Skip to main content

AHS, Garden-Based Learning Program collaborate on updated guide

The American Horticultural Society and the Cornell Garden-Based Learning Program have joined forces  to update and make available a free, web-based  tool to help educators and others launch garden programs for children, youth and families.

Sowing the Seeds of Success, also available as a printable publication, is designed to address “the increased interest in school and community garden projects and the troubling issues of food insecurity and nature deficit disorder,” says Fiona Doherty, educator enrichment specialist with the Cornell Garden-Based Learning Program, who led the update.

Originally published in 1999, the guide includes lessons, activities and program tools as well as links to additional resources to help start, sustain, expand and reflect on garden programs. “These can be used by teachers, parents and leaders of other community gardening programs to help empower young people with the skills to become the next generation of environmental stewards,” adds Doherty.

The guide is available in both mobile friendly and printer friendly versions.

Seminar video: Creating a scouting app for greenhouse insect pest management

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar Creating a scouting app for greenhouse insect pest management with Elizabeth Lamb, NYS IPM Program, it  is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Dreer blog: Raquel Kallas pursues viticulture in Oz

Kallas measuring midday water potential during a 40-degree C (104 F) heatwave last week.

Kallas measuring midday water potential during a 40-degree C (104 F) heatwave last week.

2016 Dreer Award recipient Raquel Kallas (MS Horticulture ’16) is pursuing her interest in viticulture in Australia with the help of a familiar face to many: Vinay Pagay (PhD Horticulture ’14), now viticulture researcher and educator based at the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide.

“His lab is on the cutting-edge of vineyard technologies that will allow us to better understand and manage the effects of climate change on vines and wine quality,” says Kallas. While a student at Cornell, Pagay helped develop a microfluidic water sensor within a fingertip-sized silicon chip that is a hundred times more sensitive than current devices.

Kallas’s collaborations with Pagay are funded through the Frederick Dreer Award. The Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science offers this wonderful opportunity once a year that allows one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad pursuing horticulture interests. Deadline for application this cycle is March 6, 2017.

If you’d like to keep up with Kallas’s travels, visit her Dreer blog, Grapes of Raq.

Myanmar: Land of Enchantment lunchtime talk January 31

Marvin Pritts traveled to Myanmar with other faculty and students in IARD 6020 – International Agriculture in Developing Nations. He’ll share stories and some fabulous photos January 31 at noon in Plant Science 114. Feel free to bring your lunch, sit back and enjoy.

What I did on break

Many in the Cornell horticulture community embarked on expeditions of note over the break:

Mark Bridgen and Betsy Lamb led students in Special Topics in Horticulture: Plant Biodiversity (PLHRT 4940) on a trip to Chile for hands-on study and exploration of wild and native plants, commercial breeding programs, and botanical gardens and arboreta to supplement their classroom experiences last fall. See more pictures from the trip on their class blog.

Exploring native plants in Valle Nevado.

Exploring native plants in Valle Nevado.


Bryan Duff
and 13 undergraduates traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they spent all day every day for a week embedded in an elementary school that is turning to project-based learning to boost student motivation and performance. Bryan and the students taught the children to use video-making equipment and then guided them in making music videos for songs celebrating Black History Month.

Students try their hand at video (left). Duff interviews students waiting for class (right).

Students try their hand at video (left). Duff interviews students waiting for class (right).


Marvin Pritts
traveled to Myanmar with other faculty and students in IARD 6020 – International Agriculture in Developing Nations.

Temple-studded landscape.

Temple-studded landscape.

Click on thumbnails below to see more scenes from Myanmar:

Curiosity and expertise earn Excellence in IPM award for Cornell ‘pumpkin whisperer’

'Pumpkin whisperer' checks in with her 1,872-pound patient.

‘Pumpkin whisperer’ checks in with her 1,872-pound patient.

NYSIPM program news release:

Meg McGrath, a Cornell University plant pathologist based at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center, is an internationally recognized researcher, sought-after speaker, and well-versed in the solutions to devastating plant diseases.

And for growers with trouble on their hands, she’s available at a moment’s notice.

These qualities and more have earned McGrath an Excellence in IPM award from Cornell University’s New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM).

McGrath’s expertise spans the gamut of IPM strategies and tactics that both organic and conventional growers use to combat disease pests such as late blight and downy mildew. “Meg embraced the concepts of integrated pest management from the beginning of her career,” says colleague Margery Daughtrey. “She does a splendid job of bringing her discoveries to the practical level for growers in dozens of presentations annually.”

But it’s her help in the field that farmers value the most — help that’s delivered with a welcome dose of levity. “Meg’s funny,” says Marilee Foster at Foster’s Farm in Sagponack. “She’ll say ‘I’m sorry, I’m a plant pathologist. I like to study sick plants.’” When a nearby outbreak of late blight threatened Foster’s organic heirloom tomatoes, Meg came to help scout — “arriving early so we’d have the visual benefit of dew,” Foster says.

When they found a handful of plants with symptoms, McGrath reviewed Foster’s alternatives, but none were suited for organic crops. The strategy they hit on together? Using a handheld weed-flamer to take down suspect plants. “Blight can’t handle temperatures much above eighty degrees,” Meg told Foster. “And it might feel good!”  Which, Foster agrees, it did.

Meg focuses on core IPM principles — principles such as careful identification so you don’t treat a disease the wrong way, or changing a crop’s environment to outsmart its pathogens. “She helps Long Island growers deal with the limited availability of products they can use to manage pests, given the island’s heightened groundwater concerns,” says Jennifer Grant, director, NYS IPM. “It’s not every day you find someone who brings such warmth and knowledge to a position that means so much to so many farmers’ livelihood.”

Marilee Foster echoes that. “I have long admired the energy and curiosity Meg brings to farmers in eastern Long Island. We are lucky to have her working with us, for everyone.”

McGrath received her award on January 18 at the 2017 Empire State Producers Expo in Syracuse, New York. Learn more about integrated pest management at nysipm.cornell.edu.

More information:

New course teaches cutting-edge food production

To better prepare Cornell students to thrive in the growing  hydroponic industry, associate professor Neil Mattson initiated a course last fall, Hydroponic Food Crop Production and Management, to teach the principles and practices of commercial food crop production in controlled environment agriculture (CEA). Read more in the Cornell Chronicle [2017-01-19].

The Grand Pomologist of Hard Cider

Greg Peck — arguably the nation’s preeminent hard cider scientist — is on a mission to turn America’s fledgling hard cider scene into a sophisticated industry, à la the viticulturists of California, according to Modern Farmer. Read more,

Peck talks cider apple production at 2016 cider field day at Cornell Orchards.

Peck talks cider apple production at 2016 cider field day at Cornell Orchards.

New botanical arts display in Plant Science Building

New botanical arts display in case west of the foyer on the first floor of the Plant Science Building.

New botanical arts display in case west of the foyer on the first floor of the Plant Science Building.

 

What comes to mind when you think of botanical arts?

A new display in the cabinets west of the first-floor foyer in Plant Science Building may challenge your notions.

“Many just think of floral design and botanical illustration,” says Marcia Eames-Sheavly, senior lecturer and senior Extension associate in the Horticulture Section.  “They’re important examples, but there’s so much more!”

For the display, Eames-Sheavly drew largely on works by students in her Art of Horticulture and Intensive Study in Botanical Illustration courses, and sprinkled in a few of her own.

“This display highlights just some of the expressions of the intersections of art and horticulture including works in cloth, concrete, gourds, pressed flowers and wood, as well as more traditional media such as pencil, acrylic, and watercolor,” she notes.

Undergraduates (who are not Plant Sciences majors) interested in pursuing the Horticulture Minor with a Focus in the Botanical Arts should visit the minor’s webpage or contact Eames-Sheavly: ME14@cornell.edu.

Class travels to Chile to study biodiversity

Alstroemeria in Valle Nevado, Chile

Alstroemeria in Valle Nevado, Chile

Today, students in Special Topics in Horticulture: Plant Biodiversity (PLHRT 4940) arrive in Chile. For the next 10 days, they will follow-up on their classroom experiences last semester learning about how biodiversity is perceived, valued, measured, monitored, and protected with hands-on study and exploration of wild and native plants, commercial breeding programs, and botanical gardens and arboreta.

“The biodiversity of Chile is rich and precious, and its plants are valued highly throughout the world,” notes Mark Bridgen, professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, who is leading the trip. “Of the 5,100 species of flora and fauna found in Chile, more than 2,500 are endemic – that is, found nowhere else on Earth.”

In fact, Bridgen has developed two ornamental cultivars of the native Chilean Inca Lily (Alstroemeria): ‘Tangerine Tango’ and ‘Mauve Majesty’.

If you’d like to follow the class’s adventures, visit and/or subscribe to the class blog, Biodiversity in Chile. The site is already populated with profiles of fascinating plants — including the alien-looking Yareta (Azorella compacta) from the high desert and the national tree of Chile Araucaria araucanabetter known as the Monkey Puzzle Tree — and posts on other biodiversity topics.

View additional pictures from Chile on Mark Bridgen’s Facebook page.

Skip to toolbar