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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
By Krishna Ramanujan
Originally published by the Cornell Chronicle.
At the back of a construction zone with backhoes and piles of dirt surrounded by a chain-link fence, a gray wall is built into Comstock Knoll. Next year, the site will house Cornell Plantations' new sustainably designed welcome center.
Robert Barker/University Photography
From left: John Kiefer, Glenn Dallas, Susan Henry and Don Rakow.
On a drizzly gray day, visitors were cheered Oct. 23 by a groundbreaking ceremony for the Cornell Plantations Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center at the Mullestein Winter garden, next to Plantations Road.
"Plantations has long needed a single site where we can greet visitors, provide them with orientation and interpretation about our history and collections, and meet visitor amenity needs," said Don Rakow, the Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations, at the ceremony.
The building, planned for completion by Trustee/Council Weekend next October, will comply with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification standards. The first floor will be bermed into Comstock Knoll in the heart of the botanical garden. The contractor is using partly reused materials and is recycling its construction waste. And the building will use 30 percent less energy than industry standards require and will include both a green roof and solar panels.
The center will feature a bright two-story atrium and lobby, interpretive exhibits about Cornell Plantations, a reception desk, restrooms, a gift shop and a small café. To better serve Plantations' education and outreach programs, the second floor will include a 100-seat classroom/lecture hall and a 10-seat conference room.
The new center is intended as the capstone project of a long series of capital improvements at Plantations that began a dozen years ago, said Rakow. In addition to the new center, upgrades will include a new parking area with a tour-bus drop-off zone, partly built with Cornell structural soil designed by Cornell's Urban Horticultural Institute to safely bear pavement loads after compaction and still allow root penetration and vigorous tree growth.
Also, a new "bioswale" adjacent to the parking lot will be designed to bio-remediate runoff from the parking area. "The Plantations is a model for all the world to look to for its sustainable gardening and land management practices, native plant conservation and habitat preservation and restoration," said Susan Henry, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, at the event.
Cornell Project, Design and Construction Director John Kiefer, who also spoke at the event, took part in the ceremonial groundbreaking with Henry, Rakow and Glenn Dallas '58 (representing Maddi Dallas '58, co-chair of the Plantations 21st Century Committee).
The welcome center is named for Brian Nevin '50, at the request of C. Sherwood Southwick, his partner and the new center's major donor. Nevin and Southwick co-owned Briarwood Antiques on State Street in Ithaca for 32 years.
September 18, 2009 - Emergency repairs will be commencing this week to replace damaged and hazardous infrastructure above the Cascadilla Gorge Trail. The public is reminded that the trail remains closed between Linn Street and College Avenue due to extreme safety hazards from ongoing construction work, overhead rock and debris, and unsafe trail conditions. We urge you to stay out of the gorge until the trail is reopened. Please don't jeopardize your own safety or the safety of others.
August 24, 2009- Please take notice that the Cascadilla Gorge Trail from Linn Street downtown to College Avenue is temporarily closed, effective immediately. The Cascadilla Gorge pathways and railings have been severely damaged from the forces of nature, and are presently unsafe. That section of the gorge trail will remain closed and extremely hazardous until repairs can be made.
On Tuesday, September 8, Cornell students in Marcia Eames-Sheavly's "Art of Horticulture" class (HORT 2010) constructed a sod sofa in the F.R. Newman Arboretum. The project was jointly organized by Eames-Sheavly, turf specialist Frank Rossi and staff at Cornell Plantations. The sod sofa is open to the public and we invite all to come out to see and sit in it! Below is a video of the sod sofa being constructed, courtesy of Cornell Horticulture.
Cornell Plantations kicks off it's annual Fall Lecture series next Wednesday evening, September 2, with renowned Cornell English professor, Daniel Schwarz. Professor Schwarz will be giving the Harder lecture on Reconfiguring Nature after Darwin: Skepticism and Sexuality in High Modernist Literature. 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 16 to November 11 Plantations will offer lectures at 7:30 in Statler Auditorium. For more details, speaker information, and lecture descriptions go here.
The lecture series may be taken for Cornell course credit as Hort 4800. For more information click here.
Cornell Plantations is pleased to announce that the Newman’s Own Foundation has awarded a grant to the Natural Areas Program to support our efforts to preserve the rare American globeflower (Trollius laxus). This globally imperiled plant is presently known from only about 50 sites. The globeflower has a limited range, spanning parts of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The majority of populations are found in New York, and 15 sites are in the Ithaca area within the Fall Creek watershed. Plantations’ Natural Areas Program protects two of the of the Fall Creek watershed populations, and conservation of this rare species is one of our top priorities.
Newman’s Own Foundation is a private, independent foundation established by Paul L. Newman. The Foundation continues the commitment of Paul to donate all net profits and royalties earned from the sale of Newman’s Own products to charity. As of June 2009, over $267 million has been donated to thousands of charities around the world.
For more information, contact Beth Anderson, Plantations development director, at 607-254-4727 or Beth.Anderson@cornell.edu.