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Enjoy the reopened Cascadilla Gorge on a guided hike

1 year 2 weeks ago

Join us for this guided hike by Cornell Plantations Director of Natural Areas, Todd Bittner, to learn about and view efforts to rebuild the Cascadilla Gorge Trail. Please wear sturdy hiking shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Hike is moderately strenuous and involves some steep stair climbing. The Hike is free but pre-registration is required. Click here to register.

Meet at the college Avenue entrance to the trail, adjacent to the Schwartz Performing Arts Center.

Cascadilla Gorge was officially opened on September 15 with an opening ceremony
Cornell Plantations' director, Christopher Dunn, Cornell's vice president of facilities and services, KyuJung Whang, former Ithaca Mayor, Carolyn Peterson, current mayor of Ithaca, Svante Myrick, and Plantations' director of natural areas, Todd Bittner welcomed close to 200 guests and expressed their gratitude and excitement for the gorge's reopening.  A self-guided tour showing current and historical construction efforts will remain in the gorge until winter closing.

To read the Ithaca Journal article about the reopening ceremony click here.

Grow a Career! Support Plantations Internship Program

1 year 3 weeks ago
This summer, 11 Cornell student interns spent 12 weeks working and learning at Plantations, and have now launched a crowdfunding project to ensure that more students will have the same opportunity next year. Check out their video and what they have to say about their experiences at
Unlike many internships in the corporate sector, the Plantations internships are paid, full-time positions, enabling the students to earn money for college while they gain valuable career experience. The current cost of the program is $5,500 per intern, including the student's wages, program expenses for field trips and group workshops, equipment and materials, and coordinator's salary. We have funding for 6 positions with income from permanent endowments and annual commitments from generous donors, and have offered additional positions each year with support from unrestricted gifts. With rising costs and increased pressure on our general operating budget, we need to raise $10,000 in order to be able to offer at least 8 internships in summer 2015.
Your gift—at any level—will help the students meet our goal and ensure funding for 2 student internships next year. 

This fundraising project end on September 30th, so click here to please give now!

Celebrate the reopening of Cascadilla Gorge on September 15

1 year 3 weeks ago
Join Cornell Plantations as we celebrate the opening of the Cascadilla Gorge Trail on Monday, September 15 at 4:30 p.m.  After 6 years, multiple weather delays, and with generous support from Cornell University and grants from FEMA totaling $2.75 million, the gorge trail is finally going to be open from Treman Triangle (at Linn Street in downtown Ithaca, NY) all the way to Cornell’s campus! Take it outside and check out all the upgrades!



Event date/time: Monday, September 15; 4:30-5:00 p.m.
Location: Treman Triangle Park at the base of the trail off of Linn Street

Remarks by:

Christopher Dunn, E. N. Wilds director of Cornell Plantations
KyuJung Whang,vice president of facilities services, Cornell University
Carolyn Peterson, former Mayor of the City of Ithaca
Mayor Svante Myrick, Mayor of the City of Ithaca
Todd Bittner, director of Natural Areas for Cornell Plantations

Everyone is invited to do a self-guided tour of the gorge after the ceremony.

Family Fun at Judy's Day! September 21 RAIN OR SHINE!

1 year 3 weeks ago
Kids of all ages are invited to GO BANANAS exploring the fun and fascinating world of fruits at our Judy's Day Family Festival on Sunday, September 21 from 1 to 5 p.m. Rain or shine - we have tents! Whether tasting fruit, making fruit crafts or just enjoying a beautiful day in our F. R. Newman Arboretum, this event promises to be one you won’t want to miss! Learn more here.

Gorge safety program dedicated in memory of Nathaniel Rand

1 year 4 weeks ago

In a tribute to Nathaniel Rand ’12, about 50 Cornell and local community members gathered at the Cornell Plantations’ Nevin Welcome Center August 26 to dedicate the Nathaniel Rand ’12 Memorial Gorge Safety Education Program.
Among them were Rand’s sister, Freya, and parents, Dr. Jacob Rand and Maggi Rand, who have been strong advocates for the gorge safety education program, created after Nathaniel died in a swimming accident in Fall Creek Gorge in 2011. The program promotes the safe enjoyment of the natural gorges that slice through campus, cascading in stunning but dangerous splendor to the flatlands below. Click here to read the full August 28 Cornell Chronicle article.

Booze and Botany Cocktail Party and Lecture September 17!

1 year 4 weeks ago
Join author Amy Stewart in the Herb Garden for a pre-lecture cocktail party featuring drinks from her book, “The Drunken Botanist: The Plants that Create the World’s Great Drinks." The registration fee for this fundraiser include light hors d’oeuvres and tickets for three cocktail samples, provided by Agava restaurant. Proceeds support the mission of Cornell Plantations. Participants must be 21 or older and prepared to show proof of age. Pre-registration is required.

Date/time: September 17, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Cost: $50 ($45 members or Cornell students)
Location: Plantations' Botanical Garden

Click here to register.

Free lecture after the party
Join Amy Stewart for her lecture exploring the dizzying array of plants that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration, and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol.

Date/Time: Wednesday, September 17, 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Statler Hall Auditorium, Cornell University

Learn more here.

"Victis acernis" on display now

1 year 4 weeks ago
"Victis acernis" is a sugar maple created in 2013 by Cornell University Professor Jack Elliot and Cornell students.

In Jack Elliot's words:

"Victis acernis" is latin for "vanquished maple." It is one of a series of pieces referencing the harmful effects of global warming. These pieces are positioned to resemble the checkmated king in chess. In this case, warmer winters are leading to less sap production and increased tree mortality. This body of work is entitled "arbortecture." These pieces are derived from large tree parts that have been harvested by Cornell University. These examples range in scale from small to large, from handheld to cranelifted. They are intended to challenge ideas about the human/nature relationship through juxtapositions of the geometric and the organic; the intentional and the spontaneous; the light and the dark. They often refer to a specific environmental issue, such as climate change or the decline of nature appreciation, but their primary purpose is to move the viewer though their scale, power, and intricacy.


1 year 6 weeks ago

Take home some of Plantations gardeners’ top picks for your own home landscape! This fall’s offerings will include small shrubs, a wide variety of perennials, and some new additions to the horticulture trade.  9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Location:Cornell Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Dr. (The sale was originally scheduled for August 30.)

Poetry's evolutionary niche - SEPT 3!

1 year 6 weeks ago

Consider an orchid’s foot-long spur and a moth’s 12-inch tongue stretching through the spur to reach the orchid’s nectar. Poet Joanie Mackowski sees in this biological oddity the same co-evolutionary process that gives us poetry.  She’ll explore this process on Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m. in Call Auditorium. Read more.

Joanie Mackowski

Consider an orchid’s foot-long spur and a moth’s 12-inch tongue stretching through the spur to reach the orchid’s nectar. Poet Joanie Mackowski sees in this biological oddity the same co-evolutionary process that gives us poetry.

She’ll explore this process for the Cornell Plantations’ William and Jane Torrence Harder Lecture Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m. in Call Auditorium. The lecture, “You're the Bee's Kinesis: Poetry and Coevolution,” will include readings of poems by Mackowski and others and is open to the public.
Read the full article by Linda Glaser here.

Click here to see the 2014 Fall Lecture Series lineup.

What's been happening in the Climate Change Garden?

1 year 7 weeks ago
In late spring, we installed a Climate Change demonstration garden to invite visitors to see for themselves how plants are affected by elevated temperatures. Intern Emily Rodekohr '15 tended to the garden and collected data throughout the summer. Find out what she observed in this two-minute video.


Climate Change Garden with Emily Rodekohr '15 from Cornell Plantations on Vimeo.

Some plants are out to get us

1 year 7 weeks ago

Plantations Natural Areas director Todd Bittner talks to the Ithaca Times about the threat of Giant Hogweed and other plants to know that can cause rashes or blisters. Read more in the August 9 article "Some plants are out to get us." 

Plantations featured in new book about Arboretums in America

1 year 8 weeks ago
The F. R. Newman Arboretum at Cornell Plantations is among the 33 arboretums featured in Trees Live Here: the Arboretums of America, the first book to be devoted to these very special places. Written by a committed lover of trees, life-long Seattle resident Susan McDougall has traveled, mostly by train, with her camera, taken far too many photographs, and combined them with a readable and informative text.
“I’m passionate about trees. To share my love of these ‘places for trees’ through this book fulfills a real dream,” said McDougall.

Read the full article on Plantations Tumblr here.

Plantations bids a sad farewell to its beautiful Magnolia

1 year 11 weeks ago
Our big-leafed magnolia, sadly, has many serious structural and disease issues, which combined pose a significant risk of failure. And so it is with great regret that our treasured big-leafed magnolia will come down by the end of season.

By Christopher Dunn, Ph.D., the E. N. Wilds Director

Having recently joined Cornell Plantations, I am immediately amazed by the quality of the staff, gardens, natural areas, and the unique and often sacred plants in our collections. Many trees that grace our botanical garden and arboretum have been providing beauty and shade since the earliest days of Plantations. Among those is the beautiful Magnolia macrophylla, the big-leafed magnolia nestled between the Nevin Welcome Center and the Lewis Education Building in the heart of the botanical garden. In this location, it is far from its normal range of the Southeastern United States. This magnificent tree, estimated to be over 50 years old, has been a key feature of the botanical garden since 1966. It has aged and elicited countless cries of wonder as visitors pass under its canopy and admire its huge and beautiful flowers. It is, unfortunately, reaching the end of its life.  We have been tracking the health of this tree, noting various signs of decay and poor health, for many years. Our lead arborist recently said to me, “as with all living things, there comes a time when steps to preserve our trees and protect our visitors and staff are limited to only one option. This magnolia, sadly, has many serious structural and disease issues, which combined pose a significant risk of failure.”

And so it is with great regret that our treasured big-leafed magnolia will come down by the end of season. We invite you to say goodbye and marvel at its giant leaves and beautiful blooms one final time. Our horticulture staff has been growing a seedling of this tree, anticipating that this replacement will one day be needed. Once the seedling has been planted, we will have the pleasure of watching it grow and mature and enjoying another 50 years of splendor. Although we are sad, we take heart in this reminder from Aldo Leopold “There are two great acts, one is to harvest a tree because it involves faith that another will grow. The other is to plant a tree, because one must believe that it will grow.”

The video below features Lee Dean, Plantations' Lead Arborist, explaining his careful and thoughtful decision to remove this much beloved tree.


Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend... from Cornell Plantations on Vimeo.


To read Lee Dean's interview with the Ithaca Journal about this tree, click here.


Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend... from Cornell Plantations on Vimeo.

Haudenosaunee Dedication: A White Pine as a Tree of Peace

1 year 12 weeks ago

As part of our collaboration with Cornell’s American Indian Program, please join us this Saturday, July 12, in honoring the Haudenosaunee long-practiced peace-making tradition of planting a white pine at Cornell Plantations as an emblematic Tree of Peace in an effort to strengthen the message of peace and unity.

Date/time: Saturday, July 12; 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
Location: Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive, Ithaca


Speaker: John Block (Seneca Allegany) will lead a traditional Haudenosaunee opening and closing and will give a short talk on "The Significance of the Haudenosaunee tradition of planting white pine as a tree of peace."

Interactive performance: The Allegany River Indian Dancers will lead participants in a Round Dance and Haudenosaunee song, music and dance.

Peace Offerings: There will be an opportunity for participants to offer messages of peace.

View this event on our calendar here.


Plantations seeks a Director of Horticulture and Arborist Assistant

1 year 15 weeks ago

Click here for job descriptions.



Our 2013 Annual Report now available online

1 year 16 weeks ago

Click here to view our 2013 Annual Report online.




Help us make a difference

1 year 16 weeks ago

Cornell Plantations’ gardens, arboretum, and natural areas are places for discovery and wonder.  But beyond our natural beauty and leadership in environmental conservation, education is at the heart of everything we do.

From Cornell students to local schoolchildren, visitors and lifelong learners, every year 14,000 people reconnect with nature through our tours, classes, and free public programs. This delightful short video shows the breadth and value of these programs and the difference they make.



Cornell Plantations Spring Appeal from Cornell Plantations on Vimeo.

You can help people of all ages learn about plants and how essential they are to our lives and well-being. Please make a gift today. Cornell University provides only 15% of our operating budget, so we rely on support from people like you who care about preserving the environment, and the importance of plants and nature in our lives.

2014 Plantations Reunion Schedule

1 year 17 weeks ago

Cornell Plantations -- the arboretum, botanical garden and natural areas of Cornell University -- welcomes all alumni and their families to Reunion Weekend, June 5-8,2014.

During Reunion our rhododendrons, irises, and magnolias should be blooming, and you may still find many spring wildflowers in the Mundy Wildflower Garden and natural areas. Take our shuttle van from Barton Hall, West Campus or North Campus, to the Nevin Welcome Center, where you can take a mini-tour, pick up a visitor map and explore on your own, browse the exhibits and gift shop, or just relax and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the gardens and grounds. Our staff and volunteers are available to answer your questions and help you find your way around.

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 5:00 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.

Shuttle service available from 12:00 to 5:00, Friday and Saturday. Stops at Barton Hall, West Campus and North Campus.

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

Plantations Botanical Garden Highlights Tour
Nevin Welcome Center, Plantations Rd.,
Friday, 10 a.m.- 11a.m.
Guided one-hour tour through the numerous theme gardens in the Botanical Garden.

Plantations Garden Mini Tours
Nevin Welcome Center, Plantations, Rd.,
Friday, 1 p.m.- 4:30 p.m., Saturday, 1 p.m.- 4:30 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,
Friday, 11 a.m.- 12 p.m.,
Explore this woodland wildflower garden and discover a rich variety of native flora.

Upper Cascadilla Gorge Hike
Meet at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts in Collegetown,
Friday, 2 p.m.- 3:30 p.m.
Hike through Upper Cascadilla Gorge and learn about the geology, natural
history, and beauty of this scenic greenway. Includes one moderately steep slope; please wear comfortable walking shoes.

Spring Plant Sale
Cornell Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive;                                                           
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 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.

Fall Creek Gorge Hike
Meet at the north end of the Triphammer Footbridge (by Beebe Lake Dam),
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.- 2 p.m.,
Discover the beauty, natural history and geology of Cornell’s iconic Fall Creek Gorge. Moderately strenuous hike over steep gravel trails, and up and down two staircases; please wear comfortable walking shoes.

“The Hangovers” - Allan Hosie Treman '21 Memorial Concert
Jackson Grove, F.R. Newman Arboretum, Saturday, 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. Accessibility for disabled
persons is limited. Refreshments provided. Plantations shuttle vans will loop to the Arboretum before and after the concert.


Last week to apply for our gardener positions

1 year 17 weeks ago

Love gardening? We're hiring! We will be hiring two new gardeners to
care for gardens in the Botanical Garden, the F. R. Newman Arboretum
and occasionally throughout our natural areas.  Apply now by clicking here and here.

Spring plant sale this weekend!

1 year 17 weeks ago

Get inspired and take home some of our gardeners’ top picks for your own home landscape this Saturday, June 7, 9:00–4:00 at our Plant Production Facility. Discounted prices for Plantations members. If you’re not a member, you can join at the sale and receive the discount on the spot!