Archive for the “Extension and outreach” 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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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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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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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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Marvin Pritts

Marvin Pritts

From Marvin Pritts, Horticulture Section chair, in the April 2015 issue of Better Homes and Gardens:

Work when pollen counts are low. And watch out for wind, says Pritts, Ph.D. “Dry, windy weather prompts plants to shed lots of pollen, so that’s the worst time to be outside.”

Bring on the blooms. Surprise! The more colorful and ornate the flower, the less likely it is to make you sniffle: Bright flowers pollinate by attracting insects, which then spread the pollen. Their pollen is usually on the flower or an insect. Plain-looking flowers simply release pollen into the air (and your nose), explains Pritts. He says bright-colored flowers — such as mums, lilies, gerberas and alstroemerias — are friendlier to allergy sufferers. Just don’t bring your nose in very close for a whiff!

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Cornell berry breeder Courtney WeberReposted from Station Notes, [2015-03-02]

March 2, Cornell University joined a number of its peers nationwide in announcing the official launch of the National Land-grant Impacts website, a centralized online resource that highlights the teaching, research and extension efforts by Land-grant universities.

The website provides access to university or regional-specific impact stories, which document the research and extension programming planned, performed,and implemented by Cornell and other land-grant universities. The website, as a cooperative effort of these institutions, represents a collective voice for the agricultural experiment station and cooperative extension arms of the land-grant universities.

“The Land-Grant Impacts website is a new tool that will better inform the American people and the international community of the significant agricultural research, education and extension impacts taking place at land grant universities across our nation, which offer practical solutions to today’s critical societal challenges,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “This website will help policy makers and the public learn more about this work that is partially supported with NIFA funding.”

Read the whole article.

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CALS Communications

Greenhouse ribbon-cutting at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, N.Y., October 2014. Photo: Rob Way, CALS Communications.

Reposted from CALS Notes [2015-02-24]

It was a year of promises and deliveries, of new partnerships and the research and outreach results those relationships fuel. For Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, 2014 will be remembered as a very good year.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • The Northern Grapes Project, led by senior extension associate Tim Martinson, received a $2.6 million USDA grant to continue developing grape growing, wine making and marketing resources for cold climate grape growers.
  • Susan Brown, incoming Station director and faculty in the Horticulture Section, was named a 2014 “Women of Distinction” in a ceremony at the State Capitol.
  • Sarah Pethybridge was hired as an assistant professor in the Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, Steve Reiners assumed the position of associate chair of the Horticulture Section, Anna Katharine Mansfield was promoted to associate professor in the Department of Food Science, and Jennifer Grant was named director of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program.
  • The Station completed its 10th year of boosting science literacy through a plant science program for the Geneva City School District’s third and fourth graders.
  • The Summer Research Scholars Program hosted 27 students from top universities around the country for immersion in agricultural research.

And that’s just a start.

Read all the highlights in the Station’s “2014 Year in Review” available online on the NYSAES homepage:

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For more than 15 years, CALS has bolstered its sustainability research with a steady stream of gifts from the Toward Sustainability Foundation (TSF), a Massachusetts-based organization founded by an anonymous, eco-minded Cornell alumna.

Since 1999, TSF provided more than $1.1 million in funding for more than 100 faculty and student projects that examine the technological, social, political, and economic elements of sustainable agriculture.

Projects funded for 2015 include research and outreach topics ranging from soilless media for rooftop farms to growing organic grains for local markets to using vermicompost to grow tomatoes.

View full list of funded projects and contact information for each.

A 2014 TSF grant aided Horticulture graduate student Miles Schwartz-Sax's study on long-term urban soils remediation using organic amendments.

A 2014 TSF grant aided Horticulture graduate student Miles Schwartz-Sax’s study on long-term urban soils remediation using organic amendments.

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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 March 11 to April 24, 2015, 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.

Please contact the instructor, Elizabeth Gabriel, for information:

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:

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