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    2018 Field Experiences

    Welcome to Ithaca, New York

    Pre-symposium: Gardening for Birds with Habitat Connections

    Wednesday, July 11 8:30am - 3:30pm

    Join us for this pre-symposium workshop hosted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdSleuth K-12 program. Ideal for 3th-8th grade educators, this fun, hands-on training will help you build your skills both in and out of the garden. Learn about citizen science, outdoor teaching, bird migration and reproduction, and gardening for birds. You’ll also develop the ideas, skills, and confidence to use citizen science and birds as teaching tools in your own garden! Educators who complete the workshop receive a copy of the Habitat Connections curriculum kit and  Alaska Fertilizer thanks to our sponsors. (Tour is at capacity and no longer taking registrations.)

    Pre-symposium: Gourdlandia Make & Take

    Wednesday, July 11 8:30am - 12:30pm

    You may have heard that ‘Ithaca is gorges,’ but at Gourdlandia, you can make something “gourdgeous.” Midwife-turned-farmer/artisan Graham Ottoson will show us around her viney trellises, heavy with potential art!  From lamps to vases, dollhouses, nightlights and more, visitors to Gourdlandia are delighted at what can emerge from a gourd.  We’ll try our hands making a gourd bowl and finishing it with a pine needle rim.  Starting with a raw gourd, participants will stain and wax, use hand or power saws to open it, scrape the "gourd guts", and drill holes for the rim. The last step is to sew the pine needles in place. A fun and satisfying project! (Additional registration is required to attend this workshop.)


    Cascadilla Gorge Hike

    Thursday, July 12 1:30pm - 4:30pm

    Find out why “Ithaca is Gorges” on this extended hike to learn about the natural and cultural history of Cascadilla Gorge, a beautiful and iconic natural area connecting the Cornell campus with downtown Ithaca. The gorge – managed as part of Cornell Botanic Gardens’ Natural Areas program -- offers a stunning combination of waterfalls, wild flowers, trees and exposed Devonian bedrock. This moderately strenuous hike is 3-4 miles in length (including walking across campus to get to the gorge), and involves some steep stair climbing. Please bring water and wear comfortable hiking shoes.  Local public transportation is available to return to campus for a small fee.  (Limited space available; sign-up required.)

    School & Youth Garden Tour: Growing Youth in Ithaca

    Thursday, July 12 1:30pm - 4:30pm

    Fiona Doherty, Cornell Garden-Based Learning Educator Enrichment Specialist, will lead a tour of exemplary school and youth gardens in the Ithaca area.  The selected school garden sites represent a wide array of management models, age groups served, and physical garden spaces, ensuring that their tips, tricks, and success stories will be relevant to a variety of attendees.  We’ll start at Dewitt Middle School, where 7th graders work in a group to plan, sow, plant, and maintain their own 3'x10’ plots.  The garden at Beverly J Martin Elementary School serves the most diverse student body in the Ithaca City School District.  With Finger Lakes Eat Smart NY Educators, 2nd and 3rd graders participate in weekly interdisciplinary, hands-on garden programs.  Environmental stewardship is a driving force behind New Roots Charter School where students can explore topics like sustainable agriculture and community gardening through innovative curriculum and programs.  We’ll end our tour at the DanbyYouth Farm where teens earn meaningful job experience, learning skills while growing food for the Ithaca community. (Tour is at capacity and no longer taking registrations.)


    Cornell's Collections and the Art of Teaching with Objects

    Thursday, July 12 1:30 pm - 4:30pm

    At the heart of garden-based education are authentic, hands-on learning experiences that bring people and plants closer together.  On a daily basis, garden educators are using place- and/or object-based teaching techniques, but it is not always obvious that gardens and arboreta are museums containing living collections – and they also make terrific visits during inclement weather.   Join Cornell professor Marcia Eames-Sheavly for an afternoon of exploring different ways to teach with collections.  We will visit Cornell University’s Mann Library and Johnson Museum of Art.  Mann Library’s special collections include books and papers from the personal collections of local legends Liberty Hyde Bailey, Anna and John Henry Comstock, and Martha van Rensselaer.  A 10 – 15 minute leisurely walk across the beautiful campus will bring us to the art museum.  There we’ll hear from curators and educators as we explore new ways of seeing botanic drawings, paintings, and objects.  Please dress for weather and walking.  When we conclude, you will have an opportunity to visit the world renowned suspension bridge for a spectacular view. (Limited space available; sign up required.)

    Open House at Cornell Botanic Gardens

    Friday, July 13 9:00am - 10:15am
    Discover the beauty and serenity of Cornell Botanic Gardens! Explore at your own pace the dozen specialty gardens around the Nevin Welcome Center, which feature rhododendrons, groundcovers, herbs, tropical containers, ornamentals, vegetables and more. Our knowledgeable Garden Guides will be roaming the gardens to answer your questions, or you can take a self-guided audio tour using your cell phone. Browse the exhibits and gift shop in the Welcome Center, and enjoy a 20% discount off any one single item. Light refreshments are also available for purchase. 

    Ithaca Children’s Garden reception and tour

    Friday, July 13 4:00pm - 6:30pm

    Join us for an evening of exploration at Ithaca Children's Garden.  This award-winning 3-acre public children's garden, designed for kids, enjoyed by all, is home to Gaia the Turtle and the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone.  ICG educators will be on site to offer tours as well as engage you in hands-on exploration stations throughout the Garden. Learn how ICG uses play to accomplish its mission to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards through summer camps, outdoor preschool, teen employment programs, community events and casual visitation.  Reception will include light hors d’oeuvres and drinks. (Additional registration is required to attend this event.)


    Post-symposium: Dinner at Ithaca Cider House

    Saturday, July 14 5:00 - 8:30 p.m.

    Come and taste for yourself why the Finger Lakes Cider House is the hub of the hard cider renaissance in New York apple country.  Each apple that goes into the ciders poured at the Cider House is grown in the Finger Lakes region, which allows visitors to taste the terroir!  After a short stop on the way at Taughannock Falls State Park (boasting the tallest single-drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains!), we’ll begin with a tour of the Cider House orchard and facilities from one of the owners.  Then we will enjoy a locally sourced dinner with cider pairings on the scenic farm overlooking Cayuga Lake. (Additional registration is required to attend this event.)