Author Archive

working with healing plants in Belize

Photo: Jason Koski, University Photography

Via the Cornell Chronicle [2015-03-26]

A new course, Identifying Healing Plants Used in Maya Culture in Southern Belize, is one of 25 faculty projects awarded grants designed to internationalize undergraduate teaching, learning and research at Cornell. Internationalizing the Cornell Curriculum (ICC) awards are administered by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and by Cornell Abroad. They are intended to expose undergraduate students to different cultures, languages and meaningful international experiences.

The healing plants course will take groups of students and faculty to the Toledo District of Belize to study medicinal plants and preserve this centuries-old knowledge for future generations. The course was proposed jointly by faculty members from the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and of Arts and Sciences, Marcia Eames-Sheavly, Stacey Langwick and Kevin Nixon.

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If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Flower Power: Teaching college students the art and science of the beauty and perfection of flowers , with Heiner Lieth, Department of Plant Science, University of California-Davis, it’s available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

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farming the woods coverThursday, March 26, 2015
Durland Alternatives Library
127 Anabel Taylor Hall
2 to 4 p.m.
Free and open to public

Steve Gabriel,  extension agroforestry specialist for the Cornell Small Farms Program and co-author of Farming the Woods, will be giving a short presentation followed by discussion at the Durland Alternatives Library.

This is part of a weekly event series called The Alternatives Cafe–connecting library materials to local interests. The cafe is a weekly opportunity for discussion, collaboration, and education. Coffee, tea, and light refreshments are available.

 More information.

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Lori Brewer

Last Friday, Horticulture Section Senior Extension Associate Lori Brewer joined a one-hour TwitterChat on gardening hosted by the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Brewer was part of a panel of experts from participating BHL member and affiliate institutions — including Smithsonian Gardens, Smithsonian Libraries, National Museum of Natural History, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Chicago Botanic Garden — who answered gardeners’ questions.

“We fired off 22 tweets in the hour, out of about 150 the entire group sent out,” says John Carberry, managing editor and social media officer for CALS Communications. “Our tweets Friday reached more than 20,000 people, and they’re still being retweeted.

“It was a bit crazy, but it definitely spread the word.,” he adds.

Check out the BHL Storify of the TwitterChat to get a feel for what transpired.

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If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Genomics-assisted breeding of triploid hybrids of shrub willow for bioenergy, with Horticulture associate professor Larry Smart, it’s available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

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chili-cook-offx400-4583The annual School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) Chili Cook-Off was an event not to be missed.

Students, faculty, and staff from all five Sections packed Emerson 135 Thursday to sample traditional and exotic versions ranging from hot to savory to sweet — many making use of unusual ingredients not found in most recipes. The creations demonstrated the kind of creativity, ingenuity and good taste you’d expect from SIPS folks.

18 teams competed for prizes in three categories.

And the winners were:

  • Meat category: Get Shorty by  Jenn Thomas-Murphy, Soil and Crop Sciences
  • Vegetarian category: Pineapple Chili by Sammy Mainiero and Sam Leiboff, Plant Biology
  • Wild card category: Bunny Chow by Andy Read, Ian Small, Monica Carvalho, Jose Vargas Asencio, PPPMB/Plant Biology

“It was a lot of fun and a big success,” says Adam Karl, Horticulture graduate student who has helped organize the event three years running.

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group in woods and mushrooms on logFrom Steve Gabriel, Agroforestry Specialist, Cornell Small Farms Program:

Camp Mushroom is Cornell University’s annual two-day event for farmers, woodlot owners, and hobby growers who want to cultivate their own shiitake, oyster, lions mane, and stropharia mushrooms.

The workshop is a unique beginner/intermediate level workshop for those interested in small-scale forest mushroom cultivation.

The class runs April 24 – 25, 2014 at Cornell’s Arnot Teaching and Research Forest located about 20 miles south of Ithaca, N.Y.

This year marks the 10th year of the course, as forest mushroom cultivation blossoms in the northeast as a new small farm industry. Research on active farms, facilitated by Cornell, University of Vermont, and Chatham University has found that growers are able to begin making a profit in year two. It is projected that a small 500-log operation could gross $9,000 over a five-year period.

Cost: $100 for overnight guests (primitive cabin with heat), $70 for commuters. (Includes Friday dinner and breakfast and lunch on Saturday, featuring mushrooms and local, organic foods.)

Schedule:

  • Friday-  6 pm dinner, program from 7 – 10 pm
  • Saturday – 8 am breakfast, program from 9 – 3 pm (with lunch)

More information, online registration.

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pax keyFrom Mark Bridgen, Professor and Pi Alpha Xi advisor:

Pi Alpha Xi (PAX), the national honor society for horticulture, inducted new members on March 13, 2015. (See photo caption below.) 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.

In 2014 PAX activities included a 3-day excursion to visit botanical gardens in the Phildadelphia area and a collaboration with Hortus Forum (Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club) to revamp the planters in the Plant Science Building foyer. Society members also planted spring-flowering bulbs last fall around CALS that we’ll all be enjoying soon.

pax inductees

2015 PAX inductees and advisors, left to right, Tom Weiler, Horticulture professor emeritus; Neil Mattson, Horticulture associate professor; Ben Stormes, MPS/Public Garden Leadership program; Lauren Fessler ’17; Lindsay Chamberlain, ’17; Karl Kunze, ’17; Catherine Migneco, ’16; Matthew Uhalde, ’17; Jeremy Pardo, ’17; Justin Lombardoni, ’16; Emily Detrick, MPS/Public Garden Leadership program; Nor Kamal Ariff Nor Hisham Shah, MS Plant Breeding; Mark Bridgen, Horticulture professor and PAX Advisor.

Graduating members will wear the traditional PAX honor cords of cerulean blue and Nile green (the society’s colors) at commencement. They include graduate students Adam Karl and James Keach and seniors Kaitlyn Anderson, Danielle Park, Jeffrey Janusz and Angella Macias.

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twitterchat announcementReposted from CALS Notes:

Forget basketball, gardening madness begins tomorrow at 1 p.m. EDT on our sister Twitter channel, @CornellCALS.

For one big hour, Cornell will join event host Biodiversity Heritage Library for a full-court TwitterChat during which everyone is invited to submit gardening questions for top national experts to answer.

Botanists and horticulturalists from BHL partner institutions – including Smithsonian Gardens, Smithsonian Libraries, National Museum of Natural History, Missouri Botanical Garden, Chicago Botanic Garden, and CALS’s own Horticulture Senior Research Extension Lori Brewer – will offer answers and provide gardening tips and resources.

Join in or follow along: ‪#‎BHLinbloom‬. And get ready to get dirty.

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garden seen file photo

Cornell has joined an effort to teach public garden educators how to use natural assets as a resource for learning and social change within their communities.

[Cornell Chronicle 2015-03-17]

Cornell has joined a national online education effort designed to help public garden educators transform their natural assets into community resources for scientific knowledge and social change.

The first online class co-hosted by Cornell, a free six-week online course called EECapacity for Public Garden Educators, wrapped up last month and is part of an ongoing national environmental education training program. Lectures were delivered as a series of live videos, with opportunities for participants to answer questions and provide feedback on Facebook.

Overall course goals included re-evaluating how national educators can engage the public with environmentally conscious and community-centric gardens, according to course developer Donald Rakow, Ph.D. ’87, associate professor of horticulture.

“Courses like this point out realistic and achievable ways that gardens can contribute to more livable and equitable communities,” said Rakow. “Public gardens must move beyond their traditional roles of curating and displaying diverse plant collections and conducting research, education and conservation programs, and truly address the needs of the surrounding communities.”

Read the whole article.

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