After six years of refurbishment and technological improvement, Cornell’s Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory Greenhouse reopened Tuesday to the excitement of the Cornell community.
The conservatory is part of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, a center for the study of wild and cultivated plants.
Prof. Karl Niklas, plant science, expressed enthusiasm over the conservatory’s reopening.
“The most exciting thing for me about the opening of the conservatory is seeing our plant collection brought back together in one place that is accessible to our students year-round,” Niklas said. “Having the ability to walk a few short steps to use the plants is wonderful.”
Niklas noted that the new facility will provide a space where plants can endure the harsh Ithaca winter without the disturbance of being transported inside.
“Before the conservatory was rebuilt, we had to transport plants into the Plant Science Building, which was wasteful, tedious and potentially lethal to plants during the winter months,” Niklas said.
The close proximity of the greenhouses to the Plant Science Building will enhance the comfort of not only the plants, but also the students who view them, according to Niklas.
“[The conservatory] provides a calm, restful and green space even in the dead of winter,” he said. “This has restorative merits when students experience stress or depression.”
The greenhouse maintains temperatures suitable for plants from tropical, subtropical and other various regions, according to the University. It contains over 500 species from almost 80 different families.
Niklas said exposure to plant life within the conservatory is valuable to students regardless of their field of study.
“We live on a blue planet, but it’s a green world,” he said. “Our students must learn to appreciate the value of plant life in addition to the aesthetics plants give us.”
Students should treat the greenhouse the way they would a library, said Niklas.
“It must be read and savored and appreciated,” he said.