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  • Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station

Josh Manser, a 15-year employee of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (Cornell AES), has been promoted to supervisor of the Kenneth Post Laboratory greenhouses on Tower Road. The complex of greenhouses and plant growth chambers is used extensively for on-campus teaching, and includes the rebuilt Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.

“Because of the proximity of the plant science greenhouses to central campus, the growers there provide a lot of support to faculty teaching courses and Josh has excelled at that,” said Rhoda Maurer, Greenhouse Manager for Cornell AES. “In addition to taking excellent care of the plants and facilities, Josh has amazing human skills. He’s acquired the respect of many of his faculty customers, so I know he’ll be able to build on those positive relationships across campus.”

Manser’s first job at Cornell was as a temporary employee in the greenhouses. He was then hired full-time as a grower and worked in the Guterman Bioclimatic Laboratories on Caldwell Road and then in the plant sciences greenhouse on Tower Road – one of the facilities he’ll now oversee.

During his time at Cornell, Manser has taken advantage of the benefit that enables employees to take free university classes. He’s taken courses in greenhouse production and marketing, and ecology and physiology of yield to improve his greenhouse management skills.

“It takes a huge amount of support to make sure our researchers can stay on the cutting-edge,” Manser said. “We have a lot of competent growers here and a lot of well-established faculty. My responsibility is making sure that the facilities run smoothly, and to be the link that allows our growers, faculty and students to keep doing what they’re doing.”

Cornell AES manages 127,000 square feet of greenhouse and growth chambers on Cornell’s Ithaca campus. The Tower Road facilities that Manser now oversees include greenhouses focused on research and teaching in horticulture, plant sciences, entomology, plant pathology, and ecology and evolutionary biology. The 33 Weill Hall growth chambers he co-manages are designed to completely isolate plant research and provide researchers with total control of light, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, and presence of diseases and pests.

In all, Cornell AES oversees 146 greenhouses and over 100 growth chambers, hosting up to 400 separate research projects at a time.

Krisy Gashler is a freelance writer for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station

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