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Plant Sciences Undergraduate Symposium May 11

flyer click for pdf

  • May 11, 2018 – 1:00 to 4:30 p.m.
  • 233 Plant Science Building
  • Sponsored by the School of Integrative Plant Science.
  • All are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.


1:00 to 2:30 p.m. – Student presenters:

  • Grant Thompson (PhD candidate)
  • Zeran Lin
  • James Winans
  • Cairo M. Archer
  • Samantha Hackett
  • Allison Coomber
  • William Dahl
  • Jeffrey Yen

2:30 to 3:00 p.m.  – Student poster session:

  • Braulio Castillo
  • Yuqi Chen
  • Felix Fernandez-Penny
  • Annika Gomez
  • Harris Liou
  • Jonathan Price
  • Alan Zhong

3:00 to 4:30 p.m. – Student presenters:

  • Ben Sword
  • Kellie Damann
  • Patrick O’Briant
  • Kady Maser
  • Natalie Roche
  • Patricia Chan
  • Megan Dodge
  • Matthew A. Siemon

Questions? Contact Leah Cynara Cook

Join Hortus Forum for garden and greenhouse tour this weekend

From Mark Bridgen, Professor and Director, Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center:

You are invited to spend this Saturday and Sunday with the Hortus Forum (Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club) and Pi Alpha Xi (the honor society for plant science) on a weekend bus trip to Long Island and New York City to tour gardens and greenhouse.

All students and staff in CALS, and their friends and family, are invited to participate.

The itinerary includes:

The cost to students for this trip is only $53 per person ($23 of this cost is for an admission ticket to the NYBG). The cost for staff members and non-students is $75.  The registration fee includes 1 night of cabin accommodations, luxury bus transportation, admission to the NYBG, and dinner on Saturday night.

I hope to see you there.

More information:

Horticulture honor society inducts 28 new members

pax key

Phi Alpha Xi key

From Mark Bridgen, Professor and Pi Alpha Xi advisor:

Pi Alpha Xi (PAX), the national honor society for horticulture, inducted  a near-record 28 new members at a March 23, 2018 ceremony held in the H. H. Whetzel Room in the Plant Science Building on the Cornell University campus. Only the best students in the plant sciences are invited to join this national honor society.

Pi Alpha Xi was founded in 1923 at Cornell University and Cornell is the Alpha Chapter. Originally, it was the national honor society for floriculture, landscape horticulture and ornamental horticulture. In recent years it has changed and now honors excellence in all aspects of horticulture.

Since its founding, PAX has grown to 36 chapters at baccalaureate-granting institutions. Its mission is to promote scholarship, fellowship, professional leadership, and the enrichment of human life through plants. PAX was very active at Cornell University for many years, peaking in the 1970s. But the chapter went dormant for several years until its revival in 2013.

PAX inductees and officers with advisors Mark Bridgen (seated left) and Neil Mattson (seated right).

PAX inductees and officers with advisors Mark Bridgen (seated left) and Neil Mattson (seated right).

Graduating PAX seniors received their honor cords.

Graduating PAX seniors received their honor cords.

Also inducted into PAX: Karl NIklas, professor, Plant Biology Section (left) and Ed Cobb, research support specialist in the Plant Biology Section. Also pictured: Bridgen, Horticulture Section chair Steve Reiners, and Mattson.


Sweep of Light: Scanner Photography and the Art of Horticulture at Mann Library Gallery

cyclamenA collaboration between the Horticulture Section of CALS’ School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) and Mann Library, A Sweep of Light celebrates the intricate beauty of botanicals through the medium of scanner photography. Scanners can be used to produce distinctive, high-resolution images rich in both color and texture. A Sweep of Light features stunning, often large-scale works by photographer Ellen Hoverkamp, SIPS communications specialist Craig Cramer, students from Marcia Eames-Sheavly‘s course The Art of Horticulture, and Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club.

The exhibit runs through the end of March, is available for viewing during normal library hours and is free and open to the public. A special reception will be held on Wednesday, February 21st at 4 p.m. where guests will be able to view contributing artist Craig Cramer demonstrate his technique of botanical scanner photography.

Mann Gallery

Online organic gardening, garden design courses start March 12

Registration is now open for two online courses offered by the Horticulture Section in Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science:

Raised bed vegetable gardenOrganic Gardening is designed to help new gardeners get started and help experienced gardeners broaden their understanding of organic techniques for all kinds of gardens.

Starting with a strong foundation in soil health and its impact on plant health, the course then explores tried-and-true and cutting-edge techniques for all different kinds of garden plants including food plants, trees and shrubs and lawn.

Participants read assigned essays and book excerpts, participate in online group discussions with other students, complete reflective writing/design work and take part in some hands-on activities. 
Most students spend about 5 hours each week with the content, though there are always ample resources and opportunity to do more.

View more information and full course syllabus for Organic Gardening.

garden_designx300Introduction to Garden Design will help you apply basic garden design techniques to your own garden. We teach an approach to gardening that is based on the principle of right plant, right place. In other words, we will consider the needs of the plant in addition to the needs of the gardener.

You’ll learn garden site analysis and apply the concepts to your personal space, gain proficiency in garden design principles and lay out a rough site plan overview of your garden design.

You will write and reflect on the process as you learn with the instructor taking an active role in this creative endeavor by providing feedback on your assignments and journal entries.

View more information and full course syllabus for Introduction to Garden Design.

Questions about either course? Please contact, Fiona Doherty:

Save the date: Garden educator symposium in Ithaca, N.Y. July 11-14

symposium logoMark your calendar. Cornell University’s Garden-Based Learning Program will host the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) 26th annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium in Ithaca, N.Y. July 11 to 14, 2018.

This professional development event will bring together hundreds of educators, garden designers, community leaders, youth program coordinators, and others from across the country who are dedicated to connecting children and youth to the natural world. Attendees will:

  • Explore topics ranging from curriculum to program management to garden design and maintenance during four dynamic days of educational sessions, field trips, and expert keynote presentations.
  • Experience Central New York’s abundant natural beauty and the world-renowned facilities of Cornell University. Visit the award-winning Ithaca Children’s Garden, Cornell Botanic Gardens, Finger Lakes parks and wineries, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Johnson Museum’s botanical art collection and more.
  • Share ideas, success stories, and inspiration with like-minded colleagues from across the nation.

“Attending my first NCYGS in 2013 was a pivotal point in my career,” says Fiona Doherty, Cornell University Extension Support Specialist. “The symposium expanded my network, provided me with fresh perspectives and fueled my passion for youth engagement and garden-based education. Each symposium I have attended since has continued to inspire and energize me and provide me with new skills and ideas.”

Online registration will open in April and includes discounts for AHS members, students and presenters. Contact organizers for volunteer and sponsorship opportunities.

More program details and online registration will be available at:


Call: (703) 768-5700

Follow AHS on Twitter: @AHS_NCYGS (#ncygs18)

Tour California Spring Trials April 13-17

From Mark Bridgen, Professor and Director of the Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center:

We’re organizing a tour of several of the main stops along the Spring Trial route in California from April 13-17, 2018. This one-of-a-kind guided excursion is an intense, educational, and very entertaining way to visit several of the key Spring Trial locations with fellow horticulturists. The itinerary is jam-packed with three full days of tours with the days beginning early and continuing at a fast pace late into the evening. Guests will be able to visit the major horticultural companies that distribute plant materials and supplies and get a first-hand look at the products and new varieties that are available to the floriculture industry. This excursion is designed specifically for members of the greenhouse, nursery, and landscape industries, other horticulture professionals, and academics.

Deadline to register is February 9, 2018. More information and registration form.

If you have questions about details of the trip, contact me at or at 631-727-3595.

Mark Bridgen and Neil Mattson on tour of 2014 California Spring Trials.

Mark Bridgen and Neil Mattson on tour of 2014 California Spring Trials.

Join Nature Rx club for Conservatory tour

CUAES greenhouse grower Paul Cooper leads tour for the Nature Rx Club at the Conservatory Dec. 7.

CUAES greenhouse grower Paul Cooper leads tour for the Nature Rx Club at the Conservatory Dec. 7.

Feeling stressed? The Nature Rx @ Cornell Club is hosting a tour of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory December 14 from noon to 1 p.m.

Kick back in the warm confines of the Conservatory and learn about some of the fascinating plants there from CUAES greenhouse greenhouse grower Paul Cooper.

If you can’t make it then, feel free to come on your own when the Conservatory is open to the public, most weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Reminder: Hortus Forum Poinsettia Sale Friday through Sunday

hofo crew with poinsettias
More than 20 cultivars to choose from at the Hortus Forum Poinsettia Sale!

  • December 1 – 1 to 5 p.m.
  • December 2 – 12 to 4 p.m.
  • December 3 – 1 to 4 p.m.


  • The Livestock Pavilion on the Cornell Campus. [Map]


  • 6-inch pots $10 each
  • 10% off 5
  • 15% off 10

More information or to pre-order or to arrange delivery, email

Download order form.


Download poster

Dec. 5 global soil painting competition illustrates soil’s vital role

By mixing soils with water and clear gesso, a liquid binder, Kirsten Kurtz creates unique paints similar to acrylic that retain the quality and texture of the soil. Here she touches up a painting she made with soils in Bradfield Hall. Photo by Matt Hayes / College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The finished painting from 2015 World Soil Day community soil painting project organized by Kurtz.

The finished painting from 2015 World Soil Day community soil painting project organized by Kurtz.

Reposted from CALS news [2017-11-28]:

The soil under our feet may not be top of mind, but it provides the foundation for everything we need to live – and it’s disappearing. Kirsten Kurtz is on a mission to save this essential resource by turning our attention to its natural beauty.

Kurtz, manager of Cornell’s Soil Health Testing Laboratory and a graduate student in the field of natural resources, does this in a profound way: by painting with it.

“You can see how I became inspired,” she says, pulling out soil samples ranging in hue from reddish brown to tan to yellow ochre. “It was being in the lab and seeing all the colors come in.”

By mixing soils with water and clear gesso, a liquid binder, she creates unique paints similar to acrylic that retain the quality and texture of the soil. Kurtz, who first started experimenting with soil painting in 2014, says it’s an effective tool for communicating with the public about the importance of soil.

And thanks to her creativity, the whole world will get the message on World Soil Day, which will feature a global soil painting competition Dec. 5 organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The competition, inspired by an event Kurtz and the Soil Health Lab hosted in 2015 for World Soil Day, aims to showcase creativity in illustrating soil’s crucial role in sustaining life.

Read the whole article.

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