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Vanden Heuvel in the NY Times

Justine Vanden Heuvel

Justine Vanden Heuvel

In Do Children in France Have a Healthier Relationship With Alcohol?Justine Vanden Heuvel and psychology professor Katherine Kinzler explore how the informal education about alcohol children receive influences later drinking habits.

“Though some studies have suggested that offering children small tastes of alcohol is associated with problem drinking, countries where drinking wine at meals is standard, including Italy, France and Spain, rank among the least risky in a World Health Organization report on alcohol. Can cultural attitudes toward wine affect our propensity for problem drinking?.”

Read the whole article.

 

Podcast: Climate Change and Fruit Trees

How will the changing climate affect the way we grow fruit now and in the years to come?  Greg Peck, Assistant Professor in the Horticulture Section, sat down with Susan Poizner, host of the Orchard People podcast for a wide-ranging discussion about sustainable fruit productions systems, how climate change will affect fruit trees and what growers and gardeners can do to prepare.

Listen to the podcast.

Greg Peck dissects fruit buds to assess frost damaage.

Greg Peck dissects fruit buds in his lab to assess frost damage.

 

Duff named Kaplan Faculty Fellow

Bryan Duff, senior lecturer in education, speaks at the Kaplan award dinner. (Dave Burbank photo)

Bryan Duff, senior lecturer in education, speaks at the Kaplan award dinner. (Dave Burbank photo)

Bryan Duff, senior lecturer in the Horticulture Section, was one of two recipients of  the 2016 Kaplan Family Faculty Fellowship in Service-Learning.   He and Noliwe Rooks, associate professor of Africana studies, were recognized at the 15th annual award dinner, April 21.

The event also celebrated two service-learning curriculum projects local partners, DeWitt Middle School and McGraw House senior center in downtown Ithaca, who are working with Rooks and Duff.

Duff, who coordinates the undergraduate minor in education, redesigned the service-learning course, Engaging Students in Learning. The course engages community partners in the development and refinement of a service-learning course and gives Cornell students responsibility to plan and implement an after-school program for middle school students.

While the goal of the course had always been to help students improve their ability to engage learners and gain useful in-class skills, Duff felt it did not always provide the same level of interaction for every student. With support from the Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program, Duff shifted students from assisting in the classroom to running an after-school program at DeWitt Middle School.

Read more in the Cornell Chronicle [2016-04-25].

Dean’s Awards recognize Plant Sciences Majors, teachers

Dean Kathryn Boor honored a select group of CALS students, faculty and staff during this year’s Dean’s Awards Dinner held April 18 at the Statler Hotel. The annual event recognizes outstanding faculty, staff and students; with a focus on undergraduate education, teaching and advising.

Five members of the plant sciences community were recognized:

Student awards:

  • CALS Academic Excellence – Plant Sciences: Joshua Kaste
  • SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence: Sarah Nadeau (Biological Engineering & Plant Sciences) and Dhruv Patel (Biological Sciences & Plant Sciences)

Faculty awards:   

  • Faculty Service: William L. Crepet, Plant Biology Section
  • Teaching:  Kevin C. Nixon, Plant Biology Section

Congratulations all!

Clockwise from upper left: Joshua Kaste, Dhruv Patel, Kevin C. Nixon, William L. Crepet. Not pictured: Sarah Nadeau.

Receiving congratulations from Dean Boor are (clockwise from upper left) Joshua Kaste, Dhruv Patel, Kevin C. Nixon, William L. Crepet. Not pictured: Sarah Nadeau.

Vanden Heuvel: Climate Change Will Transform What’s in Your Wine Glass

Justine Vanden Heuvel

Justine Vanden Heuvel

[Huffington Post 2016-04-20]:

After the publication of a recent study about the impact of climate change on French wine, several articles misrepresented the study, resulting in misleading headlines such as An Upside to Climate Change? Better French Wine, French Wine May Be Improving Due To Climate Change, and Climate Change Giving The World Better French Wine. While the stories implied that any benefit of climate change on French wine would be short-term, they failed to press on a key point: Climate change will transform what’s in your wine glass and continue to do so as long as it remains unchecked.

Here in the U.S., the assessment of the future of the wine industry is pretty grim: the land area capable of producing premium wines could decrease by as much as 81 percent by the end of this century. The major impact of climate change on wine grape production is through increasing temperature; as the growth of grapevines is mostly dictated by temperature, climate change has been resulting in earlier bloom and harvest dates, with most major wine regions being impacted.

Major wine-growing regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Napa Valley have at least a few strategies available to them. One is that they can maintain the status quo by growing the same grape varieties that they grow now. As temperature increases, sugar accumulation in the grape increases, resulting in a higher alcohol wine. Acidity of the grapes decreases, color can be reduced, and compounds that are responsible for the typical aroma of some wines can decrease. Will consumers adapt to these changing styles? It’s difficult to say.

Online botanical illustration courses start May 31

Hellebore watercolor by Marcia Eames-Sheavly

Learn botanical illustration online.  Three courses taught by Marcia Eames-Sheavly start May 31, 2016:

You can view works by students in previous classes on display in the cases in the west wing of the first floor of Plant Science Building. The course webpages also have links to previous students who have posted their works online.

‘Urban Eden’ students put a price tag on trees for Arbor Day

Urban Eden teaching assistants Huan Liu and Miles Schwartz Sax tag a sugar maple outside of Roberts Hall.

Urban Eden teaching assistants Huan Liu and Miles Schwartz Sax tag a sugar maple outside of Roberts Hall.

What’s a tree worth?

In what has become an annual tradition, students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920) are helping to make people more aware of why trees are worth hugging by hanging bright green “price tags” on trunks around the Ag Quad.

The students entered data about the trees, such as species, diameter and location, into i-Tree — a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service. The application then calculates monetary benefits from reduced stormwater runoff, improved air quality,  carbon dioxide sequestration and energy savings to nearby buildings by blocking wind in winter and providing shade in summer.

“It’s really quite eye-opening for people who think that trees are just nice to look at and don’t have any other value,” said Nina Bassuk, professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, who leads the class alongside Peter Trowbridge, professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture.

There are also benefits that are not easily quantified, such as wildlife habitats and emotional responses, added Bassuk, who is also director of the Urban Horticulture Institute.

Urban Eden tree taggers spread out across the Ag Quad tagging trees ...

Urban Eden tree taggers spread out across the Ag Quad tagging trees …

... until it was time to go prune and mulch landscapes installed by previous Urban Eden classes.

… until it was time to go prune and mulch landscapes installed by previous Urban Eden classes.

Annual Fund support helps CALS grow

The Annual Fund helps Hannah Swegarden, horticulture Ph.D student, complete the kind of innovative research that will help feed a hungry world. Support her and other CALS students on Cornell Giving Day April 19: http://givingday.cals.cornell.edu/2016

Biochar/Bioenergy Seminar

Nearly 60 faculty, staff, students, industry representatives and others attended the day-long Cornell Biochar/Bioenergy Seminar April 15. They were treated to wide-ranging talks, panel discussions, flash presentations and a poster session. The day culminated with a tour of Cornell’s new biochar research pyrolysis kiln at the Leland Laboratory, the largest in the U.S.

The kiln was made possible by a $5 million gift to the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future from philanthropist Yossie Hollander, who is interested in the test facility’s potential to help small farming communities in developing countries. The kiln will help researchers learn more about how feedstocks and pyrolysis practices affect biochar quality and effectiveness as a soil amendment. More information.

biochar kiln

Seminar participants learn about the nuts and bolts of Cornell’s new research pyrolysis kiln at the Leland Laboratory.

Finicky deer avoid some invasive plants, promoting spread

At the Penn State Deer Research Center, ecologists offered deer a multiple-choice array of eight invasive introduced and seven native plants to determine deer feeding preferences among the species.

At the Penn State Deer Research Center, ecologists offered deer a multiple-choice array of eight invasive introduced and seven native plants to determine deer feeding preferences among the species.

Cornell Chronicle [2016-04-14]:

The dietary preferences of deer may be promoting the spread of such invasive species as garlic mustard, Japanese barberry and Japanese stiltgrass, according to a new study that tested white-tailed deer preferences for seven native and eight invasive plants commonly found in the northeastern U.S.

“Deer avoid certain invasive plants that are increasing in abundance in natural areas, suggesting that deer are causing unpalatable species to spread,” said Kristine Averill, a research associate in Cornell’s Section of Soil and Crop Sciences and the lead author of a study recently published online and in an upcoming print issue of the journal Biological Invasions.

The invasive herb garlic mustard, for example, has spread throughout the United States in the last 150 years and has become one of the worst forest invaders, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. In some areas, it has become the dominant forest underbrush plant, outcompeting native plants and reducing species diversity.

Read the whole article.

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