Visiting the Arboretum safely and responsibly

by Nima Samimi, Arboretum Gardener

March 31, 2020


Visiting the Arboretum safely and responsibly


Please cooperate with our measures to make the landscape safe and clean for all by taking any trash or waste you generate in our landscape with you when you leave.

Spring has arrived, and we’re seeing a noticeable uptick in visitors at the Arnold Arboretum, even as the COVID-19 emergency has changed the ways we are all interacting for the sake of public health and safety. Providing our community with a beautiful and safe place to exercise, relax, and pursue well-being is central to our mission, and in this complicated moment we hope our grounds can be an oasis amid the challenges we face.

As you may have noticed, we have reduced the number of our staff who are working on site at the Arboretum as an effort to minimize person-to-person contact among essential employees. This unfortunately also means eliminating trash removal at the Arboretum for the time being. As a result, there is now a strict “carry in, carry out” policy for anything you bring into our landscape. All trash barrels have been removed from the landscape or decommissioned, so please bring your own bags to carry out your trash to dispose at home.

Since we typically remove over 60 bags of trash each week, we understand that this request may be frustrating and inconvenient to visitors. However, we expect all to comply with this request out of respect and concern for public health and safety, the integrity of our landscape, and the continued well-being of our staff on-site who are keeping the Arboretum safe, clean, and growing strong.

While you are on the Arboretum grounds, we recommend you follow similar safety precautions to what the CDC (and other authorities, including Harvard University) are recommending for indoor interaction, including:

  • Keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and other visitors (easiest to do on our wider, main roads);
  • Avoid touching or sitting on our benches, since viruses can live on some surfaces for extended periods of time;
  • Avoid touching trunk labels and accession tags. You may use Arboretum Explorer on your mobile device to help you identify our plants through our interactive map.

With your cooperation, the Arnold Arboretum can continue to provide a beautiful, clean, and safe landscape for visitors at this time of heightened concern and reduction in on-site staffing. Thank you from all us—stay safe and stay well.

3 thoughts on “Visiting the Arboretum safely and responsibly

  1. Thank you so much for staying open during these challenging times! Communing with beauty & nature is one way we can get through this intact.

  2. I have visited twice in the past 3 weeks. Unfortunately, not all visitors are keeping at a distance from one another. Those of us who are quick can dash away. But in my opinion, those who are not quick on their feet should not visit.

  3. We advise assessing the situation when you arrive; if there are too many people to comfortably keep a safe distance, please visit another time or try another section of our 281-acre landscape to explore.

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