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Enews
May 2012

Greetings!

In this issue
  • Spotlight on National Urban Biodiversity Week
  • Splendid Sights and Scents on Lilac Sunday, May 13
  • New Members May Enjoy 'Lilac Sunday' Year Round
  • Tree Mobs Gather for Spontaneous Learning
  • Take a Class to Pursue New Paths and Perspectives
  • Classes Without Quizzes: Friedman on Darwin
  • Visit Indonesia's Tropical Forests on Webb Blog
  • A Natural Curiosity: Gordon Morrison Retrospective

  • Splendid Sights and Scents on Lilac Sunday, May 13
    Lilac Sunday logo

    For more than a century, the Arboretum has celebrated the flowering of its spectacular collection of species and hybrid lilacs, now numbering some 375 plants of 180 different kinds. Though conditions this year have encouraged many plants in the collection to flower early, there will still be lilacs and other spring bloomers to admire on Lilac Sunday, May 13. Enjoy this annual rite of spring with activities from 10:00am to 4:00pm including tours, live music, family fun, and (on this special day only) food vendors and picnicking. Street parking along the Arboretum perimeter is limited, so visitors are encouraged to take public transportation.


    New Members May Enjoy 'Lilac Sunday' Year Round
    Lilac Sunday lilac

    The Arboretum relies on public support to sustain its remarkable landscape and collections and to provide educational outreach to the community. Participate in our mission by becoming a member on Lilac Sunday and receive a young lilac plant as our thanks. This year's new member lilac, Syringa × chinensis 'Lilac Sunday', was selected by Arboretum Propagator Jack Alexander and is a fine-textured, willowy cultivar noted for its arching branches, disease resistant leaves, and fragrant pale purple flowers. Join the Friends of the Arnold Arboretum and take home the 'Lilac Sunday' lilac to grow for yourself—or to share with Mom on Mother's Day!


    Tree Mobs Gather for Spontaneous Learning
    Malus sargentii

    Love trees and the Arboretum? Why not join a Tree Mob? These brief interactions in our landscape with scientists or other specialists provide a fun way to gain a closer look at the Arboretum. Hear little-known facts about our living plant collection, its relevance today, and its importance to future generations. A Tree Mob may attract a small group or a large gathering—we won't know until it takes place. Join us for our first Tree Mob on May 2 at 6:00pm and explore the Sargent crabapple, Malus sargentii.


    Take a Class to Pursue New Paths and Perspectives
    Chasing Venus

    The Arboretum offers programs to help you cultivate a deeper appreciation of plants, nature, and science. Join Laura Snyder on May 9 to learn how a meeting of minds at Cambridge University in 1812 has shaped our ideas about inductive reasoning and the role of scientists. Erik Gehring presents a workshop on May 12 designed to improve your skills and results when taking photographs of plants and landscapes. On May 17 join Thomas Mather of the University of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center to learn why tick-related illnesses are on the rise and how to protect yourself and your pets. Explore the history and diversity of gardens around the globe with Mary Coyne at Wellesley College Botanic Gardens on May 21. And on May 30, celebrate the upcoming transit of Venus with a historical look at this heavenly phenomenon with Andrea Wulf.


    Classes Without Quizzes: Friedman on Darwin
    Charles Darwin

    Charles Darwin has become a legendary figure, but what do we know of the man behind the most important paradigm shift in the history of science? Director Ned Friedman, Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, will teach a fully-subscribed class beginning this evening on the author of On the Origin of Species and other works that have revolutionized how we look at the natural world. This two-part exploration of Darwin marks the Arboretum's debut as a participant in the Harvard Alumni Association's Classes Without Quizzes series.


    Visit Indonesia's Tropical Forests on Webb Blog
    Cam Webb

    Last spring, Arnold Arboretum Senior Research Scientist Cam Webb began posting blog entries from the tropical forests of Indonesia, where the Arboretum is participating in a three-year study funded by the National Science Foundation. Cam and his colleagues are examining hundreds of species of plants and their habitats to expand our understanding of forest composition, evolution, and the effects of global change. Cam's blog returns this year with reports from a new research camp established on Seram, one of the Spice Islands of eastern Indonesia. Check out his updates to encounter fascinating organisms, witness the forces of nature, and meet some of the individuals helping to document and protect a critical hotspot of biodiversity.


    A Natural Curiosity: Gordon Morrison Retrospective
    Gordon Morrison Retrospective

    From Newcomb's Wildflower Guide to The Curious Naturalist magazine, from the Garden in the Woods in Framingham to the Missouri Botanical Garden's tropical rainforest exhibit, Gordon Morrison has been reflecting and illuminating the natural world for more than four decades. A Natural Curiosity, a retrospective exhibition opening May 5 at the Arboretum, highlights a selection of the thousands of illustrations he has done for education and conservation organizations. Join us for a reception, view the works, and meet the artist on May 5 at 1:00pm in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall.


    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except Chasing Venus book cover courtesy of the author and A Natural Curiosity exhibition image courtesy of the artist.



    Spotlight on National Urban Biodiversity Week
    Bee and buttonbush

    Our cities comprise important habitats, not only for people but for the array of flora and fauna that help make these environments more livable. From May 13 to 19, the Arboretum will partner with the National Wildlife Federation and Project Noah to create a Nature Block Party event to take a closer look at how plants and animals contribute to urban ecology. Kicking off on Lilac Sunday, events include an introduction to the New England Wild Flower Society's new Go Botany web tool on May 15; a general landscape tour on May 16; a tour of the conifer collection on May 17; a tour focused on plant conservation efforts on May 18; and a bird walk on May 19. Join nature enthusiasts across the nation to celebrate urban ecology and inspire new ways of thinking about cities.

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