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Cascadilla Gorge Trail vanadalized again

26 weeks 3 days ago
The Cascadilla Gorge Trail was vandalized for the second time in six months this week.

"We spent six years trying to get the gorge trail fully reopened, a huge commitment, and it was really fantastic to hear the response of the community to having the trail reopened, to feel safe, to look beautiful, to look like a historic gorge trail should look," said Plantations director of Natural Areas, Todd Bittner.

Seven different areas have now been defaced, including staircases, part of a stone wall, the new cement staircase, under the stone arch foot bridge and part of a retaining wall. The removal could cost up to $20,000.

Read more in the following articles:

Ithaca Journal: Cascadilla Gorge Trail vanadalized again, May 28

Ithaca Voice: Ithaca’s reopened Cascadilla Gorge Trail vandalized again, May 28

WHCU: Gorge vandalism clean up could be difficult and costly, May 29

Plantations staff help Cornell Class of 2015 honor lives lost

26 weeks 3 days ago

Plantations natural areas staff helped the senior honor society Quill & Dagger plant a grove of trees along Cascadilla Creek to celebrate the students of the Class of 2015 whose lives were lost. In addition, the senior class, spearheaded by Lara Keskinkaya and Sam Coleman, raised
funds to plant a “Tribute Tree” on the pathway between the Engineering
Quad and Collegetown, for seven members of the Class of 2015 who died.

President Skorton paid tribute to these gestures in his Commencement speech on May 24. Read more in the Cornell Chronicle article, "At Commencement, Skorton confers the 'generosity of spirit.'"


Cornell Plantations Contributes to Cornell’s STARS 2014 Gold Rating

27 weeks 3 days ago
In the continuing effort to save energy, enhance environmental operations and increase sustainability research and education, Cornell earned its fourth 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 is one of 75 schools earning gold status out of 299 rated schools for 2014.
Participating schools self-report on ways that they are contributing to the sustainability from student life, to carbon sequestering, and even to preserving bio-diversity on it’s campus.  

Click here to read more on the Plantations Tumblr blog.

Plant Sale, Saturday June 6

27 weeks 3 days ago
Take home some of our gardeners’ top picks for your own home landscape! Offerings will include a wide variety of perennials, and some new additions to the horticulture trade. We have several varieties of peonies, baptisia, hellebores, geum and nepeta. Recess Coffee from Syracuse, NY will be on hand selling their delicious artisan brews and baked goods beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Date/time: Saturday, June 6; 9:00 a.m. – noon
Cost: Admission and parking are free
Location: Cornell Plantations Plant Production Facility, 397 Forest Home Drive
For more information, call 607-255-2400 or contact

Member-Only Early Bird Preview: Friday, June 5; 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
This is an exclusive opportunity for current Plantations members and donors to shop early for the best selection at our spring Plant Sale.  And, the first 50 members to arrive will receive a free packet of our beautiful note cards! Not a member? Join now online or that day at the Plant Sale Preview. For more information, email Lori Hammond-Colwell or call 607-255-8734.

Evening wildflower walk this Thursday!

29 weeks 1 hour ago
Tour the woodland pathways and plant habitats of the Mundy Wildflower Garden, an 8-acre natural area with naturalistic
gardens on Thursday, May 14 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Early spring is the ideal season for learning the natural history and identification of wildflowers such as Dutchman’s breeches, trillium, bloodroot, and Solomon’s seal. There is no registration required, but we are asking for a $5 suggested donation.

Date/time: Thursday, May 14; 7 - 8 p.m.
Cost: $5 suggested donation; pre-registration is not required
Instructor: Krissy Boys, staff gardener
Location: Meet at the entrance to the Mundy Wildflower Garden, located at the intersection of Caldwell Road and Forest Home Drive. Limited free parking is available.

Questions? Contact Kevin Moss at or call 274-7430

Celebrate spring with a visit to our gardens and natural areas!

29 weeks 4 days ago
Spring is in full swing here, just in time for Mother's Day weekend. This week's warm weather has coaxed the tulips, daffodils, magnolias, crabapples, cherries and spring woodland wildflowers to bloom.

In the Botanical Garden

Hundreds of daffodils are in bloom on Conifer Slope.

Many varieties of tulips are blooming in the Young Flower Garden.

The first of the rhododendrons are blooming on Comstock Knoll, including Rhododendron 'Mary Fleming,' planted last season (shown above). This is one of 12 varieties planted in the rhododendron collection that were bred by Guy Nearing, whom the Nearing Summerhouse was named in honor of.

In the F. R. Newman Arboretum

Magnolias, crabapples and cherries have just started blooming in the Flowering Tree Collection and Flowering Crabapple Collection.

In the Mundy Wildflower Garden

Now is the time to visit the Mundy Wildflower Garden to enjoy the delicate early-blooming woodand wildflowers. Trilliums, hepaticas, trout lilies (shown above), bellwort and dutchman's britches are just a few of the dozens of species growing there.

Plantations part of grant for new interactive County trails map

29 weeks 5 days ago

The Tompkins County Tourism Bureau awarded Cornell Plantations, the Human Services Coalition and the Town of Ulysses $14,500 to create a digital interactive map to search and explore all county recreation trails. Read more in the May 2 article "Mapping the Trails."

Cornell Plantations’ Ringwood Natural Area Suffers Forest Fire

29 weeks 6 days ago
An alert neighbor called 911 and responders from eight different volunteer fire companies assisted in putting out the blaze. The local fire departments on hand were: Dryden, Varna, Freeville, McLean, Brooktondale, Cayuga Heights, Slaterville, and Etna with the Varna Fire Department leading the incident command under chief Vincent Monticello. The departments battled the fire using traditional trucks, off road UTV units, and hand equipment.

“Their quick and effective response limited what could have been catastrophic damage to the natural area and local community,” state Todd Bittner, director of natural areas at Cornell Plantations. “As a result, no one was injured, no structures were lost and less than five acres were burned.”

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all the responders for their efforts in putting this fire out. Please be aware that Ithaca and the surrounding areas are under a “Red Flag Warning,” and there is a “no open burn ban” until May 15, 2015.  At this time the authorities are unsure of how the fire started.  We ask all visitors to our natural areas, and all those in our community to be aware of your surroundings, and to not start unauthorized fires, or discard of lit cigarettes on the ground. Please remember that in these dry conditions a fire can be started and can be spread very quickly.

For more information about the Ringwood Natural Areas, click here.

Homegrown Peppers workshop on May 20

29 weeks 6 days ago
In this presentation you’ll learn about the natural and cultural history of peppers, the fascinating diversity of pepper varieties, and some tips and best practices for cultivating your own bountiful pepper harvest at home. Each participant will receive six different types of young pepper plants to take and grow at home. Presented by Irene Lekstutis, Plantations Landscape Designer, and Paul Cooper, L.H. Bailey Conservatory Grower. Pre-registration required.

Date/time: Wednesday, May 20; 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $15 ($12 for Plantations members, volunteers and Cornell students)
Location: Nevin Welcome Center
Instructors:Irene Lekstutis, Plantations Landscape Designer, and Paul Cooper, L.H. Bailey Conservatory Grower

Click here to register.

2015 is the Year of the Pepper at Plantations! We are offering activities and events throughout the growing season to celebrate peppers including exhibits, a self-guided tour of dozens of varieties displayed in our gardens and a Plantations Pepper Party on September 20.

On display at the Nevin Welcome Center: A Floral Love Affair

29 weeks 6 days ago
During May and June, enjoy botanical paintings by Marcia Eames-Sheavly, horticulture educator at Cornell University. Marcia’s paintings reflect her deep fondness for this region, with its evocative, sensual and joyous flowers, as well as the gardens, hedgerows and lakes that abound here.

Read more about her art in the May 13 Cornell Chronicle article, "Eames-Sheavley's botanical art classes teach how to 'see'."

Bird and wildflower walks every Friday and Sunday in May

31 weeks 4 hours ago
In collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Cayuga Bird Club, Cornell Plantations presents "Birds and Blossoms" -- a series of Friday morning bird walks in the Newman Arboretum, and Sunday afternoon wildflower walks in Sapsucker Woods. Walks will be held rain or shine. Pre-registration is not required.

Bird walks will occur Friday mornings at 8:00 a.m. at Cornell Plantations from May 1 through May 29 (Meet by the Sculpture Garden, in the F. R. Newman Arboretum off Caldwell Road).

Wildflower walks will be held Sunday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. at Sapsucker Woods, from May 3 through May 31 (Meet at the Lab of Ornithology visitor center).

For more information, contact 255-2400 or

Vandalism on the Cascadilla Gorge Trail

32 weeks 3 hours ago

Just days before opening the Cascadilla Gorge trail after being closed for winter, someone spraypainted the concrete staircase and gorge wall under the Stewart Avenue bridge. Read more in an April 16 Ithaca voice article here.

Cascadilla Gorge trail is now open!

32 weeks 3 hours ago
After Cascadilla Gorge's opening on  Friday, April 17, you can now enjoy hiking the gorge from downtown Ithaca off of Linn Street to College Avenue in Collegetown. The Cascadilla Gorge trail is open from dusk to dawn, but please note, that it may close if heavy rains cause dangerous conditions. You can view updates on gorge conditions on Cornell's Gorge Safety Website

Cornell Plantations ranked 3rd of 50 best campus meditation spaces

33 weeks 6 days ago

Emotional and spiritual health are key to success in college. The Botanical Garden and F. R. Newman Arboretum of Plantations were recognized for providing "escape from the academic pressures" and a "balance between mind and spirit." Read the online article from here.

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

33 weeks 6 days ago

Another sign that spring is here! The daffodils are starting to emerge and our magnolias and flowering trees will soon follow. We invite you to observe the unraveling of spring with a walk through the arboretum any day, dawn to dusk.

Family event: Historical Family Fun at Cornell's Botanical Garden

35 weeks 2 days ago

Don't miss the Charter Day fun happening at Cornell's Botanical Garden!

Historical Family Fun on April 25 from 1 - 5 p.m.

On Saturday, April 25 from 1 - 5 p.m., we will be hosting a family event where you can discover what life was like in Ithaca at the time of Cornell’s Charter signing.

There will be lots of hands-on activities based on the diaries of local youth from the 1860's! Taste delicate cake, make a broom, play old-fashioned games, learn about Forest Home’s water mills and more. Sing and dance to old-time musician Dave Ruch!


This is a Judy’s Day Family Program presented in cooperation with The History Center in Tompkins County.

Date/time: Saturday, April 25; 1 - 5 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person/ $10 per family (free for members). Registration is not required
Location: Nevin Welcome Center in the Botanical Garden

Now hiring: Staff Gardener position

36 weeks 2 days ago

Click here for a complete job description.



Thank you for supporting Plantations on Cornell Giving Day!

37 weeks 2 days ago
Thank you for giving to Cornell Plantations!

We reached our goal and raised over $25,000.

 View a short video for a big THANK YOU from our director and staff, and Cornell students exactly how your support will keep us growing

Share the news at #CornellGivingDay and Facebook.

Cornell Plantations would like to say, "thank you!"



Become a natural areas steward: Join the Natural Areas Academy

38 weeks 4 days ago
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 (NAA).

NAA is offered twice annually—fall and spring. Each season will focus on specific conservation strategies and a specific restoration project within our natural areas. The management practices learned and re-enforced through hands-on workshops and directed stewardships are
transferable to restoration and land management at multiple scales. Enrollment in the fall program is $90/nonmembers and $80/members and students.

Spring 2015 workshops include creating a rain garden, invasive species control, native seed collection, site preparation and native plant identification. Click here for a full schedule.

The first NAA workshop will be a mandatory orientation, and will be held on Thursday, April 9 at 6:00 p.m.

To learn more and register, click here

Make a Washi paper gourd vase on March 21

38 weeks 6 days ago
Get creative in this workshop and decorate a fully prepared gourd with colorful washi paper and other Asian-inspired embellishments such as beads, rattail cord, and imitation Chinese coins.

Date/time: Saturday, March 21; 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $60; $54 for Plantations members
Location: Nevin Welcome Center
Instructor: Terri Noxel; President, New York State Gourd Society

Click here to learn more and register.