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Plant Sciences Major to receive Potato Growers Scholarship

Morning Ag Clips [2016-06-28]

Cassandra Proctor of Trumansburg, NY, has been named the 2016 Empire State Potato Growers Association Scholarship winner and will receive a $500 scholarship per academic year for up to four consecutive years of agricultural education at a college in New York State.

Cassandra will graduate from Charles O. Dickerson High School in Trumansburg in June. She plans to begin her pursuit of a degree in plant sciences at Cornell University in the fall. Her career goal is to earn a PhD in plant genetics and to research ways to improve plant yield and suitability for impoverished areas.

As a high school senior, she served as an FFA Co-Treasurer, and participated in the Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga New Visions in Life Sciences Program that allowed her to intern in the Boyce Thompson Institute plant genetics research lab at Cornell University.

Cassandra was selected to attend the Global Youth Institute hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation in Iowa in 2015. This summer Cassie will travel to the Phillipines on an eight-week Borlaug Ruan International Internship at the International Rice Research Institute.

Read the whole article.

Cassandra Proctor (Photo: Boyce Thompson Institute)

Cassandra Proctor (Photo: Boyce Thompson Institute)

New Wine Scent Garden planted

wine scent garden

A collaboration between Food Science lecturer Kathleen Arnink and Urban Horticulture Institute director Nina Bassuk came to fruition this week when Bassuk and her staff planted a new Wine Scent Garden along the south side of Stocking Hall.

“The garden will be used by Viticulture and Enology students to train themselves to identify odors that are perceived in wines,” says Arnink, who teaches courses such as Introduction to Wines and Vines and Principles and Practices of Growing Grapes and Making Wines.

“This fall, students in the Wines and Vines lab will spend time in the garden exploring and sniffing with labels near the plants to help them learn the correct terminology to use when they smell these odors in wines,” adds Arnink. “I can also cover the labels later to quiz them to see what they’ve learned.”

Some of the common wine aromas represented in the garden include:

  • Rose, found in Muscat grapes and wines
  • Lemon, lime, pineapple and grass, perceived in many white wines
  • Licorice, curry, chocolate and tobacco, common descriptors for red wine odors

Bassuk’s planting list included several mints (Mentha spp.) and scented geraniums (Pelargonium spp.), bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), curry plant (Helichrysum italicum), bee balm (Monarda spp.) and more.

The close proximity to classrooms in Stocking Hall is a big plus. “During crush, when students are making wines, it will be handy to say to them, ‘Run out and sniff these plants, and see if you can smell those odors in your Riesling.’”

 

Scenes from Commencement 2016

Frank Rossi, Marvin Pritts and Justine Vanden Heuvel cook up breakfast for Plant Science graduates and their families.

Frank Rossi, Marvin Pritts and Justine Vanden Heuvel cook up Commencement breakfast for Plant Science graduates and their families.

Don Viands recognizes the top three Plant Sciences seniors with the Ring Memorial Award.

Don Viands recognizes the top three Plant Sciences seniors with the Ring Memorial Award.

Breanna Wong (second from left) poses with friends before procession.

Breanna Wong (second from left) poses with friends before procession.

Dhruv Patel shoots a selfie.

Dhruv Patel shoots a selfie.

Christian Lesage and Patrick McLoughlin during procession to commencement ceremony.

Christian Lesage and Patrick McLoughlin during Commencement procession.

Alan Collmer, director of the School of Integrative Plant Science, welcomes graduates and their families to the Plant Science Recognition Ceremony.

Alan Collmer, director of the School of Integrative Plant Science, welcomes graduates and their families to the Plant Science Recognition Ceremony. (Photo: Jenn Thomas-Murphy.)

Director of Undergraduate Studies Marvin Pritts (left) and SIPS section chairs Steve Reiners, Gary Bergstrom, Jeff Doyle, Tim Setter and William Crepet at the ceremony.

Director of Undergraduate Studies Marvin Pritts (left) and SIPS section chairs Steve Reiners, Gary Bergstrom, Jeff Doyle, Tim Setter and William Crepet at the ceremony. (Photo: Jenn Thomas-Murphy.)

Commencement prelude

Volunteers fashion commencement boutonnières from orchids for graduating Plant Science Majors and graduate students from the five Graduate Fields associated with the School of Integrative Plant Science.

Clock wise from upper left: Violet Stone, Magdalen Lindeberg, Marvin Pritts, Leah Cook, Bridget Cristelli, Karin Jantz and Steve Reiners.

Clockwise from upper left: Violet Stone, Magdalen Lindeberg, Marvin Pritts, Leah Cook, Bridget Cristelli, Karin Jantz and Steve Reiners.

boutonniere9015x640

Some of the soon-to-be-graduating Plant Science Majors gathered Wednesday for the annual ‘exit luncheon’ – an informal chance for them to share feedback about the program and make suggestions on how to improve the experience for future Majors. They took time out for a group shot in the Palm Room of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

Left to right: Jason Gregory, Ryan Walker, Patrick McLoughlin, Plant Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator Leah Cook, Breanna Wong and Katharine Constas.

Left to right: Jason Gregory, Ryan Walker, Patrick McLoughlin, Plant Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator Leah Cook, Breanna Wong and Katharine Constas.

Other Class of ’16 Plant Science Majors not pictured: Julian DeLellis-Mitch, Josh Kaste, Christian Lesage, Zach Lingskoog, Justin Lombardoni, Catherine Migneco, Sarah Odell, Dhruv Patel, Yuanhan Wu, Qiuchen Yang.

Good luck, graduates!

Student exploration: Healing starts with everyday plants

Laura Lagunez '16, left, and Camila Martinez, a graduate student in the field of plant biology, examine plants in Belize during their spring break. (Photo: Sierra Murray)

Laura Lagunez ’16, left, and Camila Martinez, a graduate student in the field of plant biology, examine plants in Belize during their spring break. (Photo: Sierra Murray)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-19]:

Stretching beyond the “apple a day” adage, Cornell students explored a natural area in Ithaca and villages in Belize to learn how common plant life helps alleviate ailments.

“In Belize, use of healing plants is a centuries-old tradition that’s being lost because fewer young people are pursuing plant medicine,” said senior lecturer Marcia Eames-Sheavly, who teaches Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them.

Said Eames-Sheavly, “It’s fascinating that here in the U.S., the interest in healing plants seems to be exploding.”

Read the whole article.

More information:

‘Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them’ final project presentations May 16

In Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them, I ceased to be a walking résumé.

Students in PLHRT 4940, Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them, spent spring break working with and learning from Mayan healers in Belize and herbalists in the Ithaca area.  They will provide an overview of their experiences and present their final projects on May 16 from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in 102 Mann Library.

What makes the course special? Instructor Marcia Eames-Sheavly, a senior lecturer and senior Extension associate in the Horticulture Section of Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science explains:

Students in the Ithaca group work with local herbalists to prepare herbal infusions (Photo: Isabel Gareau)

Students in the Ithaca group work with local herbalists to prepare herbal infusions (Photo: Isabel Gareau)

The course syllabus for PLHRT 4940: Healing Plants and the People Who Use Them begins with an intention:

  • What are the various roles of plants in our lives?
  • What is a community, and in that community, what are people’s ways of understanding and knowing?
  • And, who are you?

Whatever your answer to these questions, and whatever it includes at this juncture of your life, our hope is that if you intentionally engage in PLHRT 4940, by semester’s end, your ideas of the value of plants…of community…and of self, are going to be changed.

During the first half of the semester, the students participated in diverse classroom activities to prepare them to make the most of their experience. That meant more than just learning how to identify plants. As a team, we engaged students in topics ranging from ethics and cultural sensitivity to appropriate use of technology and how to ask good questions. And teamwork was key. As the students worked and planned together, they learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They learned that they didn’t need to know it all if they could work together.

During the 2016 spring break, we divided into two groups. One group traveled to the Toledo District of Belize to work with Mayan healers. The other stayed in Ithaca to work with Tammi Sweet, co-founder of the Heartstone Herbal School.

Depending on the location, the students focused on learning traditional plant medicine and the spiritual ecology undergirding it; preserving the wisdom of indigenous healers and their knowledge of medicinal plants; making preparations ranging from salves to soaps; and preparing a new medicinal plants nature trail.  Both groups steeped in reflection about healing plants, the people who use them, and their own journey at these intersections.

Students in the Belize group warm up with plant identification. (Photo: Sierra Murray)

Students in the Belize group warm up with plant identification. (Photo: Sierra Murray)

In Belize, use of healing plants is a centuries-old tradition that’s being lost because fewer young people are pursuing plant medicine.  It’s fascinating that here in the U.S., the interest seems to be exploding. Learning about plant medicine and the people engaged in it has benefits for people around the world, and for the health of our students here at Cornell, too.

Before the course, I had a few friends who studied plants—individuals I met through my cooperative—and had only a vague interest in plants, myself. Now, I have built off that vague interest, learning how everyday plants we walk by on our way to class could actually be useful in our lives. …I have gained friends and developed bonds with individuals who allow me to cultivate this interest further.

Students on their way to a new medicinal plants trail in the forest at Rio Blanco National Park. (Photo: Olivia McCandless)

Students in Belize on their way to a new medicinal plants trail in the forest at Rio Blanco National Park. (Photo: Olivia McCandless)

Understanding the need for a solid undergirding in anthropological perspective, I invited Charis Boke, Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology, to collaborate in teaching. “I was curious to see how my work as a cultural anthropologist would fit in with plant science,” she recalls. But working as part of our teaching team along with horticulture graduate student Grant Thompson and plant biology graduate student Camila Martinez (who both helped lead the Belize trip) to prepare the students for their experiential spring break work turned out to be “…one of the most stimulating teaching experiences I’ve had. Together we were able to create a robustly reflective and engaging cross-disciplinary learning experience for the students.”

After break, students from both groups tackled practical projects primarily aimed at integrating their new-found interests with specific lay audiences. These took forms ranging from narratives based on interviews with healers to lesson plans, a grant proposal rationale, cookbook recipes, how-to flyers on growing medicinal plants, personal essays, maps, and blending teas to help fellow students cope with stress.

“We opened up a place for them to explore their own passions,” says Boke. “Seeing them latch on to these concrete ways that they can insert themselves into the world of people-plant relationships has been really gratifying.”

I have experienced such a holistic form of learning that the class will continue to follow me and my life path—perhaps even guiding my life’s path into the future.

Botanical Illustration Intensive exhibition

Tuesday, students in Intensive Study in Botanical Illustration (PLHRT 3250) exhibited their portfolios in an informal mini-art show in Plant Science 141. The course, taught by Marcia Eames-Sheavly using the Moodle-based distance-learning modules she created  is one of the requirements for the Minor in Horticulture with a Focus in the Botanical Arts.

art show

The artists included:

Anthony Teng

Anthony Teng

Patty Chan

Patty Chan

 

Shujie Li

Shujie Li

Tommi Schieder

Tommi Schieder

Yuxi Xiao had to take an exam and missed the fun.

Yuxi Xiao had to take an exam and missed the fun.

Senior honors Nobel laureate McClintock with library display

Juliet Jacobson ’16 stands in front of the exhibit she designed for Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock in Mann Library. (Photo: Matt Hayes)

Juliet Jacobson ’16 stands in front of the exhibit she designed for Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock in Mann Library. (Photo: Matt Hayes)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-05-10]

It took nearly 40 years for Barbara McClintock ’23, M.A. ’25, Ph.D. ’27, to be recognized for her groundbreaking research, winning the 1983 Nobel Prize for work she completed in the 1940s.

Now after another 30 years, Cornell has a prominent display marking the achievements of a scientist who discovered one of the most fundamental aspects of genetics.

And it’s all thanks to the persistence of Juliet Jacobson ’16.

Jacobson, a senior studying biological sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, first learned of McClintock’s achievements while in high school. When she arrived at Cornell she expected to find a statue or other prominent marker commemorating a titan of science who earned three degrees at the university and later returned to teach. What she found instead was a plaque near the small space where McClintock conducted her research, far from popular spots on campus where wandering students might learn of her life and legacy.

Read the whole article.

In the news

From Picture Cornell May 4:

Students peruse the colorful offerings by Hortus Forum during an Earth Day display, April 20. (Photo: Jason Koski/University Photography)

Students peruse the colorful offerings by Hortus Forum during an Earth Day display, April 20. (Photo: Jason Koski/University Photography)

Boots on the farm: Helping military vets enter agriculture [CALS Notes 2016-03-03] –  Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and the Cornell Small Farms Program (CFSP) are helping military veterans find new career opportunities in agriculture.

New toolkit clarifies agricultural economic assessment [Cornell Chronicle 2016-03-03] –  A Cornell University economist has teamed up with the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other researchers to provide a standardized toolkit to evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local and regional food systems.

Jim Giovannoni elected to the National Academy of Sciences [Discovery that Connects (SIPS blog) 2016-03-03] – Jim Giovannoni (SIPS Section of Plant Biology Adjunct Faculty) was among 84 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences on May 3. Giovannoni, BTI staff member and plant molecular biologist with ARS, researches the genetics and regulation of fruit ripening, with particular focus on tomato.

 

Botanical illustration exhibition May 10

botanical illustrationFrom Marcia Eames-Sheavly:

Please mark your calendars for May 10, from 12:30 – 1:00, Rm. 141 Plant Science, for an informal exhibit of student work in PLHRT 3250: Botanical Illustration Intensive.

This small but mighty group of 5 students has produced some very fine pieces!

Come peruse their work and celebrate their hours and hours of hunching over drawing tables these past months.

 

 

 

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