This is the third lecture in the Arnold Arboretum's 2021 Director's Lecture Series. Tiya Miles takes up the pecan tree as inspiration for exploring the meaning of trees in the lives of enslaved African Americans. Using a family heirloom, slave narratives, oral histories, and missionary records, her talk underscores the importance of trees in the Black experience of captivity and resistance, ultimately revealing the centrality of the natural world to Black, and indeed human, survival.
At the time of its founding in 1872, the land on which the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is sighted was a patchwork of farmland and forest. As the Arboretum was planted, pathways were developed to lead people through the picturesque landscape. As the landscape developed, economies shifted, wars took place, and directors changed. Each of these factors subtly influenced shifts in the park’s path system. Join the Arnold Arboretum on Zoom with Jared Rubinstein as he reveals the layers of change in this beloved landscape.
Join us for a casual evening of conversation with the Peabody Museum’s Curator of Oceanic Collections. Ingrid Ahlgren stewards one of the largest and most historically significant collections in the U.S. from the Pacific Islands, Australia, and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Hear her share some of her recent work, including the exhibit Uncovering Pacific Pasts and the important roles that Harvard University and the state of Massachusetts have played in the history of Oceania. Ingrid will also discuss her upcoming collaboration with Pacific Islanders living in Utah.
Arnold Arboretum propagator Sean Halloran will provide an overview of dormant season grafting principles: reasons to graft, how it works, and the materials and environment required for success with this propagation technique.
Break out of the winter doldrums and welcome Harvard science into your home with the all-virtual I Heart Science festival lasting from Friday, February 12 to Monday, February 15. This day’s “Tiny Creatures” theme looks at bacteria, viruses, and other microbial creatures.
During the live webinar, starting at 1:00 pm ET, meet live tardigrades, also known as water bears. Watch recorded videos featuring Harvard scientists who study bacterial resistance, ways to test for viruses, and how bacteria grow.
At home, try your hand at making a water-drop microscope, comparing...
Joan Fitzgerald, Professor of Urban Planning and Policy at Northeastern University, will build on key concepts in her new book, Greenovation: Urban Leadership on Climate Change (2020). She’ll discuss how cities are rethinking their approach to climate action by placing racial justice at the forefront. She’ll draw from recent experiences with Providence, Austin, and Oakland in creating participatory planning processes and new priorities for a just transition to a carbon-free society. She’ll conclude by discussing how the transition can be linked to jobs in the green economy.
Humans are living longer lives than ever before and so it is critical to understand the process of aging. It has become increasingly recognized that successful aging is not just about physical health but also about our social lives.
Chimpanzees are our closest living relative and also lead long and complex lives. In this talk, you’ll learn what chimpanzee aging can tell us about human aging.
Peter Del Tredici, Senior Research Scientist Emeritus at the Arnold Arboretum, and Rosetta Elkin, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at McGill University, converse about the nature of urban environments. Peter will begin the program with a brief overview of the plant observations he makes in his book, Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast. Following this, Peter and Rosetta will discuss both ecological and design elements that come into play in the cities and suburbs that we call home. Up for discussion are the environments that humans intentionally and unintentionally...
Creature Features, a new online series from the Harvard Art Museums, offers a chance for families with children ages 6 and up to explore magical creatures across the collections through close looking and curious exploration with museum staff.
Join Egyptologist Jen Thum for an interactive, family-friendly look at animals in ancient Egyptian art and life! Participants are encouraged to download and color along with our free activity book, Coloring Ancient Egypt...
Painting Edo at the Arnold Arboretum is a collaboration between the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the Harvard Art Museums, inspired by the exhibition Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection. Observing artworks from the exhibition alongside the living collections of the Arnold Arboretum, we invite you to marvel at the remarkable accuracy and spirit with which artists of the Edo period (1615–1868) rendered their botanical...
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian—Online
The first person who will set foot on Mars is alive right now. We believe this, but even if we're wrong we know the first crew to arrive there will look nothing like the ones that landed on the Moon fifty years ago.
Our world has changed for the better, and ASTRONAUTS tells the story of the women who built this better world. The main character and narrator is Mary Cleave, an astronaut you may not have heard of. It's not because so many people have been to space; only a few hundred have! It’s because this graphic novel isn’t about fame. No astronaut you'll ever meet took the...
Earth is home to a vast diversity of organisms that collectively define the modern biosphere. How did this diversity come to be? Javier Ortega-Hernández will discuss his approach to answering this question by studying organisms that lived more than half a billion years ago in the Cambrian Period (485–541 million years ago). By focusing on the earliest-known animals—some of the most versatile to ever exist—Ortega-Hernández aims to reconstruct the early evolutionary history of major animal groups and contribute to our understanding of Earth’s biodiversity.
This lecture explores whether it is possible to achieve both social justice and environmental sustainability in efforts to mitigate urban flood risk. The expanding scale of urban flooding under climate change has renewed interest in large-scale restoration projects that make room for water in metro centers. However, ecologically functioning green infrastructure – unleashed rivers, sprawling wetlands – is inconsistent with the current governance landscape of fragmented local governments seeking to maximize local land values and minimize affordable housing. Moreover, even...
Join the Harvard Museum of Natural History for a public lecture with Susan Alberts, Robert F. Durden Professor of Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University.
The social environment—both in early life and adulthood—has major effects on human health and survival. But how and why does the social environment get “under the skin” to also affect our physical health? Susan Alberts pursues this question by studying wild baboons in Kenya. Baboons, like humans, evolved as savannah dwellers. They rely on social relationships to solve problems and—like humans...
Harvard Art Museums, Menschel Hall, 32 Quincy St., Cambridge
Voices of the Rainforest is an experiential documentary about the ecological and aesthetic coevolution of Papua New Guinea’s Bosavi rainforest region and its inhabitants. The film immerses viewers in the rainforest, making myriad connections between the everyday sounds of the rainforest biosphere and the creative practices of the Bosavi people who sing to, with, and about it.
Following the screening, Steven Feld will discuss the film with Amahl Bishara, an associate professor of anthropology at Tufts University.
Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston
As the first botanical history of World War II, Plants Go to War examines military history from the perspective of plant science. From victory gardens to drugs, timber, rubber, and fibers, plants supplied materials with key roles in victory. Author and botanist Judith Sumner will speak of the many plants that were incorporated into wartime safety materials, diet and rations, and even bombers.
What better place to look for the differences between angiosperms (plants that flower and have enclosed seeds), and gymnosperms (plants with "naked seeds," including conifers, ginkgos, and others), than in the Arnold Arboretum landscape, where over 15,000 plants reside in a living museum. Join our guide as she points out trees in both groups and describes the characteristics of each.
Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston
Join Manager of Plant Production, Tiffany Enzenbacher, for an evening of exploration into the oldest dwarfed plant collection in the United States. As one of the caretakers of the Arboretum's bonsai collection, Tiffany will highlight many of the procedures used by staff to maintain the health of these captivating specimens.
Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston
How does an egg become an egg? Why do chickens continue to lay eggs day after day? What controls the shape of eggs? Why do eggs of different species of birds have different colors? And how strong are eggshells?
In this talk which follows previous talks about bird flight, migration, and feathers, Lorna Gibson answers common questions about bird eggs.
Domesticated animals such as dogs, pigs, and horses often sport floppy ears, patches of white hair, and other features that are unknown in their wild ancestors. These traits—collectively referred to by scientists as a “domestication syndrome”—are the result of breeding less aggressive individuals.
Drawing from his new book, The Goodness Paradox (2019, Pantheon Books), Richard Wrangham will show that our cousin apes, the bonobos, also exhibit a domestication syndrome, making them the first clear example of a “wild domesticate.” Self-domestication in the wild now seems...