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Extension and outreach

Mattson, Whitlow, Bassuk lauded for urban horticulture efforts in PeriodiCALS

Mattson (top) and Whitlow

Horticulture Section faculty Neil Mattson and Tom Whitlow  are among the CALS faculty focusing their efforts on urban agriculture and other innovations that will reap benefits for city dwellers. With varied areas of focus, from climate change to food and social injustice to human health, they and other CALS faculty agree that challenges related to these issues can be traced to the severe lack of space in increasingly population-dense cities. Read more in Sky’s the Limit in the latest issue of PeriodiCALS, the College’s news magazine.

Other horticultural coverage in PeriodiCALS includes:

A host of horticulture events April 24-28

Kick off the week with Christine Hadekel’s return to the Horticulture Section to talk about the ‘Seed to Supper’ program: Reaching underserved audiences through garden education at Monday’s seminar. Then flesh out your calendar with a host of other events of horticulture interest:

The Curious Mister Catesby: A “Truly Ingenious” Naturalist Explores New Worlds – April 26

Leslie Overstreet, curator of Natural-History Rare Books at the Smithsonian Libraries, will talk about the historical and scientific significance of plant explorer and artist Mark Catesby (1683–1749), and his monumental book, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. April 26, 2017 at 4:00p.m., Mann Library, Stern Seminar Room 160.

Community Gardens Seminar – April 26

Learn about the importance of community gardening, its impact and how you can get involved on campus and at home. Hosted by Hortus Forum and featuring Fiona Doherty (Cornell Garden-Based Learning), Steve Reiners (Horticulture Section) and Chris Smart (SIPS director).

Speaker: Melissa Madden, Finger Lakes Cider House/Good Life Farm – April 26

Part of the Ithaca Food Entrepreneurship Speaker Series. April 26, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., 102 Mann Library. Presented by Dilmun Hill Student Farm. Funded by Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. Refreshments provided.

Iscol Lecture: Michael Pollan ‘Out of the Garden’ – April 27

The Atkinson Center’s Jill and Ken Iscol Distinguished Environmental Lecture this year features author Michael Pollan, April 27, 5:00 p.m. David L. Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall.: “When Michael Pollan faced his suburban lawn in the 1980s, he looked past the Bermuda grass and saw acreage ripe for invention and discovery. ‘The garden suggests there might be a place,’ he concluded, ‘where we can meet nature halfway.’ His books look at nature close to home: the garden, the farm, the table. Today Pollan tells the story of the path his writing has taken since he planted his first vegetable garden. Beginning with that horticultural adventure, his work has evolved into an exploration of human engagement with the natural world. What’s at stake when we garden, cook, and eat is not only our health, Pollan argues, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth.”

michael pollan

Horticulture Outreach Day – April 28

Hands on activities to learn about the diverse field of horticulture: Chia pet sculpture, printing from plants, mushroom inoculation. April 28, 1 to 4 p.m. Purple Greenhouses, Plant Sciences Building. (Go to the basement floor and look for the signs.) Sponsored by Society of Horticulture Graduate Students (SoHo).

Bauerle Lab inspires young scientists at ‘Expanding Your Horizons’

EYH participants assemble water columns .

EYH participants assemble water columns .

As part Cornell’s Expanding Your Horizons program April 15, Horticulture graduate students in the Bauerle Lab — Annika Huber, Juana Muñoz Ucros, and Marie Zwetsloot — led workshop sessions on “Engineers of Nature: How do plants drink?”

The three developed activities directly related to their research on woody plant root physiology and helping plants cope with water stress. Their middle school workshop participants assembled water columns simulating the hydraulic systems plants use to transport water from roots to leaves, graphed their observations of how different sized tubes performed, used water to transport dyes into sunflower plants, and skeletonized leaves to observe the microscopic structure of their veins.

“It’s the third year Annika, Juana and Marie have pitched in to lead workshops for this event,” says Taryn Bauerle, associate professor in the Horticulture Section. “It’s great to see them as role models for the next generation of scientists.”

Annika Huber had middle school participants use water to transport dyes into sunflower leaf veins so they can observe their microscopic structure.

Annika Huber had middle school participants use water to transport dyes into sunflower leaf veins so they can observe their microscopic structure.

EYH student graphs water column experiment data.

Juana Muñoz Ucros helps EYH student graph water column experiment data.

Marie Zwetsloot assists student with microscopic observation of leaf structure.

Marie Zwetsloot assists student with microscopic observation of leaf structure.

Online botanical illustration courses start June 5

botanical illustrationLearn botanical illustration online.  Three courses taught by Marcia Eames-Sheavly start June 5, 2017:

The course webpages have links to websites where previous students have posted their works online.





In the news

Vanden Heuvel

Vanden Heuvel

Vanden Heuvel receives NYFVI grant [CALS News 2017-04-13] – Wine grape growers in the Finger Lakes region will be getting a high-tech view of both their vineyards and bottom lines thanks to work from Justine Vanden Heuvel. A project from the associate professor in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science will help select growers use drone technology to collect remote sensing measurements known as normalized difference vegetation index, or NDVI images. Her research is one of 11 projects led by Cornell scientists who received a total of more than $1.1 million from the New York Farm Viability Institute (NYFVI) in their latest round of funding, announced April 12.



Bosco awarded Engaged Cornell grant [CALS News 2017-04-12] – Graduate Field of Horticulture Ph.D. student Sam Bosco is one of 16 students to receive an Engaged Graduate Student Grant. The grants provide opportunities for Ph.D. students and their thesis advisors to conduct research or scholarship that is community engaged or to develop strategies for incorporating community engagement into existing thesis work. Bosco is working with Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse, aka Iroquois) communities to further remember and restore their traditional foodways — much of which was lost during colonization — of integrating nut trees into a sustainable food system. Bosco’s work includes facilitating nut tree cultivation, and co-developing culturally-specific curricula, resources, and activities to expand interest and consumption of nuts. His advisor is Jane Mt. Pleasant, School of Integrative Plant Science – Horticulture, and American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program.



Spanish cider from American soil [Draft Magazine 2017-04-11] – “With the huge growth in the cider industry over the last five years, I think there are many commercial cider makers looking at how to make a product that’s quite different from what’s out there,”  Greg Peck, tells Draft Magazine. Peck, assistant professor in the Horticulture Section, is working with the USDA to test and release the new Spanish apple varieties.

Survey details impact of 2016 drought on New York farming

Cornell Chronicle [2017-04-06]:

A survey of more than 200 New York farmers late last summer – during the worst drought in two generations – found that more than 70 percent of unirrigated, rain-fed field crops and pasture acreage had losses between 30 and 90 percent, according to a new report published by the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions.

For farmers all over the state, arid conditions were so pervasive that fruit and vegetable growers who had capacity to irrigate lacked water to keep up with the drought. Irrigated farms estimated crop losses of up to 35 percent, said Shannan Sweet, NatureNet postdoctoral science fellow with Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and The Nature Conservancy.

“New York’s farmers have asked if they should expect more dry summers like the one we had in 2016. The answer is: We don’t know,” said Sweet, also a postdoctoral associate in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science, working with David Wolfe, professor of horticulture. “Climate scientists forecast that the number of frost-free days will continue to increase and summers will be getting warmer, increasing water demand for crops.”

Read the whole article.

Responses to the survey question “What might you have done differently if you had known how dry this summer would be?”

Responses to the survey question “What might you have done differently if you had known how dry this summer would be?”

Read full report: Anatomy of a Rare Drought: Insights from New York Field Crop Farmers

Our Roots Grow Deep: Alumni in Extension

Lindsay Jordan was also a 2013 Dreer Award Winner  who traveled to New Zealand to explore cool-season viticulture practices.

Lindsay Jordan was also a 2013 Dreer Award Winner who traveled to New Zealand to explore cool-season viticulture practices.

This week, CALS News featured two alumni from the Graduate Field of Horticulture.

Liberty Hyde Bailey once described extension work as “a plain, earnest, and continuous effort to meet the needs of the people on their own farms.” Now as extension professionals, viticulture and enology graduates Lindsay Jordan, M.S. ’14, and Justin Scheiner, Ph.D. ’10, use their Cornell experience to apply Bailey’s goal to the grape and wine industry every day.

Jordan and Scheiner’s shared desire to make a tangible difference in the lives of growers belies the fact that they do their work nearly 2,000 miles apart. Both graduate students of the Vanden Heuvel group, Jordan worked on under-vine cover crops for weed management and their impact on grape production during her time at Cornell, and several years earlier, Scheiner examined the connection of methoxypyrazine levels and ‘bell pepper’ aromas to vineyard practices.

Their diverse backgrounds and research interests easily translated into working in extension. Jordan is currently based in California as the University of California Cooperative Extension Area Viticulture Advisor for three counties in the arid San Joaquin Valley, while Scheiner works as an assistant professor and viticulture specialist at Texas A&M University.

“My favorite part has been getting to know my local growers, and getting to participate in applied research that can directly impact growers,” said Jordan. “It’s pretty much the dream.”

Read the whole article.

Signs of spring: Hortus Forum at KPL

Members of Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club, visited Kenneth Post Lab greenhouses Wednesday, where Bill Miller explained the work of the Flower Bulb Research Program.

HoFo at KPL

Could a Platoon of Helicopters Have Saved Washington, D.C.’s Cherry Blossoms?

Popular Mechanics [2017-03-20] talked to Marvin Pritts, professor in the Horticulture Section of Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science, about some of the more drastic techniques professional growers use to protect their plants — and the rest of us can use to survive the weird weather this winter.

The helicopters might have worked.

Read the whole article.

Nina Bassuk (right) coaches Marvin Pritts and pupils on late-winter pruning techniques.

Nina Bassuk (right) coaches Marvin Pritts and pupils on late-winter pruning techniques.

Vanden Heuvel recognized for grape, wine research

Vanden Heuvel

Vanden Heuvel

Cornell Chronicle [2017-03-14]

In recognition of her major contributions to the state’s wine and grape industries, Justine Vanden Heuvel has earned this year’s research award from the New York Wine and Grape Foundation (NYWGF).

The foundation recognized Vanden Heuvel, associate professor of enology and viticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, for her research optimizing flavors and aromas in wine grapes, and for improving the environmental and economic sustainability of wine grape production in cool climates. She received the award March 1 at the annual NYWGF unity banquet, part of the three-day B.E.V. New York organized by Cornell and held near Rochester. …

Research by Vanden Heuvel has provided guidance for vineyard management decisions to improve economic outcomes and reduce environmental impacts. A series of papers published during the summer demonstrated that planting cover crops beneath vines reduces nutrient and agrochemical leaching from vineyards while reducing production costs.

In addition to research and outreach work, Vanden Heuvel teaches undergraduate courses on the science of viticulture and enology, as well as a course on wine culture.

“New York has earned its reputation as one of the world’s premier grape and wine producers, but that success can only be sustained through a continued commitment to research,” said Vanden Heuvel. “Growers face uncertainty as climate shifts, and rely on robust research programs to guide sustainable innovation. I am proud that my research helps growers prosper and maintains New York’s reputation as a grape and wine powerhouse.”

Read the whole article.

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