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Ag Quad Quest 2021



Game’s on for the last few weeks of the spring 2021 semester on the Cornell campus. All you crazy-busy students out there, we know what a stressful stretch it is for you. While the social distancing requirements of the pandemic year are still crimping our style for planning good stress-busters, we do have one trick up our sleeves—an actual scavenger hunt on the Ag Quad.


Some of you may be thinking: no way can I add one more thing to my plate right now! To you we say, please know we are taking this slow (as in totally at your own pace) and easy (as in, we’re not in this to stump you, but to make the finding fun and fast).


Clues for different treasures will be posted every few days here on this page (starting with the first two for this week below); join in at any point whenever you find yourself wanting to take a break from the books, computer screens, lab assignments or whatever else may be paining your petuzzi right now. We’ll be clueing you into about 6 different hiding spots over the next two weeks; find one treasure, or find them all. Our biggest hope with this is to give you more good reason to hope outside for some quick, spirit-uplifting, mind-refreshing, idea-boosting, treasure-rewarding fun.


Any questions, give us a shout at And check this page again often—new clues posted every few days. Lots of prizes to go with them—from highlighters to mugs. We hope you enjoy, and we wish you the very best of luck, with the scavenger hunt, your finals, and everything!


Treasure 1

You’ll find this cache on the Ag Quad when you find the European cousin of a tall American beauty that was once abundantly present from Maine to Mississippi—until a nasty, early 19th century blight brought her to functional extinction in her original range in the eastern U.S.

Additional hints: This tall leafy specimen is about to bloom and provides cool shade for enjoying your lunch on the Ag Quad, if you don’ t mind stone-hard seats.   Be sure to look up to find a tag in memory of a beloved former Mann Library Director. Still stumped? We’re pretty sure this nifty cartographic tool will give you what you need to find the spot: Update: All the tokens for Treasure 1 have been found!


Treasure 2

To find our 2nd prize for Mann’s Ag Quad Quest 2021, get to spot that’s on higher plane on the Ag Quad (as, you’ll need to climb some outdoor stairs!). You’ll know you’re close when you see the name of a former CALS Dean. But you’ll be nearer still when you turn around and get close enough to almost touch a couple of Mann Library windows. 
Additional hints: This evergreen woody producer (names rhymes with Jupiter) makes a great but prickly hiding spot. Update: All the tokens for Treasure 2 have been found!


Treasure 3

Find the Excelsior seal on the Mann Library building. The younger of the two elms* standing guard beneath this lofty architectural touch harbors the cache. (*Email us the scientific name of the tree for a bonus prize!) Update: All the tokens for Treasure 3 have been found!


Treasure 4

Take a break at this private little spot close to Mann Library and you’ll learn a little about the SITES Accredited Garden that it’s part of. Enjoy a moment on the comfortable bench, and before you leave, be sure to check the boxwood behind you for your next treasure! Update: All the tokens for Treasure 4 have been found!


Treasure 5

The Ag Quad is graced by the presence of some towering older oak trees—with a  few smaller teenagers coming into their own as well.  Find the young white oak tree that’s tagged in honor of Mann Library special projects librarian Wallace Olsen, whose early work at Mann helped develop our Core Historical Literature of Agriculture, and you’ll have snagged your next treasure. Update: All the tokens for Treasure 5 have been found!


For these final two quests, you’ll need to leave the Ag Quad proper, but not by much. We suggest you maybe look for these as you head up behind Bradfield Hall to the Dairy Bar for some Cornell ice cream—you deserve the treat!


Treasure 6

Honey locust trees are frequent favorites in urban landscapes—and the leafy giants that are guarding this next treasure spot have helped turn what would be a very hot outdoor corner of the Mann building into a cool oasis. While you enjoy the dappled shade, look around for an inspiring word that rhymes with “respect” and it won’t take you long to find the cache!

Additional hint: Find the right honey locusts using the mapping tool on this page of our Trees of Cornell exhibit. Update: All the tokens for Treasure 6 have been found!


Treasure 7

The sign by this next treasure spot may have you thinking of lunch, but really it’s all about sustainable landscaping. Find the bioswale in question, and you’ll be very close. Look around to find the thing that pill bugs, worms, salamanders and other delightful  (hey, we’re into the life sciences!) creepy crawlies like to hide under and you’ll find your cache.

Additional hint: Visit this page to find out Cornell’s bioswales (what they are, what they do, where they’re located) and other campus features on the Sustainable Landscapes Trail. Update: All the tokens for Treasure 7 have been found!