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"Treman Willow" sculptures at the Nevin Welcome Center

38 weeks 4 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

40 weeks 2 days 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!

42 weeks 18 hours 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

42 weeks 3 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

43 weeks 17 hours 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

43 weeks 1 day 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!

43 weeks 4 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

46 weeks 3 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

46 weeks 4 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!

49 weeks 23 hours 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!

49 weeks 4 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

49 weeks 4 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

50 weeks 22 hours 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

50 weeks 1 day 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

51 weeks 20 hours 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. 

Cascadilla Gorge Trail closed for winter

51 weeks 20 hours ago
The Cascadilla Gorge Trail from Downtown to College Avenue is now closed for winter. The trail is closed due to hazardous conditions from snow, ice, 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!

Read more about the Google Street View project here.

Tour Plantations' gorges and natural areas with Google Street View

51 weeks 1 day ago
People are now able to virtually explore many of the Plantations and the Ithaca area's gorges and natural areas with Google's Street View technology. On November 19, Plantations and the City of Ithaca's Geographic Information Systems program announced its partnership with Google to create 360 degree views of these areas, which cannot always be easily accessed. Google staff trained local professionals to hike these areas with 40-pound backpacks with 15 cameras that took images every 2.5 seconds. The images were then sent to a Google satellite. Cornell Plantations staff Zeb Strickland was responsible for capturing images of Fall Creek and Cascadilla Gorges along with Edwards Lake Cliffs Natural Area.

To view these areas in Google Street View, click on the links below:

Beebe Lake from Sackett Bridge

Beebe Lake

Fall Creek Gorge from the trail behind Risley Hall.

Fall Creek Gorge trail from below the pedestrian suspension bridge

Cascadilla Gorge trail

Edward Lake Cliffs Natural Area

To read more about this project, in The Ithacan article, "City of Ithaca reveals new Google Street View of off-street areas."

Gift Shop sale today!

51 weeks 4 days ago
The Garden Gift Shop in the Nevin Welcome Center will be open for a special holiday sale today from 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. (Early bird hours for Plantations members start at 11:30 a.m.). Holiday shoppers will enjoy a 15% discount on most items; Members will receive a 30% discount.

The Shop has many unique offerings such as handcrafted ornaments, locally sourced gift items, high quality gardening books and more! Your purchases directly support Plantations' gardens, natural areas and education programs.
The Shop is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00–4:00, through December 19 for all your holiday shopping needs!

New Garlic Project kicks off in Plantations' vegetable garden

1 year 2 weeks ago
On November 8th, 30 people gathered in the Pounder Vegetable Garden to learn about and plant garlic—the first of many planting events that are part of The Garlic Project. This project was initiated by Donna Levy, Plantations' Environmental Outreach Coordinator, and Gary Fine of the Durland Alternatives Library at Cornell University. Describing the Garlic Project's mission, Gary Fine said, "In the small picture, it spreads garlic around your community. But in the larger picture, it’s about education and empowerment around how easy and satisfying it is to grow food and be more in charge of what you eat."

Learn more about The Garlic Project in the November 3 Tompkins Weekly article, "Cultivating Community Ties through Garlic."

Hear what Carol Bradford, Garden Blogger who lives in Syracuse, has to say about The Garlic Project here.

Watch an interview with creator of "Victis acernis" sculpture

1 year 3 weeks ago

Click here to view a four-minute interview with Jack Elliot, who worked with Cornell students for two-years to clean the roots of a sugar maple, now a work of art used to convey an environmental message.