Events

    Tree Spotters Citizen Science Program: Basic Training

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall or Weld Hill Lecture Hall, Arnold Arboretum, Boston

    With nearly 4,000 different kinds of plants represented in the Arboretum's living collections, every day presents rich opportunities to see something new. If you enjoy learning about plants and their unique characteristics, you can contribute to science as a participant in our Tree Spotters program. This citizen science project opens a window into the Arboretum's phenology: the timing of natural events, such as the leafing out and flowering of trees in the spring and changing foliage colors in the fall. Your observations will assist Arboretum scientists in their studies of the effects of...

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    An Introduction to Medicinal Plants

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, Boston

    Have you ever wanted to be able to separate medicinal plant facts from fiction? This introductory survey course, taught by two experts in the field of ethnobotany, will reveal essential connections between both the anthropological foundations and scientific principles underlying plant-derived drugs around the world. Knowledge will be built for the non-expert, atop four essential pillars of anthropology, botany, chemistry, and pharmacology. The class will be structured to include interactive classroom exercises, the making of simple herbal remedies, and lectures. Our learning experience...

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    Lecture: Chasing Ants (And Their Microbes) in the Rainforest

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    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.

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    Lecture: Self-Domestication in Bonobos and Other Wild Animals

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    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...

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    Living with White Sharks

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge

    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...

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    Conifers in Winter

    Location: 

    Bussey Street Gate, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
    Docent Robbie Apfel leads this winter walk in an exploration of the Arboretum's conifer collection. Beginning from the Bussey Street Gate, you will be introduced to the Arboretum's grand gymnosperms, learn the botany of conifers, and hear about Hemlock Hill's evolving ecosystem. This tour will also introduce you to native and non-native conifers in the winter landscape.
     
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    Growing Woody Plants from Hardwood Cuttings

    Location: 

    Dana Greenhouse Classroom, 1050 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    Join Manager of Plant Production Tiffany Enzenbacher to learn how to propagate woody plants from fall cuttings. Students will collect and stick cuttings of several taxa (Ilex and Pieris to name a few), and will take their propagules home. After rooting, small plants may be ready to transplant as early as next year. Post-class nurturing will be required. Fee for all...

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    The Secret Lives of Roots

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    The Arnold Arboretum is full of spectacular specimens from around the world that any visitor will appreciate. However, what they observe is only half the story. How a tree uptakes water and nutrients, stays grounded in place, stores energy, and sometimes even propagates itself, is all thanks to its roots. Join horticulturists Andrew Gapinski and Conor Guidarelli as they unearth these questions and more during an exclusive look into the extraordinary world of roots.

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    Fabulous Fungus Fair

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Explore the wondrous world of fungi! Join Harvard students for a closer look at the mushrooms, yeasts, and molds found in gardens, forests, labs—even in our own refrigerators. This is an opportunity to investigate museum collections and participate in hands-on activities led by Harvard students.

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    Growing Woody Plants from Seeds

    Location: 

    Dana Greenhouse, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    Learn about seed biology, embryo dormancy, and factors present in woody plant seeds. The class will focus on seed storage and various treatment techniques, including over-wintering and aftercare. Appropriate for those who have succeeded at growing some plants from seed and are ready for greater challenges. Post-class nurturing will be required. Fee $55 members; $68 non-members.

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    The Undiscovered

    Location: 

    Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA

    To paraphrase Louis Pasteur, sometimes luck favors the prepared mind, as when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by noticing that mold growing accidentally in his lab seemed to kill bacteria. This 2018 Radcliffe Institute science symposium will focus on how scientists explore realities they cannot anticipate. Speakers from across the disciplines of modern science will present personal experiences and discuss how to train scientists, educators, and funders to foster the expertise and open-mindedness needed to reveal undiscovered aspects of the world around us.

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    Small Trees for Small Spaces

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building and Landscape, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    Urban and suburban planting spaces are often constrained, often not ideal for accommodating a large oak, linden, or maple tree. But there are many smaller tree species that will thrive in a smaller space and won’t overwhelm the area. Some trees are cultivars that have been selected for their smaller size or narrow characteristics, while others are naturally genetically petite. Guided by the “right plant, right place” philosophy, Laura Mele...

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    Exhibition: The Rockefeller Beetles

    Location: 

    Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Over the span of 90 years, banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller collected beetles from around the world, eventually building a personal collection of more than 150,000 specimens. In 2017, his longstanding support for the entomology department of the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology culminated in a gift to the museum of this extraordinary collection. Join the Harvard Museum of Natural History in celebrating this invaluable gift with a visit to The Rockefeller Beetles—a new exhibit that will feature hundreds of specimens from Rockefeller’s collection and recount the...

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    Quantum Tools to Explore the Universe…and Help Life on Earth

    Location: 

    60 Garden Street, Phillips Auditorium, 60 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138

    At the Center for Astrophysics, we exploit quantum physics to advance the state-of-the-art in measurement and imaging, and then apply these tools to search for Earth-like planets around other stars and probe the nature, history, and fate of the Universe. Sometimes, these quantum tools can also be applied to down-to-Earth problems — ranging from health to navigation. 

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    Here Come the Seeds: The Journey of a Seed from Collection to Propagation at the Arboretum

    Location: 

    Larz Anderson Bonsai & Penjing Collection, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    Manager of Plant Production, Tiffany Enzenbacher, will discuss the Arnold Arboretum's propagule collection and documentation procedure. She will also display some of the different types of fruits, nuts, and seeds that are in the process of becoming the next generation of Arboretum plants. Seed showcased will be those collected during Tiffany's 2018 expedition to the Ozarks, as well as those collected on other institutional collecting trips.

    Free,...

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    Nature vs. Fiction in Sci-Fi Movies

    Location: 

    Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

    Miaki Ishii, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University

    Recent volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala remind us of how devastating these geological eruptions can be. Popular culture depictions of volcanic disasters found in movies like Dante’s Peak and Volcano can strongly distort the public’s understanding of volcanic activity and its immediate effects. As with many science-fiction films, Hollywood depictions of natural phenomena don’t always align with the scientific facts. Seismologist Miaki...

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    Family Hike - Seeds with Wings

    Location: 

    Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum, 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

    Learn among the trees and discover the Arboretum on guided hikes for families. Seeds can fly. Find out which ones do and how they do it. One adult may bring a maximum of three children; suitable for children ages five through twelve. Meet in the Hunnewell Visitor Center.

    Free, drop in, no registration required.

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