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Classes, Workshops, Events

Unless another address is given, all classes and events will be held
at the CCE-Tompkins Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca
To Register for classes, call: (607) 272-2292.


Advanced Compost Series
3 Thurs. Classes: Sept 5, Sept 12 & Sept 19, 6:00pm - 7:30pm at CCETC, 615 Willow Ave.

Go beyond compost basics and "dig deeper" into the art and science of composting in this three-class series:

  • Class 1 - types of outdoor bins, and the science of the compost process
  • Class 2 - compost's helpful role in the soil, testing and use
  • Class 3 - troubleshooting and advanced composting techniques

Come to one class or them all. Go home with some new ideas, and with a more complete understanding of how composting works. We guarantee better home composting just in time for the fall leaf season! Fee: $5 a person per class or $10 for the 3-class series. To register, please register online or call 607-272-2292. 

Cover Crops for the Home Garden
Wed. Sept. 11, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Reduce your carbon footprint and enhance your soil all at once! Planting cover crops in your garden is a cost-effective form of nutrition and organic matter and keeps your soil, water, and nutrients from running off. Come learn which cover crops do well in our area and which ones work best for your garden situation. We'll cap off the evening with a hand-on cover crop planting demonstration in the CCE garden. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $10-$20. Pre-registration required at

Dividing Perennials
Wed. Sept. 18, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

One of the simplest ways to gain more plants in your garden is to divide your existing plants. Trade with friends and other gardeners and watch your garden diversity multiply. In this workshop, you will learn how to dig and divide perennial plants, which plants should be divided in fall and the benefits of this routine maintenance. Work with Master Gardeners to gain hands-on experience and learn proper techniques on dividing perennials. Go home with a small division to keep for your garden. Please bring a pair of garden gloves. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $10-$20. Pre-registration required at

Keeping Small Flock of Chickens –
Thurs. Sept. 26, 6:30 – 8 PM, CCE- Tompkins, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca

Want to keep a few chickens in the backyard for home egg production? The City of Ithaca and the Villages of Dryden and Trumansburg allow residents to keep a small number of chickens in the back yard (check the specific municipal ordinances for any restrictions). Residents who wish to keep chickens will need a permit and also evidence that you have attended a class on raising chickens. This class offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County will met that requirement. Attendees will receive a letter to take to the municipality. Pre-registration is requested and there is a $5 fee per person or $8 per household. The class Is open to anyone who wishes to raise a small flock of chickens regardless of where you live. To register visit or email


Plant Spring Bulbs Now: 3 Months of Bloom
Wed. Oct. 2, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Fall is the time to plan for a colorful spring. In this class, we will teach you how to plan for 3+ months of spring bulb bloom. The class will cover different bulb varieties, planting and growing tips (including planting in specialized conditions or with deer in mind), and a design exercise to help you plan a spectacular bulb display. There will be a demo of how to pot up bulbs for forcing. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $10-$20. Pre-registration required at

Planting for Winter Beauty
Wed. Oct. 9, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

The winter landscape in the Finger Lakes can be a drab mixture of snow and mud and leafless trees. Winter landcapes can create critical habitat for insects, birds, and wildlife while uplifting our spirits and beautifying the landscape. Learn the tricks that Master Gardeners use to keep some color, texture, and life in the garden, even through the darkness and cold of winter. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $10-$20. Pre-registration required at

Fall Worm Composting Class
Sat. Oct. 5, 10:00am - 12:00 noon

Learn how worms can make fast, rich compost for your garden while disposing of your food scraps. Take home the bin, a starter population of worms, and the knowledge to tend to your new pets. Space is limited. Fee: $10 per household includes starter bin & worms. Please register online or call 607-272-2292.

Growing American Ginseng
Sat. Oct. 12, 10:00am – 12:30pm, at 4-H Acres,  418 Lower Creek Road, Ithaca

Join Ginseng Expert Bob Beyfuss for a classroom presentation followed by woods walk. This program is designed to teach participant how to get started growing American ginseng on forested land in central NY. This class will begin by teaching participants how to assess a forested site for suitability for growing wild simulated ginseng. Information on harvest and marketing will also be discussed.
The cost for the class is $25/person and you must pre-register as space is limited. Participants will receive a copy of The Practical Guide to Growing Ginseng by Bob Beyfuss. Check payable to CCE Tompkins County should be mailed to: 615 Willow Ave. Ithaca, NY 14850 or register on-line at

Fall Pruning
Thur. Oct. 17, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Join City Forester Jeanne Grace and Horticultural Educator Mila Fournier to learn the right way to prune in the fall. Most pruning tasks are best done in the late winter or in spring, but in some cases fall pruning exactly what your plants need to get through the winter safely and perform even better next year. The first half of our class will be hands-on, so please come dressed for the weather and bring pruning tools if you have them. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $10-$20. Pre-registration required at

Growing Great Garlic
Wed. Oct. 23, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Our Horticulture Program Manager, Jennie Cramer, is obsessed with growing garlic. Growing garlic is easy. Growing GREAT garlic involves some skill. Come learn Jennie's secrets to growing organic, disease free, flavorful garlic. Between Halloween and Thanksgiving is the best time to plant in our region. Garlic is a great crop to add to even the smallest gardens. Fee: $10-$20/person self-determined sliding scale, no one will be turned away. Pre-registration required at

Nut Trees for your Home Landscape
Wed. Oct. 30, 6 :00pm - 8:00pm

Nut trees can provide highly nutritious food for centuries. Local nuts can be used for anything from holiday snacks to staples like flour, oil, and butters. This class, taught by experienced nut grower Akiva Silver, will provide information on growing nut trees in a changing climate, the best types of nuts for growing in NY, harvesting and processing nuts, and samples of several types of local nuts. Self-determining sliding scale fee: $10-$20. Pre-registration required at


Winterizing your Garden
Wed. Nov. 6, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

The key to GREAT Spring gardening is good Fall preparation! Learn how to "put your garden to bed" for the winter: prepare your property and protect your soil from winter cold and spring rains, ensure optimal nutrition and soil tilth for great gardening the rest of the year. Fee: $10-$20/person self-determined sliding scale, no one will be turned away. Pre-registration required at

Native Plants for Beneficial Insects
Wed. Nov. 13, 6:00 - 8:00pm

Choosing the right plants can turn your yard into an oasis for beneficial insects and pollinators from butterflies to bees to assassin bugs. Whether you have sun or shade, clay or sand, dry or wet, there are preadtor and pollinator-friendly plants that can thrive in your environment. Learn how to provide shelter and food for these critical species. Help reverse habitat loss by creating your own beneficial insect-friendly garden and landscape. Pre-registration required at

Bokashi Composting Workshop
Sat. Nov. 23, 10:00am- 12:00 noon

This Japanese composting technique involves natural fermentation and offers a way for people to manage food scraps. The liquid produced can be used to water houseplants while the food scraps are predigested, and can then be composted or buried in the soil to finish. Join local bokashi enthusiasts to learn about the practice and go home with your own bokashi starter kit. Fee: $10 per household. Please register online, or call 607-272-2292.

AARP Smart Driver Courses (a 2 day course, you must attend both days)
Mon. Nov. 25 & Tues. 26, 12:30 - 4:00 pm

“Smart Driver” classes are held over a two-day period for a total of six hours of classroom instruction. Per New York State regulations, course participants receive a multi-year insurance discount for completing the course. In addition, participants can reduce up to four violation points on their driver’s license. Participants must bring their driver’s license and AARP card (if a member) to class. $20 for AARP members, $25 for non-members. Pre-registration required. Come 15 min. early the first day, for registration and payment.


Evergreen Wreath-Making Workshop
Fri. Dec. 6, 5:30pm- 8:00pm OR
Sat. Dec. 7, 10:00am - 12:30 noon OR
Sat. Dec. 7, 2:00pm - 4:00 noon

These classes will be held at the 4-H Acres
Make a beautiful evergreen wreath to decorate your home for the holidays! Fresh-cut greens, ring, wires, and ribbons are supplied. Bring any special decorating materials you would like to use to personalize your wreath. Wear casual clothes and bring pruning shears and gloves. Fee: $25-35. Pre-registration and prepayment required at

Looking Ahead

Master Composter Volunteer Training
10 Thurs eves, 6:30 – 8:30pm, from 2/6/2020 – 4/30/2020, 615 Willow Ave, Ithaca

10 in-depth classes train Master Composters, an enthusiastic group of community volunteers committed to promoting responsible composting. Training also involves volunteer activities. For more info and to apply online, visit . Applications due 1/27/20.

Other Environment Opportunities

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking—and kills about 20,000 people in the US every year. Test your home today with a free radon test kit from the Energy Team. For an appointment contact Guillermo Metz:

Put the power of the sun to work for you! The Energy Team at CCETC has all the information you need to go solar today. There are options that work for just about everybody, including no-money-down opportunities that can save you up to 10% on your electricity! Get started at or contact Guillermo Metz at 607-272-2292 x185.

Wood pellet boilers offer an economical and environmentally friendly way to heat your home or business. The Energy Team at CCETC will lead home tours of pellet boilers in September—this is an opportunity to learn about the systems and generous state incentives currently available, and to talk with homeowners about their experiences. For more information, keep an eye on our event listings or contact Guillermo.

The Energy Smart Community (ESC) is a NYSEG pilot project to test technologies that may help reach New York State’s ambitious goals for utilities to increase renewable energy on the grid, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase energy efficiency. 12,000 homes and businesses in Tompkins County were the first to receive smart meters and access to innovative tools to increase energy efficiency for customers and the electrical grid. CCETC has in depth information on the purpose and scope of this project and can help answer your questions related to the ESC. Visit or contact Aislyn Colgan at

Ithaca Children's Garden

all programs held at the
Ithaca Children's Garden,
southern end of Cass Park, Rt. 89, Ithaca

Playful Nature Explorers is Ithaca Children's Garden year-round outdoor, garden-based preschool for children ages 2.5-6. It is research-based, child-centered, and brings a world of discovery, learning, and joy to your child’s day and season through nature and play immersion. Flexible schedules and enrollment are available. Sign up for the 2019-2020 season here.

After School @ ICG is full of the adventure play and nature immersion that your child deserves after a long day spent in school. Monday-Friday, September 9th-November 22nd from 2:30-5:30. Space is limited and scholarships and payment plans are available. Sign up here.

Tough Turtle, the single largest fundraiser for Ithaca Children's Garden, is back this September 21st. With more than 20 challenging obstacles for the entire family, featuring a new boating obstacle, Field Day, and After Party, let's make this year's race the best yet. Get ready to climb, sprint, crawl, slide, and boat across the course along the Cayuga Waterfront and Black Diamond Trails on the south shore of Cayuga Lake. Register at

This year marks Ithaca Children’s Garden’s 4th Play Symposium: a gathering for change-makers fostering a culture of play in their communities. Join Ithaca Children’s Garden for three days of sharing, discussion, and play, while learning from local initiatives and play leaders from across the US. October 4-6. Learn more and register here.

Nothing says fall like the Scarecrow Jubilee at ICG! Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 19th, 2019 to celebrate the harvest with scarecrow making, pumpkin carving, apple tasting, and so much more. This family-friendly event is open to all and is always held, whether rain or shine.

Ithaca Children's Garden School's Out Camps offered for elementary-age children in the winter and fall allow them to set the pencils down, bundle up, and get outside to learn and play in nature. Paired with activities like science experiments, cooking lessons, and games galore, what better way is there for your child to spend their school break? Enchanted Autumn (Indigenous People's Day) runs on Monday, 10/14 and Friday, 10/25. Forts, Dens, & Hideouts (Veteran's Day) runs on Friday, 11/8 and Monday, 11/11. Register for one day or both days of each camp. All camps are from 9:00-4:00 pm. Learn more and register here.

All programs take place at Ithaca Children's Garden, 121 Turtle Lane in Ithaca, at the southern end of Cass Park, unless noted otherwise. For more information visit For questions: 607-319-4203 or

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County provides equal program and employment opportunities.


Maria Christian
Administrative Assistant
(607) 272-2292 ext. 130

Last updated August 28, 2019