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Botanical illustration exhibition May 10

botanical illustrationFrom Marcia Eames-Sheavly:

Please mark your calendars for May 10, from 12:30 – 1:00, Rm. 141 Plant Science, for an informal exhibit of student work in PLHRT 3250: Botanical Illustration Intensive.

This small but mighty group of 5 students has produced some very fine pieces!

Come peruse their work and celebrate their hours and hours of hunching over drawing tables these past months.




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.

Panel discussion: The Holy Earth by Liberty Hyde Bailey

holy earth coverFrom Lynn M Bertoia, Program Coordinator, Library Administration:

The Holy Earth by Liberty Hyde Bailey
Panel discussion by:

  • Scott Peters, Development Sociology
  • Jim Tantillo, Natural Resources
  • John Linstrom, editor

Tuesday, April 19 at 4:00 pm
Mann Library, Stern Seminar Room 160

Protecting and sharing our environment for future generations is a global challenge we face today, and to celebrate Earth Day which falls on April 22nd this year, Mann Library is hosting a panel discussion highlighting the newly released 100th anniversary edition of The Holy Earth by Liberty Hyde Bailey (published by Counterpoint, December 2015).

Join us for a panel discussion with Scott Peters, Department of Development Sociology; Jim Tantillo, Department of Natural Resources; and John Linstrom, editor of the anniversary edition of The Holy Earth, and former curator and director of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum.

At the turn of the last century, when farming first began to face the most rapid series of changes that industrialization would bring, the most compelling voice representing the agrarian tradition came from the public intellectual Liberty Hyde Bailey, known as the “Father of Modern Horticulture.” He was a botanist, farmer, naturalist, and philosopher. Dean of the College of Agriculture at Cornell University from 1903 to 1913, he was moved by an enthusiasm and love for everything to do with life in the countryside, including gardening, forestry, and the economy, politics and culture of rural communities.

In 1915, Bailey’s environmental manifesto, The Holy Earth, addressed the industrialization of society with a message of responsible land stewardship which has never been as timely as it is now. Bailey called for “a new hold” that society must take to develop a “morals of land management.”

The centennial edition presents new editorial content and a new foreword by Wendell Berry whose own work is indebted to Bailey’s writing, and it introduces the classic to a new generation of environmentalists.

Refreshments served and books available for purchase.  More information.

Cornell Biochar/Bioenergy Conference April 15

biochar Photo: UC Davis Biochar Database

Photo: UC Davis Biochar Database

From Jingjing Yin, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Horticulture Section:

We invite everyone with an interest in biochar to attend the first Cornell-wide biochar conference organized by the project team Best use practices for improving soil health and vegetable growth in organic farming using on-site produced biochar on April 15, 9 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. in 135 Emerson Hall.

The program will include  talks from invited speakers, a panel discussion, and poster displays, followed by a tour of the Leland pyrolysis kiln at from 3 to 4 p.m.  The event is free and open to the Cornell community and is sponsored by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

If you would like to attend, present a poster, or have other questions, please contact Jingjing Yin ( or Neil Mattson (, or visit the conference website.

Online organic gardening course starts May 9

Raised bed vegetable gardenThe Horticulture Sections’s online Organic Gardening course is designed to help new gardeners get started and help experienced gardeners broaden their understanding of organic techniques for all kinds of gardens.

The course runs May 9 to June 20, 2016, and covers one topic each week. (See course outline below.) With a strong foundation in soil health and its impact on plant health, we then explore tried-and-true and cutting-edge techniques for all different kinds of garden plants including food plants, trees and shrubs and lawn.

Participants view recorded presentations, read assigned essays and book excerpts, participate in online group discussions with other students, complete reflective writing/design work and take part in some hands-on activities. 
Most students spend 3 to 4 hours each week with the content, though there are always ample resources and opportunity to do more.

Questions? Please contact the instructor, Fiona Doherty:

Course outline:

  • Week 1:Introduction: What is Organic Gardening?  Knowing Your Site.
  • Week 2: Soil, Compost, and Mulch
  • Week 3: Vegetables and Flowers: Site Design & Planning for the Season
  • Week 4: Vegetables and Flowers: Early, Mid, Late Season Crops; Harvesting, Herbs
  • Week 5: Maintenance a & Managing Pests Organically
  • Week 6: Trees, Shrubs, and Herbaceous Perennials: The Long-Term Landscape
  • Optional Extra Readings: Advanced Topics for the Adventurous Gardener
More information:

Pi Alpha Xi horticulture honor society inducts new members

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 2015 PAX organized a spring bus trip to Canada to visit the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture in Ontario and Highland Park in Rochester, N.Y.  And in 2014, the group helped with the Rooted art installation, planted spring-flowering bulbs around CALS and rejuvenated the planters in the foyer of Plant Science Building. This semester, plans are underway to visit the New York Botanical Garden and other gardens in the New York City area.

2016 PAX inductees

2016 PAX inductees: Aaron Waybright (junior, Plant Sciences), Benjamin Jablonski (junior, Plant Sciences), Isabel Branstrom, (PhD candidate, Graduate Field of Horticulture) Patricia Chan (sophomore, Plant Sciences), Felix Fernández-Penny (sophomore, Plant Sciences), Breanna Wong (junior, Plant Sciences), and Dr. Mark Bridgen, Professor and PAX advisor.

College Farms of America Speaker Series starts March 2

Dilmun-Hill-Speaker-Series-flyerx400From Betsy Leonard, CUAES Organic Coordinator:

College farms are important centers for learning and community on campuses throughout the country. Dilmun Hill Student Farm invites you to learn about and celebrate some of the Nation’s most well-regarded college farms as we invite their members to speak about their innovative and important work, and the benefits to their students and communities that these farms provide.


  • March 2:
    Bob Harned, Berea College Farm Manager
    Berea College, Kentucky
  • April 6:
    Todd McLane, TC3 Farm Director
    Tompkins Cortland Community College, New York
  • May 4:
    Beth Hooker, Ph.D., Sustainability Initiative Director and Nancy Hanson, CSA Program Manager
    Hampshire College, Massachusetts

All three events will be held from 4-5pm, in 102 Mann Library.

Free of charge, and all are welcome!

Supported by: Cornell Dining, the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, and Mann Library.


Panel Feb. 18: Broccoli, The Alpha Vegetable

Michael MossThomas Björkman is hosting Messenger Lecturer Michael Moss on his visit to campus this week. Moss is a Pulitzer prize-winning author and investigative journalist who has written many influential articles on food issues for the New York Times and other publications. His focus in the food world has been where insights have been taken to extreme applications, in particular engineering snack foods that bypass the brain’s satiety signals.

Events include:

Broccoli panel will be moderated by Margaret Smith and includes Moss, Sahara Byrne, Associate Professor of Communication and David Just, Professor, Food and Brand Lab, Dyson School of Applied Management.

Register now for Camp Mushroom

camp-mushroomIf you’ve gotten shut out in years past because Camp Mushroom sold out before you even heard about it, now’s the time to sign-up for the annual event which will be held June 3 – 4 at Hidden Valley Camp, Watkins Glen NY.

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. This year marks the 11th year of the course, as forest mushroom cultivation blossoms in the Northeast as a new small farm industry.

This course is geared for those interest in the commercial production of mushrooms. Participants will be trained in four methods of mushroom cultivation; shiitake on bolts, lions mane/oyster on totems, oysters on straw, and stropharia in woodchip beds. Additional topics include laying yard and management considerations and the economics of production.

Each participant will also inoculate a shiitake bolt to take home. Anyone who wants to get into mushroom growing as a serious pursuit should not miss out on this opportunity to learn from the experienced growers and researchers who will present for this event.

Visit the Camp Mushroom webpage for more details and registration information.

Meantime, you can view new series of short videos that detail forest cultivation of lions mane, oyster, and wine cap stropharia mushrooms. Here’s a sample:

‘For the love of soil’ time lapse

If you missed the painting with soils activity organized by the Soil and Crop Sciences Section to celebrate World Soil Week Dec. 10, you can watch a one-minute time-lapse video to see what you missed. Read more about the event in the Cornell Chronicle.

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