May eNewsletter

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May 2015


In this issue

  • Tree Spotters Effort Boosts Citizen Science
  • Enjoy Lilac Sunday’s Sights and Scents on May 10
  • Peter Ashton on Conserving Asia’s Tropical Forests
  • May Classes Focus on Photos, Flowers, and Trees
  • Palaver Strings Concert Spotlights Climate Change
  • Free Tours This Season Promote Exploration
  • New Members Take Home an Arboretum Lilac
  • Gain a Botanist’s View on Fascination of Plants Day
  • Artist Demonstration Highlights Invented Landscape
  • Enjoy Lilac Sunday’s Sights and Scents on May 10

    For more than a century, the Arboretum has invited the public to festively observe the annual flowering of our renowned collection of species and hybrid lilacs, now numbering some 370 plants of 167 different kinds. Join us for Lilac Sunday on Mother’s Day, May 10, to enjoy the lilacs and many other plants in bloom across our 281-acre landscape. Enjoy activities from 10:00am to 3:00pm including tours, family fun, science activities, and displays. Nearly 20 food trucks will be on hand from Food Truck Festivals of New England, and picnicking is allowed on this day only. Street parking along the Arboretum perimeter is limited, so use of public transportation is encouraged.

    Peter Ashton on Conserving Asia’s Tropical Forests

    Former Arboretum Director Peter Ashton has focused his career on studying the biology, composition, and ecology of Asia’s tropical forests. His efforts reveal the catastrophic effects of rapid development and a changing climate on these critical hotspots of biodiversity. Join Peter on May 16 at 3:00pm for a special event and lecture celebrating the publication his new book, On the Forests of Tropical Asia, the first ever comprehensive account of all the tropical forests of one continental region. Find out what makes these forests so essential and why their conservation must be a global priority.

    May Classes Focus on Photos, Flowers, and Trees

    Take a class this month to help you cultivate a deeper appreciation of plants, nature, and science. Improve your photographs of nature and try out new techniques in an outdoor workshop with Eric Gehring on May 2. Get ready for Lilac Sunday with an in-depth look at lilacs in history and the humanities with fellows from the Radcliffe Institute on May 3. Horticulturist Jim Gorman spotlights small trees with multi-season interest on May 12 and June 9, while Manager of Plant Records Kyle Port introduces Boston’s most common trees on May 17. Join us for a closer look at plants during this spectacular season of renewal.

    Palaver Strings Concert Spotlights Climate Change

    Enjoy a free outdoor concert at the Arboretum on Saturday, May 2 at 4:00pm by Palaver Strings. The Boston-based orchestra presents a classical program in the Leventritt Garden to explore the issue of climate change through music. The ensemble’s program features Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence and Scandinavian folk tunes, interspersed with thoughts from climate change experts and sketches of improvised theater. Join us for an event inspiring reflection and forward action to help make our world a brighter place.

    Free Tours This Season Promote Exploration

    Visitors on tour

    Discover great plants and explore the Arboretum on a guided tour each Monday, Thursday, and Saturday at 10:30am and on Sundays at 1:00pm. Take a birding walk with docent Bob Mayer on May 2 at the Peters Hill Gate, May 3 at the South Street Gate, and May 30 at the Arborway Gate. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the Dana Greenhouses and Nursery on May 5. On May 16, accompany your kids or grandkids on a special family walk, the first of a monthly series highlighting plants and natural phenomena. Join us in the landscape this May for fun and learning!

    New Members Take Home an Arboretum Lilac

    The Arboretum relies on public support to sustain our remarkable plant collections, historical landscape, and programs for public education. Participate in our mission by becoming a member on Lilac Sunday and receive a young lilac plant with our thanks. This year new members may select one of two choice lilac cultivars: Syringa vulgaris ‘Atheline Wilbur’ (“double” pink flowers) or S. vulgaris ‘President Lincoln’ (“blue” flowers). Join the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum and take one home to grow for yourself, or with a donation of $35 or more in honor of Mom for Mother’s Day!

    Gain a Botanist’s View on Fascination of Plants Day


    May 18 brings the third international Fascination of Plants Day, sponsored by the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO). With events planned around the world, the goal of this special day is build global interest in plants and underscore the importance of plant science to agriculture, horticulture, forestry, conservation, and industry. Celebrate nature and curiosity at the Arboretum with a tour at 1:00pm presented by Harvard Professor Elena Kramer, with a focus on how plants build their bodies, respond to the environment, and generate diversity.

    Artist Demonstration Highlights Invented Landscape

    As Manager of Children’s Education at the Arboretum, Nancy Sableski helps Boston’s schoolchildren see plants and the natural world in new and evocative ways. Her paintings endeavor to work the same magic with viewers of all ages. Her exhibition of current works of imaginary views of the Arboretum landscape continues in the Hunnewell Building through May 29. Learn more about these works and Nancy’s approach to depicting the Arboretum at a demonstration on May 9.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except concert image courtesy of Palaver Strings.

    Tree Spotters Effort Boosts Citizen Science

    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 new 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 a changing climate on plants. Attend a training session on May 17 at 1:30pm to learn more. All experience levels are welcome.

    Find out more and register…

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