Archive for the “Undergrad” Category

nina-bassukx960Nina Bassuk, founder of Cornell University’s Urban Horticulture Institute, is the recipient of a 2015 Arbor Day Award in honor of her outstanding contribution to tree planting, conservation and stewardship, the Arbor Day Foundation announced today. She is a professor in the Horticulture Section of Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS).

Now in her 34th year at Cornell, Bassuk will receive the Foundation’s Frederick Law Olmsted Award, which recognizes an outstanding individual who has had a positive impact on the environment due to lifelong commitment to tree planting and conservation at a state or regional level.

Bassuk’s accomplishments include the development of bare root transplanting technology and CU-Structural Soil™ — a patented mix for urban environments engineered to provide rooting area for street trees while supporting pavement, decreasing tree mortality. Owing to her efforts, thousands of trees have been planted around the world in conditions that would not have otherwise supported trees.

Bassuk is also widely known for her innovative teaching, and recently received a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellowship for her efforts. Her two-course series Creating the Urban Eden not only incorporates plant walks around campus but also a cutting-edge Woody Plants Database website. Students in the course also design and install landscapes around campus. “She helps and challenges students to develop their own methods of learning,” one of them wrote.

Student Weekend Arborist Teams organized by Bassuk have inventoried street trees in more than 36 communities around New York to help municipalities better manage their urban forests.

On Arbor Day this year, Bassuk’s students will be hanging tags on trees around campus estimating their worth in terms of energy savings, increased property value, carbon sequestration, and other ecosystem services.

Bassuk is one of 13 individuals, organizations and companies being recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation during the annual Arbor Day Awards. This year’s ceremony will be held at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on Saturday, April 25.

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working with healing plants in Belize

Photo: Jason Koski, University Photography

Via the Cornell Chronicle [2015-03-26]

A new course, Identifying Healing Plants Used in Maya Culture in Southern Belize, is one of 25 faculty projects awarded grants designed to internationalize undergraduate teaching, learning and research at Cornell. Internationalizing the Cornell Curriculum (ICC) awards are administered by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and by Cornell Abroad. They are intended to expose undergraduate students to different cultures, languages and meaningful international experiences.

The healing plants course will take groups of students and faculty to the Toledo District of Belize to study medicinal plants and preserve this centuries-old knowledge for future generations. The course was proposed jointly by faculty members from the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and of Arts and Sciences, Marcia Eames-Sheavly, Stacey Langwick and Kevin Nixon.

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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 2014 PAX activities included a 3-day excursion to visit botanical gardens in the Phildadelphia area and a collaboration with Hortus Forum (Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club) to revamp the planters in the Plant Science Building foyer. Society members also planted spring-flowering bulbs last fall around CALS that we’ll all be enjoying soon.

pax inductees

2015 PAX inductees and advisors, left to right, Tom Weiler, Horticulture professor emeritus; Neil Mattson, Horticulture associate professor; Ben Stormes, MPS/Public Garden Leadership program; Lauren Fessler ’17; Lindsay Chamberlain, ’17; Karl Kunze, ’17; Catherine Migneco, ’16; Matthew Uhalde, ’17; Jeremy Pardo, ’17; Justin Lombardoni, ’16; Emily Detrick, MPS/Public Garden Leadership program; Nor Kamal Ariff Nor Hisham Shah, MS Plant Breeding; Mark Bridgen, Horticulture professor and PAX Advisor.

Graduating members will wear the traditional PAX honor cords of cerulean blue and Nile green (the society’s colors) at commencement. They include graduate students Adam Karl and James Keach and seniors Kaitlyn Anderson, Danielle Park, Jeffrey Janusz and Angella Macias.

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Cornell students Adrienne Wilson, Steven Ingram, Emma Korolik, Andrew Key and Brenda Martinez headed to Vista Grande High School in Taos, N.M., during winter break as part of a service-learning course developed by Education Lecturer Bryan Duff.

Cornell students Adrienne Wilson, Steven Ingram, Emma Korolik, Andrew Key and Brenda Martinez headed to Vista Grande High School in Taos, N.M., during winter break as part of a service-learning course developed by Education Lecturer Bryan Duff.

Cornell Chronicle [2015-03-02]

In a service-learning odyssey that is still unfolding, a small group of Cornell University students headed to Taos, New Mexico, this January for an immersion into “expeditionary learning,” and rural school culture and diversity.

The course, Innovative Schools Advocacy and Research Team, is the brainchild of Bryan Duff, education lecturer in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and a 2013 Engaged Learning + Research fellow. Last fall, he issued a call for students to join a small, multidisciplinary team headed to an underresourced high school in the mountains northeast of Santa Fe.

“I wanted students to see an expeditionary learning school in action for more than the short field trips I had arranged in the past,” Duff said. “And I wanted students to spend time in a rural school because most of us get little personal or media exposure to such schools.”

Read the whole article.

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dilmun logoDilmun Hill, Cornell’s student-run farm,  is currently looking for students who would like to conduct research at the farm. This is a great opportunity for students interested in agroecology, soil science, horticulture, agronomy or other related fields.

If interested, please fill out the application and submit to Betsy Leonard by Friday, March 13th.

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CALS Communications

Greenhouse ribbon-cutting at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, N.Y., October 2014. Photo: Rob Way, CALS Communications.

Reposted from CALS Notes [2015-02-24]

It was a year of promises and deliveries, of new partnerships and the research and outreach results those relationships fuel. For Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, 2014 will be remembered as a very good year.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • The Northern Grapes Project, led by senior extension associate Tim Martinson, received a $2.6 million USDA grant to continue developing grape growing, wine making and marketing resources for cold climate grape growers.
  • Susan Brown, incoming Station director and faculty in the Horticulture Section, was named a 2014 “Women of Distinction” in a ceremony at the State Capitol.
  • Sarah Pethybridge was hired as an assistant professor in the Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, Steve Reiners assumed the position of associate chair of the Horticulture Section, Anna Katharine Mansfield was promoted to associate professor in the Department of Food Science, and Jennifer Grant was named director of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program.
  • The Station completed its 10th year of boosting science literacy through a plant science program for the Geneva City School District’s third and fourth graders.
  • The Summer Research Scholars Program hosted 27 students from top universities around the country for immersion in agricultural research.

And that’s just a start.

Read all the highlights in the Station’s “2014 Year in Review” available online on the NYSAES homepage:

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Hort 4940 students with bananas.Mark your calendar:


A botanical exploration through the Toledo District of southern Belize

Monday, March 2, at 4:30, in Rm. 404 Plant Science Building.

Join Hort 4940: Tropical Plants Extravaganza students as they offer a lively presentation about their January 2015 excursion through the Toledo District of southern Belize.

Intensively experiential, with forays which include explorations into forests, a national park, and cacao plantation, the students will offer insights into their thinking about a sustainable future, and conclude their presentation with a hands-on cacao experience.

Hot chocolate and light foods will be served.

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On February 13, Don Rakow visited with recent graduates Justin Kondrat (BS ’14) and Lourdes (Luly) Rios (BS ’14), along with former graduate student Sarah Hulick (BS ’11, MS ’13) at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA. Justin is interning at the garden in February, before starting his new position as assistant orchid curator at the U.S. Botanical Garden. Luly is currently employed by Driscoll’s Berries, where she has been developing a technical manual for blueberry growers, and is supervised by Sarah, who is responsible for all education and trouble-shooting efforts.

Rakow, Hulick, Kondrat and Rios.

Rakow, Hulick, Kondrat and Rios.

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Know what you’ll be doing this summer? If you’re looking for some great career-related, hands-on experience, now is the time to be pinning down that summer internship that matches your interests. Here are some Cornell-related opportunities of horticultural interest (and their application deadline):

Find more opportunities — on farms, in greenhouses and labs, at public gardens and more, in Ithaca and around the world —  on the Horticulture internships blog.

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Nina Bassuk

Nina Bassuk

Cornell Chronicle [2015-01-15]:

Nina Bassuk, professor of horticulture; Marie Caudill, professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences; and Rajit Manohar, professor of electrical and computer engineering, are the newest recipients of Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellowships in recognition of their teaching of undergraduate students. President David Skorton announced the Weiss fellows Jan. 30 at a meeting of the Cornell Board of Trustees.

“Nina, Marie and Rajit exemplify the best that Cornell seeks to offer its students,” Skorton said. “They are enormously talented researchers and academic leaders, who inspire undergraduates through their example and boundless energy as teachers and mentors.” …

Bassuk, who marked her 34th year at Cornell in 2014, is known for her innovative teaching and for having a profound and lasting influence on her students.

Her two-course series Creating the Urban Eden incorporates not only a 300-acre campus as an extended classroom but several resources developed in her research on enhancing the functions of plants and trees in urban ecosystems. These include a textbook, “Trees in the Urban Landscape: Site Assessment, Design and Installation” (2004); a “Plant by Phone” service with her recorded descriptions of trees and plants; and a Campus Tree Identification mobile phone app with information on more than 200 plant species.

Bassuk brings tools, plants and soil samples into the classroom but ensures that much of her students’ learning occurs outdoors, leading them on weekly “plant walks” on campus and joining them in horticultural projects. She has enabled students across the university to understand the natural world and what it takes to be successful environmental stewards, adapting her teaching style to students’ individual needs.

“She helps and challenges students to develop their own methods of learning,” one of Bassuk’s students wrote. “Her time and expertise were invaluable.”

Read the whole article.

Bassuk instructs students before planting.

Bassuk instructs ‘Urban Eden’ students before planting Tower Rd. bioswale, September 2014.

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