There’s a spot unique to this campus where I go when Cornell is being especially cruel. It spans about two or three square miles between CALS and North Campus and houses an arboretum, wildflower garden, trails and more. For the past three years I’ve made this place part of my daily routine, running and hiking there most mornings. I still feel rewarded when I climb its hills to see its views. I still get a sense of exploration even though I have already explored most of its twists and turns.
This is one of the few times it is socially advantageous to be a plant freak. We normally get absent stares when we open our mouths but we finally have one thing in demand: perspective on Liberty Hyde Bailey. I know him from my plant genetics class as a disciple of Mendel and from my agricultural history class as the seminal agrarian writer. To horticulture he was a master taxonomist who coined the term “cultivar,” that’s a plant variety bred for cultivation. To Cornell he was CALS’ first dean and the man who hired Anna Comstock, Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose.
The Cornell Plantations is offering a $250 reward for information leading to a conviction of anybody involved in the destruction of a Bosnian pine tree valued at $3,800. According to a press release, a plantations staff member of the reported that the tree, located in the Watkins Pinetum area of the F.R. Newman Arboretum, had been cut down.
It appears that the perpetrators used a hatchet or an ax to cut the tree down and then dragged it to the edge of the road, where it was found. The incident took place sometime between Nov. 20 and the following morning.
Plantations health care coordinator Donna Levy explained that each year the University takes actions to prevent people from taking trees from the plantations to use as Christmas trees.