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Booze and Botany Cocktail Party and Lecture September 17!

1 year 12 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 14 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 15 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 16 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 19 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 19 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 22 weeks ago

Click here for job descriptions.



Our 2013 Annual Report now available online

1 year 24 weeks ago

Click here to view our 2013 Annual Report online.




Help us make a difference

1 year 24 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 25 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 25 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 25 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!

Visit our climate change demonstration garden!

1 year 25 weeks ago
Through a partnership with faculty in Cornell’s Horticulture and Landscape Architecture departments, we recently installed a climate change demonstration garden in the Pounder Vegetable Garden. An unheated greenhouse known as a high tunnel creates a warmer environment allowing students and faculty to study the effects of higher temperatures on the plants growing inside and outside the high tunnel. The garden is also used to help visitors better understand climate change and the impacts it may have on our home gardens. Learn more here in the Cornell Chronicle article, “High tunnels at Plantations to simulate climate change.”

Enjoy the gorges safely this summer

1 year 25 weeks ago

The Campus Gorges are the most spectacular parts of Cornell's natural areas, swimming in them is extremely unsafe and not permitted. Learn more about how you can enjoy Cornell's gorges and where you can access swimming areas in the Chronicle article, "Gorge safety is paramount in Cornell summers."

New addition protects key parcel at Ringwood Ponds Natural Area

1 year 25 weeks ago
We recently acquired a biologically significant 10-acre parcel at the headwaters of Cascadilla Creek, which is now part of the Ringwood Ponds Natural Area. The purchase was made possible through a bargain sale and gift from John Semmler, and with financial support from the Town of Dryden. With this acquisition, Plantations  extended its protection to an area that has been long recognized for supporting locally and regionally important natural resources.
The Ringwood Ponds Natural Area is noted for its complex, rolling glacial topography, with steep slopes, kames, eskers, kettle hole ponds, and forested wetlands. The landscape is dominated by maple-beech forest, with smaller areas of oak-hickory, hemlock, and red maple swamp forest. A large part of the forests have not been logged for over 130 years, and are considered near old-growth.

Plantations’ conservation efforts at Ringwood Ponds began in 1934 with the gift of 114 acres by the Lloyd Library and Museum of Cincinnati, Ohio. Additional donations and acquisitions have now brought the total protected holdings to 230 acres. The new preserve addition was dedicated on May 24, 2014, and will be known as the Andrew Semmler Tract, named in memory of John Semmler’s son.

Andrew Semmler was a young man who enjoyed nature and spent many hours with his father exploring the woodlands around his home. When he passed away in December 2013, John Semmler wanted to honor his son’s memory and love of the outdoors by helping Plantations preserve the natural area.

“I believe that this addition to the Ringwood Ponds Natural Area creates a more well-defined boundary between this unique preserve and one of the privately-owned parcels it borders. More important for me, it permanently recognizes Andrew's love of nature in a way that would have been truly meaningful to him.”

“We are thankful for the generosity of Mr. Semmler, the Town of Dryden, and a number of Ringwood neighbors and Plantations donors, who contributed funds to protect this tract,” stated Todd Bittner, director of Natural Areas at Cornell Plantations. “This addition to our 3,400 acres of natural area holdings will expand the diversity of habitats and unique landscapes available for use as outdoor classrooms for Cornell and other educators. Plantations protects and manages a system of 44 preserves that facilitate world-class research in the natural sciences for hundreds of University students and faculty annually. We are grateful that Mr. Semmler’s gift will not only honor his son, but will benefit researchers and students for generations.”

The Andrew Semmler Tract and Ringwood Ponds Natural Area are approximately 7 miles east of Cornell University and are open to the public. Click here to learn more about this valuable natural area.

Get an update on the repair of the Cascadilla Gorge trail

1 year 26 weeks ago

Cascadilla Gorge Trail is slated to be fully open in time for the students' return in late summer. Read more in the May 29 Ithaca Times article "Cornell Restores Cascadilla Gorge Trail."


Gardener Krissy Boys offers advice on controlling garlic mustard

1 year 26 weeks ago

Krissy Boys spends much of her time removing garlic mustard in the Mundy Wildflower Garden. Learn more about this invasive plant and advice from Krissy in the May 13 Ithaca Times article, "To Pull Or Not To Pull: Research Questions Garlic Mustard Control."