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F.R. Newman Arboretum Closed to Vehicular Traffic

3 years 49 weeks ago

The F.R. Newman Arboretum is now closed to vehicular traffic until April 2012. Parking in front of the arboretum gates is illegal. Visitors may park in the Wildflower Garden parking lot, located just west of the Caldwell Road/Forest Home Drive intersection, or in the parking area just north of the Forest Home Drive entrance into the arboretum.

25% off entire gift shop purchase for Cornell students and employees!

3 years 51 weeks ago

From now through December 21st, all Cornell students and employees will receive a 25% discount* off all purchases in our garden gift shop.

The gift shop in the Nevin Welcome Center has many unique and interesting gifts for everyone – from hand crafted gourd lamps and natural ornaments, to poinsettias and holiday arrangements from our own greenhouse!

Our poinsettias have unique colors and shapes that you’re not likely to find elsewhere and have been grown in the greenhouse under the watchful eye of Missy Bidwell, greenhouse manager here at Plantations!  

Gift Shop Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m, CLOSED Sunday and Monday. The Gift Shop and Nevin Welcome Center will be closed from December 22nd - January 2nd.

Looking for the perfect gift?  Consider a gift membership to Cornell Plantations. Stop in the gift shop to learn more!

*Discount not valid on Cornell Sheep Blankets or art work (prints, ceramics,  and hand crafted wood bowls).

Skorton Endorses Recommendations for Gorge Safety

3 years 51 weeks ago

Following the accidental gorge deaths of three students this summer, President David Skorton endorsed a report on Thursday from the Gorge Safety Steering Committee calling for new infrastructure, increased educational outreach and a student patrol group to improve safety in the gorges.

Click here to read more of this Cornell Daily Sun article written on Friday, December 2nd.

Cornell Plantations Partners with New York City's 92nd Street Y for Lecture Series

4 years 2 weeks ago

Cornell Plantations has partnered with the 92nd Street Y in New York City for its “Changing Earth” lecture series.  This unique series of seven lectures will take place monthly from November 2011 to May 2012, and is part of the Y’s First Class Science adult education program.

The year-long series kicks off on November 16th and features diverse topics and speakers from Cornell University and other organizations.

Dr. Nina Bassuk, professor in Cornell’s Department of Horticulture, delivers the first Plantations-themed lecture of the series on December 7 at 7:00 p.m., “Why Do We Need Trees?”  She is co-author with Peter Trowbridge of Trees in the Urban Landscape, and leads the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell.

Dr. Don Rakow, the E.N. Wilds director of Cornell Plantations will give the second Plantations-themed lecture on March 14, “Why do we need green spaces? The importance of public gardens and parks in our communities.” Beyond fulfilling our need for a connection to nature, he'll talk about how the roles of parks and public gardens are changing dramatically in this era of increasing environmental crises.  

“Cornell Plantations is excited to partner with the 92nd St. Y to sponsor these lectures,” stated Dr. Rakow.  “In the crowded, fast-paced cities of today, we have a greater need than ever for the beauty and ecological services provided by street trees, parks, and public gardens.  In these lectures to be provided by Prof. Nina L. Bassuk and myself, participants will learn about ongoing research and outreach efforts to extend the lives of urban trees, as well as the many ways in which public gardens enrich our lives.”

Also speaking as part of the “Changing Earth” series is, Dr. Jonathon Lunine, the David C. Duncan professor of astronomy at Cornell University.  Lunine will speak on April 18, 2012 on the possibility of life forms on other planets.

For more information and a complete listing of speakers click here.

On Display: "A Closer Look," plant photography by Susan Larkin

4 years 3 weeks ago

Local photographer, Susan Larkin’s fascination with plants is brought to life in her display “A Closer Look,” a collection of black and white photographs, which reveal the often unnoticed shapes and textures of plants up close. Every detail of each plant is in clear focus, resulting from the combination of multiple exposures of the same subject—each taken with a different focal point. The images are then combined by a process called focus stacking and the finished photographs are all monochrome images.

All photographs in this exhibit are of plants that are found around Cornell.

“A Closer Look” is now on display through December at the Nevin Welcome Center including “Worm Plant” (Spathicarpa sagittifolia) shown here.

Update: Cascadilla Gorge Trail repair

4 years 3 weeks ago

Cascadilla Gorge is scheduled to open next June. Here is what is happening now to keep that date on track:

New gate at the “lower” gorge entrance: A custom-made iron gate was installed at the gorge entrance at the Treman Triangle off of Linn Street. It will allow us to close the trail each winter when trail conditions are unsafe.  Designed by local artisan Durand VanDoren, the 1200 pound gate was inspired by the gorge’s cascading falls, and oak leaves and acorns found on an historic Cascadilla Glen Trail plaque.

New staircase under the Stewart Avenue bridge: The staircase leading to the iconic stone bridge that crosses the creek will soon follow a new, safer path. The staircase was designed to fit into the gorge landscape, provide a more direct view of the adjacent waterfall, and move visitors farther from an overhanging, unsafe gorge wall. A dam (shown above) was built with sandbags and concrete blocks and a water pump was used to keep the water level low to build the new stairs.

Stabilizing the 150-year-old retaining wall near historic Eddy Gate: This 60 foot tall structure was constructed to stabilize and retain the gorge wall after stone was quarried from the gorge to construct Cascadilla Hall.


Completing this gorge restoration project is one part of several recommendations to increase gorge safety approved by Cornell President David Skorton. Read about the additional recommendations in the December 4th Ithaca Journal article, "Cornell committee proposes safety steps for gorge."


The New York Times Best Selling Author Olivia Judson to speak at Cornell University

4 years 9 weeks ago

WHAT:           “Glad to have Evolved

WHEN:           Wednesday, October 5 at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:         Statler Hall Auditorium

ITHACA, N.Y. – The New York Times best selling author of Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice To All Creation, Olivia Judson, is set to speak on Wednesday, October 5 at 7:30 pm as part of Cornell Plantations 25th Annual Fall Lecture Series. Judson is a renowned evolutionary biologist, award winning science journalist, past columnist for The New York Times, Nature, and The Economist, a contributor to PBS’ Nova and is based at Imperial College in London.
Living beings profoundly shape our planet—bacteria precipitate clouds and alter the magnetic fields of rocks. Organisms also shape each other to drive evolutionary change: the bee shapes the flower, the cheetah shapes the gazelle. In this wide-ranging lecture, Olivia Judson considers the implications of evolution for understanding Earth and ourselves, celebrating humans as part of nature’s pageant.
“We are thrilled to have Olivia Judson as part of this series,” stated Sonja Skelly, director of education at Cornell Plantations.  “Dr. Judson’s lecture promises to be provocative and one that will change the way people think about the planet and themselves.” Plantations has partnered with the Boyce Thompson Institute to bring Dr. Judson to Ithaca.
Olivia Judson is an evolutionary biologist and writer based at Imperial College, London. Her award-winning book, Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex, has been translated into more than 15 languages and was made into a TV show of which she was the host. She has contributed to The New York Times, Natural History, The Guardian, The Economist, and PBS’ Nova and is at work on her next book. Read more about her work at and the New York Times.
Cornell Plantations is the botanical gardens, arboretum, and natural areas of Cornell University, and is a  member of  Ithaca’s Discovery Trail partnership. Plantations is open to the public year-round, free of charge, during daylight hours. For more information call 607-255-2400. Find us on Facebook.

Nevin Welcome Center closed today

4 years 11 weeks ago

Due to unexpected maintenance, the Nevin Welcome Center will be closed today, September 15th. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Quilted wall hangings by Alice Hunt on display at the Nevin Welcome Center

4 years 11 weeks ago

Alice Hunt has been sewing for over 50 years. It is one way she expresses her love of flowers. The combination of her love of sewing and her love of flowers shines through in her display of quilts in the Nevin Welcome Center lobby. It is a menagerie of vibrant colors and fine handwork you don't want to miss.

"A Tribute to Flora," a collection of quilted wall hangings, is on display through the end of October.

Dan Hinkley's lecture STILL ON for TONIGHT!

4 years 12 weeks ago

Dan Hinkley's Lecture "The World Condensed: A Global Pursuit and Passion for Plants" is still on for 7:30 p.m. in the Statler Auditorium!

For more information, please click here.

Fall Lecture Series starts TONIGHT!

4 years 14 weeks ago

The Fall Lecture Series is kicked off with a lecture and garden party on August 24, 2011
Cornell Plantations announces its line-up for their 25th Annual Fall Lecture Series, which begins on August 24, 2011, and will run every other Wednesday until November 2. The first lecture will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Call Alumni Auditorium in Kennedy Hall and will be followed by a garden party in the botanical gardens of Cornell Plantations.  All remaining lectures will take place in Statler Hall Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

The lecture series will feature Cornell professor Molly Hite and photographer David McDonald, renowned plantsman and explorer Dan Hinkley, historian David Stradling, The New York Times bestselling author Olivia Judson, master tea blender and Cornell University alumnus Michael Harney, and author and influential garden blogger Michele Owens.  The Fall Lecture Series is free and open to the public, and is also offered as a one-credit class to Cornell Students (HORT 4800).

Cornell University professor of English Molly Hite and photographer David McDonald kick off the lecture series on August 24 at 5:30 with the William H. and Jane Torrence Harder Lecture entitled Literature, Life, Gardens: The Influence of Vita Sackville-West.  



Art Exhibit "Flowering Moments" on display at the Nevin Welcome Center this month

4 years 17 weeks ago

"Flowering Moments" is a display of beautiful botanical watercolors by Paula DiSanto Bensadoun.

Paula states, "The joys of admiring nature’s work are tempered by the time it takes to look long and carefully at the intricacy and beauty of blossoms whose duration is often very brief. The life of a flower is always changing and the challenge lies in capturing the moments that leave us with good memories. I have tried to portray those moments."

Come experience these flowering moments for yourselves during Welcome Center hours in August!

Gorge Safety

4 years 21 weeks ago

The gorges of Cornell distinguish the campus’ natural beauty, but the dangers inherent within them means that visitors need to RESPECT the gorges.  We ask that all visitors be aware of the danger, hazards, and the power of nature in the gorges.  Please respect these natural areas, follow all posted signs, and take all precautions possible to protect yourself – failure to do so could cost you your life.
To learn more about how you can be safe while visiting the gorges, please go here.

To learn about alternate safe swimming locations, please go here

Shakespeare in the Arboretum!

4 years 23 weeks ago

This year, you can enjoy two Shakespeare performances in the F. R. Newman Arboretum.

One of Shakespeare's greatest romantic comedies, "As You Like It," will be performed on July 7, 9, 15, 21, and 23.

Returning to the Arboretum stage, the popular "A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be performed on July 8, 10, 14, 16, 22 and 24.

All performances will take place from 6:00 -8:30 p.m. in the Jackson Grove in the F. R. Newman Arboretum. View our calendar for more details.

The Ithaca Shakespeare Company is busily building the stage for their performances!

Reunion 2011: Join us for the fun!

4 years 25 weeks ago

From hikes in Cascadilla Gorge to a stroll in our gardens, we are offering several programs for you to enjoy. View our calendar for this year's reunion events, or click here to download a printable schedule.

Flowering trees in the F. R. Newman Arboretum are bursting with blooms!

4 years 27 weeks ago

If you are able, we encourage you to pay a visit to the F. R. Newman Arboretum. You will not be disappointed. Make sure to stop at Newman Overlook to capture a panoramic view of the dozens of flowering trees dispersed throughout the Arboretum.

This has been a wonderful spring for abundant flowering of trees and shrubs.  But to what degree has the abundant rainfall contributed to this floriferous show?  The answer is really very little.  Spring flowering trees and shrubs bloom from flower buds that were set the previous year.  So it was really the weather conditions last spring and summer that determined the number of floral buds on individual plants.  Another factor is the severity and length of cold this past winter. Although we had some very uncomfortable nights that dipped below zero, we did not have a protracted period of sub-zero temperatures and therefore very few flower buds were winter killed.  Enjoy the show!

Welcome Center Grand Opening Celebration - May 22!

4 years 29 weeks ago



  • Tours of the Rhododendron Collection, 11:30 & 1:30
  • Tours of the Nevin Welcome Center's Green Features, 12:30 & 2:30
  • Live music by Farm Animal 12:00 - 3:00
  • Children's activities
  • Face Painting
  • Exhibits & "Ask a Gardener"
  • Botanical arts demonstration

Come celebrate the new ultra-sustainable Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center located in the beautiful botanical gardens of the Cornell Plantations on Sunday, May 22 from 11 am to 4 pm.  There will be fun for the whole family - lively music, a "green" tour of the building, tours of our gardens, exhibits, refreshments, and fun activities for kids of all ages!  The grand opening celebration is free and open to the public.  The days music will be provided by Farm Animal – fiddle music of the American Southeast.

 “We are thrilled to be able to share this celebration with the Ithaca community,” stated Billy Kepner of Cornell Plantations.  “The completion of the Welcome Center represents 10 years of transformations for Plantations -- we now have a central location to greet our visitors, orient them, and provide them with amenities like they’ve never had before at Plantations.  All within the glass and steel walls of this amazing ultra-sustainable building!”

 The Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center is named for Brian C. Nevin ’50, at the request of the primary benefactor, C. Sherwood “Woody” Southwick Jr.  The Welcome Center was dedicated on October 28, 2010 and was opened to visitors in February of this year. The Nevin Welcome Center is designed to achieve Gold LEED certification, and is also a significant step forward in Plantations’ and Cornell’s commitment to sustainability.

Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, the designers of the Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center at the Cornell Plantations, have received a “Design Excellence” award from the Ontario Architects’ Association for their work on the Nevin Welcome Center. This is the second such designation the Plantations’ Nevin Welcome Center has received.  Earlier in the year the architects received an Award of Excellence from Canadian Architect magazine and online journal.

Cornell Plantations is the botanical gardens, arboretum, and natural areas of Cornell University, and is a member of Ithaca’s Discovery Trail partnership. Plantations is open to the public year-round, free of charge, during daylight hours. For more information call 607-255-2400, or visit Find us on Facebook.

Free coffee and gift shop discounts on May 6th, National Public Gardens Day!

4 years 30 weeks ago

Scheduled for May 6th, 2011, the Friday preceding Mother’s Day weekend, National Public Gardens Day is a national day of awareness in which communities nationwide are invited to visit and learn about the important role their public gardens play in promoting environmental stewardship and awareness, plant and water conservation, and education. Now in its third year celebrating America’s public gardens, National Public Gardens Day was created in partnership between the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) and irrigation product and service provider, Rain Bird

In celebration of botanical gardens, arboreta, conservatories, educational gardens and historical landscapes, many of the APGA’s 500 member institutions will mark the day with special events and activities for schools, families and thousands of visitors. Cornell Plantations will be offering free Gimme! Coffee to all of its visitors, along with a 10% discount on all Plantations branded merchandise for non-members and an additional 5% discount for members!
“We are very pleased to participate for the first time in this national celebration of public gardens,” stated Dr. Don Rakow, the E. N. Wilds director of Cornell Plantations.  “In addition to exploring our early-season gardens, we hope that visitors that day will become acquainted with our wonderful new Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center.”

Art Exhibit "Changing Vistas: Arboretum Landscapes in Pastels" by Carol Abitabilo Ast on display in the Nevin Welcome Center during May and June

4 years 30 weeks ago

Carol Ast's paintings have been appreciated for the feelings of peace and serenity they convey. Her reverence for the natural world is evident in her realistic portrayals of the scenes around her, whose location she often identifies to enable people to see it through “her” eyes, and to provide future generations with a view into the past. A number of paintings in this display are landscapes of Cornell Plantations including the painting below titled, "Midnight Fire Dogwoods Along Grossman Pond."

She has exhibited in exhibitions of the Pastel Society of the West Coast and the Pastel Society of New Mexico, and in galleries in Maine and New York. Recently her paintings were included in the group show Works from O'Keeffe's Backyard at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. In August, 2010, Ast had a solo show (The Sky's the Limit) in Ithaca, New York, at the State of the Art Gallery. Currently one of her pastel paintings has been accepted into the 7th Northeast National Pastel Exhibition at Old Forge, NY, which will open later this month.   

Please visit her website at for more information and an extensive view of her works, including the August solo show.

Architects behind the Plantations’ Welcome Center receives a ‘Design Excellence’ award from the Ontario Architects’ Association

4 years 34 weeks ago

Baird Sampson Neuert Architects, the designers of the Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center, will receive a “Design Excellence” award from the Ontario Architects’ Association in May for their work on this dynamic new building. This is the second such designation the Plantations’ Nevin Welcome Center has received.  Earlier in the year the architects received an Award of Excellence from Canadian Architect magazine and online journal.
Fifteen new buildings in Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Orillia, Montréal, Kitchener, Vancouver, and Ithaca (New York) have been recognized as leading examples of architecture by receiving ‘Design Excellence’ awards. There were 150 submissions and the Jury unanimously agreed on the consistent high level of quality in the 2011 winning projects.

(Architect Jon Neuert speaking at the October, 2010 dedication of the Nevin Welcome Center)

The Nevin Welcome Center is named for Brian C. Nevin ’50, at the request of the primary benefactor, C. Sherwood “Woody” Southwick Jr. A grand opening celebration for the Ithaca community will be held May 22, 2011 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM.  There will be fun for the whole family - lively music, a "green" tour of the building, tours of our gardens, exhibits, refreshments, and fun activities for kids!