Outdoor Learning Facilities
Curriculum in Plant Sciences focuses around providing students hands on experience in living laboratories. As part of this experience the campus boasts a 10 acre arboretum, plant production nursery, cut flower garden, orchard, vineyard, annual and perennial garden, golf greens, hops yard and more. Click on the sections below to find out more information on each of the outdoor learning facilities at SUNY Cobleskill.
Annual and Perennial Gardens
Outdoor display gardens are key features of the Plant Science Program. The annual and perennial gardens are approximately 12,650 square feet and are laid out in a formal design, serving as a living laboratory for many Plant Science classes. The area has over 400 species, varieties, and cultivars of plants. Students use this area to identify herbaceous plant materials and to practice hands on the activities associated with flower displays.
One of the features of the garden is a metal sculpture designed and fabricated by Carrie Foster (2006 alum). A small shade area, to the east of the main garden, is laid out in an informal woodland garden design. It has English style benches and provides a pleasant, shady place to sit.
The gardens are open to the public and are at their best in the summer and fall growing seasons. You can visit the gardens on Schoharie Parkway North on the SUNY Cobleskill campus adjacent to Curtis Mott Hall (Agricultural Engineering).
Orchard & Vineyard
Fruit production is a growing industry throughout New York and the northeast. SUNY Cobleskill is proud to have an apple orchard and vineyard on campus for student access and class demonstration. In addition to the orchard and vineyard there are also brambles, blueberries, and various other small fruits each further training students for the fruit industry. Plant Sciences is also in the process of adding more fruiting shrubs and high density apple trees.
SUNY Cobleskill sits within the heart of Schoharie County, which in the 1800’s was one of the premier centers for hop production in the country. Due to an increasing consumer trend in drinking local craft beer and recent state legislation the number of craft breweries in New York has tripled since 2011 and continues to grow. The 2014 Craft Act now requires that beer labeled as “New York State” beer must use 90% New York grown hops by year 2024. This new legislation has created an increased demand for hop production in the state. SUNY Cobleskill is in the process of establishing a hop yard on campus as a demonstration and teaching area for students to gain hands on experience in hop growing and management.
Students wishing to gain hands on experience in nursery management benefit from the plant nursery on campus. The plant nursery provides students hands on experience with the care and production of trees, shrubs, and perennials. Students gain practical application of various growing techniques, planting, management, overwintering, transplanting, and selling. The nursery also has a cut flower garden for students in floral design courses and a vegetable garden.
SUNY Cobleskill boasts a 650-acre agricultural complex on campus providing students easy access to agricultural fields right outside the classroom. The campus farm grows a majority of the food on campus for the farm animals including corn, wheat, oats, barley, and various forages for dry hay and haylage. These various fields provide demonstration and direct application to students outside the classroom. As part of the agriculture complex the campus has a fully functioning farm complete with dairy, beef, livestock, poultry, and equestrian center.
SUNY Cobleskill’s Turfgrass Management program prepares students for a wide range of jobs in the green industry. The College has excellent turfgrass facilities including fairway turf plots composed of creeping bentgrass and low mow Kentucky bluegrass that are used for research and student projects. There are also two USGA golf greens used extensively for turfgrass management labs. Students gain additional practical experience on the College’s athletic fields and lawn areas and at the Cobleskill Country Club, which is located only a few minutes from campus.
Home to a vast collection of deciduous and evergreen plants the ten acre arboretum on campus provides students the opportunity to see a collection of trees and shrubs tolerant to northeastern United States growing conditions. Courses in Woody Plant Materials and Arboriculture utilize the arboretum for teaching students plant characteristics and management.