Jackson Bartell ’14 is working in the Plant Genetics Research Unit (PGRU) at the Cornell Agriculture and Food Park, where he is helping pollinate, and grow crops for seed extraction.
“We’re actually using special cages and strategically placed bee hives to isolate each plant and avoid cross-pollination with others so we get the traits we want to see,” Bartell explains.
While standing under bee net-cages that cover more than 100 different plants and a host of swarming bees, Bartell explains that there are three to four research columns at the PGRU at a time, which all grow different plants. Some of the plants include onions, squash, radishes, tomatoes, and buckwheat, which is a “cover crop” that puts nutrients back into the soil for other plants.
When Professor of Environmental Studies John Halfman sent out an email to students listing environmental jobs at places such as the Cornell Agriculture and Food Park, Bartell pursued the position.
“I would definitely say that HWS laid the groundwork for the job I have now. While I was at HWS I learned to pay close attention to detail while still being able to step back and see the bigger picture. Having such a great campus covered in trees and Seneca Lake always near by, it never let me forget about nature and its power to grow in a changing age.”
Funded by the New York State Department of Agriculture, the Cornell Agriculture and Food Park sells genetically manipulated seeds and plants to corporations around the world, going as far as South Korea.
Bartell graduated from Hobart with a bachelor’s in English and environmental studies. He was music director/DJ of the Colleges’ radio station WEOS/WHWS, and worked for HWS’ Environmental Summer Youth Institute for two summers.