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Demonstrating their continued commitment to preserving our region’s natural treasures, Professor Emeritus David K. Bandler ’55, MPS ’71, and his wife Lenore have established a new endowment at Cornell Botanic Gardens for the Fischer Old-Growth Forest Natural Area.

In the past two years, the Bandlers gifted 60 acres in two tracts of land, known as the Bandler Family Tract and the Bandler Family Forest, to expand the preserve.  The David and Lenore Bandler Endowment for Fischer Old-Growth Forest Natural Area will support the continued conservation, maintenance, and enhancement of the entire 100-acre natural area.

“We wanted to be sure the addition of the acreage didn’t become a burden for the Botanic Gardens,” said David Bandler. “From our own 57 years of stewardship, we know the labor of love it takes to keep a ‘natural area’ natural and accessible.”

“The Bandlers’ vision, conservation ethic, and generosity has enabled the protection and stewardship of a very remarkable natural area,” said Todd Bittner, director of natural areas for Cornell Botanic Gardens. “The benefits to our collective natural heritage, the public, and the Cornell community will be cherished for generations to come.”

Originally acquired by Cornell Botanic Gardens in 1997, Fischer Old-Growth Forest is among the best of a few remaining examples of pre-European settlement forests in the Finger Lakes. With the addition of the Bandler Family Tract and the Bandler Family Forest, visitors can hike through a broad continuum of habitat types and see the changes that agricultural and forestry practices have had on the landscape. The preserve now includes old-growth forest; mature, second-growth forest; meadow; and several successional forests of different ages.

Cornell Botanic Gardens manages a 3,600-acre network of preserves in Tompkins County, protecting the full range of natural community types and most rare plant habitats found in the Finger Lakes Region.  Explore our on-campus and off-campus natural areas.

For more information about how you can support Cornell Botanic Gardens’ conservation work, contact Lynn Swain at 607-255-7416 or