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December 2013


In this issue
  • Your Support Keeps the Arboretum Growing
  • 2014 Director's Lecture Series Begins January 27
  • Share the Arboretum With a Gift of Membership
  • Illuminating Olmsted's Early Years in Boston
  • How Evolution Has Made a Toxic World Livable
  • Theme Tours Promote Conifers and Fitness
  • Dispersal Exhibition Continues Through January 26
  • Plant Spotlight on Hemlocks

  • 2014 Director's Lecture Series Begins January 27

    The Director's Lecture Series features nationally-recognized experts exploring key issues associated with science. Harvard's Stephen Greenblatt kicks off the fourth annual series on January 27 with the story of an ancient Roman epic that helped transform how we look at ourselves and the world. Eugenie Scott joins us on February 10 to show how the denial of accepted science impedes progress on critical issues, and on March 24 Carl Zimmer discusses how humans have become a powerful evolutionary force. On April 14, Patrick McGovern shares some of the amazing libations of our ancient ancestors with a special talk and tasting. Members enjoy priority online registration for all lectures in the series through December 15.

    Share the Arboretum With a Gift of Membership
    Friends of the Arnold Arboretum

    Join our vibrant community of plant and garden enthusiasts while supporting an extraordinary collection of trees and a beloved landscape for learning. This season, share the benefits of membership (or treat yourself!) and help sustain our programs for research, horticulture, and education. For holiday gifts, please place your order no later than Friday, December 7 to allow for processing and delivery by Christmas.

    Illuminating Olmsted's Early Years in Boston
    Olmstead National Historic Site

    Frederick Law Olmsted relocated from New York to Boston in the early 1880s, bringing his genius for landscape design to the task of creating Boston's park system. His work on the Arnold Arboretum and the parks and green spaces that define the Emerald Necklace made an indelible mark on the city and the quality of life of its citizens. Join us on December 2 at 6:30pm at Weld Hill for a lecture, panel discussion, and celebration of a newly-published resource for our understanding of his work and its impact, The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted Volume VIII.

    How Evolution Has Made a Toxic World Livable

    Toxins make our world a dangerous place, but as Emily Monosson demonstrates in Evolution in a Toxic World, our planet has always been toxic. When oxygen first developed in Earth's atmosphere, it threatened the very existence of life: now we literally can't live without it. In a lecture on December 11 at 7pm in the Hunnewell Building, Monosson will show how life has constantly battled environmental poisons through adaptation, and what the lessons of evolution can teach us about dealing with today's and tomorrow's most dangerous contaminants.

    Theme Tours Promote Conifers and Fitness

    Enjoy a walk in the landscape to explore the living collections with a knowledgeable docent guide. On Sunday, December 8, Robbie Apfel will lead a tour of evergreen and deciduous trees, sharing the botany of conifers and aspects of Hemlock Hill's evolving ecosystem. On December 15, keep fit and keep connected with plants and the Arboretum on a Winter Wellness Walk. Additional wellness walks will be offered January through March, so plan to get outside and make the Arboretum your winter sanctuary.

    Dispersal Exhibition Continues Through January 26

    Seed pods are fascinating natural structures that can exhibit beauty in both form and function. In Dispersal: Photographs by Anna Laurent, the keen eye of a photographer explores the evolution of various forms that both protect seeds and facilitate their spread. Enjoy a fine art exploration of the remarkable diversity of natural design. View the exhibition through January 26 in the Hunnewell Building, with an associated exhibit in the Visitor Center of seeds drawn from the Arboretum collections.

    Plant Spotlight on Hemlocks

    While much of our landscape was cleared for farming before the creation of the Arboretum in 1872, Hemlock Hill retains the character of a New England primeval forest. The Arboretum's extensive holdings of trees in the genus Tsuga, the hemlocks, represent a national collection for conservation and study. Since the discovery of hemlock woolly adelgid on Hemlock Hill in 1997, the collection has helped advance research on the life cycle and ecology of this destructive pest. Learn more about hemlocks, our Tree of the Month [pdf], all December in the Visitor Center.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except Fairstead image courtesy of the National Park Service, Emily Monosson photograph by Kris Snibbe for the Harvard Gazette, and Oriental Poppy(Papaver orientale) by Anna Laurent.

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    Your Support Keeps the Arboretum Growing

    At this time of year, take a moment to reflect on the many ways that the Arnold Arboretum contributes to your life, to education in Boston and beyond, and to our enjoyment and understanding of plants. As a free and open landscape for recreation and learning, we depend on your support to sustain our living collection of plants and 281-acre landscape. Please make a year-end gift to the Arboretum and be an active participant in our efforts to foster greater understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of Earth's botanical diversity. Keep your eye out for our year-end letter by retiring Senior Research Scientist Peter Del Tredici, or view it online.

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