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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.

‘Urban Eden’ students put a price tag on trees for Arbor Day

Urban Eden teaching assistants Huan Liu and Miles Schwartz Sax tag a sugar maple outside of Roberts Hall.

Urban Eden teaching assistants Huan Liu and Miles Schwartz Sax tag a sugar maple outside of Roberts Hall.

What’s a tree worth?

In what has become an annual tradition, students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920) are helping to make people more aware of why trees are worth hugging by hanging bright green “price tags” on trunks around the Ag Quad.

The students entered data about the trees, such as species, diameter and location, into i-Tree — a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service. The application then calculates monetary benefits from reduced stormwater runoff, improved air quality,  carbon dioxide sequestration and energy savings to nearby buildings by blocking wind in winter and providing shade in summer.

“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 Nina Bassuk, professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, who leads the class alongside Peter Trowbridge, professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture.

There are also benefits that are not easily quantified, such as wildlife habitats and emotional responses, added Bassuk, who is also director of the Urban Horticulture Institute.

Urban Eden tree taggers spread out across the Ag Quad tagging trees ...

Urban Eden tree taggers spread out across the Ag Quad tagging trees …

... until it was time to go prune and mulch landscapes installed by previous Urban Eden classes.

… until it was time to go prune and mulch landscapes installed by previous Urban Eden classes.

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: http://givingday.cals.cornell.edu/2016

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.

Finicky deer avoid some invasive plants, promoting spread

At the Penn State Deer Research Center, ecologists offered deer a multiple-choice array of eight invasive introduced and seven native plants to determine deer feeding preferences among the species.

At the Penn State Deer Research Center, ecologists offered deer a multiple-choice array of eight invasive introduced and seven native plants to determine deer feeding preferences among the species.

Cornell Chronicle [2016-04-14]:

The dietary preferences of deer may be promoting the spread of such invasive species as garlic mustard, Japanese barberry and Japanese stiltgrass, according to a new study that tested white-tailed deer preferences for seven native and eight invasive plants commonly found in the northeastern U.S.

“Deer avoid certain invasive plants that are increasing in abundance in natural areas, suggesting that deer are causing unpalatable species to spread,” said Kristine Averill, a research associate in Cornell’s Section of Soil and Crop Sciences and the lead author of a study recently published online and in an upcoming print issue of the journal Biological Invasions.

The invasive herb garlic mustard, for example, has spread throughout the United States in the last 150 years and has become one of the worst forest invaders, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. In some areas, it has become the dominant forest underbrush plant, outcompeting native plants and reducing species diversity.

Read the whole article.

Soil paintings hung in Bradfield/Emerson foyer

artists with their work

Undergraduate and graduate students gathered with members of the Cornell Soil Health Team to celebrate the hanging of the paintings they created as part of a community art project commemorating Global Soil Week last December.

Participants mixed finely sifted soil grains with water and the traditional binder known as gesso to turn the varying hues of soil into paintable mixtures. Similar to acrylic, the paint retains the texture and character of the soil from where it originates, with hues of varying colors.

You can view the paintings in the foyer at the east entrance to Bradfield and Emerson Halls.

Panel discussion: The Holy Earth by Liberty Hyde Bailey

holy earth coverFrom Lynn M Bertoia, Program Coordinator, Library Administration:

The Holy Earth by Liberty Hyde Bailey
Panel discussion by:

  • Scott Peters, Development Sociology
  • Jim Tantillo, Natural Resources
  • John Linstrom, editor

Tuesday, April 19 at 4:00 pm
Mann Library, Stern Seminar Room 160

Protecting and sharing our environment for future generations is a global challenge we face today, and to celebrate Earth Day which falls on April 22nd this year, Mann Library is hosting a panel discussion highlighting the newly released 100th anniversary edition of The Holy Earth by Liberty Hyde Bailey (published by Counterpoint, December 2015).

Join us for a panel discussion with Scott Peters, Department of Development Sociology; Jim Tantillo, Department of Natural Resources; and John Linstrom, editor of the anniversary edition of The Holy Earth, and former curator and director of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum.

At the turn of the last century, when farming first began to face the most rapid series of changes that industrialization would bring, the most compelling voice representing the agrarian tradition came from the public intellectual Liberty Hyde Bailey, known as the “Father of Modern Horticulture.” He was a botanist, farmer, naturalist, and philosopher. Dean of the College of Agriculture at Cornell University from 1903 to 1913, he was moved by an enthusiasm and love for everything to do with life in the countryside, including gardening, forestry, and the economy, politics and culture of rural communities.

In 1915, Bailey’s environmental manifesto, The Holy Earth, addressed the industrialization of society with a message of responsible land stewardship which has never been as timely as it is now. Bailey called for “a new hold” that society must take to develop a “morals of land management.”

The centennial edition presents new editorial content and a new foreword by Wendell Berry whose own work is indebted to Bailey’s writing, and it introduces the classic to a new generation of environmentalists.

Refreshments served and books available for purchase.  More information.

Seminar video: Faking wine and making millions: Wine counterfeiting through the ages

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, we managed to capture it more or less despite the campus-wide power outage: Faking wine and making millions: Wine counterfeiting through the ages with Justine Vanden Heuvel, Associate Professor, Horticulture Section and Michael Fontaine,  Associate Professor, Department of Classics  is available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Last chance for Cornell Orchards apples, cider & more

ApplesFriday, April 15 will be our final sales day for the season.

Stop into our retail store for:

  • Cider: Buy one, get one free
  • Apples: Empire, Mutsu, Gala, all out of our controlled atmosphere coolers. They are crunchy and sweet and taste like fresh off the tree. All buy one, get one free
  • Select items from Cornell Dairy.
  • Other food and gift items: We have a great variety of specialty items including pottery, chocolates, and candles. All of our gifts and specialty foods are from local New York vendors.

Hours: Tuesdays – Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Sundays and Mondays)

More information.

‘Climate-smart soils’ may help balance the carbon budget

Johannes Lehmann, center, discusses soil research with farmers in Awassa, Ethiopia.(Andrew Martin Simons photo)

Johannes Lehmann, professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Section, discusses soil research with farmers in Awassa, Ethiopia.(Andrew Martin Simons photo)

Cornell Chronicle [2016-04-06]

Here’s the scientific dirt: Soil can help reduce global warming.

While farm soil grows the world’s food and fiber, scientists are examining ways to use it to sequester carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

“We can substantially reduce atmospheric carbon by using soil. We have the technology now to begin employing good soil practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Johannes Lehmann, Cornell professor of soil and crop sciences, co-author of the Perspectives piece, “Climate-smart Soils,” published in Nature, April 6.

Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon and using prudent agricultural management practices that tighten the soil-nitrogen cycle can yield enhanced soil fertility, bolster crop productivity, improve soil biodiversity, and reduce erosion, runoff and water pollution. These practices also buffer crop and pasture systems against the impacts of climate change.

Read the whole article

Visit the Cornell Climate Change website for more information on Agriculture and Climate Change

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