Archive for News

Francesca Cirafesi

Paul Curtis discusses swan control on NPR!

The mute swan is a common invasive species in North America. While these swans are often protected because of their beauty, their aggressive nature and extreme consumption of underwater vegetation can be extremely harmful to native species. Paul Curtis, associate professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, recently weighed in on the issue of mute swan control. The full article can be read here!

The National Woodland Owners Association (NWOA), in cooperation with the National Association of University Forest Resources Programs (NAUFRP), presented Cornell’s Forest Connect program with the annual FAMILY FORESTS EDUCATION AWARD at the 2013 Society of American Foresters (SAF) national convention in Charleston, South Carolina on October 23rd, 2014.

Congratulations to everyone involved in obtaining this achievement









Top row from (left):  Peter Smallidge, Gary Goff, and Diana Bryant
Bottom row (from left):  Kristi Sulivan and Shorna Allred

Zak Palomino

Cornell PhD Student Feature

Before the end of last year, Paul Simonin, a PhD candidate in Natural Resources at Cornell, was featured in an article published by the Seattle Times. Simonin is a fisheries ecologist, and recently did work in rural Indonesia to learn more about small-scale coral reef fishing in various communities there. Simonin not only had a research role within the project; he had also helped facilitate the trip for the Seattle Times to come to Thailand. The project itself looked as fun as it was informative! To read more about Simonin and his project, click the following link!


Francesca Cirafesi

Keith Tidball named USDA visiting scholar!

Congratulations to Keith Tidball for being named as a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) 2014 visiting scholar!

Tidball is a senior extension associate in the Department of Natural Resources, as well as a state program leader of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s New York Extension Disaster Education Network. His nomination as a visiting scholar will give him the opportunity to work with various federal agencies and international programs to help spread information about disaster education and recovery.

“It’s a great honor to be selected for this opportunity, and I am looking forward to the challenge of better integrating the climate change discourse within USDA/NIFA and other federal agencies, and the preparedness and disaster response discourses,” Tidball said.

The full article relating to Tidball’s nomination can be found here!

Francesca Cirafesi

“Air dancer” scarecrows stop birds!

Paul Curtis, an associate professor for the Cornell Department of Natural Resources, and Heidi Heinrichs, a graduate student in the Department of Natural Resources, are working on a project to find economical solutions to keep birds away from fruit orchards. Curtis was inspired by the inflatable scarecrows used near fish farms and car dealerships, and decided to implement the idea into New York fruit orchards. Together, Curtis and Heinrichs are gathering data to see if these “dancing” scarecrows are more effective at driving off birds than other methods.

More information about their project can be found here!




(an “air dancer” scare crow implemented at a fruit orchard)


Stephen Morreale, a Cornell senior research associate and member of the Department of Natural Resources, recently co-authored a study tracking Leatherback turtles throughout the Pacific Ocean. These turtles frequently fall victim to the the fishing hooks used in the Pacific. The information about turtles’ movements obtained from this work can be used to help minimize conflict between turtles and the fishing industry. Researchers hope that by identifying the areas in which turtles are active, fishing can be prevented in those regions.

More information on this topic can be read here!

A new book titled “Trading Zones in Environmental Education” has been released with Marianne Krasny and Justin Dillon as the editors. It features chapters written by Marianne Krasny, Shorna Allred, Rich Stedman, Keith Tidball, and Arjen Wals of the Department of Natural Resources.

To see details and to order a copy of the book, click here.

Book synopsis:

Environmental educators often adhere to a relatively narrow theoretical paradigm focusing on changing attitudes and knowledge, which are assumed to foster pro-environmental behaviors, which, in turn, leads to better environmental quality. This book takes a different approach to trying to understand how environmental education might influence people, their communities, and the environment. The authors view changing environmental behaviors as a «wicked» problem, that is, a problem that does not readily lend itself to solutions using existing disciplinary approaches. The book as a whole opens up new avenues for pursuing environmental education research and practice and thus expands the conversation around environmental education, behaviors, and quality. Through developing transdisciplinary research questions and conceptual paradigms, this book also suggests new practices beyond those currently used in environmental education, natural resources management, and other environmental fields.

Zak Palomino

Schaufler wins at SAF National Convention!

Congratulations are in order! Recently, Cornell’s very own Don Schaufler was one of ten foresters who were awarded with the Presidential Field Forester Award at the 2013 SAF National Convention held in Charleston, South Carolina! Schaufler has been involved with forestry for over 40 years, and has extensively worked as a manager in Cornell’s Arnot Forest by helping improve many acres and support the local economy.

The full story can be read in the attached file below, or in the latest issue of NYFOA’s magazine (New York Forest Owners Association;


Zak Palomino

Scary Dancers!

Thanksgiving may have just passed, but with the prominence of “scary dancers” on the rise, it may start to feel like Halloween!

Mentioned in the Cornell Chronicle and Wall Street Journal, a Web-based survey of fruit growers developed by Cornell’s Human Dimensions Research Unit and administered across California, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Washington revealed a total of close to $200 million in self-reported losses due to bird damage. Furthermore, the study also concluded that various forms of management could total up to $860 million, which led farmers to think outside of the  box when looking at ways to scare off these pesky birds. The result? Utilizing scary dancers; the ones most commonly seen at car dealerships to advertise a sale or grab a customer’s attention.

“My observation is that they worked better than any of the other things that were tested,” said Heidi Henrichs, a Cornell graduate student in the field of natural resources, who has been conducting fieldwork in New York state to assess bird damage to orchards across the country for the past two summers. “The vineyard managers and people who worked around these places said they just didn’t see birds like they normally do when these [figures] are dancing,” she added.

To read more about this “scary” phenomenon, click on the links below!


Congratulations are in order! Cornell’s ForestConnect Program was recently announced as a joint winner, alongside the University of Georgia, of the prestigious 2013 Family Forest Education Award. The award is given to recognize an educational institution that has delivered the most effective education program that benefits non-industrial forestland owners in the United States. Cornell won under the award’s comprehensive category, which recognizes the regional impact the program will have.

More details about the ForrestConnect can be found here:

« Prev - Next »