Adult Education

Adult Education

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a community resource for education, offering a variety of learning opportunities including lectures, classes, workshops, and tours of our living collections and historical landscape. Join us as we explore the biology and horticulture of woody plants, and delve into topics related to Earth’s biodiversity and evolutionary history, the environment, conservation biology, and key social issues associated with current science.

Featured Programs

Viewing Events from April 23, 2018 to May 23, 2018

Tree Mob: Beeches--Drastic Measures in Collections Management

Tree Mob™! Beeches: Drastic Measures in Collections Management

1 Session: Tuesday, April 24, 3:00pm
Location:
Meet at the intersection of Beech Path and Hemlock Hill Road near Acc. # 290-93*A

 

When managing a living collection of plants, one deals with destructive pests and diseases as well as natural aging and variable weather conditions. This can necessitate tough decisions. In the case of the Arboretum’s Beech Collection, Arnold Arboretum collections stewards have recently taken drastic measures, removing a large number of beech (Fagus spp.) trees. Infected with beech bark disease, some of the oldest beeches in the Arboretum have gone into decline. Caused by an exotic sap-feeding scale insect (Cryptococcus fagisuga) and a secondary infection of two fungi species (Neonectria spp.), beech bark disease poses an ecological threat to forest and cultivated trees throughout the Northeast. In order to combat this destructive disease here at the Arboretum, heavily affected and failing trees–sources of fungal inoculum–are being removed from the collections. Join Andrew Gapinski, Manager of Horticulture, and others on Tuesday, April 24 at 3:00pm to learn about current and future efforts to keep the beeches as healthy as possible. Meet at the intersection of Hemlock Hill Road and Beech Path at Acc. # 290-93*A European beech (Fagus sylvatica).

Parking: Park along Bussey Street (keep tires off sidewalk) and enter through the Bussey Street Gate. Walk along Hemlock Hill Road to its intersection with Beech Path.

Public Transportation: Take the MBTA Orange Line to Forest Hills. At the upper level of the station, cross Washington Street and turn left to the Washington Street Gate. Enter and follow Blackwell Footpath to its end. Cross South Street. Enter through South Street Gate and walk straight to the intersection with Beech Path.

See map of gate locations. See directions.

Free: No registration required

What’s a Tree Mob™?

Tree Mobs are interactions with scientists or other specialists at the Arnold Arboretum, and provide another pathway to enjoy and learn in the landscape. Learn more.

 

Nature Photography Workshop

Nature Photography Workshop

Erik Gehring, Freelance Photographer and Multi-media Producer
1 Session: Saturday, April 28, 9:00am–12:30pm [Rain Date: 04/29]
Location: Hunnewell Building

Improve your photographs of nature in this half-day workshop–a talk followed by hands-on experience. The class takes place at the Arnold Arboretum at one of the most beautiful times of year. Learn about composition, color, light, depth of field and focus. Bring your camera and manual and familiarize yourself with the operation of your camera prior to the workshop.
Fee $70
Offered with The Eliot School

Register at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5277.

City Nature Challenge: Central Woodland

City Nature Challenge: A Walk through Central Woodland

Danny Schissler, Research Assistant, Friedman Lab and Suzanne Mrozak,Tree Spotters Volunteer Coordinator
1 Session: Saturday, April 28, 1:00–3:00pm
Location: Arnold Arboretum Landscape

Ready to explore the Arboretum’s wild side? Join us for a walk through Central Woodland, one of the Arboretum’s minimally maintained natural areas, and learn about the history and ecology of these often-overlooked “urban wilds”. We’ll see traces of New England history and glimpses of the future among remnant native plants and encroaching invaders. Meet at the intersection of Conifer Path and Valley Road.

As part of the Boston’s City Nature Challenge weekend, participants in this event will have the option to use the iNaturalist phone app to record plant and wildlife data in the field and submit observations. This event is open to guests of all ages, and you’ll need a smartphone with a camera to participate in the citizen science portion. All necessary iNaturalist training will be provided.
Free, no registration needed

City Nature Challenge: Wetland Wonders

City Nature Challenge: Wetland Wonders

Brendan Keegan, Arnold Arboretum Gardener
1 Session: Sunday, April 29, 9:00–11:00am
Location: Arnold Arboretum,  Hunnewell Building

Supporting the nearby Alder and Willow collections, the Meadow Road wetland (sometimes called “The Meadow”) is mostly known for its much-loved cattails and late-summer sunflowers. Join us to explore the plant species found in this urban wetland and learn about the birds, insects and other wildlife that call it home. Meet at the Arboretum's Hunnewell Building at 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain. Wear shoes appropriate for exploring muddy and damp areas.

As part of the Boston’s City Nature Challenge weekend, participants in this event will have the option to use the iNaturalist phone app to record plant and wildlife data in the field and submit observations. This event is open to guests of all ages, and you’ll need a smartphone with a camera to participate in the citizen science portion. All necessary iNaturalist training will be provided.
Free, no registration needed

Collections Up Close: Cherry Collection

Collections Up Close: Cherry Collection

Sunday, April 29
Drop in between 1:00-3:00pm

Location: Cherry Collection (Prunus spp.)

Join us for an afternoon of festivities in the Cherry Collection (Prunus spp.) near Forest Hills Road and the Bradley Rosaceous Collection.  Explore a diverse and growing collection of flowering cherries that includes plants collected early in plant explorer Ernest Henry Wilson's career, rare native species, and many species not typically found in the nursery trade.  

Event Details:

1:30 pm Tour with Michael Dosmann, The Keeper of the Living Collections

Family Activity with Sarah Tuttle, Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife

Lemonade & cookies

As part of the Boston’s City Nature Challenge weekend, participants in this event will have the option to use the iNaturalist phone app to record plant and wildlife data in the field and submit observations. This event is open to guests of all ages, and you’ll need a smartphone with a camera to participate in the citizen science portion. All necessary iNaturalist training will be provided.

Parking is available along Arborway Rd.  Enter the Arboretum through Arborway Gate or Forest Hills Gate and meet at the map table at the ponds.

Free! No registration needed.



Director's Lecture Series: Randall Fuller

DIRECTOR'S LECTURE SERIES

When Darwin Met Thoreau

Randall Fuller, PhD, Herman Melville Distinguished Professor of American Literature, University of Kansas
1 Session: Monday, April 30, 7:00–8:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

On January 1, 1860, Henry David Thoreau learned about a new work of science entitled On the Origin of Species. Within a month, he had read the book, taken extensive notes, and begun to incorporate Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection into his understanding of nature. In this talk, Professor Randall Fuller will recount Thoreau’s deep engagement with what remains one of the most important concepts of the nineteenth century.


Fee Free. Members only. Registration required as seating is limited.

Become a member.

Register online at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5277.

Forest Bathing: Half Day Retreat

Forest Bathing - Half Day Retreat

Guided Therapeutic Experience
Year Round, 1st Saturday and 1st Thursday of each month (beginning Sat. March 3) 
8:00am-11:00am
Tam Willey, Certified Forest Therapy Guide
Year Round, 1st Saturday and 1st Thursday of each month, beginning Saturday March 3
Location: Bussey St. Gate Entrance at map tables


Did you know that spending time connecting with nature has been medically and scientifically proven to treat stress-related illnesses?  Relax and unplug on a Guided Forest Bathing Walk, a slow-paced facilitated combination of wandering, sitting, and resting.  We will cover no more than 1-2 miles as I Guide us through a sequence of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to notice more of our surroundings in a way that support reconnecting or deepening our connection with the natural world.  
 
This practice is inspired by Shinrin-Yoku, a term coined in Japan in the 1980’s, where much infrastructure has been created around designated healing forests.  Shinrin-Yoku translates to Forest Bathing and is a prominent feature of preventative medicine and healing in Japan.  A plethora of studies have been done demonstrating how nature is powerful medicine in treating stress-related illnesses.

 

Experience the healing power of the Arboretum.

Tam is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs.  She recently completed her practicum here at the Arnold Arboretum.  Tam has first hand experience of the healing benefits of spending time in nature. For more information about Tam take a look at her website, Toadstool Walks.
Fee $40 member, $50 nonmember
Register at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5209

In case of inclement weather, contact 617.304.9313

The Straight Talk on Hydrangeas

The Straight Talk on Hydrangeas

Jen Kettell, Horticultural Educator and Consultant
1 Session: Thursday, May 3, 600–8:00pm (postedponed from April 18)
Location: Hunnewell Building and Leventritt Garden
With gorgeous hydrangea cultivars flooding nurseries and garden centers, it can be challenging to choose just one (or a few!). Magnificent blooms in rich colors entice, yet their allure can lead you to purchase hydrangeas that will not thrive in your garden. Don’t let this happen. Instead, join Jen Kettell for a lively discussion on the species behind the hot trade names—especially their inherent growth characteristics—and learn how to match appropriate plants to your site conditions. She’ll suggest which species are drought-tolerant or benefit pollinators and demonstrate pruning to maximize flowering and other essential growing tips. Jen will focus on hydrangeas that are hardy in Zones 5-7. Class includes an indoor lecture and walk to a demonstration in the Leventritt Shrub and Vine Garden.
Fee $25 member, $35 nonmember

Arboretum for Educators

Arboretum for Educators

Monthly: Select Saturdays, 9:00–11:30am
Location: Hunnewell Building

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.

View 2017-2018 schedule.
Free, but registration requested

Lilac Sunday 2018

Lilac Sunday 2018

Sunday, May 13

Of the thousands of flowering plants in the Arboretum, only one, the lilac, is singled out each year for a daylong celebration. Mainly located on the edge of Bussey Hill Road in the heart of the landscape, the lilac collection at the Arnold Arboretum is among the premier collections of these plants in North America. Lilac Sunday has been celebrated at the Arnold Arboretum since 1908.

Tours of the lilacs and other special collections, family activities, and picnicking (on this special day only), make for a memorable day. Be a part of this beloved Boston tradition!

Celebrating lilacs

The Arboretum is open as usual from dawn to dusk. Event activities are available from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Please note food trucks will not be on site this year for Lilac Sunday..

Free!


Lilac Therapy Walk

Lilac Therapy Walk

Guided Therapeutic Experience
May 15 or May 17 9
:00am-11:00am
Tam Willey, Certified Forest Therapy Guide
May 15 or May 17
Location: Map table at ponds (Forest Hills Gate)

Every May, visitors flock to the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts to breathe in the fragrant lilac collection and witness the array of color.  This flower has a history of medicinal use and if you have ever spent time inhaling this sweet fragrance you may have noticed a sense of calm and relaxation.  Spending time connecting with nature has been scientifically proven to treat stress-related illnesses and lilacs are considered potent medicine when it comes to symptoms of anxiety.  May can be a time of unwinding as we transition into a new season under a warmer and brighter sun.  Whether you've been visiting the lilac collection for years or have yet to experience them, I invite you to unplug, de-stress and recharge on a Guided Lilac Therapy Walk.  

This is a two hour therapeutic experience that combines wandering, sitting, and resting.  We will cover no more than a mile, leisurely meandering through the collection as I guide us through a sequence of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to notice more of our surroundings.  

Experience the healing power of the Lilacs!

Tam is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs.  She recently completed her practicum here at the Arnold Arboretum where she has been regularly guiding Forest Bathing Walks.  Tam has first hand experience of the healing benefits of spending time in nature.  For more information about Tam take a look at her website, Toadstool Walks.

Fee $30 member, $40 nonmember
Register at
my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5209

In case of inclement weather, contact 617.304.9313

Tree Identification Primer

Tree Identification Primer

Catherine Chamberlain, Graduate Student, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Fellow of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
2 Sessions, Select One: Sunday, May 20, June 24  1:30–3:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building Landscape

Trees and shrubs can be challenging to identify, but as the saying goes, “…you will love only what you understand…” (Baba Dioum). So why not expand the number of trees and shrubs you become aware of and can identify? In this session, Cat Chamberlain will lead you through the Arnold Arboretum to practice using dichotomous keys, plant presses, and other tools often used in field research. This casual journey through the landscape will allow you to familiarize yourself with and appreciate the flora that surrounds you. Dress for learning in the landscape and bring a magnifier lens if you have one. Register for an additional session on Sunday, June 24.
Fee $10 member, $20 nonmember per session

Register at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5277.

Humane and Happy Gardening

Humane and Happy Gardening

Nancy Lawson,Garden Habitat Consultant
1 Session: Tuesday, May 22, 7:00–8:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

In this myth-busting talk, learn how common growing methods divide the natural world into false dichotomies and perpetuate misperceptions about the wild species living among us. Discover practical ways to put humane gardening philosophies into action by protecting wild nurseries of animals large and small, eliminating unintended hazards to wildlife, nurturing plants that provide food and shelter, and humanely resolving conflicts with mammals and other commonly misunderstood creatures. Nancy Lawson will provide simple principles for both attracting wildlife and peacefully resolving conflicts with all the creatures who share our world. Nancy is the author of The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife and blogs at HumaneGardener.com.
Fee $10 member; $18 nonmember

A columnist for All Animals magazine, Nancy Lawson founded Humane Gardener, an outreach initiative dedicated to animal-friendly landscaping methods. Her book and garden have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, O: The Oprah Magazine, and other media outlets. Read Nancy's recent post, Why Should I Care About These Animals

Register at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5277.