Farmers Robert and Rodney Donald review the Adapt-N tool with Cornell extension associate Bianca Moebius-Clune. They saved thousands of dollars after applying Adapt-N recommendations during a trial at their Moravia farm.
New tool helps farmers nip nitrogen losses [Cornell Chronicle 2013-05-13] – The free Web-based tool, Adapt-N, draws on local soil, crop and weather data – including high resolution climate data stored at the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell – to provide better estimates of nitrogen fertilizer needs for corn (including sweet corn), in real time, throughout the season. Adapt-N was chosen as AgProfessional’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Top Product of the Year, taking 52 percent of the vote and being the first product developed by a university to receive the award. In addition to reducing farmers fertilizer costs and nitrogen pollution, the tool can also reduce emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 300 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide emissions from nitrogen fertilizer use rival the global warming impact of the entire U.S. aviation industry.
From Mark Bridgen, director of the The Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center and Pi Alpha Xi advisor.
The first chapter of the national horticulture honor society Pi Alpha Xi (PAX) was formed at Cornell in 1923. But after more than a decade of inactivity, PAX’s Alpha Chapter is back with the induction of new members on May 7, 2013.
Back row: Mark Bridgen (advisor), Elizabeth Simpson, Angella Macias, Matthew Bond, Rowan Bateman, David Harris, Neil Mattson (faculty), James Keach (graduate student). Front: Madeline (Maddy) Olberg, Chelsea Van Acker, Melissa Kitchen (graduate student).
The vision for PAX grew out of an after-dinner conversation of a group of academics from several universities at the International Flower Show in New York City in 1923. They were looking for ways to recognize the academic achievements of floriculture students in the United States, and foster fellowship among students, educators and professional horticulturists.
A group at Cornell University led by Arno Nehrling established the society, writing its first constitution and ritual and designing the insignia (right). The first installation of the Alpha Chapter was held on June 1, 1923. It has since spread to some 40 academic institutions around the country, and embraces all horticulture disciplines.
PAX was very active at Cornell University for many years, peaking in the 1970s. Members organized a formal dance with a live band each fall at Willard Straight Hall. Back in those days, young men presented huge football mum corsages to all the young ladies at these events.
As student enrollment in floriculture and ornamental horticulture declined and faculty retired over the years, the Alpha Chapter’s activities declined, and it eventually became totally inactive sometime in the 1990’s.
This year, I was named the new advisor to the Alpha Chapter and we’ve reactivated our membership with National PAX. I was originally a member of the Gamma Chapter at the Pennsylvania State University back in 1976, and later continued my activity as a graduate student at the Epsilon Chapter at Ohio State University and with the Kappa Chapter at Virginia Polytechnic & State University, where I earned my PhD. My wife, Margot, was also a member of PAX at Penn State.
The floriculture team at Cornell University is anxious to invigorate the Alpha Chapter and reignite a tradition that began here at Cornell. You can find out more about Pi Alpha Xi at the American Society for Horticultural Science website, or contact me with questions: email@example.com.
By Celine Jennison ‘14. Cross-posted from CALS Notes.
Have you ever wondered why the grass along Tower Road looked so miserable even though it runs alongside the Plant Sciences building?
A group of students from the “Grassing the Urban Eden” class (HORT 4931) recently re-sodded the side of the road, from Garden Avenue towards Day Hall, to transform the grim strips along the sidewalk into a long green carpet in just an hour.
Bassuk brought her expertise with soil. She had previously invented CU Structural Soil to promote tree health in urban environments where roots suffer from compaction, inadequate water, nutrient and oxygen levels. Her soil has a 8:2 stone to soil ratio and hydrogel, a binding agent and water holding gel to prevent stones and soil from separating during the mixing and installation process.
Rossi lent his knowledge about grass. He recommended 90 percent tall fescue – “the most idiot-proof grass you can get” – and 10 percent Kentucky bluegrass, a common cool-season species used in sod production. Fescue can withstand traffic, salt and drought, but is a “bunch-type” grass; the addition of bluegrass helps knit together a sturdy sod.
The experiment on Tower Road involves installing sod from CALS alumni Laurie and Steve Griffen ‘84 of Saratoga Sod, on top of CU Structural Soil to see how well the grass performs at different depths: 6, 8 and 10 inches deep. Wireless in-ground sensors will later be added to monitor temperatures, moisture and salinity.
As a plant science major who walks along Tower Road every morning, I look forward to monitoring the grass performance and seeing for myself whether this technique is one solution to greening cities and making passers-by happier.
18 undergraduates were honored for their excellence in STEM teaching, tutoring, and outreach at a banquet April 30. Six of the students — seniors Marissa Cardillo, Andrew Robbins, Samantha Tierney, and Shanna Johnson, and juniors William Feldhusen and Benjamin Pilcher — took home $500 each for standing out in this distinguished group.
Near the end of the fall and spring semesters, a team of faculty and academic staff issued a call for nominations, looking for undergraduates in STEM fields with potential to be America’s next top science teachers. This initiative was part of a larger, ongoing effort at Cornell supported by a grant from the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program administered by the National Science Foundation.
Staff of the Cornell University Grounds Department, Campus Landscape Architect David Cutter, instructor Nina Bassuk and students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920) pose after putting finishing touches on the landscape they installed this spring outside Caldwell Hall on the Ag Quad. (View time-lapse video of installation.) This spring the class also installed plantings outside Bradfield Hall and in the Statler Hall circle.
Cornell has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation every year since 2009. Requirements for recognition include effectively managing campus trees in coordination with the surrounding community, engaging students in service-learning forestry projects, and providing outreach on the value of trees and urban forests through programs such as Arbor Day celebrations.
Below, Grounds Department Director Peter Salino (red jacket) assists with planting of Ponderosa Pine outside Caldwell Hall.
Students in HORT 2350 (Food, Fiber, and Fulfillment: Plants and Human Well-Being) will have posters on display in the Dean’s Gallery on the second floor of Mann Library from 9am Tuesday April 30 until 3pm Thursday, May 2.
Students have worked in teams to research topics that address the role of plants and human well being. They include issues such as plants in prisons, use of plants for physical health, plants for at-risk youth, plants and tourism, and plants for pollution mitigation.
This week, students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920) are highlighting why trees are worth hugging, by hanging bright green “price tags” on trunks around the Ag Quad and in an Ithaca park.
Using an online tool, the National Tree Benefit Calculator, students from the course estimated the environmental and economic benefits of 29 trees based on their location, size and species.
“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 horticulture professor Nina Bassuk, who leads the class alongside landscape architecture professor Peter Trowbridge.
There are also benefits that are not easily quantified, such as wildlife habitats and emotional responses, Bassuk said.
Students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920), taught by Nina Bassuk and Peter Trowbridge, measured tree diameters on the Ag Quad Tuesday. They will use the measurements to estimate the monetary benefits of each tree, which they’ll display on oversized tree tags attached to each tree during the week leading up to Arbor Day, April 26.
The students will use the National Tree Benefit Calculator, a simple-to-use online tool that estimates the environmental and economic benefits of street trees based on their location, size and species. Those benefits include: