Arnold Arboretum Fights Flora with Fauna

The Greeks knew it takes a thief to catch a thief. Today, taking a page from the ancients, scientists at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University are using one foreigner to combat another, but in this case it’s fauna against flora. The target: swallow-wort, or Vincetoxicum nigrum or V. rossicum, a weed that is no stranger (or friend) to city gardeners or country strollers. Cambridge, in fact, distributes flyers asking residents to yank the seed pods when they see them; in woodsier suburbs, whole trees can be swamped with the climber.

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MSPCA Drops Adoption Fees for Animals Most in Need of Homes During National ‘Clear the Shelters’ Campaign

As visitors prepare to flood animal shelters across the country during NBC Universal’s one-day “Clear the Shelters” adoption promotion on Saturday, Aug. 17, the MSPCA-Angell announced it will drop adoption fees for its most challenging-to-place animals in a bid to find them all homes on the day. The waiving of adoption fees is made possible by generous donors such as the Catvocates, a group of donors who subsidize adoption and spay-neuter initiatives at the MSPCA. Holding Out for a Hero
The MSPCA’s three animal care and adoption centers in Boston, Methuen and Centerville will each waive adoption fees for pets described by staff as “harder to place,” such as shy cats, senior dogs and long-term horse residents. Mike Keiley, director of adoption centers and programs for the MSPCA-Angell, said the organization is eager to capitalize on the spotlight that the national “Clear the Shelter” campaign shines on pet adoption.

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New Outdoor Preschool in the Arnold Arboretum, Opening This Fall

A new preschool opening this fall basing itself in the Arnold Arboretum is aiming to be the first licensed outdoor preschool in Boston. That's right -- the arboretum will be the students' classroom! "The best part about spending time in nature is that you never know what you'll find; at many schools all the lessons are pre-planned by the teacher, but in nature there's that sense of wonder when you see something unexpected or amazing," said Sarah Besse, co-founder of the Boston Outdoor Preschool Network (BOPN). "In nature, the teachers' role is not to 'deliver' pre-planned lessons, but rather to learn and explore with the children. Us teachers will follow the children's own interests, and help them how to go about finding answers to their own questions."

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Photos: Beautiful Birds in the Arnold Arboretum

Robins, bluebirds, orioles, hawks, herons and warblers -- they're all flapping their wings in the Arnold Arboretum. And check out amazing photos of some of them in the Arnold Arboretum by Chris Lang! Check out more photos by Lang from this past winter by clicking here. And you can see more of Chris Lang Photography by clicking here.

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Student Researching Lyme Disease Will Humanely Trap Rodents at Your Home in Jamaica Plain, and Seeks Community Involvement

I am student researcher at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine conducting a funded research project investigating the risk of Lyme disease in urban areas. Rodents are the main source of feeding for ticks, so this study will focus on Lyme infected mice and rats in Jamaica Plain. I will be humanely trapping rodents and collecting a small amount of blood to test for Lyme bacteria. Rodents will be unharmed and released after the brief sample collection. I strongly believe that successful research is dependent on local stakeholders and community involvement.

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