As a university horticulture educator I know that we have a lot to learn from plants and nature, including compassion, beauty, patience, and learning to see through new eyes. I devote most of my professional time to bringing people and plants together, whether students in the classroom, online students around the world, or members of communities from New York to Belize, and I appreciate the way in which an inspiration through plants can lead to experiences in other disciplines as well. I have been influenced by the lessons learned from slowing down to notice nature as well as personal challenges and opportunities for growth. I am a working artist, and teach several classes that lie at the intersection of the arts and horticulture.
In recent years, as I have prepared as a facilitator with the Center for Courage & Renewal, I have embraced its mission, and have integrated this work throughout my professional and personal life. I lead retreats and other events which often have, at their heart, a focus on contemplation, creative expression, mindful attention and experiences in natural settings.
I am a member of the Contemplative Mind in Higher Education and I have taken workshops and participated in numerous retreats to foster mindfulness and reflective practice. A long time meditation and mindfulness practitioner, I have participated in training for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and I teach mindfulness and meditation in local communities, integrating it into my courses and university activities. Committed to engaging in this work with diverse populations, in the fall of 2015, I completed an 8-week Path of Freedom mindfulness-based emotional intelligence training offered by the Prison Mindfulness Institute, and have led a course drawing on principles and practices of a circle of trust in a maximum security prison.
I am Cornell University Center for Teaching Excellence Teaching Scholar, Engaged Learning and Research Faculty Fellow, Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow in Service-Learning, and 2009 recipient of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Innovative Teacher Award. My publications have received national awards and I have been honored with the 2013 Teaching Award by the American Horticultural Society.