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Mary Hirshfeld, Director of Horticulture, Retires

Published: 
16 weeks 4 days ago

Cornell Plantations announces the retirement of the organization’s director of horticulture, Mary Hirshfeld. Her decision to retire will bring to a close an amazing career of 36 years of continuous dedication to Cornell Plantations.

Christopher Dunn, the new director of Cornell Plantations, remarked, “Although I have not been at Plantations very long, it is obvious to me, in every new discovery I make in our gardens and arboretum, that Mary’s hands have touched and molded these areas. She has helped Plantations to carry on Liberty Hyde Bailey’s dream of a ‘new type of botanical garden.’ On behalf of myself, our staff, and volunteers we are incredibly grateful to Mary for her 36 years of making Plantations a beautiful and inspirational place.”

During her tenure, Hirshfeld led the horticultural development of the botanical garden and F.R. Newman Arboretum.  With a goal of having a rich and diverse pallet of plants, Hirshfeld helped create noted gardens such as the the Bowers Rhododendron Collection, the Mullestein Family Winter Garden, the Treman Woodland Walk and the Zucker Shrub Collection to name just a few.  Hirshfeld also led the way for Plantations to become a member of the North American Plant Collections Consortium, which is a network of botanical gardens and arboreta to preserve key plant species and to promote high standards of plant collections management for its diverse collection of maples and oaks.  Today, Plantations’ botanical gardens and the arboretum serve as models for exemplary horticulture, featuring 12,000 accessioned plants comprising over 50,000 individual plants, all of which were selected to showcase the value of plants in our lives. 

Reflecting on her career at Plantations, Hirshfeld said "Over the past 36 years I have had the pleasure of watching and helping Cornell Plantations grow into a world-class Public Garden.  I've seen transformation after transformation, and I'm grateful to my dedicated staff that has helped us achieve that world-class recognition. If it were not for them, we wouldn't be where we are today. I'm comfortable in the thought that my team will be able to continue the work that we've started together, and look forward to watching Cornell Plantations grow forward.”

Cornell Plantations will conduct a national search to choose Hirshfeld’s successor in the coming months.

Click here to watch a short interview with Mary on her last day.

Celebrate National Public Gardens Day - TODAY!

Published: 
16 weeks 4 days ago

Come celebrate National Public Gardens Day at Cornell Plantations, and
discover the region’s premier public garden with tours, sales, art, and
coffee!Come celebrate National Public Gardens Day at Cornell Plantations, and
discover the region’s premier public garden. Enjoy an early morning bird
walk in the Arboretum, a guided “highlights” tour of the botanical
garden, and a tour of our Sustainable Backyard demonstration garden;
stop by the Nevin Welcome Center to browse the art exhibition, take
advantage of the one-day gift shop sale and enjoy a free cup of Gimme!
coffee.

The gardens and grounds are yours to explore on your own from dawn until
dusk. All activities except the morning bird walk will take place in
the botanical garden and Nevin Welcome Center, on Plantations Road. The
Welcome Center will be open from 9:30 to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free;
however, there is a fee for parking at the Welcome Center from 7:00 a.m.
until 5:00 p.m. (first hour is free). 

    Schedule of Activities:

* 8:00 a.m.:  Morning Bird Walk – F.R. Newman Arboretum. (Meet by the Sculpture Garden. Free parking available.)

* 12:00 noon: Botanical Garden Highlights Tour

* 2:00 p.m.: Sustainable Backyard Tour

* 9:30 – 5:00 p.m.:  Art exhibition - “Plant Portraits through the Season,” by Margaret Corbit.

* 9:30 – 5:00 p.m.:  One-day only sale in the Gift Shop: members receive
30% off most items; non-members receive 15%. Free cup of Gimme! coffee.

Spring means salamanders migrating by the thousands

Published: 
18 weeks 9 hours ago

When the weather turns warmer, it is a cue to many salamanders to find ponds or other wetlands to lay their eggs. Many rely on Plantations Natural Areas including Ringwood Ponds, a local hotspot for a rich diversity of amphibians. Read about the challenges these salamanders face during their migration in the Ithaca Times article, "Local Salamanders Run the Gantlet."

Invasive vines swallow up New York's natural areas

Published: 
18 weeks 4 days ago

Plantations' staff spend much effort working to curb the spread of invasive species like pale swallow-wort in many of our natural areas. Read morePlantations' staff spend much effort working to curb the spread of invasive species like pale swallow-wort in many of our natural areas. Learn about what is being done about the spread of pale swallowwort in the April 23 Cornell Chronicle article, "invasive vines swallow up New York's natural areas."

Spring is a time to hit the hiking trails

Published: 
19 weeks 12 hours ago

Warmer weather means more people enjoying the outdoors, often on one of the multitude of trails maintained throughout the region. There are many trails in Cornell Plantations' wide range of natural areas to enjoy this spring. Read about how Cornell Plantations, the Finger Lakes Land Trust and the Cayuga Trails Club work to maintain their trails and how you can help in the April 19th Ithaca Times article, "Spring means heavier trail use."

Part of Cascadilla Gorge Trail is Reopened

Published: 
20 weeks 4 days ago

The Cascadilla Gorge Trail, between Linn Street and Stewart Avenue, is now reopened after being closed for the winter.  The trail weathered the winter relatively well, having only minor railing damage upon initial inspection.  Major repair work on upstream sections of the trail will commence this spring, with contractors starting where they left off last year, rebuilding the large staircase sections below the College Avenue Bridge. The current plan will have the trail fully restored and reopened this summer.

The F. R. Newman Arboretum is now open to vehicles

Published: 
21 weeks 5 days ago

We're excited to announce that Spring has sprung at Plantations!  The F. R. Newman Arboretum will open to vehicular traffic on Friday, April 4, 2014 at noon heralding the start to Spring.

The F. R. Newman Arboretum is a place for the scientific study and public exhibition of a diversity of trees and shrubs. These plantings, all hardy to our area, help foster Plantations’ scientific, educational, and plant appreciation efforts. Here, visitors can learn about and enjoy native species, as well as species imported from similar climate zones around the world.
The arboretum’s collections—including nut trees, crabapples, oaks, maples, shrubs, and urban trees—comprise a 100-acre pastoral setting. Specialty gardens in the arboretum include the Zucker Shrub Collection and the Treman Woodland Walk. The rolling hills and valleys, or “bowls,” were carved out by Fall Creek following the retreat of the last glacier over 10,000 years ago. The arboretum’s overlooks and benches provide visitors with panoramic views.

The F. R.Newman Arboretum is open daily from dawn until dusk. 

Meet Christopher Dunn (in three minutes and 30 questions!)

Published: 
22 weeks 6 hours ago

Meet Dr. Christopher Dunn, Plantations' new E. N. Wilds Director. April 1st was his first day on the job and we asked him a few questions to give us a better understanding of who he is and his thoughts about Cornell Plantations.

Click here to view a three minute video to get to know him a little better. We hope you enjoy meeting him!

Learn more about Christopher in his April 23 interview with the Ithaca Times, "New Plantations Director:Plants Integrated into Culture."

Exhibit explores Haudenosaunee symbolism of the "Tree of Peace"

Published: 
22 weeks 6 days ago

On display now through the end of July, visit the exhibit "Ögwe ö:weh Consciousness as Peace," which focuses on the Haudenosaunee symbolism of “The Tree of Peace,” also known as the white pine (Pinus strobus), one of the oldest trees in North America. The exhibit features a beaded tree titled, “Ganradaisgowah-Peace Tree” (shown here) by renowned Cayuga artist Samuel Thomas and a replica of the “Dust or The Ever-growing Tree” wampum, each the embodiment of Haudenosaunee “The Tree of Peace.”

This exhibit is a collaboration with Cornell University's American Indian Program.

Plantations contributes to Cornell's STARS gold rating

Published: 
22 weeks 6 days ago

In the continuing effort to save energy, enhance environmental operations and increase sustainability research and education, Cornell earned its third consecutive gold STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. STARS – the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System – is a self-reporting tool that colleges and universities can use to measure progress and compare their rankings. Cornell moved up a notch – at 73.34 – to become one of 58 schools earning gold status out of 308 rated schools for 2013.

As the caretaker of much of Cornell’s natural landscapes, efforts by Cornell Plantations staff contribute to this rating in several ways.

Native Plants: The STARS rating systems recognizes universities for making efforts to use native plants in landscaped areas. There has been a long-standing practice of prioritizing and using native plants in campus landscaping, both in the maintained grounds as well as in the campus natural and cultivated landscapes that are used for teaching, research and conservation. At Cornell Plantations, a bioswale garden was constructed in 2010 to filter rainwater using native plants. Additionally, Plantations Natural Areas program dedicates much effort to restoring Cornell’s natural areas by removing invasive plant species and re-establishing native plants. These efforts and many others are guided by Cornell Plantations’ invasive species plant policy.

Management of natural landscapes: The STARS metrics recognizes institutions that have programs in place to protect and/or create wildlife habitat on institution-owned land. Cornell Plantations manages and protects two gorges, 70,425 feet of streams and riparian habitats, mature and successional forests, marsh, wet meadow, and old field habitats, as well as our Botanic Garden and F.R. Newman Arboretum. These areas, which comprise 32% of the campus, are actively protected and managed to support the educational mission of the University. Management activities include monitoring, habitat establishment, natural areas restoration, naturalization, invasive species control, and deer over-population management.

Integrated Pest Management: Cornell was recognized for carrying out the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an approach to controlling insects, weeds and plant diseased to maintain the health of living landscapes plants while minimizing the use of chemical pesticides. Cornell Plantations’ botanical garden and F. R. Newman Arboretum make up a large part of the campus’ cultivated landscape and staff follow an established IPM procedure to control pests which include naturalized landscape design that emphasizes a diversity of species, careful site selection and preparation, use of hearty, disease- and pest-resistant varieties, proper frequencies of watering, pruning, and mowing, mulching and introduction of naturally occurring organisms to control pests.

Read more about Cornell's STARS rating in the March 13 Cornell Chronicle article, “For a greening Cornell, three is a gold STARS charm."

To learn more about Cornell Plantations Natural Areas program, click here.