Flower Bulb Research at Kenneth Post Lab Greenhouses.
Archive for the “CUAES” Category
Flower Bulb Research at Kenneth Post Lab Greenhouses.
Dec 23 2014
On Nov. 10, Dean Kathryn Boor, Cornell Cooperative Extension Director and Associate Dean Chris Watkins, and more than 100 guests celebrated the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s best and brightest at the 11th annual Research, Extension and Staff Awards.
Part of the program was dedicated to the Core Value Staff Awards, created in 2010 and designed to recognize individuals or teams who have gone far beyond the standards defined by Cornell’s Skills for Success.
“These awards go to staff who consistently go above and beyond the call in their day-to-day activities,” Boor said, “and we are happy to highlight their dedication and accomplishments.”
This year the dean presented two awards for Unsung Hero. The award recognizes a team player whose accomplishments extend beyond the guidelines of a specific category.
The first Unsung Hero Award was presented to Craig Cramer, an extension communication specialist in the Horticulture section in the School of Integrative Plant Science.
Cramer is a key point person for the communications needs of the new school. He works closely with CALS Communications to help cover events and accomplishments by faculty, students and staff. He keeps websites updated and evolving, writes blog posts and articles, partners with CALS Communications for press releases, and is an excellent photographer and videographer. He is often found visiting classes or attending field days, conferences, and other events to capture Horticulture’s exciting work in action.
In short, he does whatever it takes to get the word out about Plant Science’s exciting research, teaching and extension.
Dean Boor also noted that each year, Cramer learns new skills and takes on more responsibilities, even regularly offering seminars to students and extension educators on topics like “writing for the Internet” and “creating digital art.” Masterful at presenting information in an engaging way, he enthusiastically accepts new communications challenges, such as helping a class produce posters that advertise the quantifiable value of trees to our community or editing the “Cornell Guide for Growing Fruit at Home,” which won an award for best new publication.
The second Unsung Hero Award was presented to Steven McKay, farm manager at the Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.
McKay’s technical role is to support the activities of 20-25 faculty researchers from more than a half a dozen departments who are investigating diverse questions associated with vegetables in New York. He oversees 260 acres of farmland, managing all aspects of land preparation, pest management, staff assignments and equipment purchases.
However, Boor said, his impact and reputation have expanded well beyond a support role.
He works long hours and is available 24/7, sharing his expertise with faculty and graduate students to help maximize the impact of their results. Field experiments are, by their nature, at the mercy of the elements, but Steve cares so deeply about on-farm experiments that he routinely goes beyond expectations to ensure their success.
For example, during Tropical Storm Lee, severe flooding jeopardized field trials at the farm. Due to the mud, it was impossible to use a tractor to apply fungicide treatments to one of the experiments, so Steve trudged through the mucky fields with a backpack sprayer to save the day.
During a time when sustainability and efficiency are key, he is a true forward-thinking leader. He has transitioned much of the farm to drip irrigation to reduce water usage by 80 percent, and he shuttered the Thompson lab building to save thousands of dollars annually on heating and utility costs.
The dean said his curiosity, creativity and ingenuity benefit everyone who depends on the farm – he is a lifelong learner who is always seeking new and improved practices. She noted that McKay even challenged an engineering class with a contest to design improved drainage and irrigation systems, and then implemented the winning design at the farm.
From Betsy Leonard, ‘81, Organic Farm Coordinator, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES):
The 2014 season was a great success Dilmun Hill, Cornell’s student-run farm! I hope you can come to join us in celebrating the end of the season, sharing updates on Dilmun Hill and learning about our plans for the future. Lunch foods provided!
What: Dilmun 2014 Season Wrap-Up
There will presentations reviewing the happenings at the farm this past season. Topics will include:
There will also be a slide show and refreshments!
Sep 03 2014
Tour Dilmun Hill (Cornell’s student-run farm) and MacDaniels Nut Grove (forest farming research and education center), and have some fun while learning about sustainable vegetable production and agroforestry.
Tours of the Grove, will depart from Dilmun at 3:30 and at 4:30 and will include mushrooms taste testing.
Other scheduled activities include:
Finger foods provided. Bring a dish to pass if inspired.
Contact: Alena Hutchinson email@example.com.
See how cotton and peanuts grow, learn about “good” bugs and “bad” bugs, taste the best roasted peppers, learn about food preservation, bend hoops for high tunnels, watch plastic mulch equipment in action (laying, lifting and recycling) and get tips from researchers about gardening, growing and composting practices. Go on a wagon ride, get your face painted and enjoy farm-fresh snacks.
Free admission and all are welcome!
CALS is about to become a whole lot “greener” thanks to a major greenhouse renovation scheme now underway at both the Ithaca and Geneva campuses. The initiative, called for in the college’s Master Plan, aims to eliminate or replace older, energy inefficient greenhouses with state-of-the-art structures that will provide faculty, staff and students with safe, spacious and sustainable facilities in which to conduct research.
New greenhouses are already under construction at CALS satellite campus at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, thanks to $4.3M in funds received from New York State. Construction also began earlier this month to replace the Bailey Conservatory Greenhouse adjacent to the Plant Science Building, which wasclosed in 2010 due to health and safety concerns. And CALS is also building new greenhouses (rendering above) at the Guterman complex on the Ithaca campus with a mix of college funds and a $500,000 grant awarded through the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council.
These renovations are taking place in concert with a new lean process improvement initiative undertaken by the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station that’s designed to save on greenhouse energy usage without diminishing the essential value of Cornell’s greenhouses. Not only will this effort save money, it will also help to diminish the carbon footprint of both CALS and Cornell.
What a way to save green by going green!
Jun 24 2014
By Nancy Doolittle, reposted from Pawprint [2014-06-12]:
Greenhouses are essential to hundreds of Cornell faculty and students who need to maintain and grow plants year round for research, teaching and outreach, especially in Ithaca. But, greenhouses are hardly green.
This past year, staff and faculty from the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) worked with staff from Organizational Effectiveness to use the “lean” process improvement approach to save on greenhouse energy without diminishing the essential value of Cornell’s greenhouses.
The energy currently used to heat and light 164 Ithaca campus greenhouse units – the largest noncommercial greenhouse facility in New York State – produces the same greenhouse gas emissions each year as do 2,642 passenger vehicles or 1,744 homes. The greenhouses off Tower and Caldwell roads total 144,624 square feet; and on a square-foot basis, heating a greenhouse costs $5 to $9.50 annually and lighting $3 to $6 annually.
“Our efforts to save energy began with the greenhouse growers,” said Mike Hoffmann, director of CUAES and associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), referring to the staff-empowered approach utilized by the lean process.
Reposted from CALS Notes:
Ever wonder what it takes to manage operations at an organic and sustainable student-run farm? It’s not all fun and games (though there’s a bit of that, too). For the curious, check out the recently published Market Garden Report from Cornell’s own student-run organic farm at Dilmun Hill. The report highlights Dilmun’s 2013 farming and marketing operations in detail. Find out what produce was grown, where it was sold, eaten and by whom. Learn about the kinds of infrastructure improvements that were made, the farm’s bed design and crop rotation plan, its irrigation and nutrient management practices, and its marketing and outreach activities. The report provides a fascinating primer into what it takes to manage a vibrant and successful organic farming enterprise!
But growing and selling produce as part of the Market Garden project is only one among many important research and learning experiences taking place at Dilmun Hill. Learn more about the soil management, permaculture, landscaping and other projects currently underway.
Jan 31 2014
From Betsy Leonard, Organic Farm Coordinator, Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES):
Dilmun Hill, Cornell’s student-managed farm, is looking for undergraduate students to fill two positions this summer:
Applications are due February 12th. Please download (links above) and submit your application to Betsy Leonard (firstname.lastname@example.org) by midnight on February 12 2014 to be considered.
Staff at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y., recently installed one mile of eight-foot-tall woven wire fence to protect 30 acres of organic research projects — including tomato-, pepper- and cucurbit-breeding, trials on soil health and crop rotation and more — from deer damage.
And they did it for 80% less than the cost of hiring an outside contractor.
Heavy deer pressure threatens the accuracy of most small-plot agricultural research. Staff from many research programs install temporary electric fencing to protect research plots, a significant ongoing investment in time and materials.
The Freevile farm is one of seven managed by the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. CUAES staff plan to replicate this fencing model at other farms.