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First 1% for the Planet Gift to Plantations

2 years 20 weeks ago
We are proud to announce that Cornell Plantations has received the first gift through our partnership in 1% for the Planet, from Harney & Sons Fine Teas Company.

1% for the Planet is an alliance of over 1,300 companies in 43 countries that have made a commitment to give one percent of their revenues to environmental causes.  Last year Cornell Plantations was approved as a non-profit partner in the alliance, making us eligible to receive donations from 1% member companies.

Harney and Sons has been a corporate member of 1% since 2006, when owners Michael and Paul Harney decided that joining the alliance would provide the company with the opportunity to drive positive environmental change in their geographical region. (Their production facility in Upstate New York is minutes from the Appalachian Trail and surrounded by mountains in the Berkshire Range.)


To date, the company has donated over half a million dollars to organizations that are 1% non-profit partners.

Harney and Sons has close ties to Cornell. Founder John Harney ’56 and son Michael ’77 are both graduates of the Hotel School, and Michael’s son is a current student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  “In fact, it was Michael Harney, who recommended that we apply to become a non-profit partner in 1% for the Planet,” says Beth Anderson, Plantations’ development director. “So, we are thrilled that Harney and Sons has given our first 1% gift!”

Tulips are a sight in the Young Flower Garden

2 years 22 weeks ago
You could come the Young Flower Garden each week from now until mid fall and see something new at each visit. This garden is designed to highlight different species of plants in bloom throughout the growing season. With the 70 degree days this week, most of the tulips are in full bloom throughout the garden, in a rainbow of purples, pinks, reds, yellows and whites.



We hope you are able to save an hour or two to make a trip to the garden this weekend!

Tulipa "Quebec" (top)

Tulipa "Purissima" (above)

Enjoy signs of spring in our Ringwood Ponds natural area

2 years 24 weeks ago
Todd Bittner, Director of Natural Areas at Cornell Plantations visits Ringwood Ponds Natural Area where the sounds of amphibians are filling the air!  Ringwood Ponds is a really special natural area. It's one of the most diverse amphibian habitats in Tompkins County, NY, and is home to over twelve different species. Enjoy this short two-minute video about this unique Cornell Plantations' natural area:


View our 2012 Annual Report

2 years 24 weeks ago

2012 was a busy and productive year at Plantations. Click here to view our five-minute annual report video.

Cornell Plantations receives the SCUP Excellence in Landscape Architecture Award

2 years 24 weeks ago
Cornell Plantations has received The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Honor Award for Excellence in Landscape Architecture for the parking and storm water management site plan for the Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center. The award will be accepted by Minakshi Amundsen, Cornell University Planner at the SCUP annual conference in July 2013.
In concert with the construction of the Nevin Welcome Center, which was opened in 2011, Cornell Plantations also made significant improvements to the surrounding botanical garden. These improvements started with a new parking area and tour- bus drop off zone. The parking area and arrival plaza were partially constructed of Cornell Structural SoilTM, a special substrate design that allows better root penetration to encourage vigorous tree growth.  The filter strip at the parking area is shaded by trees that will become part of our Urban Tree Collection.  Adjacent to the parking area, a new bioswale provides an innovative landscaping approach that precludes the need for conventional underground drainage systems. The bioswale garden includes plants that can withstand dry and wet conditions, all of which filter surface water runoff from the parking lot and surrounding areas.  In addition to its usefulness, the bioswale has fast become one of the most beloved gardens at Cornell Plantations. “We are thrilled that our hard work and conscientious development has been recognized by this prestigious organization,” stated Don Rakow the E. N. Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations.  “Cornell Plantations strives to be a model of bold, sustainable design in all of our projects.”

About The Society for College and University Planning (SCUP):

SCUP was established in 1965 and is a community of senior, higher education leaders and the professionals who support them who are responsible for or are involved in the integration of planning on their campuses. The Society for College and University (SCUP) Excellence Awards Program began in 2000 to provide a high-quality program that acknowledges innovative, collaborative, multidisciplinary, and integrated approaches to planning and design, and share lessons learned. The program supports the Society’s goals by identifying emerging areas of knowledge and trends, recognizing significant contributions to the field of higher education planning, and enriching SCUP’s body of knowledge by including the experience and expertise of planners and designers throughout the world.

Part of the Cascadilla Gorge Trail is now open

2 years 25 weeks ago

The Cascadilla Gorge Trail, between Lynn Street and Stewart Avenue, is now reopened after being closed for the winter.  The trail weathered the winter relatively well, having no major damage upon initial inspection.  Major repair work on upstream sections of the trail will commence in the next week or two, with contractors starting where they left off last year, rebuilding trail sections below the Stewart Avenue bridge. The current plan is to reopen the fully repaired trail by October of this year.


2 years 25 weeks ago
As wildflowers begin to bloom in the Mundy Wildflower Garden, visitors with a mobile phone can experience this garden in a whole new way. During the month of April, Emily Oliver, a graduate student in creative writing at Cornell University will pair several species of plants with poems – just in time for National Poetry Month. Visitors can take a self-guided audio tour of the Mundy Wildflower Garden (located off of Caldwell Road in Ithaca). As visitors explore the garden they will find signs next to many plants with a number, once called they will hear the scientific and common name of each plant, along with a poem read by the poem’s author.

Ms. Oliver spent the last few years traveling the U.S. to record poets reading their poems, creating the “Knox Writers House,” a ‘map of voices’ literary audio archive. She wanted to find an unusual way to make the recordings accessible to the public and approached Cornell Plantations with the idea of a Poetry Walk.

“I’ve been looking for new ways to repurpose these recordings,” stated Ms. Oliver. “I wanted to use these poems to create new ways for people to experience the art of poetry. As I learned about each flower, it just became clear which poem to choose... the detail of the natural description felt akin to an image or phrase in something I’ve recorded.”

April is National Poetry Month and is the time when early-spring wildflowers are prolific in the Mundy Wildflower Garden –  so pairing poems from the audio collection to blooming wildflowers became the perfect match! Ms. Oliver worked closely with Krissy Boys, who oversees the Mundy Wildflower Garden, to match poems to the essence of each spring wildflower.


View this short interivew with Emily Oliver about her project.


Gorge Safety: Read the latest article on the successes of Cornell's safety efforts

2 years 30 weeks ago

In the March/April issue of the Cornell Alumni Magazine, the article "Safety First" gives an in-depth report on Cornell's recent campaign for gorge safety. Click here to read the article.

On display: "Ceramics from the Garden"

2 years 30 weeks ago

Learn about a new exhibit by landscape architect, writer, and artist Marc Peter Keane on display at the Nevin Welcome Center and view a short video of the artist discussing his sculptures. Read more

Marc's works are made from substrates of leaves and meadows grasses,some of which were harvested at the Plantations itself. The works, which resemble nests and cocoons, are fired for 5 days in a traditional Japanese wood-kiln. The color patterns and textures of the surfaces are the result of the serendipitous effects of flame on raw clay. The exhibit also includes two ceramic pieces by Momoko Takeshita Keane, Marc’s wife and noted sculptor.

Marc has also designed a new East Asian garden for Plantations. Learn more here.


View this 7-minute video of Marc discussing his sculptures.

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Mr. Keane is a graduate of Cornell University; he lived and worked in Kyoto, Japan for 18 years, and has traveled extensively in Asia.  In addition to his work as a landscape architect, Keane has published several books on the design of Asian Gardens, and poetry.  His most recent garden, The Tiger Glen Garden, was completed in 2011 at the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University.  Ms. Takeshita Keane was raised in Kyoto, Japan.  She began studying as a potter in the famous kiln-town of Shigaraki.  She went on to study in the Kyoto Laboratory of Traditional Crafts, learning many aspects of traditional glazes and clay bodies.


Become a Volunteer Tour Guide

2 years 31 weeks ago

Cornell Plantations offers an annual spring training program for anyone interested in becoming a garden docent (tour guide) for the adult group tour program. Volunteer 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 throughout the spring, summer and early fall.

Applicants are asked to commit to an eight-week training program, which will take place on Wednesday mornings from 10:00 am to 12 noon, at the Nevin Welcome Center, from March 20 through May 8. Additional monthly training sessions will be scheduled for the remainder of the season (June through October). Training is free and all materials will be provided.


A love of plants, gardens 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, community outreach coordinator, at, or call (607) 254-7430.

Gift Shop sale this Saturday

2 years 33 weeks ago

On Saturday, February 16, come enjoy the beautiful winter landscape and stop by our gift shop to enjoy 15% off your entire purchase (members receive 30% off).

Become a Youth Wildflower Guide!

2 years 35 weeks ago
As part of Ithaca’s Kids Discover the Trail program, Cornell Plantations offers a spring program for all Ithaca 3rd graders. "Wildflower Exploration: Learning about Plants through Wildflowers" is designed with a school component that prepares the students for their field trip to the Mundy Wildflower Garden.

No experience is necessary just a love for kids and commitment to attend training sessions to learn about our local wildflowers.


If you are interested in delivering this program to children in area schools, contact Raylene Ludgate at (607) 255-2407 or

Training Sessions

The training sessions are held on Wednesdays starting February 13th from 10:30 to 12 noon and continue once per week until the end of April. The sessions are designed to prepare you for facilitating activities in the classroom and leading field trips through the Mundy Wildflower Garden at Cornell Plantations. You will also have the opportunity to shadow experienced guides.

School and Garden Visits

School and garden visits take place weekdays during school hours (8am to 2pm) starting May 1st. You pick the actual dates/times that work with your schedule.

After-holiday sale in the Garden Gift Shop

2 years 37 weeks ago
If you want to stock up on unique ornaments, decorations or other holiday items, all holiday-themed items in our gift shop are 30% off from now until the end of January. And, if you are a member, you will receive an additional 10% discount.

Please note: The gift shop and the Nevin Welcome Center are closed on weekends in January. It is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting in February, it will again be open on Saturdays.

On Display in the Nevin Welcome Center: "Trees of the Arboretum," photographs by Bo Lipari

2 years 38 weeks ago
For lovers of trees, the F.R. Newman Arboretum is an amazing and wonderful space rich in color, detail, shape and form. The tree collections present visitors with a cornucopia of species, varieties, shapes and colors that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Bo Lipari, a local resident and volunteer Docent at Cornell Plantations, has taken pleasure in the beauty of the Arboretum for many years. In 2008 he began photographing Arboretum views, scenes and trees, trying to capture some of the brilliance and beauty he has found there. This exhibit focuses on the trees - the bark, branches, forms and foliage that capture the eyes and stir the primal connections that still reside within us.


Bo's photographs will be on display in the lobby of the Nevin Welcome Center from now through February.

F. R. Newman Arboretum closed for winter

2 years 41 weeks ago

The F. R. Newman Arboretum is closed to vehicle traffic until further notice. Pedestrians are welcome to explore the arboretum every day from dawn to dusk. Parking is available at the Mundy Wildflower Garden parking lot off of Caldwell Road directly across from the arboretum.

Cascadilla Gorge Trail closed for winter

2 years 42 weeks ago

The Cascadilla Gorge Trail from Downtown to Stewart Avenue is now closed for the Winter. Read more

The Cascadilla Gorge Trail from Downtown to Stewart Avenue is now closed for the Winter.  The trail is closed due to hazardous conditions from snow, ice, and falling rock that create unsafe conditions.  This section of trail will re-open in the spring when conditions allow.

Lead Gift Commitment for New Peony & Perennial Gardens

2 years 42 weeks ago

plan view of peony and perennial gardenDr. Peter B. Stifel ’58 has made the lead gift commitment for Cornell Plantations’ new Peony and Perennial Gardens, in honor of his daughter, Katherine Stifel ’87. Building on the success of the opening of the Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center, Plantations is now moving forward in the next phase of an ambitious plan to reimagine the Botanical Garden. In the most significant horticultural development since the F. R. Newman Arboretum was created in 1981, the broad expanse of lawn in front of the Nevin Center will be transformed into a beautiful series of new perennial gardens, while the plateau on Comstock Knoll will become a dramatic East Asian garden.

Click here to read more.

Holiday Sale at our Garden Gift Shop this Friday and Saturday

2 years 42 weeks ago

Join us on Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15 for another holiday sale!   Cornell Plantations members along with Cornell faculty, staff and students will receive 30% off their total purchase*.

Non-members will get 20% off their total purchase*.

*Discount excludes prints and other works of art, and Cornell Sheep Program blankets.

Nevin Welcome Center Holiday Hours

2 years 43 weeks ago

winter garden and nevin welcome centerThe Nevin Welcome Center will be closed from Saturday, December 22nd and reopen on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

As always, the grounds are free and open to the public every day from dawn to dusk.

Enjoy the holiday season!

FEMA awards $880,000 grant to repair Cascadilla Gorge trail

2 years 44 weeks ago
FEMA recently awarded Cornell $880,000 repair the damage, an addition to the $2.7 million Cornell has already committed for capital improvements to improve safety for Cascadilla and Fall Creek gorges. The gorge trail between Stewart and College avenues was submerged under two feet of water moving so fast that it tore off staircase railings and peeled off whole sections of trail paved with mortar and stone. FEMA recently awarded Cornell $880,000 repair the damage, an addition to the $2.7 million Cornell has already committed for capital improvements to improve safety for Cascadilla and Fall Creek gorges.

Read more in the November 29 Cornell Chronicle online article, "FEMA awards $880,000 grant to repair gorge trail."