Evergreens can be conifers or broad-leafed deciduous plants…they aren’t all pine trees. Starting in the classroom, Laura Mele (Arnold Arboretum Horticulturist; MA Certified and ISA Certified Arborist)will introduce basic identifying characteristics of common evergreens and the lead a tour through the Arboretum’s Conifer Collection and Rhododendron Dell for...
This slow-paced guided therapeutic experience promotes wellness through a series of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to notice more of our natural surroundings. By deepening our connection with the natural world and each other, we open ourselves up to the healing medicine of the forest. Forest Bathing is part of a global effort to tend to the stressful conditions of living in modern industrialized civilization.
Microbes play critical roles in the biology and health of human beings, but we are not the only species that benefits from intimate relationships with microbes. Ants, for instance, rely on the microbial communities living in their guts to process food and make strong armor.
Corrie Moreau will discuss this unique aspect of ant biology and what it tells us about the diversity and dominance of ants in terrestrial ecosystems, the evolutionary history of social insects, and the broad-scale evolutionary patterns of life.
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...
Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston
Arboretum for Educators monthly explorations are a professional development opportunity for elementary and middle school teachers to introduce the Arboretum landscape as an outdoor classroom. Participants learn about specific hands-on life science topics that may be used or adapted by teachers for their own classrooms and outdoor spaces. Meet and network with other like-minded educators, and engage in life science learning.
April 6: What are Flowers? Form and Function Through Dissections
Bussey Street Gate, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston
Redirect your commute to the Arnold Arboretum for an exploratory journey into what wildness is, what it could be, and how it might be recovered in our daily lives. No matter if you live in the city or farther afield, exposure to natural elements and observation of other-than-human creatures can refresh your mind and fuel your soul. Gavin Van Horn will lead this landscape amble, interjecting readings and thoughts for finding wildness within and beyond self. Dress according to the weather and plan to walk approximately one mile, on and off trail, up and down steep terrain.
Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Boston
A wanderer and writer with a doctorate in religion, Gavin Van Horn inhabits a big city. And that city (Chicago) has offered him something to compliment and complicate the solitude of the woods or a remote mountainside: a window onto the attractiveness of cities to animals. What was once in his mind essentially a nature-free zone turns out to be a bustling environment where millions of wild things roam. He came to realize that our own paths are crisscrossed by the tracks and flyways of black-crowned night herons, Cooper’s hawks, brown bats, coyotes, opossums, white-tailed deer, and many...
The Cape Cod white shark population has increased in recent years in response to the dramatic increase in the seal population. Shark sightings—some close to popular swimming and surfing beaches—are becoming more frequent and negative interactions between sharks and humans have become a real concern.
Gregory Skomal has studied and tracked white sharks in the Atlantic for more than 30 years. In this lecture, he will examine the behavior, ecology, natural history, and population dynamics of this species, and how scientific research can help sharks and humans coexist in the Cape...
Families need nature at all times of the year! Please meet us inside the main gate at 125 Arborway. We’ll search for signs of spring along Meadow Road, looking for flowers, insects, birdsong, and more! This hike is free and open to all.
125 Arborway, Hunnewell Building Landscape, Boston
Museums assign value to their collections by understanding each piece’s backstory – for instance, where did it come from, who created/collected it, what does it represent, what feeling does it elicit from a visitor? The plants in our own gardens can and should do the same, but too often have become generic and mundane because we have forgotten their backstories. Perhaps even worse, we may be losing our own personal connections to what we grow. Michael Dosmann will provide his own perspective on how to re-engage with our garden plants in ways that make it personal.
Learn how to build safe homes for native birds. This class covers best practices for general bird house design using the Arboretum's own nest boxes (for tree swallows, eastern bluebirds, black capped chickadees, and screech owls) as examples. You will learn tips for deterring predators and non-native competitors, as well as how to safely monitor young nestlings. Finally, you will build and take home your own "Chickadee Tube," a design suitable for many Boston yards.
Join Arnold Arboretum's Brendan Keegan for an easy walk looking for winter birds. In January, Brendan will discuss how species alter their behaviors, diets, and/or bodies to survive the colder temperatures. For his February walk, that meets at the Bussey Street Gate, you will listen for, and discuss bird calls, and talk about owl mating season. The March walk on St. Patrick's Day will be a talk about how birds migrate and the impressive migrations of common Arboretum species, with a look for early migrants around the grounds.
All skill levels, especially beginners, are encouraged...
Richard Evans Schultes—ethnobotanist, taxonomist, writer, photographer, and Harvard professor—is regarded as one of the most important plant explorers of the twentieth century. In 1941, Schultes traveled to the Amazon rainforest on a mission to study how Indigenous peoples used plants for medicinal, ritual, and practical purposes. A new interactive online map, produced by the Amazon Conservation Team, traces the landscapes and cultures that Schultes explored in the Colombian Amazon. Plotkin and Hettler will share this map and discuss the relevance of Schultes’ travels and...
Families need nature at all times of the year! Meet inside the main gate at the Visitor Center. We will find a place to play together, making snow angels, snow humans, and more! Afterwards, families are invited to come inside the Lecture Hall to warm up with cookies and cocoa. Free and open to all, most suitable for children ages four through ten.
Chris Morgan's goal as a photographer is to evoke the emotions he feels when he views patterns and textures in nature, in the shapes of trees, and in the movements of birds. He brings details to life. The Arboretum, with its rich collections of flora and fauna, has been a major interest of his for over fifteen years, especially during blizzards, when dramatic photo opportunities appear. Digital photography, which offers a happy marriage of the arts and the sciences, lets him explore larger-format photography in creative ways through digital panorama techniques.
Gate to the Dana Greenhouses, Centre Street, Boston
The Arnold Arboretum curates and maintains one of the most historic and well-documented collections of woody temperate species. We are in the midst of a 10 year Campaign for the Living Collections, and that means we will add even more diversity to those living collections. In order to maintain the diversity that already exists, great care is taken by our landscape horticulturists to report plants that are potentially threatened by weather, pests, and diseases. The Plant Propagation department is tasked with the propagation of those vulnerable and important historic lineages...
Take a healthy walk through the cool landscape of the Arboretum with an Arboretum docent. You will enjoy the pared down beauty of our woody plant collection and hear about the Arboretum's history and highlights. After the walk, warm up in the Visitor Center with hot chocolate or tea, and talk more with your docent guide and Arboretum staff members.
Without their leaves, trees can be challenging to identify in the winter. However, if you consider a tree’s branching structure and buds, you can often determine its species. Former Arboretum Horticulturist and now a high school teacher, Sue Pfeiffer will speak about the clues to look for and the keys available to help you definitively identify specific trees. Dress in layers for indoor and outdoor learning.
Chris Morgan's goal as a photographer is to evoke the emotions he feels when he views patterns and textures in nature, in the shapes of trees, and in the movements of birds. He brings details to life. The Arboretum, with its rich collections of flora and fauna, has been a major interest of his for over fifteen years, especially during blizzards, when dramatic photo opportunities appear. Digital photography, which offers a happy marriage of the arts and the sciences, lets him explore larger-format photography...
We have the desire to make a garden, but then we grapple with how to start designing our home garden spaces. Design a layout plan for an area of your yard in this beginner-level class. Learn the organizational components of a coherent garden and practice the process of design with award-winning designer Christie Dustman. You will leave class with a plan in progress from which to continue your design explorations. This class is primarily about garden spaces rather than specific plant selection. You will be required to draw a base plan for your site (with tutelage in class) and will need...