History::Cornell Plantations


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One of the ponds at Cornell Plantations

Prior to the founding of Cornell University, Ezra Cornell had a large farm on the East Hill above Ithaca, New York. As part of locating New York State's land-grant college in Ithaca, Cornell offered to donate the farm for use as a campus. In 1862, Cornell's first president, Andrew Dickson White, wrote a colleague that a great university should include a botanical garden: “It must have the best of Libraries – collections in different departments – Laboratory – Observatory – Botanical Garden perhaps…”<ref name=p>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> At the university's opening ceremony in 1868, Louis Agassiz, an internationally-known naturalist, remarked that no other area could compete with Cornell's surroundings in the opportunities offered for the study of natural history. From its inception, Cornell formed a reputation for creative means of research into the natural sciences, including the establishment of the pioneering College of Agriculture.<ref name="ngg"/>

When the university built its first women's dormitory in 1875, it included a conservatory for growing plants and a specimen tree collection.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Separately, the College of Veterinary Medicine started a specialized garden of plants that are poisonous to livestock. Cornell's farm included two deep gorges which flanked both sides of the early campus, and as the campus developed the gorges remained undeveloped and filled with native plants and wildlife. These became the start of the on-campus gardens and arboretum. A goal of creating an explicit arboretum was proposed in various university reports to trustees and other publications in 1877, 1883, 1908, and 1914.<ref name="bishop">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

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Houston Pond at the Arboretum; nearby is a site for events

Cornell's acquisition of off-campus forest land dates to 1898 and the founding of the New York State College of Forestry, which was the first forestry college in North America.<ref name=dnr>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> As a part of establishing that school, Cornell acquired a demonstration forest near Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. The harvesting of trees from that forest drew heated opposition from neighboring land owners.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Although political opposition caused Cornell to transfer the forest lands under the "forever wild" protection of the Adirondack Forest Preserve and to transfer Cornell's forestry education programs to its College of Agriculture, Cornell continued to acquire forest land remote from its main campus. In 1935, the decision to create an arboretum was finally made<ref name="bishop"/> and the university established the Arboretum as a separate department. From 1935 to 1940, the federal government's Civilian Conservation Corps Camp SP 48 devoted 170 to 200 workers to planting trees, constructing dikes, and building trails in order to develop the Arboretum.<ref name="bishop"/><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

In 1944, Liberty Hyde Bailey, the Dean,emeritus, of the College of Agriculture and a horticulturalist highly regarded around the world,<ref name="ngg"/> proposed the present name "Cornell Plantations" for an expanded department in a report that reflected the work of a number of botany and horticulture professors.<ref name=p/><ref name="wgy"/> By 1948, the Plantations numbered {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} and the first Director was named, John F. Cornman.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> During a 1949 broadcast on widely heard radio station WGY, Cornell emeritus professor Bristow Adams reflected upon the now five-year-old Plantations, and stated that the relationship between humans and things that grow were of utmost importance and that gardens, forests, and parks were everlasting collections that "have the care and trusteeships of generation after generation."<ref name="wgy">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

In the mid-1960s, the sculpture garden was constructed in the middle of the Arboretum as a project of the College of Architecture Art and Planning. By 1965, the Plantations consisted of {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}.<ref name="nyt-1965">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> By 1970, the university was issuing a publication called The Cornell Plantations, which contained general articles on nature and environmental topics.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> Beginning in the early 1970s, the Arboretum was upgraded with new roads and plantings funded by major gifts from oil industry figure Floyd R. Newman, and in 1982 the Arboretum was formally named in his honor<ref name="cp-frna">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> (as were several other buildings and facilities at Cornell over the years).<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

During the 1980s, the Plantations experienced people stealing pines and firs for Christmas trees, with in some cases trees being taken that were worth several thousand dollars.<ref name="schgaz-thefts">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> A successful countermeasure created by Gerardo Sciarra at the Plantations was covering the trees with a harmless yet visually unpleasant "Ugly Mix" spray that included hydrated limestone, an anti-desiccant, and water.<ref name="schgaz-thefts"/><ref name="nyt-thefts">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> The technique was subsequently recommended to others worried about tree theft.<ref name="nyt-thefts"/><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> In 2009, the Plantations suffered from a series of thefts of new or rare plants.<ref name="weny-thefts">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> A director at the Plantations, which had no security in place, said that the thieves must have been experienced horticulturalists and that the loss of research and species had been a demoralizing experience.<ref name="weny-thefts"/>

At the start of the 21st century, the Plantations embarked on a construction program which included: Arboretum Center (2000), Horticultural Center (2001), Mullestein Winter Garden (2002), Ramin Administration Building (2003), Rowley Carpenter Shop (2004), Plant Production Facility (2007), and Lewis Education Center (2008).<ref name=nevin>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> The new $7.5 million Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center was dedicated on October 28, 2010.<ref name=nevin/><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Five years in the designing and building, the new facility was built to LEED gold standards and won a 2010 Award of Excellence from Canadian Architect magazine.<ref name=nevin/><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref>

Cornell Plantations sections
Intro  History  Current extent  Academic role  Events and visiting   See also   References   External links   

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