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A host of horticulture events April 24-28

Kick off the week with Christine Hadekel’s return to the Horticulture Section to talk about the ‘Seed to Supper’ program: Reaching underserved audiences through garden education at Monday’s seminar. Then flesh out your calendar with a host of other events of horticulture interest:

The Curious Mister Catesby: A “Truly Ingenious” Naturalist Explores New Worlds – April 26

Leslie Overstreet, curator of Natural-History Rare Books at the Smithsonian Libraries, will talk about the historical and scientific significance of plant explorer and artist Mark Catesby (1683–1749), and his monumental book, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. April 26, 2017 at 4:00p.m., Mann Library, Stern Seminar Room 160.

Community Gardens Seminar – April 26

Learn about the importance of community gardening, its impact and how you can get involved on campus and at home. Hosted by Hortus Forum and featuring Fiona Doherty (Cornell Garden-Based Learning), Steve Reiners (Horticulture Section) and Chris Smart (SIPS director).

Speaker: Melissa Madden, Finger Lakes Cider House/Good Life Farm – April 26

Part of the Ithaca Food Entrepreneurship Speaker Series. April 26, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., 102 Mann Library. Presented by Dilmun Hill Student Farm. Funded by Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. Refreshments provided.

Iscol Lecture: Michael Pollan ‘Out of the Garden’ – April 27

The Atkinson Center’s Jill and Ken Iscol Distinguished Environmental Lecture this year features author Michael Pollan, April 27, 5:00 p.m. David L. Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall.: “When Michael Pollan faced his suburban lawn in the 1980s, he looked past the Bermuda grass and saw acreage ripe for invention and discovery. ‘The garden suggests there might be a place,’ he concluded, ‘where we can meet nature halfway.’ His books look at nature close to home: the garden, the farm, the table. Today Pollan tells the story of the path his writing has taken since he planted his first vegetable garden. Beginning with that horticultural adventure, his work has evolved into an exploration of human engagement with the natural world. What’s at stake when we garden, cook, and eat is not only our health, Pollan argues, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth.”

michael pollan

Horticulture Outreach Day – April 28

Hands on activities to learn about the diverse field of horticulture: Chia pet sculpture, printing from plants, mushroom inoculation. April 28, 1 to 4 p.m. Purple Greenhouses, Plant Sciences Building. (Go to the basement floor and look for the signs.) Sponsored by Society of Horticulture Graduate Students (SoHo).

Bauerle Lab inspires young scientists at ‘Expanding Your Horizons’

EYH participants assemble water columns .

EYH participants assemble water columns .

As part Cornell’s Expanding Your Horizons program April 15, Horticulture graduate students in the Bauerle Lab — Annika Huber, Juana Muñoz Ucros, and Marie Zwetsloot — led workshop sessions on “Engineers of Nature: How do plants drink?”

The three developed activities directly related to their research on woody plant root physiology and helping plants cope with water stress. Their middle school workshop participants assembled water columns simulating the hydraulic systems plants use to transport water from roots to leaves, graphed their observations of how different sized tubes performed, used water to transport dyes into sunflower plants, and skeletonized leaves to observe the microscopic structure of their veins.

“It’s the third year Annika, Juana and Marie have pitched in to lead workshops for this event,” says Taryn Bauerle, associate professor in the Horticulture Section. “It’s great to see them as role models for the next generation of scientists.”

Annika Huber had middle school participants use water to transport dyes into sunflower leaf veins so they can observe their microscopic structure.

Annika Huber had middle school participants use water to transport dyes into sunflower leaf veins so they can observe their microscopic structure.

EYH student graphs water column experiment data.

Juana Muñoz Ucros helps EYH student graph water column experiment data.

Marie Zwetsloot assists student with microscopic observation of leaf structure.

Marie Zwetsloot assists student with microscopic observation of leaf structure.

Online botanical illustration courses start June 5

botanical illustrationLearn botanical illustration online.  Three courses taught by Marcia Eames-Sheavly start June 5, 2017:

The course webpages have links to websites where previous students have posted their works online.





In the news

Vanden Heuvel

Vanden Heuvel

Vanden Heuvel receives NYFVI grant [CALS News 2017-04-13] – Wine grape growers in the Finger Lakes region will be getting a high-tech view of both their vineyards and bottom lines thanks to work from Justine Vanden Heuvel. A project from the associate professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science will help select growers use drone technology to collect remote sensing measurements known as normalized difference vegetation index, or NDVI images. Her research is one of 11 projects led by Cornell scientists who received a total of more than $1.1 million from the New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) in their latest round of funding, announced April 12.



Bosco awarded Engaged Cornell grant [CALS News 2017-04-12] – Graduate Field of Horticulture Ph.D. student Sam Bosco is one of 16 students to receive an Engaged Graduate Student Grant. The grants provide opportunities for Ph.D. students and their thesis advisors to conduct research or scholarship that is community engaged or to develop strategies for incorporating community engagement into existing thesis work. Bosco is working with Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse, aka Iroquois) communities to further remember and restore their traditional foodways — much of which was lost during colonization — of integrating nut trees into a sustainable food system. Bosco’s work includes facilitating nut tree cultivation, and co-developing culturally-specific curricula, resources, and activities to expand interest and consumption of nuts. His advisor is Jane Mt. Pleasant, School of Integrative Plant Science – Horticulture, and American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program.



Spanish cider from American soil [Draft Magazine 2017-04-11] – “With the huge growth in the cider industry over the last five years, I think there are many commercial cider makers looking at how to make a product that’s quite different from what’s out there,”  Greg Peck, tells Draft Magazine. Peck, assistant professor in the Horticulture Section, is working with the USDA to test and release the new Spanish apple varieties.

Glynos receives ‘Young Botanist’ award


Originally posted in Discovery that Connects (SIPS blog) [2017-04-14]

Plant Sciences major Nicolas Glynos ’17 has received a Young Botanist Award by the Botanical Society of America. The award recognizes outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences nationwide.

“It’s a very prestigious honor,” says Karl Niklas, Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Plant Biology Section who nominated Glynos. “This year, only 13 students met all of the award’s criteria.”

Glynos transferred to Cornell in spring semester 2016, after earning and Associate of Science degree at Flathead Valley Community College in Montana. In addition to his stellar performance in the classroom, Glynos distinguished himself at Cornell through his many other plant science activities.

Last summer, he earned a coveted spot on a Smithsonian Research Experience for Undergraduates in Panama, where he studied how heavy-metal toxicity affects rain forest tree growth and reproduction.

Back on campus in fall, Glynos worked part time at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, measuring, imaging and data-basing plant specimens and geo-referencing them on digital maps. And he worked on his senior thesis with Kevin Nixon, Professor in the Plant Biology Section and the Hortorium’s curator, studying the varied morphology of oaks to better understand how they adapt to climate change from an evolutionary perspective.

And when a Titan arum – the species that produces the largest inflorescence in the plant world – flowered in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory for the first time, Glynos volunteered for hours to help explain the fascinating pollination strategy of this plant to the hundreds of visitors who lined up to see it firsthand.

This summer, with help from a grant from the Fredric N. Gabler ’93 Memorial Research Endowment, Glynos will pack up the car for a trip across the western United States to collect and photograph oaks to provide additional data for his senior thesis.

Glynos is on track to complete his B.S. requirements this fall. After that, he plans to study systematics, evolution, and diversity of tropical plants at the graduate level.

Research support specialist Ed Cobb (left) and Professor Karl Niklas present Glynos with his Young Botanist award in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

Research support specialist Ed Cobb (left) and Professor Karl Niklas present Glynos with his Young Botanist award in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

New book traces environmental history of local old growth forest

smith woods coverAuthors of this new book include Horticulture Section professor Marvin Pritts. Join Pritts and the other authors for a book launch at the Ulysses Philomathic Library in Trumansburg, N.Y., April 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Book ordering information.

Smith Woods: The Environmental History of an Old Growth Forest Remnant in Central New York State
Warren D. Allmon, Marvin P. Pritts, Peter L. Marks, Blake P. Epstein, David A. Bullis, and Kurt A. Jordan

Reviewed by Prof. Donald A. Rakow

Driving west along New York State Route 96, it would be easy to miss the old growth forest fragment known as Smith Woods just before entering the Village of Trumansburg.  That would be understandable since the woods holds neither the majesty of the great California redwood forests nor the extent of national parks like Yosemite.

It is, in fact, the rather diminutive nature of Smith Woods that has allowed the authors of this manual to offer a thoroughgoing treatment of the site’s geological history, forest development, early indigenous settlement, and recent ecological transition.  The result is a text that is as readable as it is enlightening.

Eschewing both a purely scientific and a simple layman’s approach, the authors use both text and extensive illustrations to delineate how physical, biological and anthropomorphic forces have shaped this site and made it into the habitat it is today.  The reader is left with a much clearer understanding of how such processes take place, along with a great appreciation for this very special place.

The authors represent a wide range of disciplines: lead author Warren Allmon is the director of the Paleontological Research Institute and professor in the Cornell Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Marvin Pritts is a professor of horticulture in the Cornell School of Integrative Plant Science; Peter Marks is an emeritus professor in the Cornell Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and Kurt Johnson is a professor in the Cornell Department of Anthropology.  Blake Epstein is a student at the Ranney School in Tinton Falls, NJ and David Bullis is a graduate student at the SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.


Survey details impact of 2016 drought on New York farming

Cornell Chronicle [2017-04-06]:

A survey of more than 200 New York farmers late last summer – during the worst drought in two generations – found that more than 70 percent of unirrigated, rain-fed field crops and pasture acreage had losses between 30 and 90 percent, according to a new report published by the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions.

For farmers all over the state, arid conditions were so pervasive that fruit and vegetable growers who had capacity to irrigate lacked water to keep up with the drought. Irrigated farms estimated crop losses of up to 35 percent, said Shannan Sweet, NatureNet postdoctoral science fellow with Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and The Nature Conservancy.

“New York’s farmers have asked if they should expect more dry summers like the one we had in 2016. The answer is: We don’t know,” said Sweet, also a postdoctoral associate in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, working with David Wolfe, professor of horticulture. “Climate scientists forecast that the number of frost-free days will continue to increase and summers will be getting warmer, increasing water demand for crops.”

Read the whole article.

Responses to the survey question “What might you have done differently if you had known how dry this summer would be?”

Responses to the survey question “What might you have done differently if you had known how dry this summer would be?”

Read full report: Anatomy of a Rare Drought: Insights from New York Field Crop Farmers

Our Roots Grow Deep: Alumni in Extension

Lindsay Jordan was also a 2013 Dreer Award Winner  who traveled to New Zealand to explore cool-season viticulture practices.

Lindsay Jordan was also a 2013 Dreer Award Winner who traveled to New Zealand to explore cool-season viticulture practices.

This week, CALS News featured two alumni from the Graduate Field of Horticulture.

Liberty Hyde Bailey once described extension work as “a plain, earnest, and continuous effort to meet the needs of the people on their own farms.” Now as extension professionals, viticulture and enology graduates Lindsay Jordan, M.S. ’14, and Justin Scheiner, Ph.D. ’10, use their Cornell experience to apply Bailey’s goal to the grape and wine industry every day.

Jordan and Scheiner’s shared desire to make a tangible difference in the lives of growers belies the fact that they do their work nearly 2,000 miles apart. Both graduate students of the Vanden Heuvel group, Jordan worked on under-vine cover crops for weed management and their impact on grape production during her time at Cornell, and several years earlier, Scheiner examined the connection of methoxypyrazine levels and ‘bell pepper’ aromas to vineyard practices.

Their diverse backgrounds and research interests easily translated into working in extension. Jordan is currently based in California as the University of California Cooperative Extension Area Viticulture Advisor for three counties in the arid San Joaquin Valley, while Scheiner works as an assistant professor and viticulture specialist at Texas A&M University.

“My favorite part has been getting to know my local growers, and getting to participate in applied research that can directly impact growers,” said Jordan. “It’s pretty much the dream.”

Read the whole article.

Bauerle Lab’s Schieder awarded DAAD-RISE internship

From Taryn Bauerle, associate professor, Horticulture Section:

Plant Sciences major Tommi Schieder ’19 has been awarded a DAAD-RISE internship and is one of only five students chosen from more than 1,700 to receive additional funding from the German Center for Research and Innovation Foundation.

This summer, Tommi will be traveling to the Technical University of Munich to research tree hydraulic redistribution, the passive movement of water that helps trees survive drought stress, a growing concern due to climate change.

Bauerle (right) orients Schieder to some of the equipment she’ll be using to collect data while on her internship in Germany.

Bauerle (right) orients Schieder to some of the equipment she’ll be using to collect data while on her internship in Germany.

Researchers Look for Genetic Clues to Help Grapes Survive Cold

CALS News [2017-03-29]

Al Kovaleski, a doctoral student in the field of horticulture, visits the Anthony Road Winery in Penn Yan, New York. Photo by Chris Kitchen / University Photography

Al Kovaleski, a doctoral student in the field of horticulture, visits the Anthony Road Winery in Penn Yan, New York. (Photo:  Chris Kitchen /University Photography)

Months before northern vineyards burst into their lush summer peak, the delicate grape buds holding the nascent fruit in its tiny core must first withstand the freezing onslaught of winter.

Understanding how grape buds respond to subzero temperatures is of paramount concern to vineyard managers in New York and other northerly grape-producing states. Some of the more popular varieties used in the wine and juice industries can survive temperatures far below the freezing point of water. By a process known as supercooling, cellular mechanisms within the bud maintain water in liquid state down to around minus 4 to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the species. Beyond a certain low-temperature threshold, ice forms inside the cells, cellular functions cease and the bud dies.

Horticulturists have long relied on traditional methods to study freezing in plants. Now a researcher in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is using powerful technologies on campus to explore in new ways the cellular mechanics that allow grape buds to survive brutal cold. The research has implications for vineyard economics, especially as climate change opens more northerly land for cultivation and current growing regions experience more extreme weather.

Al Kovaleski, a doctoral student in the field of horticulture, is using the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) to create 3-D images of grape buds. The images produced at CHESS are providing a unique perspective as Kovaleski unravels the genetic underpinnings of supercooling in grape buds.

Read the whole article.


This article originally appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

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