• Natural history of native plants
  • Haudenosaunee culture and food plants
  • Chocolate growing and processing
  • Plants utilized by people–food and fiber
  • How kids learn, retrieve knowledge and form attitudes


As youth program coordinator, I work with young people to excite them about plants. I engage children and youth outdoors, using all their senses and teaching them about the flora and fauna, as they will be the future stewards of the land. I love it when kids ask questions and have revelations about how their food, clothes, and behaviors can impact the earth.

I believe learning about the local indigenous peoples’ relationship with the world can be a role model for our future. I teach young people to celebrate nature constantly give back to it and understand their role in.

I hold a bachelor’s in biology from University of Massachusetts. I have worked at the Cornell Botanic Garden for 35 years, engaging all ages with plants. I have been responsible for the Kids Discover the Trail Wildflower Exploration program for 14 years, working with more than 7,000 3rd graders. The Judy’s Day Family Learning Festival has been my labor of love since its inception in 1997. I have developed and led 12 of these one-day, interactive festivals, which engage community members, students, and local families for hands-on learning about plants.

Charlotte and Arthur Shull set up an endowment in my name, The Raylene Ludgate Fund for Wildflower Exploration, which I use for speakers during volunteer trainings for the numerous programs I coordinate in area schools and the community.