Horticulture Along the Silk Road

Horticulture Along the Silk Road: travel, cotton, and the vanishing Aral Sea


Horticulture Along the Silk Road

  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland County presents:

Horticulture Along the Silk Road: travel, cotton, and the vanishing Aral Sea

“Clearly one of the worst environmental disasters of the world... It really left with me a profound impression, one of sadness that such a mighty sea has disappeared.”-Ban Ki-Moon, former UN Secretary-General

About the presentation

Michael Wilson will present Horticulture Along the Silk Road. This program is a travel log and horticultural review of his trip across the country of Uzbekistan along the fabled Silk Road as a member of the US Study Team. He went there in 2011 to research the Aral Sea Disaster in Uzbekistan, which is a “creeping environmental disaster” and direct result of the cultivation of cotton. Michael visited again in 2014 to review new advances in the agriculture industry, attend a food security conference, and tour the botanical garden in Tashkent. In this program, Michael will discuss the Aral Sea, agriculture, cotton production, and the horticultural practices that have helped to create the water resource problems in Uzbekistan; along with the advances that have been made. Pictures of the UNESCO World Heritage sites that he visited will also be given.

About the presenter

Michael Wilson began his career in horticulture in 1986 at Skylands Botanical Garden. In 1989, he became the Horticultural Foreman for the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morristown, New Jersey and retired from the Morris County Park Commission in 2009. He has a background in both Horticulture and Environmental Studies.

Michael is an Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey and is the Horticultural Laboratory Technician for Cornell University Cooperative Extension Service of Rockland County. He is a member of the US Study Team for the Aral Sea Disaster in Uzbekistan and researched the environmental impact from the cultivation of cotton in that region.

Michael has been a member of the North American Rock Garden Society since 1992. He is active in the Watnong Chapter in New Jersey, currently serving as Chair. He was responsible for the rock gardens at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum and also grows alpine plants at home. He has also hiked many alpine summits in the northeast US, New Foundland, Colorado, Iceland and Uzbekistan. 


The presentation will take place via Zoom. Please register online via Zoom. If you have any questions or concerns about participating in a Zoom Webinar, please contact Charlie Pane at cap295@cornell.edu to ask for assistance prior to the event.


Free to attend, must register.

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Last updated May 27, 2020