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Dreer seminar video: Impatiens and Vegetables in Thailand

If you missed Friday’s Dreer Award Seminar video Impatiens and Vegetables in Thailand  featuring James Keach, Ph.D. ’16 (Plant Breeding), it’s available online.

Visit Keach’s Dreer Award blog PhytoRealism detailing his travels.

Administered by the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, the Frederick Dreer Award provides a wonderful opportunity each year for one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad to pursue interests related to horticulture. Read more about the Dreer Award.

Recognition dinner marks milestone years of staff service

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-19]:

Cornell’s annual Service Recognition Dinner, honoring the dedicated work of Cornell staff who are celebrating 25, 30, 35, 40 or more years of service, was held May 17 in the Ramin Room of Bartels Hall.

This year, the event honored 346 staff members with 25 or more years of service (representing a cumulative total of more than 10,000 years of work for Cornell); 213 of those awardees attended the event and dinner, in addition to their guests, deans, supervisors and others.

“Your efforts and dedication have contributed to Cornell’s many successes,” said Mary Opperman, vice president and chief human resources officer. “You are part of Cornell’s legacy.”

Honorees from the School of Integrative Plant Science included:

  • James Ballerstein, Horticulture Section, Geneva, 30 years
  • Elaine Davis, 30 years
  • Kevin Maloney, Horticulture Section, Geneva, 30 years
  • Jon Shaff, Plant Biology Section, 30 years
  • Edward Cobb, Biology Section, 35 years
  • Kathleen Howard, 35 years
  • Patricia Marsella-Herrick, Plant Pathology Section, Geneva, 40+ years
  • William Srmack, Horticulture Section, 40+ years

Read the whole article

View full list of CALS honorees

Student exploration: Healing starts with everyday plants

Laura Lagunez '16, left, and Camila Martinez, a graduate student in the field of plant biology, examine plants in Belize during their spring break. (Photo: Sierra Murray)

Laura Lagunez ’16, left, and Camila Martinez, a graduate student in the field of plant biology, examine plants in Belize during their spring break. (Photo: Sierra Murray)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-19]:

Stretching beyond the “apple a day” adage, Cornell students explored a natural area in Ithaca and villages in Belize to learn how common plant life helps alleviate ailments.

“In Belize, use of healing plants is a centuries-old tradition that’s being lost because fewer young people are pursuing plant medicine,” said senior lecturer Marcia Eames-Sheavly, who teaches Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them.

Said Eames-Sheavly, “It’s fascinating that here in the U.S., the interest in healing plants seems to be exploding.”

Read the whole article.

More information:

Christine Smart named interim SIPS director

Christine Smart

Christine Smart

CALS Notes [2016-05-18]:

Christine Smart, professor of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, has been named interim director of the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS), effective July 1.

She will take over for Alan Collmer, the Andrew J. and Grace B. Nichols Professor in the SIPS Section of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology when his two-year appointment as the school’s inaugural director concludes.

Launched in June 2014 to enhance the visibility and impact of the plant sciences at Cornell, the school integrated the departments of Horticulture, Plant Biology, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology and Soil and Crop Sciences into a single administrative unit within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). The college will conduct an open search for a new director.

“Alan Collmer transformed plant sciences at Cornell into a single dynamic school with a bold vision to meet major world challenges through agricultural innovation,” said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS. “His legacy will be of a transformative thinker who broke down barriers to forge constructive collaboration across our top-ranked plant science disciplines. He established solid roots that will undoubtedly lead to continued innovation and discovery, and I thank him for his extraordinary efforts.”

Smart has broad professional experience encompassing research on fungal and bacterial plant pathogens, extension work in vegetable pathology, and outreach to K-12 students. At her lab at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva,  NY, she explores ways to improve vegetable disease management while promoting sustainable agricultural practices. Most recently, she has served as head of the SIPS Council of Extension Leaders and initiated the “Skills for Public Engagement” class for undergraduate and graduate students.

Read the whole article.

CUAES Director and CALS Associate Dean Jan Nyrop announces Smart's appointment at SIPS open house.

CUAES Director and CALS Associate Dean Jan Nyrop announces Smart’s appointment at SIPS open house.

Chris Smart talks with colleagues at the SIPS open house.

Chris Smart talks with colleagues at the SIPS open house. (Lindsay France, University Photo)

Dreer Seminar May 20: Impatiens and Vegetables in Thailand

Dreer Award Seminar Impatiens and Vegetables in Thailand
James Keach PhD Graduate, Plant Breeding
Minors: Horticulture & International Agriculture
Friday, May 20 at 12 noon in 404 Plant Science

Keach will share his experiences abroad including stints at the Tropical Vegetable Research Center (a national vegetable germplasm preservation organization), Chia Tai Co. (a Thai-founded vegetable seed company) and in the Department of Pharmacognosy at Prince of Songkla University.

Visit Keach’s Dreer Award blog PhytoRealism detailing his travels.

Administered by the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, the Frederick Dreer Award provides a wonderful opportunity each year for one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad to pursue interests related to horticulture. Read more about the Dreer Award.

keach-dreer
View full sized poster.

‘Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them’ final project presentations May 16

In Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them, I ceased to be a walking résumé.

Students in PLHRT 4940, Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them, spent spring break working with and learning from Mayan healers in Belize and herbalists in the Ithaca area.  They will provide an overview of their experiences and present their final projects on May 16 from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in 102 Mann Library.

What makes the course special? Instructor Marcia Eames-Sheavly, a senior lecturer and senior Extension associate in the Horticulture Section of Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science explains:

Students in the Ithaca group work with local herbalists to prepare herbal infusions (Photo: Isabel Gareau)

Students in the Ithaca group work with local herbalists to prepare herbal infusions (Photo: Isabel Gareau)

The course syllabus for PLHRT 4940: Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them begins with an intention:

  • What are the various roles of plants in our lives?
  • What is a community, and in that community, what are people’s ways of understanding and knowing?
  • And, who are you?

Whatever your answer to these questions, and whatever it includes at this juncture of your life, our hope is that if you intentionally engage in PLHRT 4940, by semester’s end, your ideas of the value of plants…of community…and of self, are going to be changed.

During the first half of the semester, the students participated in diverse classroom activities to prepare them to make the most of their experience. That meant more than just learning how to identify plants. As a team, we engaged students in topics ranging from ethics and cultural sensitivity to appropriate use of technology and how to ask good questions. And teamwork was key. As the students worked and planned together, they learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They learned that they didn’t need to know it all if they could work together.

During the 2016 spring break, we divided into two groups. One group traveled to the Toledo District of Belize to work with Mayan healers. The other stayed in Ithaca to work with Tammi Sweet, co-founder of the Heartstone Herbal School.

Depending on the location, the students focused on learning traditional plant medicine and the spiritual ecology undergirding it; preserving the wisdom of indigenous healers and their knowledge of medicinal plants; making preparations ranging from salves to soaps; and preparing a new medicinal plants nature trail.  Both groups steeped in reflection about healing plants, the people who use them, and their own journey at these intersections.

Students in the Belize group warm up with plant identification. (Photo: Sierra Murray)

Students in the Belize group warm up with plant identification. (Photo: Sierra Murray)

In Belize, use of healing plants is a centuries-old tradition that’s being lost because fewer young people are pursuing plant medicine.  It’s fascinating that here in the U.S., the interest seems to be exploding. Learning about plant medicine and the people engaged in it has benefits for people around the world, and for the health of our students here at Cornell, too.

Before the course, I had a few friends who studied plants—individuals I met through my cooperative—and had only a vague interest in plants, myself. Now, I have built off that vague interest, learning how everyday plants we walk by on our way to class could actually be useful in our lives. …I have gained friends and developed bonds with individuals who allow me to cultivate this interest further.

Students on their way to a new medicinal plants trail in the forest at Rio Blanco National Park. (Photo: Olivia McCandless)

Students in Belize on their way to a new medicinal plants trail in the forest at Rio Blanco National Park. (Photo: Olivia McCandless)

Understanding the need for a solid undergirding in anthropological perspective, I invited Charis Boke, Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology, to collaborate in teaching. “I was curious to see how my work as a cultural anthropologist would fit in with plant science,” she recalls. But working as part of our teaching team along with horticulture graduate student Grant Thompson and plant biology graduate student Camila Martinez (who both helped lead the Belize trip) to prepare the students for their experiential spring break work turned out to be “…one of the most stimulating teaching experiences I’ve had. Together we were able to create a robustly reflective and engaging cross-disciplinary learning experience for the students.”

After break, students from both groups tackled practical projects primarily aimed at integrating their new-found interests with specific lay audiences. These took forms ranging from narratives based on interviews with healers to lesson plans, a grant proposal rationale, cookbook recipes, how-to flyers on growing medicinal plants, personal essays, maps, and blending teas to help fellow students cope with stress.

“We opened up a place for them to explore their own passions,” says Boke. “Seeing them latch on to these concrete ways that they can insert themselves into the world of people-plant relationships has been really gratifying.”

I have experienced such a holistic form of learning that the class will continue to follow me and my life path—perhaps even guiding my life’s path into the future.

Schwartz-Sax named outstanding teaching assistant

From Steve Reiners, Horticulture Section chair:

It is my pleasure to announce that Miles Schwartz-Sax has been named the 2016 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Horticulture Section in the School of Integrative Plant Science.  Miles was the TA for the classes  “Creating the Urban Eden” and “Woody Plant ID and Use in the Landscape.”  Both classes were taught by his advisor, Nina Bassuk.

Nina praised Miles for his willingness to work one-on-one with students and always willing to give an extra effort.  Miles shared his own research with the classes, which so interested the students that several have signed up to do independent research with him.

Miles created dichotomous keys for the class, allowing students to break into small groups to key out plants.  This took a great amount of time but will be used by many classes in the future.

Miles received his MPS in Public Garden Management at Cornell in 2014 and is now pursuing his PhD with research focused on the micropropagation of hybrid white Oaks. He will receive the award at a luncheon on Friday, May 13.

Congratulations Miles!

Schwartz-Sax hangs tag on tree showing the value of its ecosystem services on Arbor Day.

Schwartz-Sax hangs tag on tree showing the value of its ecosystem services on Arbor Day.

Botanical Illustration Intensive exhibition

Tuesday, students in Intensive Study in Botanical Illustration (PLHRT 3250) exhibited their portfolios in an informal mini-art show in Plant Science 141. The course, taught by Marcia Eames-Sheavly using the Moodle-based distance-learning modules she created  is one of the requirements for the Minor in Horticulture with a Focus in the Botanical Arts.

art show

The artists included:

Anthony Teng

Anthony Teng

Patty Chan

Patty Chan

 

Shujie Li

Shujie Li

Tommi Schieder

Tommi Schieder

Yuxi Xiao had to take an exam and missed the fun.

Yuxi Xiao had to take an exam and missed the fun.

Senior honors Nobel laureate McClintock with library display

Juliet Jacobson ’16 stands in front of the exhibit she designed for Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock in Mann Library. (Photo: Matt Hayes)

Juliet Jacobson ’16 stands in front of the exhibit she designed for Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock in Mann Library. (Photo: Matt Hayes)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-10]

It took nearly 40 years for Barbara McClintock ’23, M.A. ’25, Ph.D. ’27, to be recognized for her groundbreaking research, winning the 1983 Nobel Prize for work she completed in the 1940s.

Now after another 30 years, Cornell has a prominent display marking the achievements of a scientist who discovered one of the most fundamental aspects of genetics.

And it’s all thanks to the persistence of Juliet Jacobson ’16.

Jacobson, a senior studying biological sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, first learned of McClintock’s achievements while in high school. When she arrived at Cornell she expected to find a statue or other prominent marker commemorating a titan of science who earned three degrees at the university and later returned to teach. What she found instead was a plaque near the small space where McClintock conducted her research, far from popular spots on campus where wandering students might learn of her life and legacy.

Read the whole article.

Relationships drive Cornell Vegetable Program’s reach

Hoover speaks with Cornell Vegetable Program specialist Judson Reid '94 in a climate-controlled high tunnel. (Photo: R.J. Anderson/Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Hoover speaks with Cornell Vegetable Program specialist Judson Reid ’94 in a climate-controlled high tunnel. (Photo: R.J. Anderson/Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-09]:

Commercial vegetable grower Nelson Hoover does not own a car, a computer or a degree. In fact, the 28-year-old never attended high school. But for over a decade, Hoover, a member of the Groffdale Mennonite Conference in Penn Yan, New York, has been one of the Cornell Vegetable Program’s (CVP) most trusted research partners.

A Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) regional agriculture team, CVP assists farmers in 12 western New York counties – the largest vegetable-producing region in the state – by helping them apply Cornell research and expertise to their local growing operations.

Two of those counties, Yates and Seneca, are home to the highest concentration of Old Order communities in the state. As their populations grows, the Amish and Mennonite influence on the area’s agriculture markets has followed suit. They now operate 99 percent of dairy farms in the area and own of one of the region’s largest produce auctions, which has grown by $185,000 annually over the last 12 years.

Working to maximize vegetable quality and output in Yates and Seneca counties is Cornell-trained horticulturist and CVP extension vegetable specialist Judson Reid ’94. Specializing in small-farm operations and high tunnel growing, Reid has become a trusted agricultural voice – even within those sects not typically receptive to outside influence.

Read the whole article.

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