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Summer school doesn’t have to be a drag

Bryan Duff, lecturer, Horticulture Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, and a pair of promising teachers in training are teaching film production and the physics of music at Colorado middle school.

In film, students dress up, apply makeup and produce a piece of their own. When they’re done, they’ll be reviewed by a panel of college film students and awards assigned to the best one. Under the surface, it’s a lesson in storytelling and, by extension, writing.

In physics, students look at how instruments are designed to shape sound waves.

“There is so much physics behind music,” said Duff. “It gives it a context they can relate to.”

Looking at a diagram, they can tell you whether a trumpet will make a higher sound with a valve open or shut. To illustrate the point, they make instruments of their own, including bagpipe like glove-o-phones which bring to mind the vuvuzela craze of 2010.

Read the whole article.

Bryan Duff assists student in the use of a glove-o-phone. Photo: Will Grandbois / Post Independent

Bryan Duff assists student in the use of a glove-o-phone. Photo: Will Grandbois / Post Independent

Geneva Summer Scholars visit the Ithaca campus

geneva-scholarsReposted from CALS Notes [2-15-07-28]

Undergraduate interns from Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York visited Cornell yesterday to explore the campus, meet with faculty, and to learn about the graduate program.

Over the summer students have the opportunity to gain research experience while working with faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and staff at in Geneva to discover more about fungi, apples, beetles, and so much more.

While at Cornell the interns sat down with Bill Miller, the Director of Graduate Studies for the School of Integrative Plant Science, and Stewart Gray of Plant Pathology for an interactive discussion and an opportunity to ask questions.

The most asked question was how to get into graduate school, and both Miller and Gray explained that research experience is vital, and since the students are interning in Geneva, they are on the right track.

Gray said they “are looking for a breadth of experiences and skills” in potential graduate students.

Some students wondered what the path would be like after they earned a graduate degree and the faculty explained that many go into academia, but some also go into industry and government research, consulting, and extension among other fields.

Miller’s answer to this question was to “be open to opportunities that present themselves.”

Hannah Sweet ’16, of the University of Minnesota – Morris explained that she is “new to this whole process, so getting honest information is really beneficial.”

After this talk, the students met with entomology Department Chair, Laura Harrington and Bryan Danforth, professor of entomology, for an interactive discussion surrounding similar topics.

The students finished the day with a tour of Cornell’s campus, and an obligatory stop at the Dairy Bar for ice cream before heading off to Geneva, where they will continue working hard before (hopefully) coming back to Cornell for grad school.

Halseth honored by Potato Association of America

Sieczka and Halseth

Sieczka and Halseth

Don Halseth, emeritus associate professor in the Horticulture Section, was awarded an Honorary Life Membership in the Potato Association of America at the PAA annual meeting July 22 in Portland, Maine.

Honorary Life Membership is the highest award bestowed upon an individual by the PAA, and recognizes outstanding contributions to the potato industry and to the organization.

Emeritus Horticulture faculty Joe Sieczka, himself a PAA Honorary Life Membership recipient in 1970, presented the award.

CAU tours Bluegrass Lane

Members of the Cornell’s Adult University course “Coffee, Cloves, and Chocolate: How Plants Have Shaped Human History,” taught by Don Rakow, took a field trip Friday to the Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility adjacent to campus where research technician Kendra Hutchins gave them a tour of annual flower and foliage plant trials and other plantings. Earlier in the week, the class toured Gimme! Coffee’s roasting facility near Trumansburg.

Research technician Kendra Hutchins explains annual flower trials to Don Rakow's CAU class.

Research technician Kendra Hutchins explains annual flower trials to Don Rakow’s CAU class.

Late blight confirmed in New York

Late blight — a highly contagious and devastating disease of tomatoes and potatoes — has been confirmed in Wayne, Wyoming and Livingston counties. If your crops have been infected, it’s critical that you take action to help stop the spread of the disease.

The New York State IPM program has developed posters and videos to help you identify the disease and learn how to properly dispose of infected plants. Please share them widely.

late blight poster

In the news

Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

New 6-County Agricultural Plastics Recycling Initiative [Empire Farm Days news release 2015-07-14] – A partnership of Ontario County, Casella Resource Solutions, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County is looking to divert farm plastic waste material away from the regional landfill in Ontario County to recycling opportunities. Recycling plastics can save farm and business owners landfill and dumpster fees of $70 or more per ton and removing farm plastics from the waste stream extends the life of landfill space. The program also serves farmers in Livingston, Monroe, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. Read the full release.

Cornell team readies for national ‘Weed Olympics’ July 21 [Cornell Chronicle 2015-07-15] – After enduring practice through thistle and flashcards, the Cornell University Weed Team will send four graduate students and seven undergraduates for two days of agronomic combat at the 2015 National Collegiate Weed competition – affectionately dubbed the “Weed Olympics.” The contest will be held at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Research and Development Center at South Charleston, Ohio, July 21-22. Horticulture graduate student Vinay Bhaskar is among the students representing Cornell under the tutelage of Antonio DiTommaso, professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section, School of Integrative Plant Science. Read the whole article.

Stopping Pests Earns Greenhouse Pro ‘Excellence in IPM’ Award [NYSIPM Program news release 2015-07-16] – : Nora Catlin, floriculture specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, has received an “Excellence in IPM” award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM). The award honors Catlin for her work with commercial greenhouse growers who, on Long Island alone, contribute nearly $80 million to New York’s economy. Catlin received her award at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center’s Plant Science Day on July 15. Read the full release.

PBS Insight: Cornell Small Farm Program Supports NY Military Veterans in Farming

Reposted from CALS Notes [2015-07-15]:

On July 10, PBS Insight highlighted the efforts of the Cornell Small Farm Program to support military veterans farming in New York State. Tune in to meet some of the veterans putting their skills and discipline into agricultural careers, from running the family farm to greenhouse flower production, with mentorship, resources and community offered by the Cornell Small Farm Program. Video link.

NYSDAM awards $200,000 to NYSAES, CALS for hops and barley research

Susan Brown

Susan Brown

From New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets press releases [2015-07-13]:

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced July 13 two new partnerships to further support and grow the beverage industry in the Finger Lakes region. A new partnership between Taste NY and the New York Wine & Culinary Center was unveiled following yesterday’s successful listening session with beverage industry stakeholders during Governor Cuomo’s Capital for a Day in Rochester. In addition, $200,000 will be provided to Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and its New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva for research on hops and malting barley, the two major ingredients in the production of beer.

Dr. Susan Brown, The Goichman Family Director of NYSAES said, “On behalf of our faculty and extension staff, I know that my colleagues at CALS and NYSAES are committed to delivering the outstanding science and outreach essential to bolstering this resurgence of the brewing and farm-based beverage industry in New York State. This generous investment supports our partnership with growers, producers and entrepreneurs, continues to foster economic development and, importantly, expands the portfolio of New York beverages in an ever-increasing number of bottles, pints and glasses across our state.”

The research being conducted by Cornell University will help meet the growing demand of hops and barley for use in farm-based breweries. Governor Cuomo’s Farm Brewery Legislation, which has spurred the rapid growth of craft brewing in New York State, requires farm brewers to increase the percentage of New York-grown hops and all other ingredients in farm-brewed beer from 20 percent today to 90 percent by 2024.

The 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, the most recent official statistics available, shows that 7,679 acres of land in New York was used to produce barley, while 19 acres of land was in use for growing hops. A Cornell Cooperative Extension hops expert estimates that more than 300 acres of land is in use statewide now to grow hops, with the number growing by 75 to 100 acres a year and with larger farming organizations considering large-scale hops growing operations.

Camp Mushroom cultivates new growers

Reposted from CALS Notes

There is a camp for just about everything, including mushrooms.

Even though it’s been offered for nearly a decade, Camp Mushroom consistently sells out. To satisfy the waitlist from the April workshop, a one-day workshop was held on June 7 at MacDaniels Nut Grove, Cornell’s forest farming and agroforestry research center located east of the Cornell Orchards.

“Mushroom growing has increased quite rapidly,” said instructor Steve Gabriel, the Cornell Cooperative Extension agroforestry specialist. He is also the co-founder of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute and a mushroom grower on Wellspring Forest Farm, which he runs with his wife Elizabeth.

Read more.

Visit the Cornell Mushroom Cultivation website.

Steve Gabriel

Agroforestry specialist Steve Gabriel

Reiners to succeed Pritts as Horticulture chair

Steve Reiners Associate Chair of the Horticulture Section -- and Professor starting the first of the year.

Steve Reiners will be new Horticulture Section chair.

Alan Collmer, director of the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS), announced yesterday three SIPS leadership transitions effective August 1, 2015.

Mike Scanlon, professor in the Plant Biology Section, has completed his term as Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). During his tenure in the postition, Scanlon streamlined the Plant Sciences curriculum, introduced new courses, and expanded concentrations to accommodate evolving student interests. As a member of the SIPS executive committee, he made key contributions to the SIPS strategic plan.

Marvin Pritts, who has served as Horticulture Section chair for 13 years, will assume the DUS position. Pritts has been extensively involved with the Plant Sciences major for many years as an undergraduate adviser, as co-creator and instructor (with Marcia Eames-Sheavly) of Collaboration, Leadership, and Career Skills in the Plant Sciences (PLSCI 1110), and as an adviser for PLHRT/IARD 3200 Experiential Garden-Based Learning in Belize.

Steve Reiners, professor and associate chair in the Horticulture Section, will succeed Pritts as chair. Reiners, is based at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, and has also served as Department Extension Leader. He also leads the Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Program  serving western New York and the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program. He co-teaches Principles of Vegetable Production (PLHRT 3500) and Organic Vegetable Gardening (PLHRT 1250).

Congratulations Steve!