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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (607) 254-7430.
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).
Do you love spending time in the forests, meadows and other natural areas of the Finger Lakes region? Do you care about preserving the integrity of the natural world and do you want to share this love with others? If so, consider joining Plantations’ Natural Areas Academy.
The year long Natural Areas Academy (NAA) consists of dozens of expert-led workshops, field trips, and directed stewardship opportunities designed to provide participants with the knowledge, tools, and skills needed to support efforts in preserving our treasured natural resources. Utilizing Plantations’ Natural Areas as outdoor classrooms, the NAA aims to foster the conservation of natural areas and rare and declining species and their habitats by demonstrating essential stewardship methods, cultivating environmental literacy, and encouraging interactive experience with the natural world.
With their newly gained expertise, the Natural Areas Academy participants will also help to mentor the next generation of scientists, teachers, environmental stewards, and leaders, thereby fulfilling a vital role in the long-term preservation of our natural heritage, our world, and ultimately, our place in it.
A graduate of the 2012 Academy says, “I enjoyed learning to identify flora and fauna in the natural world-…Also the opportunities for stewardship were well conceived and rewarding…Just the right amount of work to get a taste and decide whether to pursue in the future…. I would recommend this program without hesitation.”
Participants in the NAA are expected to work towards the program’s goals over the course of the year. After the completion of a combined 40 hours of participation in workshops and directed stewardship activities, academy members will receive their Natural Areas Mentor certification and may continue to participate in the NAA as a mentor for no cost. The first NAA workshop will be a mandatory orientation, and will be held on Saturday, March 16.
To learn more or to enroll online, clik here. Enrollment closes at midnight on Friday, March 8, 2013.