Nearly 700 members and friends of the Arboretum participated in our digital survey asking questions about the Arboretum’s landscape, events, publications, and programming. Our sincere gratitude to everyone who took the time to share your ideas and stories with us. Your answers will help shape our work in the months ahead. Highlights from the survey include:

  • Nearly 80% of respondents indicated they visit the Arboretum at least a few times a year, including 27% who visit every week and 12% who visit every day.
  • The words most often used to describe the Arboretum were: beauty, peaceful, and nature.
  • Nearly equal numbers of people come to the Arboretum alone, with family, or with friends.
  • 61% percent were not aware that the Arboretum receives no funding from Harvard or the City of Boston, and that keeping the Arboretum free and open to all is only possible due to the generous support of our members.
  • Arnoldia subscription ranked as the most popular member benefit (keep an eye out for a relaunch of the magazine early next year!)

We also received more than 200 touching personal stories about the Arboretum. A few excerpts are below—we’ll be featuring more stories on our website, social media, and in the landscape over the course of our 150th anniversary in 2022.

“About fifteen years ago, following a recent diagnosis of breast cancer, I was drawn to the Arboretum for a winter walk after a beautiful snowfall. The conifers were stately as always, standing tall against the bright blue sky, but also alive with sunlight as it danced off their snow laden branches. I spontaneously bowed my head in gratitude for the beauty of the earth, and in my mind’s eye saw not the forest surrounding me but the individuals in the circle of support that at the time was my cancer support group. I will never forget this spiritual experience.”

“I moved to JP about 30 years ago. I never really knew much about the Arboretum before then. Now I go to the Arboretum several times a week to see the seasonal shifts, learn about plants, look at birds, and I look forward to volunteering with the school program. We are so lucky to live in walking distance since it is an incredible nature opportunity in the city.”

“In the days I used to run I would try to include a trip through the Arboretum as there was always something to see and keep me going. One solitary morning as I ran from Bussey Hill I passed the dove tree and a gentle breeze caused the flowers to flutter down all around me at once. It felt so incredible and magical, like nature calling out to me and letting me in on a secret. That memory is imprinted strongly in me so that each year around that time, I visit to try to witness the flowering of the dove tree and whoever is with me gets the recounting of my run and the magical flowers!”

“During the early days of the pandemic, my parents were homebound in NYC due to my mother’s health vulnerabilities. We began to do a daily ‘virtual’ walk together on FaceTime to help them feel connected to the outside. The Arboretum was a frequent destination, particularly to visit turtles in the ponds, which brought great enjoyment!”