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 October 22, 2018 to November 21, 2018

What’s Going on in this Graph?

What’s Going On in This Graph?

Sharon Hessney, Writer and Moderator of New York Times Learning Network "What's Going On in This Graph?"
1 Session: Monday, October 22, 7:00–8:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

Graphs can go a long way in conveying information that might otherwise take several paragraphs to explain. But it is easy to misread or not fully understand the content and context. In this participatory program, we will decipher several graphs based on data from Arnold Arboretum curators and scientists. We will also look at the data and decide whether the data are well-represented and convey the story intended. If reading graphs is intriguing but challenging for you, come gain more practice and insights into grasping “What’s Going On in This Graph?”

Fee Free member, student, and teacher; $10 nonmember

Register at or call 617-384-5277.

Growing Woody Plants from Seeds

Growing Woody Plants from Seeds

Sean Halloran, Plant Propagator, Arnold Arboretum
1 Session: Saturday, October 27, 9:00am–12:30pm
Location: Dana Greenhouse, Arnold Arboretum, 1050 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain

Learn about seed biology, embryo dormancy, and factors present in woody plant seeds with Arnold Arboretum propagator Sean Halloran. The class will focus on seed storage and various treatment techniques, including over-wintering and aftercare. Dress appropriately for indoor and outdoor learning as participants will collect seeds from the Arboretum’s Living Collections. 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 for all materials is included in the cost of the class.

Fee $55 member, $68 nonmember

Register at or call 617-384-5277.

Songs in the Fog Performance by Shinja Choi

Songs in the Fog

Performance by Shinja Choi

Saturday, October 27, 2018, 4:00pm and 5:00pm

Reception with the artist, 5:00-5:30pm


Location: Hunnewell Building lawn

Join us at the Arnold Arboretum as we come to the close of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy's Fog x FLO  installation by artist Fujiko Nakaya. Returning from her successful opening performance here at the Arboretum, lyric soprano, Shinja Choi, will sing a selection of songs for the Arboreum's Fog x Hill. Shinja has performed operas and oratorios with orchestras in Korea, Japan, the United States, Germany, and more. She has won competitions in the United States, Austria, and Japan.
Born in Seoul, Shinja has a Masters of Music from the Manhattan School of Music, and has taught voice at universities in South Korea. She currently lives in the Boston area and performs sacred music. Photo by Lawrence Mullings.
Free, no registration required
Forest Bathing: Half Day Retreat

Forest Bathing - Half Day Retreat

Guided Therapeutic Experience
Year Round, 1st Saturday and 1st Thursday of each month,
Tam Willey, Certified Forest Therapy Guide
Year Round, 1st Saturday and 1st Thursday of each month
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 or call 617-384-5209

In case of inclement weather, contact 617.304.9313

Design with Plants

Design with Plants

Christie Dustman, Certified Landscape Designer, APLD, Christie Dustman and Co.
5 Sessions: November 1, 8, 15, 29, 6:30–8:30pm and Saturday, November 3, 9:30–11:30am [Garden Visit]
Location: Hunnewell Building

As you survey your garden, do you feel like the plants just don't hang together? Does planting design seem to be an innate sense that you just don’t have? Come and learn to think about plants in terms of their form and function first, and then learn some strategies to more successfully lay out your planting plan. The class will consist of classroom exercises, lectures, and a visit to nearby gardens on a Saturday. It is helpful if you have a drawn plan of a garden area you are working on.

Fee $140 member, $182 nonmember

Register online at
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.

Introduction to Bonsai

Introduction to Bonsai

Glen Lord, Horticulturist and Bonsai Specialist
1 Session: Saturday, November 3, 1:30–4:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

Bonsai is the ancient Japanese method of growing and caring for a tree whose growth is restricted by the size of the shallow pot in which it is planted and by the pruning of its branches and roots. In this class, Glen Lord, who consults for the Arnold Arboretum’s bonsai (Japanese) and penjing (Chinese) collection of dwarf potted plants, will speak first about the history of bonsai. He will then demonstrate the methods employed in creating and caring for a bonsai. Participants will plant a tropical specimen and learn about basic pruning, styling, and aftercare. The methods learned in this class can then be applied to other plants, such as temperate trees. The class fee includes a tropical plant, tools, soil, and a pot.
Fee $65 member, $80 nonmember

Register online at

What Nature Sounds Are Music?

What Nature Sounds Are Music?

David Rothenberg, Professor of Philosophy and Music, New Jersey Institute of Technology
1 Session: Saturday, November 17, 2:00–3:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

Bird song, whale song, bug song? Are these sounds really music? What of the whistle of the wind? David Rothenberg, author of three books, Why Birds Sing, Bug Music, and Survival of the Beautiful, will do his best to answer these questions and fuel further thinking about noise, communication, and song in nature. A composer and jazz clarinetist, David Rothenberg has written and performed on the relationship between humanity and nature for many years, and improvised with whales, cicadas, and other creatures.

Fee $10 member, $15 nonmember

Register at or call 617-384-5277.