Dr. 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.
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.
The 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!
Read more in the November 29 Cornell Chronicle online article, "FEMA awards $880,000 grant to repair gorge trail."
The Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center was completed in November 2010 and officially opened to the public on February 1, 2011. The Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center is an important part of modernization and infrastructural improvements made at Plantations over the last decade; it is referred to as the "grand finale" of a decade-long construction cycle that has seen new gardens, the redesign of office space, and multiple other projects. Built in the center of the Botanical Garden, at the confluence of existing walking paths, the building is tucked itself into the center of the gardens offering visitors a welcoming experience to Cornell Plantations.
Photo by Jon Reis
Among the notable green building features of the Nevin Welcome Center are wood louvers across the front of the building which serve to filter summer sunlight and admit winter sun for passive heating; rooftop solar tube collectors which generate winter heat; a motorized vent/skylight that provides natural ventilation, and a green roof which helps insulate and protect the roof while also treating stormwater.
Green roof (photo by Toby Wolf)
Additional features include the extensive use of natural light, local and recycled materials; low-emitting healthy materials; and energy saving lighting fixtures and controls. In addition to the building itself, the project received points for its construction management techniques, recycling up to 96% of the waste generated during construction. Rounding out the project were significant landscape elements that contributed to the sustainable sites LEED category including a beautifully designed bioswale garden that cleanses water as it runs off the site and parking areas and the use of structural soil to allow for tree growth in a paved environment.
Buildings that receive LEED V.2 Gold designation from the U.S. Green Building Council must earn 39 to 51 points points distributed across five major credit categories: Cornell Plantations’ Nevin Welcome Center received 47 points, obtaining points across each category – Sustainable Sites (10), Water Efficiency (2), Energy and Atmosphere (11), Materials and Resources (5), Indoor Environmental Quality (14), and Innovation and Design (5).
Bioswale garden and parking lot (photo by Chris Kitchen)
In addition to being a welcome center for Plantations visitors, the building also serves as a teaching tool for many groups interested in learning more about green buildings, “I direct many of the campus and student groups interested in green buildings to tour the Nevin Welcome Center. Not only does the building have a connection with the natural world in both form and materials, but many of the technological and design aspects of green building are clearly visible and are easily described to and understood by visitors.” says Matt Kozlowski, environmental project coordinator at Cornell University.
The Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center is named for Brian C. Nevin ’50, at the request of the primary benefactor, C. Sherwood “Woody” Southwick Jr. The Nevin Welcome Center with its Gold LEED designation is a significant step forward in Plantations’ and Cornell’s commitment to sustainability. Don Rakow, the Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations states, “Cornell Plantations is committed to a sustainable future, as such we are thrilled to receive the USGBC's LEED Gold designation for the Nevin Welcome Center. Plantations has long needed a single site where we can greet visitors, provide them with orientation and interpretation about our collections and meet their amenity needs. This dream was fulfilled with the opening of the Center, which helps us achieve our sustainability and educational goals.”
Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, the designers of the Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center at the Cornell Plantations, have received much recognition for their design of this ultra-green building. The Nevin Welcome Center has won a “Award of Excellence” from the AIA New York Chapter, an “Honor Award” at the Tri-state AIA annual conference, a “Design Excellence” award from the Ontario Architects’ Association, and Canadian Architect magazine and online journal. The building has been featured in several publications and most recently was featured in Greensource Magazine in May 2012. The general contractor for the project was Welliver, landscape construction was provided by Cayuga Landscape, and the project was managed by the Cornell Facilities Services department formerly known as Planning Design and Construction. On November 27, 2012, Cornell Plantations will receive its LEED Gold plaque from Tracie Hall, the Executive Director of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Upstate New York Chapter in a small ceremony.
In an effort to make trails in and around Fall Creek safer, approximately 2,200 feet of trails and staircases have been renovated, with 2,700 feet of new railings and fences installed on trails between the Stewart and Thurston Avenue bridges. This is just one part of the renovations that have been completed since May 2012.
Read more in the November 1 Cornell Chronicle online article, "Phase one of Fall Creek Gorge trails renovation completed."
Cornell Plantations F.R. Newman Arboretum and all Fall Creek and Cascadilla Gorge trails not previously under construction have been reopened to the public.
Cornell Plantations hosted their second annual Let’s Move! Family Hike on Saturday, September 15, with over 300 families in attendance.
Visitors hiked through one of Plantations’ best-known natural areas – Beebe Lake. This one-mile loop was a perfect spot for families to explore the beautiful flowers and trees along the path, and enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding Cornell campus. Along the way young hikers (and even their parents) had fun with a letter-boxing activity where they searched for hidden treasures, learning about the natural surroundings along with fun facts about the importance of physical activity.
At the start of the hike, each child was given a pedometer to keep track of their steps. On their return, hikers submitted their total number of steps; the total tally for the hike was 325,156 steps (the equivalent of 149 miles*)!
“As a mom, I find there is no shortage of things to do for busy families, and in the rush of our daily lives it’s easy to forget to stop and experience our surroundings.” states Sonja Skelly, director of education at Cornell Plantations, “Plantations is one of the most stunning spots in Ithaca, NY and the region, the arboretum, gardens, and natural areas we manage are perfect places where families can come for a walk, a run, and some Vitamin N (Nature) to increase overall wellness, physical activity. I’m asked a lot about why we are part of the Let’s Move initiative, and the answer is simple – Take It Outside! It’s become somewhat of a mantra here – Taking it Outside – going out in nature does a lot for people – relieves stress, provides a way to be physically active, and yet at the same time provides an enjoyable way to have fun in beautiful surroundings!”
Plantations has committed to participating in First Lady, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative for three years. In 2011, Plantations was the first organization in Ithaca, NY to offer a Let’s Move! program and plans to continue to offer additional programs that help to put children on the path to healthy futures.
*Miles calculated using stride of 2.5 on walk4life.com.
About Let’s Move!
Let’s Move! combines comprehensive strategies with common sense, and is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. Giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices and helping kids become more physically active are among a few of the goals of Let’s Move! For more information about Let’s Move! visit www.letsmove.gov.
A collaborative project involving Cornell Plantations and Cornell University landscape architecture students is focused on planting for the future while preserving the past. Plantations staff and summer interns from Cornell have been creating plans for new gardens at the historic Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, NY.
Irene Lekstutis, landscape designer at Cornell Plantations and Landscape Architecture students from Cornell University who were interns at Plantations over the summer -- Daisy Chinburg ‘13, Robert Doerflinger ‘13, and Ethan Dropkin ‘13 –– met with Christine Carter of the Harriet Tubman Home several times this summer to discuss developing period appropriate planting plans, as well as creating a long-term master plan for future development of the property. It’s the desire of Ms. Carter and her colleagues to create gardens that Harriet Tubman would have grown during her life in Auburn, NY (1857 - 1913).
“Engaging our summer interns who are majoring in Landscape Architecture in a ‘real –world’ project like this has been very gratifying,” stated Lekstutis. “When Christine contacted Cornell Plantations about helping them improve the aesthetics of the Tubman Home landscape, we were thrilled. We all agreed it would be a great way to enhance the intern experience by providing these students with a project related to their particular field of study.”
It has been a long-time commitment of Cornell Plantations to collaborate with gardens, and historic sites across the country. This project, being so close to campus, makes it easy for these students and Plantations to continue with this collaboration. Plantations’ summer intern program plays an important role at the University, by giving students real world experience. For these students, they just didn’t gain experience from working with the professional staff at Plantations, but they were able to garner experience working with a client. They had to listen to the client’s needs, and had to deliver a plan that was relevant to the client’s budget and wish list.
While outside projects such as these are not typical of the internships at Plantations, Lekstutis saw the opportunity to further enhance the interns’ summer learning experience. Daisy Chinburg ’13 says, "We really lucked out this summer! It’s been great to have the opportunity to learn more about Harriet Tubman, while practicing landscape design skills. And working along side Plantations’ professional landscape designer was a bonus!”
During the course of the project, the interns spent time in Mann Library perusing old nursery catalogues and books on historic gardens to become familiar with herbaceous and woody plants commonly grown in gardens and landscapes of late 19th and early 20th centuries. By the end of summer the interns completed a planting plan for the brick residence on the Tubman site.
This fall Ms. Chinburg and Mr. Dropkin are continuing their involvement in the project through independent studies. Their goal is to develop a contemporary planting design, using period appropriate plants for the house that served as the Tubman Home for the Aged.
Chinburg will carry the project work further by developing a long-term master plan for the site. She says that, “working on this project over the summer helped me to discover my interest in cultural landscapes.” Now, in addition to working with the team on the master plan, she is developing a cultural landscape report under the guidance of associate professor Sherene Baugher, landscape archeologist and preservationist at Cornell University. This report will describe the research and methodology of their investigation into this historic landscape and will serve to inform the development of what will eventually be a long term master plan for bringing the history of the site ‘to life’ for the general public.
“I am so pleased to have been included in this mulch-faceted design project and to get a chance to work on such a talented team with Irene,” stated Eric Dropkin ‘13. “The project provides a variety of unusual learning opportunities as it includes not only a design element but also research of historical landscapes and planting palettes which we undertook on site as well as in the Bailey Hortorium at Mann Library. Both the Harriet Tubman Home and more so the Bailey Hortorium are relatively local resources that I doubt many Cornell students are aware of, however they are immense reservoirs of historical data.”
As part of Dropkin’s independent study this semester he is mainly focused on completing the garden designs. He’s using a period appropriate plant palette we're striving to create gardens which evoke the period and provide multi-season interest for visitors and staff alike.
About Harriet Tubman:
Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War. After escaping from slavery she rescued more than 70 slaves using the Underground Railroad. After the Civil War, she retired to the family home in Auburn, where she cared for her aging parents. She became active in the women's suffrage movement in New York until complications from an illness made it impossible. Near the end of her life, she lived in a home for elderly African Americans that she had helped found years earlier. Today the Harriet Tubman Home stands as part of the indomitable legacy of Harriet Tubman. Ms. Tubman believed that no matter the odds you face, ‘keep going.’ She set goals and objectives that were always obtainable. Even if many around her thought the goals beyond reach, she always knew that they were indeed achievable.
About The Harriet Tubman Home:
The Harriet Tubman Home preserves the legacy of "The Moses of Her People" in the place where she lived and died in freedom. The site is located on 26 acres of land in Auburn, New York, and is owned and operated by the AME Zion Church. It includes four buildings, two of which were used by Harriet Tubman.
From now through October, you can visit the Nevin Welcome Center to view a collection of Alice Gant's vibrant quilted banners with detailed scenes of gardens and wildlife. Not only are these whimsical banners fun to look at, each one has a tidbit of wisdom to impart to its audience.
View the Nevin Welcome Center hours.
View more of Alice's artwork here.