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In the news

Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

New 6-County Agricultural Plastics Recycling Initiative [Empire Farm Days news release 2015-07-14] – A partnership of Ontario County, Casella Resource Solutions, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County is looking to divert farm plastic waste material away from the regional landfill in Ontario County to recycling opportunities. Recycling plastics can save farm and business owners landfill and dumpster fees of $70 or more per ton and removing farm plastics from the waste stream extends the life of landfill space. The program also serves farmers in Livingston, Monroe, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. Read the full release.

Cornell team readies for national ‘Weed Olympics’ July 21 [Cornell Chronicle 2015-07-15] – After enduring practice through thistle and flashcards, the Cornell University Weed Team will send four graduate students and seven undergraduates for two days of agronomic combat at the 2015 National Collegiate Weed competition – affectionately dubbed the “Weed Olympics.” The contest will be held at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Research and Development Center at South Charleston, Ohio, July 21-22. Horticulture graduate student Vinay Bhaskar is among the students representing Cornell under the tutelage of Antonio DiTommaso, professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section, School of Integrative Plant Science. Read the whole article.

Stopping Pests Earns Greenhouse Pro ‘Excellence in IPM’ Award [NYSIPM Program news release 2015-07-16] – : Nora Catlin, floriculture specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, has received an “Excellence in IPM” award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM). The award honors Catlin for her work with commercial greenhouse growers who, on Long Island alone, contribute nearly $80 million to New York’s economy. Catlin received her award at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center’s Plant Science Day on July 15. Read the full release.

Turf field day at Bluegrass Lane

More than 40 golf course superintendents and other turf professionals spent the morning on Thursday learning about the latest turfgrass research taking place at the Bluegrass Lane Turf and Landscape Research Facility adjacent to the Robert Trent Jones golf course northeast of campus.

Among the highlights:

Horticulture graduate student Grant Thompson explains his research using 13C carbon dioxide to label grasses, which he will clip and return to lawns to study the fate of carbon in different urban soils.

Grant Thompson explains researuc

Associate professor Frank Rossi explains how overseeding overused athletic fields can help maintain safe playing conditions.

Rossi explains overseeding

Rossi discusses a new collaboration with Consumer Reports to evaluate robotic lawn mowers.

Rossi and robotic mower

Robotic mowers at work:

Dougherty receives Perrine award

Laura Dougherty, horticulture graduate student in Kenong Xu’s lab, is the recipient of the 2015 Perrine Award. David Perrine (Pomology ’22), a prominent orchardist from Centralia, Ill., established the award in memory of his wife, Fanny French Perrine. The award supports research by an undergraduate or graduate student in pomology. Congratulations Laura!

Steve Reiners, association chair, Horticulture Section, Laura Dougherty and her advisor Kenong Xu.

Steve Reiners, association chair, Horticulture Section, Laura Dougherty and her advisor Kenong Xu.

In the news

A round-up of recent news of horticultural interest:

Kenong Xu (Photo: Robyn Wishna/Cornell University)

Kenong Xu (Photo: Robyn Wishna/Cornell University)

Why Arctic Apples Were Approved By USDA [Growing Produce 2015-04-29] – Kenong Xu, assistant professor, Horticulture Section, discusses the journey genetically modified non-browning Arctic Apples took in order to get the go-ahead from USDA to be grown and sold in the U.S.

Backyard plants can pose dangers to humans, animals [Ithaca Journal 2015-05-22] – “We don’t want to be scaring people that everything out there is there to eat them, but it’s good to be aware if you have these plants around, especially if you have young children or you have pets. They do have poisonous properties, and one should be aware of them,” says Tony DiTommaso, weed ecologist, Soil and Crop Sciences Section. “That doesn’t mean they don’t have a place or a role in your backyard or as a wildflower.”

SoDel Concepts donates meal for students, professors working on Botanic Gardens [Cape Gazette 2015-05-22] – Don Rakow, associate professor, Horticulture Section, and Erica Anderson, Karen St. Clair, Emily Detrick, and Benjamin Storms, graduate students in the public garden leadership program presented recommendations for Delaware Botanic Gardens’ children’s garden and for a plant collection policy to ensure a diverse yet meaningful collection. DBG President Susan Ryan praised “… the contributions that Cornell University, Dr. Don Rakow and his inspiring students are making to the Delaware Botanic Gardens.”

Chef + Plant Breeder: The Future of Flavor [Culinary Point of View 2015-04-09] – Interview with Michael Mazourek, assistant professor, Plant Breeding  and Genetics Section and Chef Dan Barber exploring how they have spent the past 10 years working together to develop new organic crop varieties that emphasize flavor.

Commencement pictures

Last Sunday, Carol Grove attended her last commencement breakfast and ceremony as Graduate Field Assistant. (She retires June 5.) As usual, she took some great pictures.

Do you have pictures to share? Send a link to your album to cdc25@cornell.edu.

Bill Borgstede MPS '15 and his advisor and associate professor in the Horticulture Section Frank Rossi.

Bill Borgstede MPS ’15 and his advisor and associate professor in the Horticulture Section Frank Rossi.

Award season

Yoshi Harada, not afraid of getting dirty TA'ing Urban Eden course.

Yoshi Harada, not afraid of getting dirty TA’ing Urban Eden course.

Via CALS Notes: Top TAs honored for excellence by CALS faculty and leadership

Many arrive at class early, stay late, answer questions before they can be asked and jump in to lecture at times when a professor’s research pulls her away from her students. Some tackle field research in Asia, outreach in Africa or biochemistry tutoring at midnight in Roberts Hall.

But all 29 of this year’s Outstanding Teaching Assistants honorees have at least one thing in common – the deep respect and gratitude of the more than two dozen faculty members and college leaders on hand in G10 Biotech on Thursday to offer their thanks.

“TAs definitely make a significant contribution to our teaching mission in the college, and we want to recognize that. You make a huge impact on the students you interact with,” said Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS. “We’re here to celebrate the positive things that you all have done.”

Read the whole article.

Two students in the Graduate Field of Horticulture were recognized:

  • Yoshiki Harada for his work in Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920).
  • Grant Thompson, who TA’d Jeff Perry’s EDUC 2410, The Art of Teaching.

Congratulations Yoshi and Grant!

 

 Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS, presents award to Grant Thompson.


Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS, presents award to Grant Thompson.

 Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS, presents award to Yoshiki Harada.


Donald Viands, associate dean and director of academic programs for CALS, presents award to Yoshiki Harada.

Other recent recognitions include:

  • Two undergraduate Plant Sciences Majors — Sarah Nechamen and Emily Rodekohr were recognized for academic excellence at last month’s Dean’s Awards.
  •  Plant Sciences major Joshua Kaste, ALS ’16, received honorable mention in the Goldwater Scholarship competition.
  • And speaking of runners-up, Cornell rose to #2 in the  QS World University Rankings by Subject among the world’s elite universities in the Agriculture and Forestry category.

Horticulture Outreach Day and Hortus Forum final sale May 8

Poppy cyanotype

Poppy cyanotype

Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club, will have its final plant sale of the school year on Friday, May 8, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Hortus Forum greenhouse at the Kenneth Post Lab greenhouse complex on Tower Rd. (Directions.)

The students will be selling their usual selection of tropicals and succulents, plus pitcher plants, air plants, ferns, ivy topiaries, and lots of spring bulbs (tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils).

And as long as you’re in the area, be sure to check out SoHo’s Horticulture Outreach Day activities …

From Jeffrey Beem-Miller, Society of Horticulture for Graduate Students (SoHo):

Our planned Horticulture Outreach Day that was postponed because of rain and cold weather has been rescheduled:

Friday, May 8, 1 to 3 p.m. in the Horton classroom at Kenneth Post Lab.

Come learn about plant propagation, make beautiful artwork with plant materials (cyanotypes, right), create soil painting and compete with the bees for prizes in a game of pollination at the annual Horticultural Outreach Day.

hort outreach day flower

 

Video: Arbor Day tribute to Nina Bassuk

Nina Bassuk, founder of Cornell University’s Urban Horticulture Institute, was awarded the 2015 Frederick Law Olmsted Award from the Arbor Day Foundation.  (See April 6 post.) Bassuk is a professor in the Horticulture Section of Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS).

While Nina couldn’t be there in person to accept the award, the Foundation did profile her in this video:

Pi Alpha Xi spring garden trip

group shot

24 graduate students, undergrads, faculty, staff and family members visited The Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Highland Park in Rochester, N.Y., during a field trip Sunday sponsored by Pi Alpha Xi, the horticulture honor society.

“The early spring flowers and the butterflies in the Butterfly Conservatory were lovely,” says Ed Cobb, research support specialist in the Plant Biology Section. “But the real highlight was seeing the magnificent mature trees.”

View more images on the Pi Alpha Xi Facebook page.

‘Urban Eden’ students put a price tag on trees for Arbor Day

Nina Bassuk and Urban Eden students tag a Littleleaf Linden in front of Warren Hall.

Nina Bassuk and Urban Eden students tag a Littleleaf Linden in front of Warren Hall.

What’s a tree worth?

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.

More Urban Eden tree-taggers:

Urban Eden students tagging trees on Ag Quad.

 

Urban Eden students tagging trees on Ag Quad.

Urban Eden students tagging trees on Ag Quad.

Urban Eden students tagging trees on Ag Quad.