“I’d been at the Gardens for maybe four or five years, and at that time we had a peony garden near where the bioswale is now. There was a beautiful tree growing in that garden (a huge river birch, with about five or six trunks spreading out). That was always one of the stops on my tours, to stop under that tree and talk about it. For trainings with the volunteers, we’d always go to that tree and we’d talk about the flower structure and such.  There were a lot of different things that could be interpreted in that one spot. It was the dominant feature in that peony garden.

the beloved river birch

I remember coming into work one morning and the tree was gone. The arborist crew was there; they had cut it down and were in the process of cutting it into little pieces. I don’t know if it was diseased or a hazard, but it had needed to come down. I actually sat in my car and started crying. I still get a little choked up thinking about it. I felt like I’d lost a friend, like I’d just found out that a friend had died. That was the first time I realized how emotionally invested I was in this place”

-Kevin Moss, on a moment of connection with the Gardens.  

Kevin is the Student and Public Engagement Coordinator for the Cornell Botanic Gardens, and has been part of our team since 2003. A man of many hats, Kevin oversees outreach efforts, informal education programming, adult group tours, and coordinates the dozens of volunteers at the Gardens (not to mention he’s a storyteller and musician). Kevin combines his passion for the natural world with informal education to create opportunities for people to foster their relationship with nature in the Cornell Botanic Gardens. 

Kevin in the Botanic Gardens leading a tour

more from the garden ambassadors!


Teresa’s Story!

Garden Guide and Master Gardener Teresa Craighead shares how a space in her life was filled and grew into bountiful opportunities with the Cornell Botanic Gardens.


Valerie’s Story!

Valerie Aymer speaks on how our gardens have been of great use in her students’ practice of Landscape Architecture, as well as her own.


Gavin’s Story!

Gavin Ratliff, a current senior studying landscape architecture, tells us how the design of the Cornell Botanic Gardens and his own passions work together to create enriching experiences.