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 May 23, 2019 to June 22, 2019

Forest Bathing

Saturday Forest Bathing

2nd & 4th Saturdays in April and May, 9:00am-11:00am
Tam Willey, Certified Forest Therapy Guide
Location: Bussey St. Gate Entrance at map tables

Forest Bathing is inspired by Shinrin-yoku, a prominent feature of preventative medicine and healing in Japan.  From increased cerebral blood flow to stronger immune defenses, there has been extensive research demonstrating what can happen when we relax, unplug and open our senses to the natural world in community.  

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.  

Tam is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide, Training Apprentice and Mentor with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. Tam believes the practice of Forest Bathing can deepen and broaden our relationships. Tam’s training includes an understanding of the scientific framework of Forest Therapy as well as the cultural repair that is made possible by holding space for seekers of this medicine to share and bear witness in community as part of the natural world.  Tam created Toadstool Walks as a way to offer support in finding one’s own way towards experiencing belonging to the natural world.

For more information about Tam, check out ToadstoolWalks.com


Fee $25 member, $35 nonmember
Register at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5209

In case of inclement weather, contact 617.304.9313

Plants Go to War: A Botanical History of World War II

Plants Go to War: A Botanical History of World War II

Judith Sumner, PhD, Author and Botanist
1 Session: Date to be Determined
Location: Hunnewell Building

NOTE: We are postponing this lecture as the book has been delayed at the publishing house. We will reschedule as soon as we have a firm date.

As the first botanical history of World War II, Plants Go to War examines military history from the perspective of plant science. From victory gardens to drugs, timber, rubber, and fibers, plants supplied materials with key roles in victory. Author and botanist Judith Sumner will speak of the many plants that were incorporated into wartime safety materials, diet and rations, and even bombers.

Fee Free, but registration requested

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 2018-2019 schedule.


Identifying Ferns of the Arnold Arboretum

Identifying Ferns of the Arnold Arboretum

Jacob Suissa, Fellow, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
1 Session: Saturday, June 1, 9:30am–12:30pm
Location: Weld Hill Research Building and Arboretum Landscape

Considering its size and location New England has a relatively rich flora of ferns and fern allies (clubmosses, spikemosses, and quillworts). While it is possible to see almost all these species somewhere in the state of Massachusetts, several can be found at the Arnold Arboretum. Fern specialist Jacob Suissa will teach the anatomy, reproduction, and key identifying characters that will help you to identify the ferns and fern allies of the Arboretum and New England. Participants will begin indoors at the Arboretum’s Weld Hill Research Building with a lecture and then move outdoors to Hemlock Hill and Bussey Brook for a fern foray. Dress for indoor and outdoor learning.
Fee $40 member, $50 nonmember

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

Compost Compendium

Compost Compendium

Conor Guidarelli, Horticulturist, Arnold Arboretum
1 Session: Thursday, June 6, 6:00–8:00pm
Location: Hunnewell Building and Landscape

Horticulturist Conor Guidarelli manages the Arnold Arboretum’s organic materials recycling area and has recently improved the production and quality of the resulting compost. Conor will discuss the components of compost and the nutrients that can be returned to a site when compost is applied. He will explain the mix of brown to green materials, moisture, and aeration. Class participants will start in the classroom and then travel to the Arboretum’s materials yard to see compost in various stages of development.

Fee $20 member, $30 nonmember

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

Growing Woody Plants from Softwood Cuttings

Growing Woody Plants from Softwood Cuttings

Tiffany Enzenbacher, Manager of Plant Production Arnold Arboretum
1 Session: Wednesday, June 12, 5:30–7:30pm
Location: Dana Greenhouse

Hydrangea and Cherry and Willow, oh my! Join Manager of Plant Production Tiffany Enzenbacher to learn how to propagate woody plants from summer cuttings. Students will collect and stick cuttings of several landscape plants. Cuttings will be rooted at the greenhouse to be retrieved later for transplanting into the registrant’s garden or potted up into small containers. Fee for all materials is included in the cost of the class. Students should bring their own pruners and dress for the weather. Limited to 10; register early.

Fee $36 member, $45 nonmember

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

Deciduous Tree Identification

Deciduous Tree Identification

Laura Mele, Horticulturist, Arnold Arboretum
1 Session: Thursday, June 20, 6:00–8:00pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

Starting in the classroom and then moving outdoors to see live specimens, Laura Mele will introduce identification methods for deciduous trees commonly found in New England. Bring a notebook, hand lens if you have one, and plan for indoor and outdoor learning.

Fee $20 member, $30 nonmember

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

In the Groves: A Summer Solstice Journey

In the Groves: A Summer Solstice Journey

Diane Edgecomb, Storyteller, and Margot Chamberlain, Celtic Harpist
2 Sessions (select one): Friday, June 21, or Saturday, June 22, 6:30–8:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building and Arboretum Landscape
Join us for an enchanting evening of Tree Myths, Songs and Summer Solstice Legends. Diane and Margot spin tales of the human connection with trees and the deep meaning we have assigned to them through the ages. This unique performance, designed specifically for the Arnold Arboretum, travels through the Arboretum with story and music. Each story is told under a different tree or among a unique collection of Arboretum plants. The program begins under a grand Cedar of Lebanon, moves into the rosaceous collection, to the oaks of Bussey Hill, then onward to Hemlock Hill, culminating with the haunting Czech legend “The Wild Woman of the Birch Grove” told amid the birches at sunset. Appropriate for adults and for children twelve years and above. Bring a cushion to sit on if you wish. Registrants will walk approximately two miles on and off trails on uneven terrain. The performance takes place rain or shine. In the event of rain, it will be held in the Hunnewell Building lecture hall. Register early for this popular event.

Fee $20 per person through June 15; $25 per person after June 15