Mass General Brigham Employees No Longer Required to Wear Masks with Patients

Mass General Brigham employees are no longer required to wear masks when interacting with patients. The change affects two Brigham sites in Jamaica Plain: Faulkner Hospital and Brookside Community Health Center. In a letter to patients, Mass General Brigham's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Sequist explained the change. "We have been monitoring respiratory virus activity in our community since the fall. Respiratory viruses in our community have been decreasing for several weeks.

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Get Your Binoculars Ready for First Spring Bird Walk in Franklin Park

Are the orioles back in Jamaica Plain? You'll find out on Saturday at the first spring bird walk at the Franklin Park. This walk is with Nature Man Mike, sponsored by the Brookline Bird Club, Franklin Park Tennis Association, and the Emerald Necklace Bird Club. And they'll be hosting bird walks all spring. Meet at the Shattuck Tennis Courts on Saturday, March 30, at 8 am.

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Planning Ahead: View the Solar Eclipse from Peters Hill

A solar eclipse will happen on April 8, and people are making plans all across the area to view it in certain places. So how about the summit of Peters Hill in the Arnold Arboretum? Join Arnold Arboretum docent Kevin Schofield for a tour of Peters Hill, the Arboretum's tallest hill, and home to white pines, dawn redwoods, bamboo, ginkgoes, larches, and a truly magnificent crabapple collection. The tour will start at 2 pm end at the summit, where you will get a chance to view the partial eclipse through eclipse-safe sunglasses provided by the Arboretum. Note: How well the eclipse can be seen will depend on how much cloud cover there is that afternoon.

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Study Trees with Ease at Arnold Arboretum

The following article was originally published on the Arnold Arboretum's website and is republished here with permission from the Arnold Arboretum. The Arnold Arboretum is an outdoor classroom and community resource for education that connects our community with trees and the natural world. Public programs like practical classes, workshops, talks, and special tours are free to all and leverage the unique knowledge and expertise of staff, volunteers, and external instructors—so they can fill-up quickly, meaning online registration has felt a bit like the Hunger Games to some. Fear not, though, because signing up for a class at the Arnold Arboretum just got a whole lot easier. As part of ongoing efforts to improve accessibility for all, the Arboretum has unveiled an improved program registration system offering many exciting new features and user capabilities.

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December Storm Generates Loss and Renewal at Arnold Arboretum

On December 18, more than two inches of rain and wind gusts exceeding 50 miles per hour wreaked significant damage to trees in the Arnold Arboretum. Nearly 40 accessioned plants were lost across the landscape, many uprooted or—in the case of nearly a dozen hemlocks—snapped in half. While the storm was formidable in terms of tree loss and the enormity of the continuing clean-up effort, the immediate and coordinated response of the Arboretum’s horticultural team ensured safety for visitors and renewal for the plants either lost or severely compromised. It was an unusual event in many respects, breaking records for highest minimum and maximum temperature for the day and generating some of the strongest winds—outside of thunderstorms—seen in Boston in a decade. “When intense wind is accompanied by heavy rain—which softens the ground and further compromises the ability of older or compromised trees to anchor themselves—we tend to see the most damage inflicted on the collections,” said Rodney Eason, Director of Horticulture and Landscape.

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Genetic Mutation Discovered at Arnold Arboretum Gives Rise to a New Cultivar

Among the wonderful benefits of the Arnold Arboretum—where plants gathered from around the world grow side-by-side under the watchful care of staff experts—is that when something interesting or unusual happens, it typically gets noticed. Case in point is a spontaneous mutation of a single branch (or sport) of an Eastern redbud tree in the Arboretum’s collection first observed by a staff member in 2009. After more than a decade of research and testing, the Arboretum has introduced a beautiful new redbud cultivar, Cercis canadensis ‘Arnold Banner’, published last month in HortScience magazine. What sets ‘Arnold Banner’ apart from other Eastern redbuds, which are distributed across a wide swath of the eastern U.S. from New England to Florida and west to Texas and northeastern Mexico, is its flower color—or rather, the almost total absence of color. This species in the pea family grows as a large shrub or small tree and is known for its pink to magenta clusters of flowers that appear in early spring before the plant leafs out.

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Stop and Smell the Ginkgoes

If you've been walking around parts of Jamaica Plain, you've no doubt come across the smell of gingko trees' berries. Ned Friedman, the director of the Arnold Arboretum wrote about the trees in a recent email newsletter:

The following is by Friedman:
When I look at these pictures, I can practically smell them! And my hope is that you will take my advice and go smell for yourself. Because no one can be said to truly know the ginkgo without experiencing the aroma/stench of the seeds right about now. Ginkgo biloba is a dioecious species, with separate seed-bearing trees and pollen-producing trees.

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Remember to Check for Ticks, Even in Jamaica Plain

Hours after having strolled through the Arnold Arboretum this past weekend, one of my family members discovered a tick on his body that was already trying to embed itself. It's easy to think that ticks aren't in Boston because we're in an urban setting, but it is tick season, and Jamaica Plain is one of the most wooded neighborhoods. While not all fully in JP, the Arnold Arboretum is approximately 281 acres, Franklin Park is 485 acres, and the Forest Hills Cemetery is 250 acres. Through the years, I've seen deer in all three locations. Usually it's just one or two deer at a time, although the most I've was four deer enjoying the arboretum together.

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Jamaica Pond Closed Due to Dangerous Algae Bloom

It's happened before, and it's happened again, a dangerous algae bloom has closed Jamaica Pond. That means no boating, no fishing, and don't let your dogs go in or near the water, or on shore. The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) announced the closure on Oct. 6 due to a suspected bloom of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria. The blooms may produce toxins that can make people and pets sick.

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