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.