Geneva Station Celebrates 125th Anniversary
Perry September 14, 2007
The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), located on Cornell
University's campus in Geneva, opened its doors in 1882. This year the NYSAES
is having a year-long celebration of its 125th anniversary, and the
Agricultural Research Service (ARS),
which opened a laboratory in Geneva in 1953 using land and facilities leased
from Cornell, is joining in.
ARS scientists at
regularly collaborate with NYSAES scientistsconduct research on apples,
grapes and a range of vegetables. In cooperation with the NYSAES and the State
Agricultural Experiment Stations of the other Northeastern states, they also
maintain one of more than 20 genebanks in the
National Plant Germplasm System. The
Geneva genebank safeguards more than 20,000 plant samples, or accessions.
Almost 7,000 apple accessions are part of this vast collection, including
seedlings of wild apple species from central Asia, where the progenitors of
apples first took root.
On Sept. 14, about a thousand 9th and 10th grade students will tour
ARS laboratories, where they can see for themselves the challenges and promises
that a scientific career presents. On Sept. 15, both NYSAES and ARS facilities
and fields will be open for tours and demonstrations.
What can visitors see? For starters, there are wild apple seedlings
from Kazakhstan. There is the 260-member apple "core" collection containing
trees from seeds collected in Europe and Asia, as well as modern and heirloom
cultivars. An apple rootstock program will show how apples are grown on dwarf
Grape vineyards are bursting with cold-hardy, disease-resistant fruit.
Fields where ARS scientists grow out germplasm collections flourish with
tomatoes, onions, celery and other vegetables. Visitors will be able to sample
some of the fruits and vegetables and compare the difference in taste between
current varieties and their venerable ancestors.
Information stations will also include DNA extractions, pollination
demonstrations and a transparent beehive for observing the day-to-day routines
in a working bee colony.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.