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 November 17, 2019 to December 17, 2019

Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat

Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat

Robert Spengler III, PhD, Director of the Paleoethnobotany Laboratories, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany
1 Session: Wednesday, December 4, 7:00–8:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

From almonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consume today have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric Central Asia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe, America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. The exchange of goods, ideas, cultural practices, and genes along these ancient routes extends back five thousand years, and organized trade along the Silk Road dates to at least Han Dynasty China in the second century BC. Robert Spengler presents a broad array of archaeological, botanical, and historical evidence, narrating the story of the origins and spread of agriculture across Inner Asia and into Europe and East Asia. Through the preserved remains of plants found in archaeological sites, he identifies the regions where our most familiar crops were domesticated and follows their routes as people carried them around the world, shaping the course of human history.

Fee Free member and student, $5 nonmember

Robert Spengler IIIRobert Spengler III is studying the paleoeconomy and ecology of Central Asia from the third millennium B.C. onward and has ongoing research projects in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Mongolia. While he has used several methods in the archaeobotanical sciences, he primarily analyzes macrobotanical remains. Through this research he has shown that farming was an important part of the economy across eastern Central Asia for at least four millennia and that many important crops spread through this region in prehistory. Through his archaeobotanical studies, he is helping to fill in the last major gaps in the global map of agricultural spread, and showing how important the Silk Road was in the spread of specific crops and technologies.



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



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.

Free, but registration requested

View a printable 2019-2020 schedule.


Introductory Tree and Shrub Pruning

Measure Twice, Cut Once: Introductory Tree and Shrub Pruning

Andrew Gapinski, Head of Horticulture, Arnold Arboretum
1 Session: Saturday, December 14, 9:30am–Noon
Location: Hunnewell Building and Landscape

Put down the hedge shears! Through both classroom instruction and hands-on field training, this class will include what’s, whys, and how’s of proper pruning approaches and techniques. Andrew Gapinski will focus on small ornamental trees, young shade trees, and shrubs with general approaches towards maintaining a plant’s natural form and encouraging health and vigor. Note: Pruning for fruit production will not be covered in this offering. Dress for indoor and outdoor learning.

Fee $30 member, $38 nonmember

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