Students in Nina Bassuk and Peter Trowbridge’s Creating the Urban Eden class, planting the bioswale in the Peterson parking lot, the site of the recent Cornell Sustainable Landscapes Trail opening ceremony. Photo from Cornell Horticulture blog (

With excerpts from Cornell Chronicle and the CU Sustainable Landscapes Trail web page

On October 5th, 2018, Nina Bassuk led a tour of the new Sustainable Landscapes Trail on the Cornell campus after an opening ceremony in which, instead of ribbon-cutting, officials celebrated with a “downpour” of water onto the permeable asphalt of the Peterson parking lot, which is underlain by CU-Structural Soil and also features a large bioswale.

A number of the 20 sites along the Trail are associated with the Urban Horticulture Institute/Nina Bassuk, including chinkapin oaks (Quercus muehlenbergii) in CU Soil outside Stocking Hall, goldenrain trees (Koelreuteria paniculata) and silver lindens (Tilia tomentosa) in CU Soil outside Weill Hall, the Tower Road Bioswale, the Ag Quad Biodetention Basins, and the Mann Library Entrance SITES Accredited Garden. Many of these projects involved Nina Bassuk and Peter Trowbridge “Creating the Urban Eden” students in their implementation. For instance, the creation of the Rice Hall Bioswale involved students using the research-based “Scoop and Dump” technique described here

The Sustainable Landscapes Trail was developed by the Land Team of the President’s Sustainability Campus Committee, a team cofacilitated and advised by Nina Bassuk. The Trail fullfills a goal in the Climate Action Plan, in pursuit of carbon neutrality by 2035. It is also a part of the Land Team‘s vision:

  • The landscape should be a learning landscape, fitting the role of an academic institution.
  • The campus will demonstrate, monitor and interpret best practices in sustainable landscape planning, design and management.
  • The campus should highlight green infrastructure currently on campus and recognize that which could be utilized in the future as the campus develops.
  • The landscape should support the goals of Nature Rx, ““to reduce stress and thereby increase physical and mental health in students through their engagement with nature, and to cultivate in students an increased appreciation of nature
  • Advocate for sustainable landscapes and practices early in the planning stages for new developments.

Peterson parking lot schematic, showing areas underlain with CU-Structural Soil.

A map and more information about the trail can be found here.