Skip to main content


Join the Dilmun Hill student farm steering committee (Deadline: October 14)

Dilmun Hill — recently named one of the Top 10 College Farms in the U.S. — is looking for students to join our steering committee.


We are a student-run farm that has been practicing sustainable agriculture on Cornell’s campus since 1996. Our community is the backbone of the farm – it makes it all work, and it makes it fun. Running a student farm is as much about organizing, budgeting, and growing vegetables as it is about working jointly as a team.

The Steering Committee is in charge of planning and implementing policy and aiding the managers in the operation of the farm. The committee meets about every other week during the school year, and consists of the current farm managers, the student researchers, the organic farm coordinator, and a group of student volunteers who apply for the position. Committee members also help with field work and are eligible for independent study credits. Interested? Apply now. Questions? Contact the managers at


SWAT team tackles tree inventory

Horticulture graduate student Emily Detrick puts a tape measure to the rest of the Jordan SWAT team, Kyle Sitzman, Daniel Lambert, Sabrina Miller, Nina Bassuk, Alice Sturm, Quinn Uesugi and Fred Cowett.

Horticulture graduate student Emily Detrick puts a tape measure to the rest of the Jordan SWAT team, Kyle Sitzman, Daniel Lambert, Sabrina Miller, Nina Bassuk, Alice Sturm, Quinn Uesugi and Fred Cowett.

Six students, along with Urban Horticulture Institute director Nina Bassuk and post-doctoral associate Fred Cowett, braved the heat Sunday to complete a street tree inventory for the Village of Jordan, 20 miles west of Syracuse, N.Y.

Bassuk and Cowett have been organizing these SWAT teams (Student Weekend Arborist Teams) of trained students since 2002 to give municipalities an affordable option for inventorying their street trees. “Inventories are the first step to help towns and villages across the state better manage their street tree resources,” says Bassuk.

Taken together, these smaller communities comprise a significant portion of New York State’s street trees.  But they often lack the resources to gather the information they need to keep their street trees healthy.

Ithaca-based Central New York SWAT Teams have inventoried 36 communities. Hudson River Valley SWAT Teams based in Dutchess County and composed of Master Gardeners have inventoried 12 additional communities.

In addition to putting what they’ve learned in class to work in the real world, SWAT team students deliver:

  • A complete inventory of all community trees in the public right-of-way of the municipality.
  • The species distribution, condition, and maintenance needs of these trees.
  • The location of existing planting spaces available for future plantings and list of recommended species.
  • An analysis of the ecosystem benefits provided by community trees.
  • A spreadsheet of inventory data local staff can keep the inventory up to date.
  • A report and presentation of inventory data.

For more information, visit the Urban Horticulture Institute’s Community Forestry website.

PeriodiCALS: What I Did on My Summer Vacation

The McClintock Shed at the Cornell Plantations with David Zakalik's driftwood sculpture of  Nobel Laureate Barbara McClintock.

The McClintock Shed at the Cornell Plantations with David Zakalik’s driftwood sculpture of Nobel Laureate Barbara McClintock.

Summer takes many CALS students out of the classroom and into the world, where a different kind of learning awaits. This summer, internships gave students a ticket to travel from Ithaca to villages in India, a wildlife veterinary clinic in Africa, the shores of Onondaga Lake, and a New York City fashion house.  Learn more about their stories and the kind of education that occurs when students hit the road in this special online only issue of PeriodiCALS.

Stories of particular horticulture interest include:

View the whole issue.

Dreer Seminar Sept. 2: Urban Agriculture and Aquaponics in Switzerland

Urban Agriculture and Aquaponics in Switzerland
September 2, 12:15 p.m.
22 Plant Science Building

A Seminar by 2014 Dreer Award recipient Brett Morgan

The Frederick Dreer Award, administered by the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, offers a wonderful opportunity for one or more students to spend 4 months to up to a year abroad pursuing his or her interests related to horticulture. The application deadline for the current cycle has passed. But you can view the application and instructions to start planning ahead for the 2016 award. (Application deadline tentatively late Feb./early March 2016.)

click for printable poster

Geneva Summer Scholars visit the Ithaca campus

geneva-scholarsReposted from CALS Notes [2-15-07-28]

Undergraduate interns from Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York visited Cornell yesterday to explore the campus, meet with faculty, and to learn about the graduate program.

Over the summer students have the opportunity to gain research experience while working with faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and staff at in Geneva to discover more about fungi, apples, beetles, and so much more.

While at Cornell the interns sat down with Bill Miller, the Director of Graduate Studies for the School of Integrative Plant Science, and Stewart Gray of Plant Pathology for an interactive discussion and an opportunity to ask questions.

The most asked question was how to get into graduate school, and both Miller and Gray explained that research experience is vital, and since the students are interning in Geneva, they are on the right track.

Gray said they “are looking for a breadth of experiences and skills” in potential graduate students.

Some students wondered what the path would be like after they earned a graduate degree and the faculty explained that many go into academia, but some also go into industry and government research, consulting, and extension among other fields.

Miller’s answer to this question was to “be open to opportunities that present themselves.”

Hannah Sweet ’16, of the University of Minnesota – Morris explained that she is “new to this whole process, so getting honest information is really beneficial.”

After this talk, the students met with entomology Department Chair, Laura Harrington and Bryan Danforth, professor of entomology, for an interactive discussion surrounding similar topics.

The students finished the day with a tour of Cornell’s campus, and an obligatory stop at the Dairy Bar for ice cream before heading off to Geneva, where they will continue working hard before (hopefully) coming back to Cornell for grad school.

In the news

Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

Cornell University Recycling Agricultural Plastics Program Field Coordinator Nate Leonard holds one of the sidewalk pavers made from recycling used farm plastics from NY farms. Photo: Brian P. Whattam

New 6-County Agricultural Plastics Recycling Initiative [Empire Farm Days news release 2015-07-14] – A partnership of Ontario County, Casella Resource Solutions, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County is looking to divert farm plastic waste material away from the regional landfill in Ontario County to recycling opportunities. Recycling plastics can save farm and business owners landfill and dumpster fees of $70 or more per ton and removing farm plastics from the waste stream extends the life of landfill space. The program also serves farmers in Livingston, Monroe, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties. Read the full release.

Cornell team readies for national ‘Weed Olympics’ July 21 [Cornell Chronicle 2015-07-15] – After enduring practice through thistle and flashcards, the Cornell University Weed Team will send four graduate students and seven undergraduates for two days of agronomic combat at the 2015 National Collegiate Weed competition – affectionately dubbed the “Weed Olympics.” The contest will be held at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Research and Development Center at South Charleston, Ohio, July 21-22. Horticulture graduate student Vinay Bhaskar is among the students representing Cornell under the tutelage of Antonio DiTommaso, professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section, School of Integrative Plant Science. Read the whole article.

Stopping Pests Earns Greenhouse Pro ‘Excellence in IPM’ Award [NYSIPM Program news release 2015-07-16] – : Nora Catlin, floriculture specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, has received an “Excellence in IPM” award from the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYS IPM). The award honors Catlin for her work with commercial greenhouse growers who, on Long Island alone, contribute nearly $80 million to New York’s economy. Catlin received her award at the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center’s Plant Science Day on July 15. Read the full release.

Reiners to succeed Pritts as Horticulture chair

Steve Reiners Associate Chair of the Horticulture Section -- and Professor starting the first of the year.

Steve Reiners will be new Horticulture Section chair.

Alan Collmer, director of the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS), announced yesterday three SIPS leadership transitions effective August 1, 2015.

Mike Scanlon, professor in the Plant Biology Section, has completed his term as Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). During his tenure in the postition, Scanlon streamlined the Plant Sciences curriculum, introduced new courses, and expanded concentrations to accommodate evolving student interests. As a member of the SIPS executive committee, he made key contributions to the SIPS strategic plan.

Marvin Pritts, who has served as Horticulture Section chair for 13 years, will assume the DUS position. Pritts has been extensively involved with the Plant Sciences major for many years as an undergraduate adviser, as co-creator and instructor (with Marcia Eames-Sheavly) of Collaboration, Leadership, and Career Skills in the Plant Sciences (PLSCI 1110), and as an adviser for PLHRT/IARD 3200 Experiential Garden-Based Learning in Belize.

Steve Reiners, professor and associate chair in the Horticulture Section, will succeed Pritts as chair. Reiners, is based at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, and has also served as Department Extension Leader. He also leads the Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Program  serving western New York and the Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program. He co-teaches Principles of Vegetable Production (PLHRT 3500) and Organic Vegetable Gardening (PLHRT 1250).

Congratulations Steve!

Commencement pictures

Last Sunday, Carol Grove attended her last commencement breakfast and ceremony as Graduate Field Assistant. (She retires June 5.) As usual, she took some great pictures.

Do you have pictures to share? Send a link to your album to

Bill Borgstede MPS '15 and his advisor and associate professor in the Horticulture Section Frank Rossi.

Bill Borgstede MPS ’15 and his advisor and associate professor in the Horticulture Section Frank Rossi.

Congratulations graduating Plant Sciences Majors

From Leah Cynara Cook, Plant Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator:

On Monday, May 18, the School of Integrative Plant Science held its annual luncheon to honor graduating seniors in Plant Sciences and recipients of two awards given out through the  Horticulture Section to outstanding Plant Sciences students.

Students were joined by Director of Undergraduate Studies Mike Scanlon, Horticulture Section Chair Marvin Pritts, and  Plant Sciences Undergraduate Program Coordinator Leah Cook.

Congratulations graduating plant science majors

Above from the left: Mike Scanlon, Liana Acevedo-Siaca, Princess Swan, Katharine Constas, Jeremy Pardo, Marvin Pritts, Leah Cook. Not pictured: Michael Gandler.


Jeremy Pardo, Marvin Pritts, Katharin Constas.

Above: Horticulture Section chair Marvin Pritts congratulates Jeremy Pardo (left), who received the 2015 H.R. Schenkel Sr. Memorial Fund Award, which recognizes superior academic achievement by a sophomore or junior enrolled at Cornell University who specializes in horticulture, and Katharine Constas (right), who received the 2015 Kenneth Post Award, which is given annually by the Kenneth Post Foundation to an outstanding senior in horticulture and plant sciences. The award emphasizes academic achievement, but also considers character, leadership, participation in university activities, and promise of continued success in horticulture.

One of the Best Fields for New College Graduates? Agriculture.

USDA news release [2015-05-11]

Nearly 60,000 High-Skilled Agriculture Job Openings Expected Annually in U.S., Yet Only 35,000 Graduates Available to Fill Them

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report showing tremendous demand for recent college graduates with a degree in agricultural programs with an estimated 57,900 high-skilled job openings annually in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment fields in the United States. According to an employment outlook report released today by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University, there is an average of 35,400 new U.S. graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in agriculture related fields, 22,500 short of the jobs available annually.

“There is incredible opportunity for highly-skilled jobs in agriculture,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Those receiving degrees in agricultural fields can expect to have ample career opportunities. Not only will those who study agriculture be likely to get well-paying jobs upon graduation, they will also have the satisfaction of working in a field that addresses some of the world’s most pressing challenges. These jobs will only become more important as we continue to develop solutions to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.”

The report projects almost half of the job opportunities will be in management and business. Another 27 percent will be in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. Jobs in food and biomaterials production will make up 15 percent, and 12 percent of the openings will be in education, communication, and governmental services. The report also shows that women make up more than half of the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education graduates in the United States.

Read the whole release.

Students in Principles of Vegetable Production class (HORT 3500) learn the ins and outs of more than a dozen tillage, planting and cultivation implements at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.

Students in Principles of Vegetable Production class (HORT 3500) learn the ins and outs of more than a dozen tillage, planting and cultivation implements at the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm in Freeville, N.Y.