Sustainable Gardening with Native Plants: Integrate sustainable native and non-native plants to create a bio-diverse landscape

Worksite Location
CCE Nassau; Hempstead Plains, Garden City, NY
Faculty Sponsor
Nina Bassuk, PhD
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Marvin Pritts, Chair CALS
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Bonnie Lynn Klein; Betsy Gulotta
Stipend Amount
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County (CCE-NC) and Friends of Hempstead Plains at Nassau Community College (FHP) will partner with a Cornell student intern to present the Sustainable Gardening with Native Plants program. The program will provide education, guidance and resources to schools, libraries and local community groups on gardening with native plants for the benefit, improvement and sustainability of the environment.

The student intern will develop and present the program to Master Gardeners who will then deliver it to schools, libraries and community organizations.

Two demonstration gardens will be installed, one at East Meadow Farm incorporating select Long Island Gold Medal native and non-native plants and the second, a native wildflower and prairie grass garden at the Hempstead Plains with teaching tours and related programming.

Participants will increase their knowledge of the importance of good plant choices and as a result of the programming be inspired to create gardens incorporating natives in their landscape.

The trained Master Gardeners will monitor and evaluate the gardens created by participants and determine which plants and designs are most successful and share this information with the landscape industry so that landscape professionals can provide good native plant choices in addition to the non-native plant choices for their customers.

Students and camper participants will be able to study and collect data on birds, butterflies and other beneficial insects at their respective sustainable/native plant gardens.
Landscaping with select native and non-native plants reduce the need for water and chemicals, protecting groundwater and increasing the health of the ecosystem.

Roles and Responsibilities

The student intern, with the guidance of CCE-NC and FHP staff, will develop a presentation that he/she will present to Master Gardeners (train the trainer), including instructions on how to create a beautification project integrating select native plants into the landscape. The presentation will be presented to camps, schools, libraries and community organizations.

The student intern will help create and install gardens at East Meadow Farm and Hempstead Plains, will coordinate Master Gardener schedules, contact libraries and schools to set up schedules for presentations and will create an assessment tool, questions for teachers and students to determine the effectiveness of the project on behavior.

The student intern will also participate in Cooperative Extension operations, including assisting with plant and insect diagnostic, collecting seeds and propagating plants, assisting with events, participating in volunteer activities and interact with Community Gardeners.

Depending on interests and skills, he/she may also provide support for tours and contribute an article for publication in the CCE-Nassau newsletter or website.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Must be a full-time CALS freshman, sophomore or junior. Graduating seniors are not eligible. Must meet NYS Department of Motor Vehicle requirement, if applicable.

Previous gardening experience and course work in horticulture, environmental studies, public gardening or landscape design is preferred.

Student must be responsible, self-motivated and capable of the energetic nature of gardening.

Intern must have computer skills including knowledge of Microsoft Office and skills in public speaking/teaching.

Benefits and Skills