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 6, 2020 to May 6, 2020

Virtual Viewing: The Landscape Art of Nancy Sableski

Virtual Viewing: The Landscape Art of Nancy Sableski

Nancy Sableski, Manager of Children's Education, Arnold Arboretum, and Fine Artist
1 Session: Tuesday, April 7, 10:00am–11:00am
Location: Virtual Meeting via Zoom

Nancy Sableski, Arnold Arboretum Manager of Children’s Education, is also an artist who has been painting in the Arboretum since 1988, finding inspiration throughout the landscape. Join us for a virtual viewing of her work followed by a short discussion via the meeting APP Zoom.

Free. Follow instructions below for connecting to the meeting.

Topic: Arnold Arboretum Landscape Paintings by Nancy Sableski
Time: Apr 7, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom meeting by clicking this link or copying it into your browser: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/282256321

Join by telephone (use any number to dial in)
+1 929 436 2866
+1 312 626 6799
+1 669 900 6833
+1 253 215 8782
+1 301 715 8592
+1 346 248 7799
International numbers available: https://harvard.zoom.us/u/adh23WENxs
One tap mobile:
+19294362866,
282256321# US (New York)
Join by SIP conference room system Meeting ID: 282 256 321 282256321@zoomcrc.com

CANCELED: Greenovation: Urban Leadership on Climate Change

Greenovation: Urban Leadership on climate Change

Joan Fitzgerald, PhD, Professor of Urban and Public Policy, Northeastern University
1 Session: Thursday, April 9, 6:30–8:00pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

***The Arnold Arboretum has canceled this event in keeping with Harvard University’s novel coronavirus public safety protocols.***

Joan Fitzgerald, eminent urban policy scholar, argues that too many cities are implementing random acts of greenness that will do little to address the climate crisis. She instead calls for “greenovation” – using the city as a test bed for adopting and perfecting green technologies for more energy – efficient buildings, transportation, and infrastructure more broadly. Drawing on interviews with practitioners in more than 20 North American and European cities, she identifies the strategies and policies they are employing and shows how regional and national governments have supported or thwarted their efforts. Joan will specifically address Boston’s challenges and opportunities and help us understand the increasing impact of anthropocentric climate change on modern social life.
Fee Free member and student, $5 nonmember

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

CANCELLED: Arboretum for Educators

Arboretum for Educators

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

Note: This event has been canceled per Harvard University COVID-19 Guidelines.

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.


Virtual Viewing: The Landscape Art of Nancy Sableski

Virtual Viewing: The Landscape Art of Nancy Sableski

Nancy Sableski, Manager of Children's Education, Arnold Arboretum, and Fine Artist
1 Session: Thursday, April 16, 3:00pm–4:00pm
Location: Virtual Meeting via Zoom

Nancy Sableski, Arnold Arboretum Manager of Children’s Education, is also an artist who has been painting in the Arboretum since 1988, finding inspiration throughout the landscape. Join us for a virtual viewing of her work followed by a short discussion via the meeting APP Zoom.

Free. Follow instructions below for connecting to the meeting.

Topic: Arnold Arboretum Landscape Paintings by Nancy Sableski

Time: Apr 16, 2020 03:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom meeting by clicking this link or copying it into your browser: https://harvard.zoom.us/j/476532529

Join by telephone (use any number to dial in)

+1 929 436 2866

+1 312 626 6799

+1 669 900 6833

+1 253 215 8782

+1 301 715 8592

+1 346 248 7799

International numbers available: https://harvard.zoom.us/u/adh23WENxs

One tap mobile: +19294362866,,476532529# US (New York)

Join by SIP conference room system Meeting ID: 476 532 529 476532529@zoomcrc.com

CANCELED: Linnaeus: Schoolboy to Scientist

Linnaeus: From Restless Schoolboy to Revolutionary Scientist

Karen Magnuson Beil, Author, News Reporter, and Science Writer
1 Session: Saturday, April 18, 2:00–3:00pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

Note: This event has been canceled per Harvard University COVID-19 Guidelines.

The naturalists of the eighteenth century were the geeks of their day: innovators and explorers who lived at the intersection of science and commerce. Among them was Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778), a radical thinker who revolutionized biology. Learn about the young life of Linnaeus, whose drive to describe and name living things inspired generations of scientists and led him to create a classification system for plants and animals that is still of import today. In What Linnaeus Saw (Norton Young Readers; Age Range 10–14), Karen Magnuson Beil chronicles Carl Linnaeus’s life and career, from restless schoolboy to being called the Father of Taxonomy. This talk, appropriate for tweens and adults, will be followed by a book signing.

Fee Free, but registration is encouraged

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

CANCELED: Basic ID of Evergreens

Basic Identification of Evergreens

Laura Mele, Arnold Arboretum Horticulturist; MA Certified and ISA Certified Arborist
1 Session: Sunday, April 19, 9:30–11:30am
Location: Weld Hill Building

Note: This event has been canceled per Harvard University COVID-19 Guidelines.

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 $24 member and $32 nonmember

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

CANCELED: Climate Action Simulation

Climate Action Simulation

Curt Newton, En-ROADS Climate Ambassador, and Sarah Meyers, Education Program Manager at MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative
1 Session: Sunday, April 19, 1:00-4:00pm

Note: This event has been canceled per Harvard University COVID-19 Guidelines.

The Climate Action Simulation is a highly interactive, role-playing game. It uses the En-ROADS simulation model to engage a wide range of participants in exploring key technology and policy solutions for addressing global warming. The game is conducted as a simulated emergency climate summit organized by the United Nations that convenes global stakeholders to establish a concrete plan that limits warming to Paris Agreement goals. This game is a fun format for groups to explore climate change solutions and see what it would really take to address this global challenge. See more details at Climate Interactive and jump into the action.


  • The facilitator acts as the UN Secretary-General who has convened the summit.
  • Participants are divided into teams representing different global stakeholders of business, government, and civil society who can drive climate solutions: Clean Tech, Conventional Energy, Industry & Commerce, World Governments, and Climate Justice Hawks.
  • Once teams have brainstormed their game strategies, each team is invited to propose a climate solution to be implemented.
  • Proposed actions are analyzed in real-time with the En-ROADS simulator to determine their effects on the climate.
  • The game is played until a scenario under 2°C warming is reached or time is up.
  • The game is designed to be played by a wide range of audiences, from high school students and community members to industry professionals and policymakers.

Fee: Free, but registration requested

Developed by Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative, En-ROADS is a system dynamics model that weaves together the best available science and research into how our world reacts to interventions into our energy and land use choices. It factors in important dynamics such as delay times, progress ratios, price sensitivities, historic growth of energy sources, and energy efficiency potential. 


CANCELED: Three Compositions of Community

Three Compositions of Community


1 Session: Monday, April 20, 6:30-8:00pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

Note: This event has been canceled per Harvard University COVID-19 Guidelines.

Join us for a conversation with three Jamaica Plain (JP) composers who were commissioned to write original pieces inspired by the neighborhood of JP for the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s BSO in Residence program.

Andrew List: The Emerald Necklace, a chamber symphony in three movements that takes inspiration from landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and celebrates the connection between nature and humanity.

Elena Roussanova: A Journey to a New Land, a chamber symphonic poem about legendary Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor Serge Koussevitzky, a Russian émigré who resided in Jamaica Plain.

Julius Williams: Songs for My Culture, for chamber orchestra to reflect the life work of Jamaica Plain resident Maud Cuney Hare. A descendent of former slaves and born of mixed race, classified at the time as Creole, she did extensive research to catalogue and codify the music of Africa and the African American Diaspora. Williams’ composition references culturally traditional songs, dance, folk idioms, and experiences, including the Underground Railroad to reflect Hare’s scholarship.



The pieces will be premiered at a free, public performance in Jamaica Plain in May (details to come) and performed in part at Symphony Hall on May 31 at an open house event. For tickets to those events, please contact education@bso.org.

Fee Free, but registration requested 

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

CANCELED: Citizen Science Month - Information Kiosk

Citizen Science Month - Information Kiosk

Sunday, April 26 2020
Drop in between 9:30am-1:00pm

Location: Hunnewell Building Lawn

Note: This event has been canceled per Harvard University COVID-19 Guidelines
In just a few short years, Citizen Science Day has become Global Citizen Science Month (April 2020), a 30-day celebration of all things citizen science: amazing discoveries, incredible volunteers, hardworking practitioners, inspiring projects, and anything else citizen science-related! This world-wide effort is supported by SciStarter, the National Library of Medicine, Arizona State University, the Citizen Science Association, Science Friday, National Geographic, and many other collaborators around the globe.


Citizen science is an invitation to everyone to participate in real science - on topics they care about - typically by following protocols for data collection, analysis, and reporting. Citizen science can be fun, but it is also serious science. The fields that citizen science advances are diverse: ecology, astronomy, medicine, computer science, statistics, psychology, genetics, engineering and many more. The massive collaborations that can occur through citizen science allow investigations at continental and global scales and across decades—leading to discovery that a single scientist could never achieve on their own.


Stop by the Information Kiosk to learn about the many citizen science opportunities available to everyone, including the Arnold Arboretum’s Tree Spotters program and the Boston Area City Nature Challenge.

Free! No registration needed.



CANCELED: The China Trade

The China Trade

Dane Morrison, PhD, Professor of History, Salem State University
1 Session: Sunday, April 26, 3:00–5:00pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

Note: This talk has been canceled per Harvard University COVID-19 Guidelines.

At a moment when our country seems especially divided, Prof. Dane Morrison of Salem State University will discuss how Americans forged a national identity after the War of Independence. After breaking free from British rule, American identity had more to do with sailing to the East than trekking into the West. Private journals, letters, ships’ logs, memoirs, and newspaper accounts help trace America’s earliest encounters on a global stage. This talk will particularly focus on the travels of the Forbes family, from Jamaica Plain to China.

Fee Free, but registration requested

Offered with the Jamaica Plain Historical Society

Chainsaw Use, Safety, and Felling

Chainsaw Use, Safety, and Felling

Andrew (AJ) Tataronis, Arborist, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
1 Session: Saturday, May 2, 9:00–Noon
Location: Hunnewell Building Garage

Don’t be reckless with your chainsaw. Learn about this powerful tool as well as compression and tension forces in wood. AJ Tataronis will explain basic chainsaw safety features, technology, and maintenance. He will then demonstrate a five step felling plan, limbing, bucking, and advanced felling techniques. Registrants will need to sign a release to participate in the class.

Fee $50 member, $60 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 2019-2020 schedule.


CANCELED: Tree Spotters Training

Tree Spotters Citizen Science Program: Training

Suzanne Mrozak, Tree Spotter Volunteer Coordinator and Danny Schissler, Associate Project Manager, Arnold Arboretum
Select a date: March 28 () 10:30-3:30pm or May 3, 10:30-3:30pm 

Location: Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall

Both training dates have been canceled per Harvard University's COVID-19 guidelines.


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

The morning session begins at 10:30am, with a break from 12:00-1:00pm for lunch on your own. The afternoon session begins at 1:00pm with an hour walk (weather permitting) on the Arboretum grounds.


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. 

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.

CANCELED: Towards Climate Revolution and a Thriving Future

Towards Climate Revolution and a Thriving Future

Mary DeMocker, Non-fiction Author and Creative Political Activist
1 Session: Tuesday, May 5, 7:00-8:15pm
Location: Hunnewell Building

Note: This class (or event, tour, hike) has been canceled per Harvard University COVID-19 Guidelines. The 2018 UN climate report gave humanity only 12 years to slash our carbon emissions nearly in half – or face irreversible climate tipping points. Many people now despair over our prospects, especially under the current political leadership, and don’t know how to help turn things around. Author Mary DeMocker shares ways to feel empowered in the fight for a healthy planet while deepening our connections to one another. Leave this program with at least three easy actions towards changing our system – not just our light bulbs.

Mary DeMocker’s book, The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep is a finalist for the 2019 Oregon Book Award and has been recommended on National Public Radio and in The New York Times. DeMocker is co-founder and former creative director of 350 Eugene, with whom she designed and co-led climate protests featured on PBS NewsHour and in an Avaaz video shown to world leaders at Paris climate talks.
Learn more at www.marydemocker.com.

Free for members and students, $5 nonmember

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