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Jacek Smolicki listening to tree sounds.

Nature Amplified: The Secret Sounds of Trees

If our ears were 100 times more powerful than they are, we would be able to hear the sounds produced by trees themselves: water moving through the trunks and branches, small critters moving around in the wood or the canopy. We would even be able to hear how plants receive and respond to sound waves produced by other beings. Our ears are not this powerful, but artist, researcher, and educator Jacek Smolicki has created microphones and recording systems that are, and he has captured these sounds in the Arboretum and around the world.

Join us for a sound walk to listen to the sounds being made by plants and other creatures in the Arboretum, specially amplified by Smolicki’s equipment, and to hear recordings made previously in the Arboretum and other environments. Participants will start in the Hunnewell Lecture Hall to learn about acoustic ecology and what can be gained by listening to our shared environments more carefully, and then embark on a sound walk in the landscape.

You are encouraged to bring your own headphones, though we will provide some as well. Wired and over-the-ear are ideal: bluetooth will not work.

Accessibility: This program will include a walk on paved paths and occasional grass and foliage. Please wear comfortable walking shoes.

Audience: This program is geared towards adults.

Inclement weather policy: Participants will be notified via email at least 24 hours in advance if a program needs to be cancelled due to inclement weather, and will be notified by phone if a program must be cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice. Click here to view our full inclement weather policy. If you have questions about the status of a program, please email or call the Visitor Center desk between 10:00am and 4:00pm at (617) 384-5209.

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Jul 20 2024


10:30 am - 12:30 pm

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Hunnewell Lecture Hall
8V4H+WM Boston, Massachusetts
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Hunnewell Lecture Hall


Learn about accessibility at the Arboretum.

Hunnewell Lecture Hall

By subway

Take the MBTA Orange Line to its southern end—Forest Hills. Exit through the door marked “Arnold Arboretum,” cross Washington Street, and walk up Arborway to the Arboretum’s Forest Hills Gate on your left. To reach the Arboretum’s Arborway Gate and the Hunnewell Building, continue along the sidewalk on the Arborway to the Arborway Gate (about 12 minutes), or go through the gate, bear right at the pond, and continue to the Hunnewell Building, which will be on your left. The Lecture Hall is located inside the Hunnewell Building.

By bus

Take the #39 bus to the South Street @ Bardwell Street stop in Jamaica Plain. Walk down South Street away from Bardwell Street, take a right on Custer Street, and walk down Custer Street until it ends. Turn right and walk about 300 feet down Arborway to the Arboretum’s Arborway Gate, which will be across the street. The Lecture Hall is located in the Hunnewell Building, just inside the gate on your right.

By car

There is public parking available on Arborway, including six designated accessible spots on either side of Arborway gate.