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Grad program

Commencement prelude

Volunteers fashion commencement boutonnières from orchids for graduating Plant Science Majors and graduate students from the five Graduate Fields associated with the School of Integrative Plant Science.

Clock wise from upper left: Violet Stone, Magdalen Lindeberg, Marvin Pritts, Leah Cook, Bridget Cristelli, Karin Jantz and Steve Reiners.

Clockwise from upper left: Violet Stone, Magdalen Lindeberg, Marvin Pritts, Leah Cook, Bridget Cristelli, Karin Jantz and Steve Reiners.

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Some of the soon-to-be-graduating Plant Science Majors gathered Wednesday for the annual ‘exit luncheon’ – an informal chance for them to share feedback about the program and make suggestions on how to improve the experience for future Majors. They took time out for a group shot in the Palm Room of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

Left to right: Jason Gregory, Ryan Walker, Patrick McLoughlin, Plant Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator Leah Cook, Breanna Wong and Katharine Constas.

Left to right: Jason Gregory, Ryan Walker, Patrick McLoughlin, Plant Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator Leah Cook, Breanna Wong and Katharine Constas.

Other Class of ’16 Plant Science Majors not pictured: Julian DeLellis-Mitch, Josh Kaste, Christian Lesage, Zach Lingskoog, Justin Lombardoni, Catherine Migneco, Sarah Odell, Dhruv Patel, Yuanhan Wu, Qiuchen Yang.

Good luck, graduates!

Dreer seminar video: Impatiens and Vegetables in Thailand

If you missed Friday’s Dreer Award Seminar video Impatiens and Vegetables in Thailand  featuring James Keach, Ph.D. ’16 (Plant Breeding), it’s available online.

Visit Keach’s Dreer Award blog PhytoRealism detailing his travels.

Administered by the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, the Frederick Dreer Award provides a wonderful opportunity each year for one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad to pursue interests related to horticulture. Read more about the Dreer Award.

Student exploration: Healing starts with everyday plants

Laura Lagunez '16, left, and Camila Martinez, a graduate student in the field of plant biology, examine plants in Belize during their spring break. (Photo: Sierra Murray)

Laura Lagunez ’16, left, and Camila Martinez, a graduate student in the field of plant biology, examine plants in Belize during their spring break. (Photo: Sierra Murray)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-19]:

Stretching beyond the “apple a day” adage, Cornell students explored a natural area in Ithaca and villages in Belize to learn how common plant life helps alleviate ailments.

“In Belize, use of healing plants is a centuries-old tradition that’s being lost because fewer young people are pursuing plant medicine,” said senior lecturer Marcia Eames-Sheavly, who teaches Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them.

Said Eames-Sheavly, “It’s fascinating that here in the U.S., the interest in healing plants seems to be exploding.”

Read the whole article.

More information:

Dreer Seminar May 20: Impatiens and Vegetables in Thailand

Dreer Award Seminar Impatiens and Vegetables in Thailand
James Keach PhD Graduate, Plant Breeding
Minors: Horticulture & International Agriculture
Friday, May 20 at 12 noon in 404 Plant Science

Keach will share his experiences abroad including stints at the Tropical Vegetable Research Center (a national vegetable germplasm preservation organization), Chia Tai Co. (a Thai-founded vegetable seed company) and in the Department of Pharmacognosy at Prince of Songkla University.

Visit Keach’s Dreer Award blog PhytoRealism detailing his travels.

Administered by the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, the Frederick Dreer Award provides a wonderful opportunity each year for one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad to pursue interests related to horticulture. Read more about the Dreer Award.

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View full sized poster.

Schwartz-Sax named outstanding teaching assistant

From Steve Reiners, Horticulture Section chair:

It is my pleasure to announce that Miles Schwartz-Sax has been named the 2016 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Horticulture Section in the School of Integrative Plant Science.  Miles was the TA for the classes  “Creating the Urban Eden” and “Woody Plant ID and Use in the Landscape.”  Both classes were taught by his advisor, Nina Bassuk.

Nina praised Miles for his willingness to work one-on-one with students and always willing to give an extra effort.  Miles shared his own research with the classes, which so interested the students that several have signed up to do independent research with him.

Miles created dichotomous keys for the class, allowing students to break into small groups to key out plants.  This took a great amount of time but will be used by many classes in the future.

Miles received his MPS in Public Garden Management at Cornell in 2014 and is now pursuing his PhD with research focused on the micropropagation of hybrid white Oaks. He will receive the award at a luncheon on Friday, May 13.

Congratulations Miles!

Schwartz-Sax hangs tag on tree showing the value of its ecosystem services on Arbor Day.

Schwartz-Sax hangs tag on tree showing the value of its ecosystem services on Arbor Day.

SoHo host Horticulture Outreach Day May 5

From Juana Muñoz Ucros, Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo):

Take a break and get inspired by a variety of horticultural activities including plant propagation, cyanotypes, soil painting and more:

Horticulture Outreach Day
Thursday, May 5
2 to 5 p.m.
114 Plant Science Building

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‘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

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, 2016. (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.

Swegarden goes to Washington

Hannah Swegarden (bottom) made the rounds with a regional group including Mara Sanders (PhD student, Rutgers, left), Harold van Es (Soil and Crop Sciences Section, Cornell University, President of SSSA), and Sally Flis (Dairy One).

Hannah Swegarden (bottom) made the rounds with a regional group including Mara Sanders (PhD student, Rutgers, left), Harold van Es (Soil and Crop Sciences Section, Cornell University, President of SSSA), and Sally Flis (Dairy One). 

From Hannah Swegarden, PhD candidate, Graduate Field of Horticulture, who traveled to Washington, D.C., March 14-15 as one of 18 students nationwide who received the 2016 Future Leaders in Science Award from  ASA, CSSA and SSSA:

The 2016 Congressional Visits Day, hosted by the Agronomy, Crop, and Soil Science Societies of America was held this week in Washington, D.C. More than 60 participants, including 22 graduate students, four undergraduate scholars, and 14 Certified Crop Advisors, rallied together in a grassroots effort to support USDA-AFRI funding.

Advocates asked for full support of the authorized USDA-AFRI program funding at $700 million. Over 100 meetings were held with members of the House and Senate to highlight the work of agricultural research across the nation.

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