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Thank you Marcia, Jenny

Marcia Eames-Sheavly (top), Jenny Rothenberg

Marcia Eames-Sheavly (top), Jenny Rothenberg

For a full decade, Marcia Eames-Sheavly has coordinated the Department of Horticulture’s efforts to enliven stages and other venues at commencement with hundreds of geraniums (pelargoniums, actually), coleus, ferns and other plants.

That’s meant many long days working with graduation planners, lining up vans, recruiting volunteers from the department to haul and arrange plants, carrying out contingency plans when the weather turns ugly and dealing with countless other details.

This was Marcia’s last year coordinating these efforts. (Tracey Sherwood is taking over the reins.) While Marcia sometimes downplays the importance of our efforts — “We’re just the icing on the commencement cake,” she says — the floral displays have contributed to the festivities enjoyed by thousands of graduates and their families.

For four years, those hundreds of plants have been nurtured by greenhouse grower Jenny Rothenberg (Plant Science ’08). Jenny is heading to New Zealand to pursue studies and other adventures.

Thank you Marcia and Jenny.

In the news

Loss estimates in different areas in the Lake Erie grape belt ranged from 4.5 to 100 percent.

Loss estimates in different areas in the Lake Erie grape belt ranged from 4.5 to 100 percent.

Economic Impact of 2012 Frost and Freeze Events in the Lake Erie Region [Appellation Cornell, May 2012] – Assuming a 30% overall reduction in crop size, the total direct economic loss for the industry would range between $45 and $60 million. Gross farmer loss would be approximately $13 million, according to study by Kevin Martin and Tim Weigle, Lake Erie Regional Grape Extension Program.

Potato blight in NY could be traced back to Maine [Kennebec Journal 6/1/2012] – “We’re actually not sure of the source,” said Meg McGrath, a plant pathologist at Cornell University. “There was a lot of late blight last year in seed productive areas, so it’s not a surprise it’s popping up. Most of our growers get their seed from Maine. It is the predominant supplier.”

Pumpkins N needs asssessed [The Pumpkin News, Vol. 1, Issue 3] – Department of Horticulture graduate student Sarah Hulick describes her research with Stephen Reiners and explains how to calculate nitrogen contribution to the crop from soil organic matter.

Weed Science Field Day July 17

New York Weed Science Field Day 2012
Tuesday July 17

H.C. Thompson Research Farm, Freeville, NY
(10 miles Northeast of Ithaca, Fall Creek Road, Rt. 366 extension)
Coffee (beverage), doughnuts, and informational trial packet ($8.00)

  • 8:00 a.m. Registration
  • 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Vegetable Crop Weed Control (Bellinder)

Robert B. Musgrave Research Farm, Aurora, NY
(Poplar Ridge Road, connects 90 and 34B)

  • 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. NYSABA Pork BBQ lunch at Musgrave Research Farm. (See registration form)
  • 1:30 p.m. Registration
  • 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Field Crop Weed Control (Hahn)

CCA and DEC Credits have been requested for both programs.

Registration form, more information.

Atkinson Center funds horticulture projects

10 interdisciplinary projects have received funding through the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future‘s (ACSF) academic venture fund for spring 2012. The awards, totaling $735,000, were announced May 18. (See Safe insecticides, algal biofuels among 2012 academic venture fund projects, Cornell Chronicle, 5/31/2012.)

Two of particular horticulture interest:

leafy green vegetable projectSustainable Production of Staple Leafy Green Vegetable Crops in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sukuma wiki (leafy greens) is a nutritious vegetable enjoyed by millions in East Africa, but leaf damage from “black rot” can result in market losses of more than 50 percent for smallholder farmers. Cornell researchers are transferring resistance to black rot, caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris, into sukuma wiki by crossing the plant with resistant cabbage. Working with African partners, Phillip Griffiths (HORT), Jenny Kao-Kniffin (HORT), Helene Dillard (CCE), and Miguel Gómez (AEM) will field test sukuma wiki with enhanced resistance to black rot, develop production guidelines to suppress the disease, and introduce American collard greens.

healthy diet projectDoes a Healthy Diet Lead to a Healthy Environment?
Industrial agriculture, one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen pollution, places significant stress on the planet. Rising obesity rates pose a similar threat to public health. This holistic project suggests that what is better for human health may also be better for the environment. Robert Howarth (EEG), Christina Stark (NS), Ian Merwin (HORT), Laurie Drinkwater (HORT), and Jennifer Wilkins (NS) will assess how diet changes, waste reduction, and organic agriculture can affect greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen pollution, and land use, yielding crucial information about the best diet for both human and environmental health.

See summaries of all AVF projects.

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