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Xanthorrhoeaceae Aloidendron dichotoma (green) and Homo sapiens var. Miles Schwarz Sax (red)

Xanthorrhoeaceae Aloidendron dichotoma (green) and Homo sapiens var. Miles Schwarz Sax (red)

March 9, 2015 at 12:20 p.m. to 1:10 p.m.
404 Plant Science.
Also available via Polycom to A134 Barton Hall in Geneva.

Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar will feature Miles Schwarz Sax, Ph.D. candidate, Graduate Field of Horticulture and 2014 Frederick Dreer Award recipient. The award funded Miles’ travels in South Africa.

Internationally recognized as a biodiversity hotspot and home to roughly 10 percent of the vascular plant biodiversity on less than 1 percent of the earth’s land surface, South Africa has a long been admired as a botanical wonder. With charismatic endemic plants such as Proteas, Pelargoniums (geranium), Bird-of-paradise and Calla lilies, the horticultural introductions from this region have had impacts across the world.

The Frederick Dreer Award, administered by the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, offers wonderful opportunity for one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad pursuing his or her interests related to horticulture. The application deadline for the current cycle just closed. But you can view the application and instructions to start planning ahead for the 2016 award.

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Horticulture chair Marvin Pritts appeared on WSYR news March 3 to respond to the Environmental Working Group’s annual release of its “dirty dozen” list of produce most likely to have pesticide residues.

Pritts says the list shouldn’t discourage you from eating produce:

“I don’t think you’ll find very many scientists at all that would conclude that pesticide residue on conventionally grown produce is a problem. Most, I think 99.9 percent, would say it’s far better to eat that healthy apple or strawberry than it is to avoid it because you think there might be a pesticide residue on it,” said Pritts.

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If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, The role of botanic gardens in bio-cultural conservation with Christopher Dunn, E. N. Wilds Director, Cornell Plantations, it’s available online.

More seminar videos:

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Cornell berry breeder Courtney WeberReposted from Station Notes, [2015-03-02]

March 2, Cornell University joined a number of its peers nationwide in announcing the official launch of the National Land-grant Impacts website, a centralized online resource that highlights the teaching, research and extension efforts by Land-grant universities.

The website provides access to university or regional-specific impact stories, which document the research and extension programming planned, performed,and implemented by Cornell and other land-grant universities. The website, as a cooperative effort of these institutions, represents a collective voice for the agricultural experiment station and cooperative extension arms of the land-grant universities.

“The Land-Grant Impacts website is a new tool that will better inform the American people and the international community of the significant agricultural research, education and extension impacts taking place at land grant universities across our nation, which offer practical solutions to today’s critical societal challenges,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “This website will help policy makers and the public learn more about this work that is partially supported with NIFA funding.”

Read the whole article.

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Cornell students Adrienne Wilson, Steven Ingram, Emma Korolik, Andrew Key and Brenda Martinez headed to Vista Grande High School in Taos, N.M., during winter break as part of a service-learning course developed by Education Lecturer Bryan Duff.

Cornell students Adrienne Wilson, Steven Ingram, Emma Korolik, Andrew Key and Brenda Martinez headed to Vista Grande High School in Taos, N.M., during winter break as part of a service-learning course developed by Education Lecturer Bryan Duff.

Cornell Chronicle [2015-03-02]

In a service-learning odyssey that is still unfolding, a small group of Cornell University students headed to Taos, New Mexico, this January for an immersion into “expeditionary learning,” and rural school culture and diversity.

The course, Innovative Schools Advocacy and Research Team, is the brainchild of Bryan Duff, education lecturer in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and a 2013 Engaged Learning + Research fellow. Last fall, he issued a call for students to join a small, multidisciplinary team headed to an underresourced high school in the mountains northeast of Santa Fe.

“I wanted students to see an expeditionary learning school in action for more than the short field trips I had arranged in the past,” Duff said. “And I wanted students to spend time in a rural school because most of us get little personal or media exposure to such schools.”

Read the whole article.

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chili_cookoffFrom horticulture grad student Adam Karl:

The School of Integrative Plant Science Chili Cook-Off will be held in Emerson 135 on Thursday, March 19th from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. The Sections of Crop and Soil Science, Horticulture, Plant Biology, Plant Breeding, and Plant Pathology should assemble their best chili chefs in three categories:

  1. Meat
  2. Vegetarian
  3. Wild Card (non-traditional chilis)

Students, Faculty, and Staff are all welcome to participate! To enter the contest, email chili entries to Adam Karl (

Please include the following info:

  • names of cooks
  • section
  • category
  • name of chili

Registration deadline is Friday, March 13. We only have room for 20 chili entrants – so don’t delay registering!

There will be prizes for the winner of each chili category.

We look forward to sampling some chili with you!

 The Chili Cook-Off Team

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dilmun logoDilmun Hill, Cornell’s student-run farm,  is currently looking for students who would like to conduct research at the farm. This is a great opportunity for students interested in agroecology, soil science, horticulture, agronomy or other related fields.

If interested, please fill out the application and submit to Betsy Leonard by Friday, March 13th.

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CALS Communications

Greenhouse ribbon-cutting at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, N.Y., October 2014. Photo: Rob Way, CALS Communications.

Reposted from CALS Notes [2015-02-24]

It was a year of promises and deliveries, of new partnerships and the research and outreach results those relationships fuel. For Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, 2014 will be remembered as a very good year.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • The Northern Grapes Project, led by senior extension associate Tim Martinson, received a $2.6 million USDA grant to continue developing grape growing, wine making and marketing resources for cold climate grape growers.
  • Susan Brown, incoming Station director and faculty in the Horticulture Section, was named a 2014 “Women of Distinction” in a ceremony at the State Capitol.
  • Sarah Pethybridge was hired as an assistant professor in the Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, Steve Reiners assumed the position of associate chair of the Horticulture Section, Anna Katharine Mansfield was promoted to associate professor in the Department of Food Science, and Jennifer Grant was named director of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program.
  • The Station completed its 10th year of boosting science literacy through a plant science program for the Geneva City School District’s third and fourth graders.
  • The Summer Research Scholars Program hosted 27 students from top universities around the country for immersion in agricultural research.

And that’s just a start.

Read all the highlights in the Station’s “2014 Year in Review” available online on the NYSAES homepage:

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If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Saving the King’s kitchen garden of Versailles: respecting the past and creating a future, featuring M. Antoine Jacobsohn, Director, Le Potager du Roi, Versailles, it’s available online.

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Saturday morning, graduate students from all five sections helped the School of Integrative Plant Sciences put its best foot forward to prospective graduate students at a poster session in Stocking Commons hosted by SIPS and the Field of Food Science.

The enthusiastic presenters included Michael Schmidt, Soil and Crop Sciences …

Michael Schmidt

… and Maria Gannett, Horticulture.

Maria Gannett


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