Arnold Arboretum January Enews
January 2011

Happy New Year!

In this issue
  • Director's Lecture Series Begins
  • Where We Are, Where We're Going: Meet Our Director
  • Documentation Project Reveals Some Surprises
  • All About Bees: Backyard Beekeeping and Beyond
  • Roberto Mighty Presents Trees of My City
  • Seek Non-Migrating Birds on a Winter Walk
  • Plant Spotlight on Cedrus libani

  • Where We Are, Where We're Going: Meet Our Director
    Ned Friedman

    The Arnold Arboretum begins 2011 with new leadership. Join us this month at one of two informal events to welcome our new director, Ned Friedman, and hear his thoughts on the mission and future of the Arnold Arboretum: Tuesday, January 25 at 6:00pm and Saturday, January 29 at 4:00pm. Both events are free and open to the public, but registration is required as space is limited. Please register online or call 617.384.5277.

    Documentation Project Reveals Some Surprises
    Digitization Project

    Arboretum curatorial staff are making significant progress on a grant-funded initiative to digitize archival documentation integral to the living collection. Work currently focuses on databasing information contained on more than 50,000 index cards used to track the provenance, taxonomy, and health of plants accessioned by the Arboretum between 1872 and 1987. Records for over 11,800 accessions have been digitized so far, including all genera from Abeliophyllum (white forsythia) to Chaenomeles (flowering quince). Some interesting rediscoveries have been made along the way, including evidence of the only Arboretum plant known to have been collected by iconic naturalist John Muir (Betula kenaica), as well as collection data for 165 accessions gathered by E. H. Wilson on his reknowned East Asian expeditions.

    All About Bees: Backyard Beekeeping and Beyond
    Heather Mattila

    As one of the world's most effective pollinators, bees have been an essential partner in the human pursuit to cultivate flowering plants. Heather Mattila researches honey bees at Wellesley College, and on January 10 she'll discuss their social behavior and communication in a talk co-sponsored by the Arboretum at the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens Visitor Center. And on January 19, join Beekeepers' Warehouse owner Nancy Bentley Mangion at the Arboretum for a class detailing the art, science, and craft of beekeeping.

    Roberto Mighty Presents Trees of My City
    High Tide by Roberto Mighty

    Starting January 22 in the Hunnewell Building Lecture Hall, Newton artist Roberto Mighty presents a public, new-media, fine art project entitled Trees of My City. His work focuses on dormant, dead, and decaying trees in surprising and beautiful ways. While photography is the main component of the Arboretum exhibition, the opening reception on January 22 from 1:00-3:00pm will also feature high-definition video and a surround-sound audio installation. The show also features an online component using geotagged locations of trees depicted in the works.

    Seek Non-Migrating Birds on a Winter Walk
    Downy woodpecker

    Bare trees and a snowy background offer birders prime conditions for observing birds at the Arboretum. Join Arboretum docent and birding expert Bob Mayer on Saturday, January 8 at 8:30am for a two-hour stroll from the main Arborway Gate to the top of Bussey Hill and back. Familiarize yourself with species that overwinter in Boston while learning about some of the Arboretum's noteworthy trees along the way. Print a checklist of birds from our website, and bring binoculars if you have them. This walk is free. Interested participants should meet at the Arborway Gate.

    Plant Spotlight on Cedrus libani
    Cedar of Lebanon

    Though in youth its crown is conical, the cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) gains its characteristic flat top and horizontal branches with maturity. Its blue-green needles are arranged in rosettes along stems and branches, and its attractive, upright cones open, release winged seeds, then disintegrate while still on the tree. After many failed attempts to cultivate this Mediterranean native in Boston, the Arboretum finally succeeded with seed obtained from trees growing in the Taurus Mountains in Turkey. Two fine examples flank the Hunnewell Building, and a grove of the trees at the edge of the Explorers Garden on Bussey Hill should not be missed. Cedar of Lebanon is the featured tree this month in the Visitor Center. Stop by for more information and a free activity guide.

    All images from the Arnold Arboretum Archives except Ned Friedman photo by Justin Ide/Harvard Gazette, beekeeping image courtesy of Heather Mattila, woodpecker image courtesy of Bob Mayer, and exhibition image courtesy of the artist.

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    Director's Lecture Series Begins
    Hunnewell Building

    In the spirit of new directions in science and deeper connections with our community, the Arboretum introduces the Director's Lecture Series. Organized by director Ned Friedman, the series features nationally-recognized experts presenting talks on Earth's biodiversity and evolutionary history, the environment, conservation biology, and social issues associated with current science. Ned kicks off the series on Monday, January 10 at 6:30pm with a talk entitled "A Darwinian Look at Darwin's Evolutionist Ancestors." All lectures will be presented in the Hunnewell Building and are free, but registration is required. Register online today or call 617.384.5277.

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