Archive for the “Events” Category

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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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.)


  • 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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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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pbicon24th Annual Cornell Plant Breeding Symposium
Domestication: The crossroads of cultural and natural diversity

Friday, March 20, 2015 ▪ 8:30am-4:45pm ▪ 135 Emerson Hall
Free registration for in-person and webinar attendance.


  • Contrasting patterns of genetic diversity between village dogs and purebred dogs – Adam Boyko, Cornell University
  • Discovery approaches within an industry context: How can crop native traits help inform the forward problem? – Bob Meeley, DuPont Pioneer
  • Agrobiodiversity as coupled systems: interactions of cultural and natural diversity amid global environmental and socioeconomic changes – Karl Zimmerer, Penn State
  • Tale of two underutilized tree crops: Where did they come from and where are they going? – Nyree Zerega, Northwestern University
  • Evolutionary genetics of maize adaptation: domestication and beyond – Jeff Ross-Ibarra, UC Davis
  • Hopi corn, the soul of Hopi culture – Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, Hopi Cultural Preservation Office

Sponsored by DuPont Pioneer and organized by the graduate students of Plant Breeding and Genetics.

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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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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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Hort 4940 students with bananas.Mark your calendar:


A botanical exploration through the Toledo District of southern Belize

Monday, March 2, at 4:30, in Rm. 404 Plant Science Building.

Join Hort 4940: Tropical Plants Extravaganza students as they offer a lively presentation about their January 2015 excursion through the Toledo District of southern Belize.

Intensively experiential, with forays which include explorations into forests, a national park, and cacao plantation, the students will offer insights into their thinking about a sustainable future, and conclude their presentation with a hands-on cacao experience.

Hot chocolate and light foods will be served.

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Peter Davies, professor, Plant Biology and Horticulture Sections, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University, will kick off the Spring 2015 Horticulture Section seminar series February 2 with a talk on Senescence of the whole plant: a look back and a look forward.

This semester’s seminar series will feature wide-ranging topics from lawns and farm labor to historic gardens and shrub willow breeding.

Horticulture seminars are free and open to all and meet 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. most Mondays when classes are in session in Plant Science Room 404 and via Polycom to Geneva in A134 Barton Hall. (Refreshments served.) Those wishing to take for 1 credit, enroll in HORT 4950 (undergrads) or HORT 6000 (grads).

In additions, there will be two SIPS-wide seminars this spring: Ed Buckler, USDA-ARS plant geneticist on January 28 and Giles Oldroyd, John Innes Centre, Norwich UK on April 15.

More information:


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Via CALS Notes:

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.


 Dean Kathryn Boor presents 'Unsung Hero' award to Craig Cramer November 10.

Dean Kathryn Boor presents ‘Unsung Hero’ award to Craig Cramer November 10.

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.


Dean Kathryn Boor presents 'Unsung Hero' award to Steven McKay November 10.

Dean Kathryn Boor presents ‘Unsung Hero’ award to Steven McKay November 10.

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.

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