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NYFVI awards grants worth $1.6 million

nyfvi logoThe New York Farm Viability Institute announced the award of $1.6 million in funding for 20 projects that aim to help farmers across the state improve improve yields, lower input costs, reach new markets and develop new opportunities.

Some projects of horticultural interest include:

  • Optimizing use of native persistent nematodes for biological control of Plum Curculio in organic and conventional apple production (Arthur Agnello, Entomology)
  • Developing a mechanical method to seed undervine cover crops in NY winegrape vineyards (Hans Walter-Peterson, Finger Lakes Grape Program)
  • Use of under vine fescues in Long Island vinifera vineyards to reduce production costs and environmental impact (Alice Wise, CCE Suffolk County)
  • Insects On-Line: Forecasting insect management for nursery and Christmas tree growers (Elizabeth Lamb, NYS Integrated Pest Management Program)
  • Insect-killing nematodes for biocontrol of greenhouse thrips and fungus gnats (John Sanderson, Entomology)
  • Developing a sustainable hops IPM program from greenhouse to harvest  (Tim Weigle, NYS Integrated Pest Management Program)
  • Minimizing wildlife impacts on yield and food safety risk in vegetables by utilizing repellency tactics (Darcy Telenko, Cornell Vegetable Program)
  • Adoption of controlled release nitrogen fertilizer in potato production (Rebecca Wiseman, CCE Suffolk County)
  • Onion growers can reduce rot! (Steven Beer, Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology)

More information:

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

hort outreach day poster

‘Urban Eden’ students plant campus landscapes

Urban Eden students plant along Garden Avenue outside Teagle Hall.

Urban Eden students plant along Garden Avenue outside Teagle Hall.

Every year since 2001, students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920) have taken on real world projects, designing and installing gardens on campus each spring.

This year’s projects include a strip along Garden Avenue west of Teagle and Comstock Halls, areas behind Warren Hall, and a planting at the entrance to Plant Science Building just west of the new Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

For that project, the low-growing plants were specifically selected so as not to shade the Conservatory or to attract pests that might move from the planting inside, says Nina Bassuk, Horticulture Section professor who teaches the course along Landscape Architecture professor Peter Trowbridge.

The plants include a mix of evergreen and deciduous woody plant species with a variety of foliage colors that provide year-round interest and discourage browsing by deer. “We’ve used a lot of new cultivars so that we can introduce them to future classes as part of our teaching program,” says Bassuk, who is also the director of the Urban Horticulture Institute.

The students also tried a new planting technique using smaller plugs that are easier to handle and plant but will quickly fill the space.

New planting outside the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory at the entrance of the Plant Science Building.

New planting outside the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory at the entrance of the Plant Science Building.





Vanden Heuvel in the NY Times

Justine Vanden Heuvel

Justine Vanden Heuvel

In Do Children in France Have a Healthier Relationship With Alcohol?Justine Vanden Heuvel and psychology professor Katherine Kinzler explore how the informal education about alcohol children receive influences later drinking habits.

“Though some studies have suggested that offering children small tastes of alcohol is associated with problem drinking, countries where drinking wine at meals is standard, including Italy, France and Spain, rank among the least risky in a World Health Organization report on alcohol. Can cultural attitudes toward wine affect our propensity for problem drinking?.”

Read the whole article.


Podcast: Climate Change and Fruit Trees

How will the changing climate affect the way we grow fruit now and in the years to come?  Greg Peck, Assistant Professor in the Horticulture Section, sat down with Susan Poizner, host of the Orchard People podcast for a wide-ranging discussion about sustainable fruit productions systems, how climate change will affect fruit trees and what growers and gardeners can do to prepare.

Listen to the podcast.

Greg Peck dissects fruit buds to assess frost damaage.

Greg Peck dissects fruit buds in his lab to assess frost damage.


Duff named Kaplan Faculty Fellow

Bryan Duff, senior lecturer in education, speaks at the Kaplan award dinner. (Dave Burbank photo)

Bryan Duff, senior lecturer in education, speaks at the Kaplan award dinner. (Dave Burbank photo)

Bryan Duff, senior lecturer in the Horticulture Section, was one of two recipients of  the 2016 Kaplan Family Faculty Fellowship in Service-Learning.   He and Noliwe Rooks, associate professor of Africana studies, were recognized at the 15th annual award dinner, April 21.

The event also celebrated two service-learning curriculum projects local partners, DeWitt Middle School and McGraw House senior center in downtown Ithaca, who are working with Rooks and Duff.

Duff, who coordinates the undergraduate minor in education, redesigned the service-learning course, Engaging Students in Learning. The course engages community partners in the development and refinement of a service-learning course and gives Cornell students responsibility to plan and implement an after-school program for middle school students.

While the goal of the course had always been to help students improve their ability to engage learners and gain useful in-class skills, Duff felt it did not always provide the same level of interaction for every student. With support from the Engaged Faculty Fellowship Program, Duff shifted students from assisting in the classroom to running an after-school program at DeWitt Middle School.

Read more in the Cornell Chronicle [2016-04-25].

Vanden Heuvel: Climate Change Will Transform What’s in Your Wine Glass

Justine Vanden Heuvel

Justine Vanden Heuvel

[Huffington Post 2016-04-20]:

After the publication of a recent study about the impact of climate change on French wine, several articles misrepresented the study, resulting in misleading headlines such as An Upside to Climate Change? Better French Wine, French Wine May Be Improving Due To Climate Change, and Climate Change Giving The World Better French Wine. While the stories implied that any benefit of climate change on French wine would be short-term, they failed to press on a key point: Climate change will transform what’s in your wine glass and continue to do so as long as it remains unchecked.

Here in the U.S., the assessment of the future of the wine industry is pretty grim: the land area capable of producing premium wines could decrease by as much as 81 percent by the end of this century. The major impact of climate change on wine grape production is through increasing temperature; as the growth of grapevines is mostly dictated by temperature, climate change has been resulting in earlier bloom and harvest dates, with most major wine regions being impacted.

Major wine-growing regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Napa Valley have at least a few strategies available to them. One is that they can maintain the status quo by growing the same grape varieties that they grow now. As temperature increases, sugar accumulation in the grape increases, resulting in a higher alcohol wine. Acidity of the grapes decreases, color can be reduced, and compounds that are responsible for the typical aroma of some wines can decrease. Will consumers adapt to these changing styles? It’s difficult to say.

Online botanical illustration courses start May 31

Hellebore watercolor by Marcia Eames-Sheavly

Learn botanical illustration online.  Three courses taught by Marcia Eames-Sheavly start May 31, 2016:

You can view works by students in previous classes on display in the cases in the west wing of the first floor of Plant Science Building. The course webpages also have links to previous students who have posted their works online.

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:

Biochar/Bioenergy Seminar

Nearly 60 faculty, staff, students, industry representatives and others attended the day-long Cornell Biochar/Bioenergy Seminar April 15. They were treated to wide-ranging talks, panel discussions, flash presentations and a poster session. The day culminated with a tour of Cornell’s new biochar research pyrolysis kiln at the Leland Laboratory, the largest in the U.S.

The kiln was made possible by a $5 million gift to the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future from philanthropist Yossie Hollander, who is interested in the test facility’s potential to help small farming communities in developing countries. The kiln will help researchers learn more about how feedstocks and pyrolysis practices affect biochar quality and effectiveness as a soil amendment. More information.

biochar kiln

Seminar participants learn about the nuts and bolts of Cornell’s new research pyrolysis kiln at the Leland Laboratory.

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