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Art of Horticulture final projects

poppy skateboardIf you’d like to catch a glimpse of students’ final projects in the Art of Horticulture course, you can sneak a peek online.

You can also see previous classes’ work (as well as other class projects and videos) by visiting the Art of Horticulture’s gallery page.

Emily Detrick (MPS Horticulture ’16), who is a lecturer in the Horticulture Section and Director of Horticulture at Cornell Botanic Gardens, teaches the course.  She started teaching the course —  created by Marcia Eames-Sheavly in 2003 — in 2018.





Hortus Forum Poinsettia Sale Dec. 6&7

If you are looking for some gorgeous poinsettias, whether Tapestry or Red Glitter, Whitestar or Jubilee Jingle Bells, we’ve got you covered!

View all eight varieties available and fill out your pre-order preferences here. Or just come to our sale December 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or December 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Yellow Polyhouse 1135C at Post Circle Ithaca, NY.

Hortus Forum is Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club, cultivating a positive community which fosters a passion for plants and teaches the value of horticulture.

hortus forum poinsettia poster

Majors gather to bake pies

group shot of majors

To get in the holiday spirit, de-stress from prelims, and socialize, new Plant Sciences Majors gathered at the home of Director of Undergraduate Studies Marvin Pritts to bake a variety of pies with help from Plant Sciences Major Coordinator Leah Cook .  A festive time was had by all.

plant sciences majors baking pies

‘Plant Drop’ preview

Lloyd Travern with van full of plants headed for Cornell 'Plant Drop'

In this Facebook video, Lloyd Traven, co-owner of Peace Tree Farm provides a preview of the 1,000 plants headed to Appel Commons for the ‘Plant Drop’ giveaway this afternoon (October 3) at 4:30 p.m. The goal of the drop is to get new students to engage with the wealth of opportunities at Cornell to learn about and enjoy plants. More ‘Plant Drop’ information.

‘Plant Drop’ coming October 3

Plant drop at the University of Florida draws crowd of students.

Last fall a plant drop at the University of Florida distributed 1,000 in less than three minutes.

Free houseplants!  What better way to get new students to engage with the wealth of opportunities at Cornell to learn about and enjoy plants.

On October 3 beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Appel Commons, organizers will give away 1,000 spider plants, Chinese money plants, or pilea aquamarines – first come, first served.

Each 6-inch pot will have a plant tag leading students to a webpage detailing opportunities to get involved, including majoring in plants sciences, joining Hortus Forum (Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club), or supporting efforts at Cornell’s student-run farm Dilmun Hill,.

The event is co-sponsored by Cornell Botanic Gardens, CALS School of Integrative Plant Science, and Dilmun Hill Student Farm, with the support of the Collegiate Plant Initiative. Peace Tree Farm – co-owned by Alex Traven ’13 and a former Dilmun Hill farm manager – donated the plants.

Questions? Contact student organizer Jeannie Yamazaki:

Commencement videos

If you missed the festivities this weekend — or want to relive them — you can view videos of the Class of 2019 Undergraduate Recognition Ceremony (recognizing students receiving degrees in Agricultural Sciences and Plant Sciences May 26) and the 2019 Graduate Degree Ceremony (recognizing students receiving MPS, MS and PhD students from each of the five graduate fields within SIPS).

Horticulture honor society inducts 27 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 27 new members at an April 30, 2019 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 39 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  Neil Mattson (back left) and Mark Bridgen (right).

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


Graduating PAX seniors received their honor cords.

Graduating PAX seniors received their honor cords.


Attendees at the PAX ceremony.

Attendees at the PAX ceremony.




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

Nina Bassuk and students tag a tree outside Roberts Hall.

Nina Bassuk and students tag a tree outside 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 Zac Rood, lecturer 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.

Students tagging oaks in front of Mann Library

Tagging an oak on the Ag Quad

Tagging a red oak.

Tagging a Kentucky coffeetree

Tagging Katsura tree outside Mann Library

Bauerle explores role of forests in providing water in podcast

“The Need for Trees,” a new episode of the “What Makes Us Human” podcast series  produced by the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the Cornell Broadcast Studios, explores the critical role trees play in the earth’s water cycle. The podcast’s fourth season — “What Does Water Mean to Us Humans?” — showcases the newest thinking across academic disciplines about the relationship between humans and water.

“We pass laws to protect our water sources like lakes and reservoirs, but what many people don’t know is that our access to clean water relies just as heavily on forests,” says Taryn Bauerle, associate professor in the School of Integrative and Plant Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, in her podcast.

Bauerle’s overall interests lie in woody root physiological ecology. The majority of her research focuses on growth and physiological responses of plants to water deficits, such as how roots respond to and modify their environment when faced with water stress.

Bauerle (right) orients Plant Sciences major Tommi Schieder ’19 to equipment she used on her internship in Germany to collect data on the passive movement of water that helps trees survive drought stress.

Bauerle (right) orients Plant Sciences major Tommi Schieder ’19 to equipment she used on her internship in Germany in 2017 to collect data on the passive movement of water that helps trees survive drought stress.

Saamaka rice ‘… for our children and our grandchildren.’

From Plant Sciences Major Rosemary Glos ‘20:

rice poster

Poster text: Our mothers and our ancestors planted many beautiful varieties of rice. These are a few, but there are many more. Let’s continue to plant them, take pleasure in them, and keep them for our children and grandchildren.

This poster depicts 20 of the unique rice varieties grown by the Saamaka people of Suriname.

Rice is a staple crop among the Saamaka, a culturally, politically, and economically independent maroon people from the upper Suriname River. Rice cultivation and consumption are intimately linked to Saamaka cultural identity and oral history dating back to their escape from slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Traditional rice cultivation may be under threat from a variety of environmental and cultural factors, including land degradation, rising population, and loss of rice-growing knowledge. Saamaka farmers, all of them women, grow an impressive array of rice varieties on small slash and burn plots.

In July of 2018, Dr. Erika Styger and I traveled to Suriname, where we documented over 50 distinct cultivars, interviewed farmers, and collected seeds for export. Back in Ithaca, we are obtaining genetic data in collaboration with professors Susan McCouch and Chelsea Specht and postdoc Jacob Landis.

We hope to work with Saamaka farmers to improve yields, preserve genetic diversity in situ, and encourage farming systems that replenish the soil and minimize deforestation.

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