This year’s dramatically fluctuating temperature cycles from seasonably cold days to atypically warm stretches and back again has affected the life cycles of many species, including plants. At the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, two scientists are examining how maple trees (Acer) are responding to climate stress and what that means for the future of the genus. Jake Grossman and Al Kovaleski, Putnam Research Fellows at the Arboretum, are modeling the evolution of the maples located in the Arboretum’s living collections, examining their 60 million-year journey from their origins in East Asia to current global distribution. By learning how the trees withstand low temperature stress in their tissues and respond to warm spells when they are dormant—called “cold hardiness”—they can help predict outcomes of climate change for maples, and other trees in Northern Hemisphere forests, and potentially even crops and agriculture. We asked the researchers what they are learning about how plants adapt and evolve to climate change and what it means for New England and beyond. Gazette: Does the rate of climate change impact a species’ ability to evolve and adapt to weather conditions?
The beloved Mother's Day Lilac Sunday is cancelled, and the Arnold Arboretum is telling people to not visit that day. "In keeping with CDC and Harvard COVID-19 guidelines for large gatherings, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is canceling Lilac Sunday 2020," said an Arnold Arboretum press release. "All formal activities such as tours, family crafts and science, and performances scheduled for Sunday, May 10 are suspended, and picnics will not be allowed on this or any day." The arboretum will remain open, but people are being encouraged to visit a different day. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the more than 200 lilac plants as lilac season is just beginning and stretches for several weeks, typically through late May.
Across the nation, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closure of many parks, botanical gardens, and other outdoor facilities. But the Arnold Arboretum remains open. Its director, William “Ned” Friedman, the Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, believes that except where impractical, public green spaces should stay open to give people relief from the stress of the health crisis. The Harvard Gazette recently spoke with Friedman about the public health benefits of shared outdoor places and how to stay safe when visiting them. GAZETTE: Closing public parks and gardens might seem a reasonable public health step in the midst of a pandemic.
Botany Club is an April school vacation program for teens ages 12-15 that encourages the scientific study of plants. Youth will study plant parts and functions, make models of plant structures, perform flower dissections, experiment with photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration, and learn a bit about plant classification. Have fun with outdoor and indoor sessions while learning more about the world of plants! For teens ages 12-15
Tues – Fri, April 21-24; 12:30 – 4:30pm
Meet at Main Gate of the Arnold Arboretum
Rain or shine, come dressed appropriately for outdoor exploration
$50.00 registration, scholarship available upon request
Contact for Information: Ana Maria Caballero, 617-384-9032
A Boston EMS EMT and a chef got married in the Arnold Arboretum on Saturday out of love, but also due to COVID-19. West Roxbury residents Kara Solomon and Ryan McLoughlin got engaged last October, and are still planning a wedding for October 2021. But due to the unprecedented circumstances in the world, the couple chose to get married sooner. "We chose to get married two weeks ago, partially because Ryan is at high risk for contracting or carrying COVID-19, and partially because my health insurance is terrible," said Solomon. "So by legally marrying, I am able to get on his good health insurance plan, and we are protected in case one of us gets sick."