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 March 25, 2019 to April 24, 2019

Giving Voice to Nature: Powers, Kimmerer, Friedman

2019 Directors Lecture Series

Giving Voice to Nature: with Richard Powers, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and William (Ned) Friedman

1 Session: Monday, March 25, 7:00–8:15pm
Location: Weld Hill Building

Sold Out. Register for Simulcast

Richard Powers, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Arnold Arboretum Director William “Ned” Friedman will join voices in this guided conversation about trees. Melding readings with discussion; drawing on mystery, lore, and science; they will convey the challenges and rewards of trying to represent non-humans—speaking both for and as the trees. Register early for this animated and enriching convergence of arboreal thinkers.

Free, member-only event. Registration required

Register online or call 617-384-5277.

The live event is filled to capacity. Register for the simulcast viewing in a second Arboretum location.

Become a member.

Richard Powers is the author of twelve novels, most recently The Overstory. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Book Award, and he has been a Pulitzer Prize and four-time National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. He lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Overstory has been a New York Times Bestseller; shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize; a New York Times Notable; Washington Post, Time, Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018.



Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants, which has earned Kimmerer wide acclaim. Her first book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. In 2015 she addressed the general assembly of the United Nations on the topic of “Healing Our Relationship with Nature.” Kimmerer is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.



Simulcast: Giving Voice to Nature: Powers, Kimmerer

2019 Directors Lecture Series

Simulcast: Giving Voice to Nature: with Richard Powers, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and William (Ned) Friedman

1 Session: Monday, March 25, 7:00–8:15pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

SIMULCAST VIEWING: Richard Powers, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Arnold Arboretum Director William “Ned” Friedman will join voices in this guided conversation about trees. Melding readings with discussion; drawing on mystery, lore, and science; they will convey the challenges and rewards of trying to represent non-humans—speaking both for and as the trees. Register early for this animated and enriching convergence of arboreal thinkers.

Post-simulcast discussion will be led by Michael Dosmann, Keeper of the Living Collections, Arnold Arboretum and Jonathan Damery, Associate Editor of Arnoldia, Arnold Arboretum

Free, member-only event. Registration required

Register online or call 617-384-5277.

The live event at our Weld Hill location is filled to capacity. You are registering for a SIMULCAST that will be viewed at the Arboretum's Hunnewell Building at 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain.

Become a member.

Richard Powers is the author of twelve novels, most recently The Overstory. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Book Award, and he has been a Pulitzer Prize and four-time National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants, which has earned Kimmerer wide acclaim, and Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, which was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing.



Photographing the Landscape

Photographing the Landscape

Robin Radin, MFA, Photographer
8 Thursdays: March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9, 16, 6:30–8:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building, Arnold Arboretum
Demand more from your landscape photographs than just a depiction of a beautiful sunset or seascape. Broaden your photographic vision and push your landscape photographs to be more creative and dynamic. Capture the landscape (both rural and urban) with new and refreshing perspectives by means of weekly class assignments. You will also view the work of some contemporary landscape photographers and discuss what makes them great. Bring your camera (any kind) to class and prepare to bring in 4" x 6" prints each week.
Fee $210

Offered with Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts

Register at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5277.
The American Chestnut: When Will It Flourish Again?

The American Chestnut: When Will It Flourish Again?

Presented by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

1 Session: Saturday, March 30, 9:00am–12:30pm


The American chestnut could be the first tree ever restored to its native forest after suffering from a devastating airborne blight in the early 1900s that killed billions of trees.


Join us for a thought-provoking gathering as experts share perspectives on the history of American chestnut (Castanea dentata), its significance as a forest species, and subsequent decimation by an invasive blight pathogen, Cryphonectria parasitica. Ongoing research in blight tolerance and the addition of blight-tolerant genes are the prognosis for this tree’s future.

Special speakers include:

• Dr. David Foster, Director of the Harvard Forest

• Ms. Sara Fitzsimmons, Director of Restoration at The American Chestnut Foundation

• Dr. William Powell, Professor and Director of Council on Biotechnology and Forestry at State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

• Dr. Jared Westbrook, Director of Science at The American Chestnut Foundation

A panel discussion will follow the lectures:

Introduction by Ms. Lisa Thomson, President and CEO of The American Chestnut Foundation

Fee Free, but registration requested

Generously sponsored by New England chapter members of The American Chestnut Foundation

Event takes place at the Arnold Arboretum's WELD HILL RESEARCH BUILDING, 1300 Centre Street, Roslindale, MA

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


Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds

Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds

Gavin Van Horn, PhD, Director, Cultures of Conservation, Center for Humans and Nature
1 Session: Wednesday, April 3, 7:00–8:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

A wanderer and writer with a doctorate in religion, Gavin Van Horn inhabits a big city. And that city (Chicago) has offered him something to compliment and complicate the solitude of the woods or a remote mountainside: a window onto the attractiveness of cities to animals. What was once in his mind essentially a nature-free zone turns out to be a bustling environment where millions of wild things roam. He came to realize that our own paths are crisscrossed by the tracks and flyways of black-crowned night herons, Cooper’s hawks, brown bats, coyotes, opossums, white-tailed deer, and many others who thread their lives ably through our own. In his book, The Way of Coyote, Van Horn describes this urban amalgam in prose that weaves myth with science, ecological loss with abundance, and reflects on the role wildlife can play in waking us to a shared sense of place and fate. Visit his website at storyforager.com

Also consider registering for Van Horn's walk, Cultivating Wildness Where You Are, on Apri 4. 

Fee $5 member, $10 nonmember, free for students

“Van Horn reminds us that urban is not the same as absence of nature. He writes with great beauty and dignity about how we might better align ourselves with the natural world and establish urban habitats where a diversity of wildlife can flourish. As the author rambles through the canyons of Chicago skyscrapers looking for roosting peregrine falcons, or kayaks along sewers and canals in search of beavers, the voices of ecologist Aldo Leopold, Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu and Coyote—the trickster and mischiefmaker of Native American myth—lend both wisdom and charm to a true story about how the paths of people and wildlife cross and merge and how, if we attend to each other’s needs, we may all enjoy a brighter urban future.”

Wall Street Journal

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

Cultivating Wildness Where You Are

Cultivating Wildness Where You Are

Gavin Van Horn, PhD, Director, Cultures of Conservation, Center for Humans and Nature
1 Session: Thursday, April 4, 9:30am–11:00am

Redirect your commute to the Arnold Arboretum for an exploratory journey into what wildness is, what it could be, and how it might be recovered in our daily lives. No matter if you live in the city or farther afield, exposure to natural elements and observation of other-than-human creatures can refresh your mind and fuel your soul. Gavin Van Horn will lead this landscape amble, interjecting readings and thoughts for finding wildness within and beyond self. Dress according to the weather and plan to walk approximately one mile, on and off trail, up and down steep terrain. Visit his website at storyforager.com

Fee $20 member, $28 nonmember,

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.


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

Basic ID of Evergreens

Basic Identification of Evergreens

Laura Mele, Arnold Arboretum Horticulturist; MA Certified and ISA Certified Arborist
1 Session: Saturday, April 13, 9:30–11:30a.pm
Location: Weld Hill Building

Evergreens can be conifers or broad-leafed deciduous plants…they aren’t all pine trees. Starting in the classroom, Laura Mele will introduce basic identifying characteristics of common evergreens and the lead a tour through the Arboretum’s Conifer Collection and Rhododendron Dell for viewing bark, leaves, buds, and cones. Dress for indoor and outdoor learning and bring a hand lens if you have one.
Fee $20 member and $30 nonmember

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

Botany Blast: Season Shifts in Trees

Botany Blast: Seasonal Shifts in Trees

Kristel Schoonderwoerd, PhD Candidate, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, and Fellow of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
1 Session: Monday, April 15, 6:30–7:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

There are challenges to being a tree in a temperate climate, mainly the changing of seasons. But trees are equipped to shift with these environmental changes. Kristel Schoonderwoerd will explain how trees slow down for winter and subsequently reverse “gears” for springtime and the onset of the growing season.

Fee Free, but registration requested

This event is part of the Cambridge Science Festival, April 12-21, 2019.

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

Introduction to Medicinal Plants

An Introduction to Medicinal Plants

John de la Parra, PhD, and Ernest Anemone, JD


4 Wednesdays: April 17, 24, May 1, 8, 6:30pm–8:30pm; 1 Saturday, May 11, 10:30am–12:30pm
Location: Hunnewell Building
Have you ever wanted to be able to separate medicinal plant facts from fiction? This introductory survey course, taught by two experts in the field of ethnobotany, will reveal essential connections between both the anthropological foundations and scientific principles underlying plant-derived drugs around the world. Knowledge will be built for the non-expert, atop four essential pillars of anthropology, botany, chemistry, and pharmacology. The class will be structured to include interactive classroom exercises, the making of simple herbal remedies, and lectures. Our learning experience will culminate in an intimate tour of the Arboretum’s medicinal plants on Saturday, May 11.
Fee $180 member, $230 nonmember

Instructors: John de la Parra, PhD, Associate, Harvard University Herbaria. Ethnobotany Research Scientist, MIT Media Lab, Open Agriculture Initiative. Lecturer, Tufts University Environmental Studies Program. Lecturer, Northeastern University Biotechnology Program. Ernest Anemone, JD, Lecturer, Tufts University Experimental College, Co-creator and instructor of the courses ‘Medicinal Plants from the Sacred to the Scientific’ and ‘The Cannabis Debate: The Intersection of Science, Culture, and the Law.’



Register at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5277.
Tree Spotter Basic Training 2019

Tree Spotters Citizen Science Program: Basic Training

Suzanne Mrozak, Tree Spotter Volunteer Coordinator and Danny Schissler, Project Coordinator, Arnold Arboretum
Select a date:  March 24 10:30-12:00pm [HB], April 20, 10:30-12:00pm [WH], April 27, 10:30-12:00pm [HB], May 5, 10:30-12:00pm [HB]
Location:  March 24, April 27, May 5 Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall; April 20, Weld Hill Lecture Hall

Multiple Sessions: March 24 10:30-12:00pm [HB], April 20, 10:30-12:00pm [WH], April 27, 10:30-12:00pm [HB], May 5, 10:30-12:00pm [HB]

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 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

Each new Tree Spotter must first attend one Basic Training class (Module 1), followed by at least one Beyond the Basics class (Module 2). Please register for both modules if you would like to participate in this program. 

The Basic Training class (Module 1) provides an introduction to citizen science, phenology, and an overview of the Tree Spotters program. Each Beyond the Basics class (Module 2) will focus on how to observe different tree and shrub species, and record and submit data. 

All Tree Spotters events are free, and all levels of experience are welcome. Visit the Tree Spotters web page to learn more about the program and see training session dates for Modules 1 and 2. 


If you have any questions, please email us at TreeSpotters@fas.harvard.edu.

 

Free but registration requested
Register at my.arboretum.harvard.edu or call 617-384-5209.