Skip to main content

Grad program

‘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, 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.

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.

Signs of Spring 1

Isabel Branstrom

Isabel Branstrom

Isabel Branstrom, MS candidate in the Graduate Field of Horticulture and teaching assistant for Hands-On Horticulture for Gardeners (PLHRT 1102), prunes shrubs along with the class in a landscape outside of Roberts Hall designed and planted by students in Creating the Urban Eden … (PLHRT 4920/4920) in 2011. More class pruning pictures on CALS Facebook.

Swegarden receives Future Leaders in Science Award

Hannah Swegarden is one of 18 graduate students to receive the 2016 Future Leaders in Science Award from the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). The award recognizes her interest and engagement in science advocacy. Winners receive a trip to Washington, D.C., March 14 to participate in the annual ASA, CSSA, and SSSA Congressional Visits Day, where they will meet with their members of Congress and advocate for agricultural and environmental research.

Swegarden is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Graduate Field of Horticulture in the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) at Cornell University.  Her current research focuses on the development of novel Brassica genotypes for fresh and processed markets, under the direction of Phillip Griffiths.  She received her B.S. in Biology (2010) from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and her M.S. in Horticulture (2015) from the University of Minnesota.

Hannah Swegarden

Hannah Swegarden

Seminar video: Dry farming viticultural practices in Spain

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar,  Dry farming viticultural practices in Spain with Adam Karl, 2015 Dreer Award Recipient and PhD candidate, Graduate Field of Horticulture, it’s available online.

Learn more about the Frederick Dreer Award, which funds overseas travel by students to study horticulture topics.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

CALS research key to New York farming growth

Professor Thomas Bjorkman explains findings from the Eastern Broccoli Project, a research effort he is leading to establish a broccoli industry in the eastern United States, to horticulture graduate students Hannah Swegarden and Juana Muñoz Ucros. (Photo: Matt Hayes)

Professor Thomas Bjorkman explains findings from the Eastern Broccoli Project, a research effort he is leading to establish a broccoli industry in the eastern United States, to horticulture graduate students Hannah Swegarden and Juana Muñoz Ucros. (Photo: Matt Hayes)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-01-21]:

The ground may be covered in snow, but New York farmers already have their minds on growth.

Agricultural producers from across the state are meeting in Syracuse Jan. 19-21 as part of the 2016 Empire State Producers Expo. The three-day showcase brings together Cornell scientists and Cornell Cooperative Extension specialists to share the latest in research and technical advances, from crop management and food safety compliance to the best practices to aid the industry’s newest farmers to those working the land for generations.

New York agriculture is at a point of ascendency, said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). She said the potential growth for farmers and producers of all sizes is aided by research conducted on the Cornell campuses in Ithaca and Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York.

“This is an opportune moment for local agribusiness. We are on the cusp of a new era with potential for sustained agricultural growth in New York,” she said during her keynote speech Jan. 19. “We have the land, water, specialty and dairy agriculture, educated producers, and research and development support in Geneva and in Ithaca to grow specialty food production and processing here in our state.”

Read the whole article.

Contribute to the Robin Bellinder Graduate Student Fund

Robin Bellinder

Robin Bellinder

From Steve Reiners, Horticulture Section chair:

On November 13, 2015, we received the sad news that our friend and colleague, Robin Bellinder, professor of Horticulture at Cornell University for 31 years and an international expert in weed control in vegetable crops, died unexpectedly. She was 70 years old. Robin died of a pulmonary embolism after a brief hospitalization and stay in a physical rehabilitation clinic for an unrelated spinal injury.

At Cornell, Robin’s research program focused on weed management for vegetable crops. One of few women in her field at that time, she became a national and international leader. She published research results widely in peer reviewed publications, as well as publications that advised growers about her work’s practical applications. She served as president of the Northeastern Weed Science Society and, in 2005, was named the recipient of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences award for outstanding accomplishments in applied research. She will be remembered as a weed scientist who ardently and tirelessly supported New York vegetable growers. Robin had a deep concern for people, whether farmers in South Asia, for whom she championed the introduction of more efficient weed control practices, or hungry families in New York’s southern tier. She initiated Cornell’s efforts to provide fresh fruits and vegetables from the Homer C. Thompson Research Farm to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. She realized that rather than composting the farm’s edible produce, they could feed hungry area families. Since 2004, as a result of her initiative, Cornell has donated almost 2 million pounds of produce.

Robin will be remembered as an intense, thoughtful, loyal, generous, creative and loving person who tenaciously advocated for the things she believed were important.  Mentoring students and seeing them become leaders around the world provided Robin with great satisfaction.  At the urging of her colleagues, Cornell is proud to announce the establishment of the Robin Bellinder Graduate Student Fund. The fund will be established “to provide financial support for graduate students working on vegetables crops, with a preference given to projects with a weed science emphasis. The fund will be distributed at the discretion of the chair of the horticulture section, and may be used to supplement travel or research expenses for the successful candidates”.

Those interested in supporting the fund should make checks payable to “Cornell University” with “Bellinder Fund, Horticulture” in the memo line. We will be happy to share any notes or messages with Robin’s family. Checks can be sent to:

Chair, Horticulture Section
Cornell University
134 Plant Science Building
Ithaca, NY 14853 USA

Thank you for your support of the Robin Bellinder Graduate Student Fund.

Robin Bellinder (right) with volunteers gleaning potatoes for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier at the Homer C. Thompson Research Farm in 2012.

Robin Bellinder (right) with volunteers gleaning potatoes for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier at the Homer C. Thompson Research Farm in 2012.

Cornell Takes on Climate Change

From TWC Capital District News:

Climate change has become a huge topic of discussion lately, especially following an international agreement on how to combat the problem. But here in New York, Cornell University is taking a different approach. They’ve created the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture to help train and educate farmers on how to adapt to a changing climate and reduce their impact on the environment. Cornell’s Matt Ryan and Neil Mattson joined us to talk about the initiative.

ryan-mattson-vid
View video

Skip to toolbar