides this past year, expert consultants wrote a report with recommendations on suicide prevention and bridge safety. Learn about the results of this report and more in the July 8 Cornell Chronicle article "CU addresses questions about temporary bridge barriers."

New! Play a game using SCVNGR at Cornell Plantations!

5 years 14 weeks ago

Cornell Plantations is pleased to announce the launch of SCVNGR! 

SCVNGR (pronounced "scavenger") is a location-based game about going places, doing challenges and earning points - using your cell phone.  At Cornell Plantations, we use SCVNGR to lead you through some of our collections and have you do fun activities while browsing our gardens. You may be asked to choose a favorite plant, mimic a sculpture, or do something totally different!  SCVNGR can be played using any phone with text messaging (standard rates apply) or by downloading the free SCVNGR app for iPhone or Android. 

Visitors can pick up an instruction card in brochure boxes near the Lewis Education Center or at the Arboretum parking lot near Houston Pond (first lot on the right when coming from the Caldwell Road entrance).  Have fun and enjoy playing SCVNGR at Cornell Plantations!

View an interview with wildflower gardener Krissy Faust on Cornell Cast.

5 years 15 weeks ago

Spring is a busy time for gardeners at Cornell Plantations! For Krissy Boys Faust, it is a time to weed out the invasive plants that crowd our rich collection of early wildflowers.

View this 13 minute Cornell Cast to get to know Krissy and  what it's like to work at Cornell Plantations.

Here for Reunion Weekend? Here's what you can do at Plantations!

5 years 18 weeks ago

From guided tours through Cascadilla Gorge and the Mundy Wildflower Garden, to listening to an a capella performance in the F.R. Newman Arboretum, we want to be part of your reunion weekend fun!

View a full schedule of Cornell Plantations events here.

Rhododendrons blooming NOW!

5 years 21 weeks ago

Come visit Plantations today to enjoy the beautiful blooms of our Rhododendron Collection, featuring blooms in pink, purple, and white. The rhododendrons are located atop Comstock Knoll, in our botanical garden.  While you're here, also enjoy the blooms of magnolia trees, spring bulbs, and much more.  Spring has arrived and there is no more beautiful place than Plantations to fully experience it!

Rhododendrons in bloom on Comstock Knoll.

Join us to view the award-winning documentary "Where do the Children Play?"

5 years 21 weeks ago

Ithaca Children’s Garden and Cornell Plantations Presents: ‘Where Do the Children Play?’ Documentary Film on Modern Childhood

 “The video is superb and should be mandatory viewing and discussing for all educators and parents throughout the United States.”  Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota

The award-winning documentary Where Do the Children Play? examines an issue of growing concern among pediatricians, mental health experts, educators, and environmentalists: more and more children are growing up today with little or no opportunity for unstructured play, especially outdoors.

The Ithaca Children’s Garden in partnership with the Cornell Plantations will sponsor a free public screening at Tompkins County Public Library on June 2nd at 6:00 pm. Donations are welcome and will benefit the Ithaca Children’s Garden's education programs and site development.

Film Originator and Outreach Director Elizabeth Goodenough, Co-founders of the Ithaca Children’s Garden Harriet Becker and Monika Roth, Cornell Professor of Design and Environmental Analysis Nancy Wells, Plantations Education Director Sonja Skelly and Where Do the Children Play? outreach coordinator Ashley Miller will be on hand to answer questions along with local exhibitors of nature programs for children.

For more information about event call Ashley Miller at (607) 664-6333.

Produced by Michigan Television, Where Do the Children Play? grew from Dr. Goodenough’s work on Secret Spaces of Childhood (University of Michigan Press 2004). “Children need free time every day to discover their own abilities, desires, and limitations,” says Goodenough. For more information, visit here.

We're looking for volunteer gardeners.

5 years 21 weeks ago

Like to work outdoors and get your hands dirty? Cornell Plantations is seeking volunteers to assist with the care of two of its most prized and well-known collections: the Robison York State Herb Garden and the Martha Howell Young Flower Garden.

These volunteer opportunities are available to anyone who loves plants and gardening and is able to meet the minimum requirements.

Applicants should be willing to make a weekly, long-term commitment through the growing season (April through October), and must be available Wednesday mornings for 1 to 4 hours, between 8:00 am and 12 noon.

The work can be moderately strenuous at times, and will include weeding, dividing perennials, planting annuals, mulching, deadheading spent flowers, etc. Fall cleanup includes removing frosted annuals and cutting back perennials. Prior gardening experience is helpful but not necessary. Applicants should be physically fit and able to perform repetitive tasks typical of garden and yard work, including lifting, bending, kneeling, etc. Applicants must enjoy learning, be willing to follow instructions and able to pay careful attention to fine details.

For more information, including additional volunteer opportunities, please contact Kevin Moss, Community Outreach Coordinator, at (607) 254-7430, or email You may also fill out an online volunteer application.

Plantations displays "gorge garbage" during Earth Day celebration

5 years 23 weeks ago

As part of Cornell's Earth Day Celebration on Ho Plaza, Plantations staff felt it was the ideal place to "show off" garbage that was removed from campus gorges. With the help of the student group "Friends of the Gorges," we coordinated clean-up events during the week leading up to Earth Day and seven student groups participated. Two large truckloads of trash were removed including grills, a leather couch, and countless glass bottles, most of which was displayed on Ho Plaza.

Stunned expressions and comments like, "I can't believe that all came from the gorges" from people who passed by the truckload of trash proved our mission was accomplished. We hope it leads to less garbage ending up in the gorges each year.
If the truckload of garbage was not enough to attract people, a life-size cardboard cutout of Stephen Colbert and the Big Red Bear was! In Stephen Colbert style, several groups were put "On Notice" including People Who Trash the Gorges, Bears (except Big Red), and Harvard Hockey.

Learn more about the Friends of the Gorges and how you can get involved here.

Kids Discover the Trail! Announces New Website

5 years 26 weeks ago

Kids Discover the Trail!, a collaboration of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI), the Discovery Trail (DT), and the Ithaca City School District (ICSD); is pleased to announce its new website In addition to providing a program introduction, it links to a wiki web site highlighting “best practices” of school and museum educators involved with Kids Discover the Trail!.

Kids Discover the Trail! provides curriculum-based field trips to the eight sites of the Discovery Trail consisting of Cayuga Nature Center, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell Plantations, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, The History Center in Tompkins County, Museum of the Earth at PRI, Sciencenter, and Tompkins County Public Library for ICSD students in grades Pre-K to 5. Classrooms from different ICSD elementary schools are partnered to increase opportunities for students and families from different neighborhoods to get to know each other.

This program is funded by gifts from local foundations, businesses and community members made to the IPEI; by gifts to the eight Discovery Trail organizations; and is supported by ICSD. This year’s overall Program Sponsor is BorgWarner Morse TEC.

"Kids Discover the Trail! represents the best of what Ithaca and Tompkins County have to offer our children - equity, diversity, and a chance to experience eight world-class cultural organizations right here at home, all during their formative elementary years." Charles Trautmann, Sciencenter Executive Director and Kids Discover the Trail! Co-chair.

For more information please email  or call (607) 256-4734.

April Sunshine Brings a Burst of Blooms

5 years 26 weeks ago

The bright sunny days and warmer temperatures of the past few weeks have  some of our early spring bloomers putting on a show a bit early. Come enjoy the sunshine at Plantations!

You will find:

Rhododendron 'Floda' in the Bowers
Rhododenron Collection on Comstock Knoll,

several tulips in bloom including Tulipa 'Pirand' in the Young Garden,

daffodils covering the Class of '66 Beach
on Beebe Lake,

Trout lily (Erythronium americanum) among over a dozen early spring wildflowers blooming in the Mundy Wildflower Garden, and

Magnolia x Loebneri 'Merrill,' one of several magnolias blooming in Jackson Grove in the
F.R. Newman Arboretum.

You can preview what's blooming throughout the season with our Bloom Report.

Spring is here and so is our spring class line-up!

5 years 29 weeks ago

One of the many signs of Spring at Cornell Plantations is the posting of our Spring and Summer classes and events. Spring highlights include botanical illustration classes and guided bird and wildflower walks. View our calendar here.

A new and exciting learning opportunity to get you outside this spring: The Natural Areas Academy

5 years 32 weeks ago

Do you love spending time in the forests, meadows and other natural areas in the Finger Lakes? Do you care about preserving the integrity of the natural world and want to share this love with others? If so, consider joining a new educational program at Cornell Plantations: The Natural Areas Academy.

Guided Field Trip to a Cornell Plantations Natural Area
The Natural Areas Academy is designed to offer an engaged educational experience through workshops, field trips, and hands on conservation projects. This experience will prepare participants for proactive and independent stewardship roles and to become mentors themselves.

Visit here to learn more and how you can get involved.

Cascadilla Gorge Trail Repairs Have Begun

5 years 33 weeks ago

Efforts are now underway to repair and eventually reopen the Cascadilla Gorge Trail, one of Ithaca’s and Cornell’s most cherished landscapes.  Cascadilla Gorge has been closed for the past year due to unsafe conditions.  Through funding provided by Cornell University, work has begun to replace hand rails, restore stairs, install fencing, and other identified safety hazards.

During construction, visitors are reminded that portions of the trail are extremely dangerous, and are strongly urged to observe the “Posted Trail Closed” signs. 

Cascadilla Gorge was originally preserved and donated to Cornell University by Robert H. Treman in 1909 to support public use, education, and enjoyment.  The Cascadilla Gorge Trail system, initially constructed during the Civilian Conservation Corp. era, ascends 400 feet in elevation between Lynn Street and Hoy Road, and currently totals 7,800 feet in length.  Cornell Plantations manages Cascadilla Gorge, and is committed to protecting the natural area, providing ongoing educational use, and supporting safe public recreation and enjoyment of the gorge.  

Learn More about Sustainable Landscapes at the 2nd Annual Native Plant Symposium

5 years 37 weeks ago

Whether you are a homeowner, landscape designer, land manager, or horticulturalist, the 2nd Annual Designing with Native Plants Symposium will inspire the use of native plants to create more sustainable landscapes. There will be eleven talks over two days covering topics such as planting a green roof, plants for stormwater drainage, and impacts of climate change on native ecosystems. Cornell Plantations gardener Krissy Faust will provide practical advice on planting a no-mow or low-mow lawn based on her successes in planting a native lawn at the entrance of Plantations' Mundy Wildflower Garden.

When: Friday and Saturday, March 5ht and 6th
Where: Cornell Lab of Ornithology Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity in Ithaca, NY

Click here for symposium schedule and registration.

Danthonia compressa (above) is part of the palette of "no-mow" grasses featured in the Mundy Wildflower Garden.

Plantations’ Welcome Center is Growing!

5 years 38 weeks ago

In August, Cornell Plantations began construction on its new Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center.  Over the last 7 months we have been posting updates and photos of our progress here.  We invite you to visit online to see how the building is coming along and, if you’re in the area, stop by to see the work first-hand! As the weather begins to warm up, the building will rise faster and the surrounding landscape will take shape. Check back often to watch us grow!

Natural Areas participating in study to try and save hemlocks

5 years 49 weeks ago

Cornell Plantations continues working towards the control of hemlock woolly adelgids by providing the use of our Natural Areas for research into more effective control.  In October, 2009, researchers Mark Whitmore from Cornell University and Dave Mausel from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst introduced a biocontrol agent as part of a 10 year study sponsored by the US Forest Service.  Three hundred individuals of Laricobius nigrinus, a predatory beetle native to the northwestern united states, were released to study the ability of a new inland biotype to successfully overwinter and feed on all life stages of hemlock wooly adelgids.  To read more, see the Cornell Chronicle and the Ithaca Journal, for stories about the research.  For more information on the hemlock woolly adelgid and Cornell Plantations' efforts, click here.

Pictured is Mark Whitmore depositing Laricobius nigrinus on a hemlock tree infested with hemlock wooly adelgids, Oct. 29, 2009.  Photo by Todd Bittner