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Urban Eden students plant trees along Cayuga Lake Inlet

‘Urban Eden’ students planting crabapples along Cayuga Lake Inlet. (Photo: Carol Eichler)

‘Urban Eden’ students planting crabapples along Cayuga Lake Inlet. (Photo: Carol Eichler)

Students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (PLHORT/LA 4910) planted 15 disease-resistant crabapple trees along the Cayuga Lake Inlet November 9.

The Ithaca Garden Club donated the trees as part of an on-going, seven-year effort to re-establish a deteriorated grove the club donated to the City of Ithaca in 1970. The club planted its first of more than 300 crabapples along the inlet in 1922 – the year of its founding – and have donated several hundred thousand dollars to landscaping projects in the area during its long history.

The City of Ithaca’s Shade Tree Advisory Committee will fence and care for the trees under guidance of Jeanne Grace MS ’10.

Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick stopped by to check on the tree planting, along with ‘Urban Eden’ instructor Nina Bassuk (left) and Ithaca Garden Club members Beverly Hillman and Beatrice Szekely. (Photo: Carol Eichler)

Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick stopped by to check on the tree planting progress, joining ‘Urban Eden’ instructor Nina Bassuk (left) and Ithaca Garden Club members Beverly Hillman and Beatrice Szekely. (Photo: Carol Eichler)

Planting participants. . (Photo: Carol Eichler)

Planting participants. . (Photo: Carol Eichler)

Dreer Award offers opportunities to pursue horticultural interests abroad

From Nina Bassuk:

The Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science offers a wonderful opportunity once a year, the Frederick Dreer Award, that allows one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad pursuing his or her interests related to horticulture.

See the application and instructions that spell out the procedure for applying. Basically it is quite simple. Submit a written proposal to the Dreer Committee by the deadline (March 5, 2018 in this cycle), which is followed by an informal interview, generally in a week or two. The faculty receives the recommendation of the Dreer Committee and votes on the nominee.

The only obligation of the Dreer award winner is to write to the Dreer Committee monthly while overseas, and upon return to the United States, give a presentation about their time abroad to students and faculty.

Please look into this opportunity seriously. It can be taken as a summer and a semester’s leave or a year’s leave of absence during school or upon graduation. If you would like to talk over a potential idea for the Dreer with a member of the Committee (and we encourage you to do so), please contact Nina Bassuk (Horticulture) Josh Cerra (Landscape Architecture) or Marvin Pritts (Horticulture).

View a recent Dreer Award Seminar video:

View more Dreer Award seminar videos.

SAGES Cookbook to support Geneva Campus Bike Share

Reposted from the SIPS blog, Discovery that Connects:

Craving some Black Magic Cake, Cherry Stuffed Tenderloin, or Red Lentil Coconut Curry?  These are just some of the thirty nine recipes in the 2017 cookbook assembled by the Student Association of the Geneva Experiment Station (SAGES) to benefit the Geneva Bike Share Program.

Recipes were contributed by faculty, staff, and students on the Geneva campus. SAGES President Adrienne Gorny draws particular attention to those derived from annual Chili Cook-offs, Cookie Bake-Offs, and Underappreciated Vegetable Cook-offs; this last being an event where Geneva campus employees are challenged to produce a dish incorporating a pre-determined underappreciated vegetable. Hannah Swegarden recommends her recipe for Tomato Basil Soup, perfect for this time of year when gardens are bursting with these two ingredients.

Also featured are recipes from a variety of cultural traditions such as George Abawi’s Baklava, several Scandinavian desserts, and Pavlova, described by Sarah Pethybridge as “a famous Australian and New Zealand dessert!”

Available for $14 or two for $25, proceeds from the cookbook sales will be used to support the Bike Share Program at the Geneva campus.  The SAGES Bike Share Program provides bicycles for rent to students and other members of the Geneva station community. Begun in 2014 with a few donated bicycles, the program has grown in the years since. Proceeds from cookbook sales will be used to expand the Bike Share Program by funding repairs of old bikes and purchasing of new ones.  Donations can also be made directly to the program.

Cookbooks are available in the SIPS main office at 135 Plant Science in Ithaca or in Hannah Swegarden’s mailbox in Hedrick Hall, Geneva.  Buy one soon and kick back with a piece of Larry Smart’s PhD Party Pie.  Filled with chocolate, pecans, Kahlua, and Jack Daniels, it’s the cure for whatever ails you!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tour Brandywine Valley gardens with Pi Alpha Xi September 15-17

Leading the tour at Chanticleer will be the garden's public programs manager Erin McKeon, 2013 graduate of Cornell's Public Garden Management Program.

Leading the tour at Chanticleer will be the garden’s public programs manager Erin McKeon, 2013 graduate of Cornell’s Public Garden Management Program.

From Patricia Chan & Myles Collinson, Pi Alpha Xi co-presidents:

Feel the need to get off campus? The desire to surround yourselves with plants? The urge to learn the workings of a meticulously cultivated botanical garden?

Cornell University’s chapter of Pi Alpha Xi, the national honor society for horticulture and plant sciences, has organized a weekend trip to three southeast Pennsylvania public gardens September 15-17, featuring special behind-the-scenes tours at each location.:

This trip is open to all undergraduates, grad students, staff and faculty.

For only $50/person, this is a very affordable package trip that includes bus transportation to/from Ithaca, breakfasts, guided tours, and admission to the gardens.  Lunch and dinners are on-your-own, and hotel accommodations for two nights are available at a discounted rate. Important: You are responsible for booking your lodging, available for a special block rate, only if you make your hotel reservation by this Friday, 9/8.

Download trip details and registration form.

Questions? Contact Dr. Mark Bridgen, Advisor to Pi Alpha Xi, at mpb27@cornell.edu or 631-921-4941.

Students report on research progress at Graduate Field Review

Ph.D. candidate Grant Thompson explains his research on soil bacterial communities in residential lawns during a poster session at the Fall 2017 Horticulture Graduate Field Review.

Ph.D. candidate Grant Thompson explains his research on soil bacterial communities in residential lawns during a poster session at the Fall 2017 Horticulture Graduate Field Review.

The Graduate Field of Horticulture gathered in Jordan Hall at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), Geneva, N.Y. for the Fall 2017 Graduate Field Review. A dozen graduate students gave 2-minute “poster pitches” ahead of poster sessions where they detailed their research progress to faculty, staff and fellow students.

Topics ranged from root exudates and reviving nut trees to post-harvest fruit- and flower-quality and Reisling grape clone trials. Two students gave longer talks on their research into grape cold hardiness and apple acidity genetics.

The Horticulture Graduate Field Review is held twice a year just ahead of the start of Spring and Fall Semester classes.

Graduate Field of Horticulture, August 17, 2017, Jordan Hall, Geneva.

Graduate Field of Horticulture, August 17, 2017, Jordan Hall, Geneva.

 

Meyers, Ph.D. ’11, is new CCE viticulture specialist

James Meyers is the new viticulture and wine specialist covering the 17-county Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program area.

James Meyers is the new viticulture and wine specialist covering the 17-county Cornell Cooperative Extension Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program area.

Press release from Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program (ENYCHP):

The Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension has announced the hiring of James Meyers as the new viticulture and wine specialist for a 17-county region in the eastern part of New York State. Meyers will provide regional grape growers with a combination of on-the-ground grape production assistance and some high flying technology.

Meyers earned his Ph.D. in Viticulture at Cornell University and has applied a Masters degree in Computer Science from Brown University to his viticultural research. Using satellite imaging and drone technology, Meyers has mapped canopy and vineyard variability to help growers in the Finger Lakes region of New York and in California optimize the efficiency and profitability of their vineyard operations. He will continue the use of that technology in eastern New York.

“Images taken by a drone-mounted camera can be used to identify areas of inconsistency in a vineyard and create variability maps to guide ground level assessments of vine performance for potential remediation such as soil amendments, canopy management activities, or rootstock changes,” Meyers explained. “This technology can also be used to add harvesting and processing efficiency.”

Meyers is introducing himself to growers and learning about their operations in Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington counties.

His hiring is timely for the 300-mile eastern NY region that experienced a 34 percent increase in the number of grape-growing operations and a 50 percent increase in grape acres from 2007 to 2012, according to the October 2016 Grape Production in the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Region report issued by the Cornell Cooperative Extension ENYCHP.

Meyers will create and develop an Eastern New York geospatial database of vine performance that will help growers better understand their local climates, track vineyard performance, and adjust decision making for greater productivity and profitability.

“Adding a specialist with Jim’s agricultural and technological skills will maximize Extension learning opportunities in support of the Eastern New York grape industry,” said ENYCHP Small Fruit and Vegetable Team Leader Laura McDermott.

To contact Meyers or any of the other 12 specialists advising commercial fruit and vegetable growers in eastern NY, and to find educational resources, newsletters and pest alerts, visit the ENYCHP website.

Students get taste of Long Island agriculture


From Mark Bridgen, professor in the Horticulture Section and director of the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center (LIHREC):

Seven plant breeding graduate students came down for a visit June 25 to get a look at Long Island agriculture. Along with other guests, we toured the Koppert Cress USA microgreen production facility in Riverhead, N.Y. (above), Harbes Family Farm, an agritourism destination in Mattituck, the tropical plant greenhouses and gardens of Landcraft Environments in Mattituck, and the vineyards and winery of Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue.

Cornell Plant Breeder Develops Better Cucumbers

Lauren Brzozowski inspects cucumber plants in the Guterman Greenhouse Complex. Photo by Matt Hayes/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Plant breeding graduate student Lauren Brzozowski inspects cucumber plants in the Guterman Greenhouse Complex. Photo by Matt Hayes/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Excerpted from article by Melanie Greaver Cordova in CALS News [2017-06-29]

Plant breeding graduate student Lauren Brzozowski’s research is giving farmers access to more resilient breeding lines as she ultimately works to develop new cucumber and squash varieties that can be cultivated without pesticides. Her work with organic breeding systems earned her a fellowship from the Seed Matters Initiative of the Clif Bar Family Foundation, which funds graduate students working for organic systems by breeding better varieties of plants. Seed Matters works toward crop diversity as well as improving education and research in the agricultural sector.

Brzozowski is working with Michael Mazourek, assistant professor of plant breeding and horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ School of Integrative Plant Science, to develop more resilient cucumbers and other vegetables, such as variegated snacking peppers and summer squash. The striped cucumber beetle is similarly destructive in summer squash, not only defoliating the plants, but transmitting diseases as well.

“Lauren’s work highlights the importance of innovation in organic agriculture for all agricultural systems,” Mazourek said. “By working on alternatives to chemical disease and insect control, we can have solutions now for organic growers that are adopted by conventional growers as well when their use of pesticides becomes restricted or loses effectiveness.”

“Organic growers don’t have a lot of the same tools as conventional growers for addressing many of the problems they face on the farm,” Brzozowski said. “We really need resistant varieties to help all farmers succeed.”

Brzozowski became hooked on plant breeding as a way to increase the sustainability of agricultural systems. She uses her background in engineering and horticulture to develop crops that benefit farmers: “You get to use science and math to bring together basic research into something that can be applied and tangible for growers. It’s thrilling.”

Read the whole article.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

Cornell team helps rescue National Mall elms

Bassuk uses a penetrometer to measure soil compaction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Yoshiki Harada)

Bassuk uses a penetrometer to measure soil compaction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Yoshiki Harada)

A team of Cornell experts is helping the National Park Service aid ailing elms ringing the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

“There are hundreds of trees in this iconic landscape that really need help,” says Nina Bassuk, director of Cornell’s Urban Horticulture Institute (UHI), who is leading the team.

“When it’s hot, people gather in the shade under these trees, making soil compaction from all the foot traffic a huge problem,” adds Bassuk, who is also a professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science. Dutch elm disease and other maladies also plague many of the trees.

The Park Service asked Bassuk to put her expertise helping trees cope with tough urban environments to work helping them develop a master plan for managing the trees. She traveled to Washington in mid-June to begin gathering more information along with horticulture graduate student Yoshiki Harada, UHI visiting fellow Bryan Denig, and Barb Neal, a community educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Tioga County who has extensive professional landscaping experience in the Washington metro area.

Neal, Denig and Bassuk assess the health of one of the iconic elms ringing the National Mall.  (Photo: Yoshiki Harada)

Neal, Denig and Bassuk assess the health of one of the iconic elms ringing the National Mall. (Photo: Yoshiki Harada)

Harada and Bassuk collected more than 100 soil samples, half sent to the Cornell Soil Health Lab for analysis and half used to measure the soil’s bulk density, an indicator of compaction.

Meantime, Neal and Denig – both certified arborists – conducted a tree inventory and risk assessment to determine the health status of the individual trees and to let the Park Service know which should be removed and which will require frequent monitoring so as not to pose a hazard.

Once the soil analyses are completed and Bassuk has digested the data, she’ll report her findings back to the Park Service. “We’ll focus on what steps can be taken going forward to help these trees thrive,” she says.

Symposium showcases NYSAES science June 23

2016 symposium

Reposted from CALS News:

Fascinating science is being done at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), and student researchers are eager to share their work.

Organized by graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, the second annual Research Symposium will provide an overview of research being conducted across departments, sections and groups on the Geneva campus.

The symposium – June 23 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Jordan Hall – aims to launch student-driven interdisciplinary collaboration among NYSAES scientists, according to Larissa Osterbaan and Adrienne Gorny, student coordinators for the event organized by the Student Association of the Geneva Experiment Station.

The free event aims to spark conversations that lead to further interdisciplinary projects, said Osterbaan, a doctoral candidate in the field of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology.

“The entire Cornell community as well as local and regional growers and other NYSAES stakeholders are encouraged to attend,” she said. “We’re especially eager to have some of our Ithaca colleagues join us in Geneva for the day to hear about our latest research.”

This year’s symposium will feature keynote speaker Sam Crowell, Ph.D. ’15, agricultural science adviser at the U.S. Department of State. Crowell will speak about his journey from Cornell to the State Department and on the role of agricultural sciences within the U.S. executive branch.

The symposium is funded through the NYSAES Director’s fund, the Sections of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology and Horticulture in the School of Integrative Plant Science, and the Department of Entomology.

A light lunch and refreshments will be provided. Transportation will be arranged for attendees coming from Ithaca.

The deadline to register is June 12.

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