We grow trees.

Horticulture lies at the heart of all we do at the Arnold Arboretum. For more than a century and a half, this institution has gained renown for cultivating temperate trees and other woody plants in our Boston landscape for study, enrichment, and enjoyment. More than anything else, it’s what makes us an arboretum. As a curated plant collection run by Harvard University, our horticultural mission bears equal weight with two other imperatives, namely research and education. Yet without our remarkable living collections and the unflagging commitment of our staff to safeguard their long-term health, these pursuits would lose both method and meaning.

In every sense, the Arboretum’s ability to preserve living organisms sourced from a diversity of Earth’s temperate environments depends on the specialized care and critical thinking of many dedicated people, both past and present. The potent combination of historical knowledge, individual expertise, and collaborative purpose―exemplified by efforts to protect our nationally-accredited collection of beech trees in the face of dire threats from pests and disease as profiled in this issue of Silva—fuels our ambitions to provide increasingly efficient and effective oversight of our trees, shrubs, and vines. Each day brings new victories to celebrate, new challenges to learn from, and new perspectives to consider in pursuit of a greener and more glorious Arnold Arboretum for everyone.

In other words, our success in growing plants extends directly from our success at growing people. In recent years we have assembled one of the finest plant care and management teams in the public garden community by recognizing talent, fostering diversity, and developing both practical skills and vocational ambitions. The Arboretum landscape serves as a unique outdoor classroom for rising professionals on our horticulture crew, who grow and learn by working alongside our more seasoned experts in tree care and collections management. In turn, these individuals become teachers and mentors to the seasonal staff and interns we engage each growing season. Ultimately, all participants involved are enriched by this fertile environment for learning and, importantly, our plants and landscape benefit immeasurably.

Across the Arboretum, this model for learning by doing has been replicated with parallel success. Students in the library and informational sciences delve into research and cataloging projects with our library staff to shed light on our rich archives and historical documentation about plants. Summer interns in our laboratories at Weld Hill are embedded with faculty and post-doctoral scholars to conduct research projects that introduce them to the amazing world of scientific inquiry. Next summer through donor support we will launch a new training program for high school students interested in pursuing plant-related careers. Being immersed in the many facets of the Arnold Arboretum and the incredible expertise of our staff creates boundless opportunities for growing the next generation of horticultural professionals, scientists, and educators right here in our landscape.

At this moment in history, I believe it’s more important than ever that the Arboretum continues to increase its commitment to developing knowledge and human potential as a crucial part of our mission. The exchange of ideas and experiences has the power to change lives and enhance the knowledge base we share with humanity about trees and our environment. Growing individual potential is part of what makes the Arboretum vital and our mission enduring. With your essential support as a member, we’re growing the future together.