Ralph Cornell Society group photo

The Ralph Cornell Society is Pomona College's native landscaping club.

We design and plant gardens using Southern California plants that need very little water after they are first established.

Our philosophy is best embodied by the following quotation

Plant a dry ground park. Use native plants already accustomed to the semi-arid conditions of our soil and climate. Such a park would be at once unique and individual; it would be decidedly typical and distinctive of California; it would be a delight alike to the student, the botanist, the sight-seer and nature lover, each in his own way. There is no limit to the end that might be attained with such a park, if it were properly conducted.

Email ralphcornellsociety@gmail.com for more information and to get involved with our plantings.

“The flame of enthusiasm [for native plants], once kindled, will carry one far along the road to happiness, as he [or she] bears aloft the torch of his [or her] own illumination.”

-Ralph Cornell

About Us

The Ralph Cornell Society is a group of Pomona students interested in native landscaping on campus. We see the use of native plants as a compelling way of reducing water usage, promoting the local flora and fauna, and evoking Pomona's past as the “sagebrush college.” We are interested in landscape design, ecological restoration, and the joy of seeing our plantings take root and bloom. Our goal is to reclaim marginal areas of turf and dirt on campus and reimagine them as beautiful, functional native plant gardens that come alive with butterflies, hummingbirds and other native birds and insects.

We have been inspired by the Water chapter of Pomona College's Sustainability Action Plan, and see native landscaping as one of the best strategies for reducing Pomona's water usage, since irrigation takes up more than half of the College's water use.

The club was started in December, 2010, by Patrick Halliday PO '11, Peter Pellitier PO '14, Julia Pitkin PO '13, Na'ama Schweitzer PO '13, and Nik Tyack PO '11. Our first plantings took place during the spring of 2011 in the Frary planters, at Brackett Observatory, and around the bench in between Clark III and Clark V with funding from the President's Sustainability Fund and prize money from November 2010′s Dorm Energy Month.

Feel free to contact us, either at ralphcornellsociety@gmail.com or at our personal emails copied below!

Current Leaders

Zoe Carlberg PO '12, Chaparral Artist and Wildflower Curator
Keith McHugh PO '12, Chief Horticulturalist and Club Minstrel
Peter Pellitier PO '14, Arborist
Sam Trachtman PO '12, Club Treasurer and Bard



Professor Fran Hanzawa


Professor Char Miller


Head of Grounds

Kevin Quanstrom

Assistant Head of Grounds

Ron Nemo

Past Leaders


Patrick Halliday PO '11
Peter Pellitier PO '14
Julia Pitkin PO '13
Na'ama Schweitzer PO '13
Nik Tyack PO '11


Julia Pitkin PO '13
Na'ama Schweitzer PO '13