For you native outdoor enthusiasts of the Greater Boston area, the Arnold Arboretum is probably a familiar place. Designed in 1872 by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the Arboretum sits on 265 acres of land in Jamaica Plain and Roslindale, and is home to over 10,000 accessions representing almost 4,000 species. It is open to the public year-round and is visited annually by thousands of bikers, birders, hikers, dog-walkers, students, artists and scientists.
Over the summer, I was lucky to become involved with organizing one of the Arboretum’s newest volunteer programs, the Tree Spotters. The Tree Spotters are a group of citizen scientists responsible for collecting data from 55 individual trees representing 11 separate species throughout the Arboretum. Specifically, we are interested in collecting phenological data about the trees, pertaining to the timing of the events in their life history (leaf out, flowering, fruiting, etc.). This data can then be used by scientists worldwide in all kinds of research.
In addition to collecting data, the Tree Spotters have regular meet-ups, training sessions and events. Joining the Tree Spotters is a great way to learn more about botany, meet new people, and spend time enjoying the outdoors. You can learn about the program on the Arboretum website.