Trying to limit the amount of people visiting the Arnold Arboretum, parking is no longer allowed around the perimeter of the oldest arboretum in the country. The parking ban begins Friday, April 10, and only marked handicap parking will be allowed. All other street parking, particularly along the Arborway and Bussey Street, will be temporarily eliminated. City, state and arboretum officials suggested taking these parking restrictions into consideration and to avoid hours of peak visitation, 4 to 7 pm on weekdays and 2 pm to 7 pm on weekends, according to the arboretum's website. An arboretum press release also stressed that anyone going through the arboretum landscape must wear a mask or facial covering -- pedestrians, runners, cyclists, unicyclists, and everyone else.
As you would expect Lilac Sunday, the beloved Mothers Day celebration at the Arnold Arboretum has been cancelled. The Arnold Arboretum posted about the cancellation:
In keeping with CDC and Harvard COVID-19 guidelines for large gatherings, the Arnold Arboretum is canceling Lilac Sunday 2020. All formal activities such as tours, family crafts and science, and performances scheduled for Sunday, May 10 are canceled. Picnics will not be allowed on this or any day. But Coronavirus or no Coronavirus, the lilacs will bloom as usual from late April into late May.
There are a lot of simple nature tasks for all ages. The Arnold Arboretum has suggestions for things you can do in your own backyard or neighborhood while social distancing.
"Nature can be a powerful antidote to all the uncertainty and disruptions that we find ourselves living in at the moment. Children especially can find comfort in activities that mirror the normal routines of school or daycare," says the Arboretum's website. There's a different activity each weekday.
Last month, two graduate students from the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University traveled to one of the most species-rich landscapes in the world: a remote strip of tropical rainforest at the narrowest point in the Central American country of Panama. Ben Goulet-Scott, a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB) and a fellow in the Arboretum’s Hopkins Lab, and Jacob Suissa, OEB Ph.D. candidate in the Friedman Lab at the Arboretum, hope their research in the Mamoní Valley Preserve in Panama will increase our understanding of how biodiversity can persevere in the face of climate change, deforestation, and human disturbance. The 20-square-mile land conservancy on the isthmus separating Central and South America teems with life, making the condensed rainforest habitat a perfect location for their research project because of the vast number of known and potentially undiscovered species living there, Goulet-Scott said. “New England has twice the land area of Panama, but half the number of bird species, and 10 times fewer reptiles and amphibians,” he said. “This particular location contains species that migrate or move from north to south and get funneled into this very narrow area, concentrating an incredible amount of biodiversity.”
The Mamoní Valley Preserve (MVP) Natural History Project is an ongoing series of student-led field expeditions, organized by Goulet-Scott in 2017.
As David Mays walked through the snow-covered Central Woods of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University last month, gazing at the red oaks and the eastern white pines, the 17-year-old wondered if trees alone can save the planet. “Are trees the only thing that will stop global warming?” Mays asked. “How many should we plant before we graduate? I want to support humans, nature, and save the Earth.”
Mays was one of 25 high school students from the Boston Day and Evening Academy in Roxbury learning about forest ecology, carbon’s role in ecosystems, and how trees mitigate climate change at a special program at the Arboretum. Designed as part of Boston Public School’s biology curriculum, the two-day experience let students conduct hands-on fieldwork in the landscape and engage with Harvard researchers in interactive panel discussions about climate change.