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Pi Alpha Xi horticulture honor society inducts new members

PAX_Key_color2From Mark Bridgen, Professor and Pi Alpha Xi advisor:

Pi Alpha Xi (PAX), the national honor society for horticulture, inducted new members on April 23, 2014. Only the best students in the plant sciences are invited to join this national honor society.

Pi Alpha Xi was founded in 1923 at Cornell University and is the Alpha Chapter. Originally, it was the national honor society for floriculture, landscape horticulture and ornamental horticulture. In recent years it has changed and now honors excellence in all of horticulture.

Since its founding, PAX has grown to 36 chapters at baccalaureate-granting institutions. Its mission is to promote scholarship, fellowship, professional leadership, and the enrichment of human life through plants.

PAX was very active at Cornell University for many years, peaking in the 1970s. But the chapter went dormant for several years until its revival in 2013. This semester, the students hosted and organized a weekend bus trip to visit three major gardens in the Brandywine Valley: Longwood Gardens, Winterthur Gardens, and Chanticleer Gardens. The students also participated in the ROOTED project on campus and have organized a “Wellness Day” activity.

During the induction ceremony, honor cords of cerulean blue and Nile green (the society’s colors) were presented to graduating senior and graduate student members to wear during commencement: Rowan Bateman, Matthew Bond, Justin Kondrat, Madeline Olberg, Miles Schwartz-Sax, and Elizabeth Simpson.

Learn more about Pi Alpha Xi at the American Society for Horticultural Science website.

2014 Pi Alpha Xi  inductees

Front Row (L to R): Patrick McLoughlin, Andrew Harner, Jason Gregory, Jonathan Namanworth, Joshua Kaste, Danielle Park, Justin Kondrat, Sarah Odell

Back Row (L to R): Bryan Denig, Adam Karl, Miles Schwartz-Sax, Jeffrey Janusz , Christian Lesage, Kaitlyn Anderson, Dr. Mark Bridgen, Advisor

Students to show botanical illustrations May 6

Ink illustrationFrom Marcia Eames-Sheavly:

Students who are enrolled in the new horticulture minor with a focus in the botanical arts will show their art work – the result of an intensive semester immersed in numerous methods and media. Please join us on May 6, in Plant Science 141, from 12:20 p.m. – 1:10 p.m.

We will serve food. Mark your calendars, and please join us!

Visit from Dr. Arora

From Thomas Björkman:

Arora and RakowDon Rakow and Rajeev Arora (left), Department of Horticulture,  Iowa State University, evaluate variation in cold injury among the Rhododendron species on Comstock Knoll in Cornell Plantations.

Arora, an expert on cold hardiness in woody plants and particularly the control of deacclimation in the spring, presented Monday’s Department of Horticulture seminar.

This species showed photobleaching of the midrib from when the leaf was curled at low temperature (thermonasty) and only the midrib exposed on a sunny but frigid day this past winter.

Libe Slope features living art display

When Justin Kondrat ’14 transferred to Cornell from SUNY Morrisville, it didn’t take long for him to feel rooted. Among the ivy, he found fertile ground to thrive and grow, through an anchoring network of teachers, mentors and friends who cultivated his creativity and passion for plants.

The brainchild of Justin Kondrat ’14, the independent project conveys that Cornell "you can really be inclusive and come together as a community" at Cornell. (Jason Koski/University Photography)

The brainchild of Justin Kondrat ’14, the independent project conveys that Cornell “you can really be inclusive and come together as a community” at Cornell. (Jason Koski/University Photography)

That passion has been transformed into a living tribute to the power of nature to foster well-being and captivate a community: a display of more than 50,000 golden daffodils, white narcissus and purple hyacinth flowers spelling out the word “rooted” in 10-foot letters along the steep side of Libe Slope below the bell tower.

The installation glows red and white at night, thanks to solar-powered lights that have been woven between the flowers.

Although it started as Kondrat’s independent project under the guidance of senior lecturer of horticulture Marcia Eames-Sheavly, more than 100 people ended up taking part, from planting 13,000 bulbs to transporting, arranging and staking 350 pots.

Read the whole article and view more photos. [Cornell Chronicle 2014-04-24]

See also:

Aerial view

Aerial view.

Special thanks to Chris Kitchen Photography and Design and East Hill Flying Club.

Sustainable Landscapes webinars available online

From Lori Brewer, Senior Extension Associate, Department of Horticulture:

If you missed the Spring 2014 Sustainable Landscapes webinars, they are available online:

You can find other, past webinars and recordings as well at:

Woody Shrubs for Stormwater Retention Practices from CCE Horticulture on Vimeo.

Bates wins first ASEV Extension Distinction Award

 Reposted from Station News:

Terry Bates

Terry Bates

Terry Bates, director of the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory (CLEREL) and a senior research associate in horticulture, has been granted the first American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) Extension Distinction Award. Bates is being recognized for his leadership in the applied research and extension effort in vineyard mechanization on ‘Concord’ grapes in the Lake Erie region. The award will be presented at the ASEV National Conference in Austin in June.

Because of his research trials, growers now have a new, tested tool – mechanical crop estimation and thinning – to adjust cropping levels to seasonal conditions. Bates also leads the extension effort at CLEREL, which includes a Farm Business management specialist, IPM coordinator, and viticulturist. Ongoing research efforts involve educating the industry on economic impacts, demonstration in commercial vineyards, and dissemination of results to growers. His collaborations have had a nationwide impact as well as a direct economic impact on the Lake Erie region grape producers.

MacDaniels Nut Grove Open House May 10

Cornell University media advisory:

Hone your hugelkultur, savor shiitake at Cornell nut grove open house

May 10 open house at MacDaniels Nut Grove offers activities for the whole family

What: MacDaniels Nut Grove springtime open house
When: Saturday, May 10, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: MacDaniels Nut Grove, near Palm Road on the Cornell campus.
Note: The MacDaniels nut grove is located on steep terrain and requires a decent walk from parking to the forest. Those with limited mobility may have a hard time accessing the entrance and navigating the site. Please contact Steve at with questions regarding accessibility.

Shiitake mushroom demonstration at MacDaniels Nut Grove

Shiitake mushroom demonstration at MacDaniels Nut Grove

ITHACA, N.Y. – When most people think about farms, they think about fields. Today, sustainable forest-farming is taking root across the country ¬– and will be on display at the MacDaniels Nut Grove spring open house, just of the Cornell University campus.

The open house features a full demonstration of forest farming practices including mushroom cultivation, medicinal plants, an ornamental nursery, and fruit production of paw paw and elderberry, and water management techniques including swales and hugelkulture piles.

Try hands-on inoculation of mushroom logs and see grafting demonstrations. Taste nuts and enjoy an afternoon in the woods, which is adjacent to the East Hill Recreation Trail for longer hikes.

This 90-plus year-old grove, planted by Cornell Professor Lawrence MacDaniels, includes impressive hickory and walnut varieties, and is a wonder to see on its own.

Tours by Professor Ken Mudge, who re-discovered the nut grove in 2002, will be offered at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m.

For a map, directions and additional details about the MacDaniels Nut Grove, visit:

Media that wish to attend should RSVP to Joe Schwartz at the Cornell University Media Relations Office, 607-264-6235 or

Turfgrass podcasts are back for 2014

Cornell Turfgrass on iTunesFree ShortCUTT turfgrass podcasts are back for the 2014 growing season. In the podcasts, available via iTunes or the Cornell Turfgrass blog, ‘Turf Guy’ Frank Rossi, provides weekly news and advice for professionals in the lawn-, golf- and sports-turf industry in New York State and surrounding areas.

Each episode reviews the week’s weather and it’s implications on turf management, pest and disease alerts, and practical solutions to timely problems.

For more turfgrass management information, visit the Cornell Turfgrass Program website.


SoHo/HoFo Horticulture Outreach Day May 2

From Grant Thompson, President, Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo)

Outreach day poster. Click for larger view
Larger view.

Video: Rooted art installation

Via CornellCast: Video of the ‘Rooted’ art installation on Libe Slope.

ROOTED is a living community art installation that celebrates the diversity of ways people on campus stay rooted in their lives and in the community. Student and faculty volunteers planted 13,000 flower bulbs in 350 pots and moved them to Libe Slope below McGraw clock tower to spell the word, “ROOTED,” in 10-foot-tall letters.

The project was spearheaded by student artist Justin Kondrat and faculty advisor Marcia Eames-Sheavly.

See also: Time-lapse and ribbon-cutting video.

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