Category Archives: lecture

Sunday, December 7, 2:00 pm – Jamaica Pond & Boston’s Water System

From the 1630 settlement of Boston, people needed a water supply. On Sunday, December 7 at 2 pm, Marcis Kempe, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum and an avid water supply historian will discuss the early attempts by Boston residents to find drinking water on Shawmut peninsula. Attempts at wood pipe water systems led eventually to the construction of Boston’s 1796 Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Corporation which fulfilled a need for water supply piped directly into houses. Mr. Kempe will chronicle this story and that of 1848 Boston’s municipal water system that eventually replaced the wooden pipes. He will also discuss the further growth of the Metropolitan Boston water system at the turn of the century and the steps taken to protect the public from the growing pollution of water sources. Come and join the Jamaica Plain Historical Society to learn about the important people and events in the Jamaica Pond story and how this modest system grew into today’s nationally acclaimed Metropolitan Boston area water supply.

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. This event is being hosted by the Arnold Arboretum at 125 Arborway, so please check their website,, for directions and parking instructions. Garden Club of the Back Bay members please note that our March excursion will be to the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum to hear Mr. Kempe speak.

Tuesday, December 2, 6:30 pm – The Resilient Farm and Homestead

COGdesign is pleased to bring Ben Falk, ecological designer, permaculture practitioner, farmer, and author of The Resilient Farm and Homestead, to speak at Boston’s District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston, on Tuesday, December 2 beginning at 6:30 pm.  Ben will discuss his popular new handbook for developing regenerative human habitat systems adaptive to drought, flooding, heat, power outage, price spikes, pest pressure, and the multitude of challenges brought by climate change.  Ben and his team have established the Whole Systems Design research farm over the past decade in Vermont.  Tickets are priced at $15 for students, $25 general admission ($30 at the door,) and $60 for admission plus a signed book ($65 at the door.)  All tickets include hors d’oeuvre and a libation ticket. You may purchase on line through Eventbrite:

Wednesday, December 3, 6:00 pm – Arthur Shurcliff: From Boston to Colonial Williamsburg

Join historian and author Elizabeth Hope Cushing on Wednesday, December 3, at 6 pm in the Hunnewell Building at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, as she speaks of landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff’s early work in Boston and how this led to Colonial Williamsburg, his largest and most significant contribution to American landscape architecture.

In 1928, the landscape architect and preservationist Arthur A. Shurcliff (1870–1957) began what became one of the most important examples of the American Colonial Revival landscape—Colonial Williamsburg. But before this, Shurcliff honed his skills in Boston. An 1894 engineering graduate of MIT with an interest in landscape design, Shurcliff, on the advice of Frederick Law Olmsted and with the aid of his mentor, Charles Eliot, pieced together courses at Harvard College, the Lawrence Scientific School, and the Bussey Institute. He then spent eight years working in the Olmsted office, acquiring a broad and sophisticated knowledge of the profession. Opening his own practice in 1904, Shurcliff emphasized his expertise in town planning, preparing plans for towns surrounding Boston. He designed recreational spaces that Bostonians still enjoy today, including significant aspects of the Franklin Park Zoo and the Charles River Esplanade. Historian Elizabeth Hope Cushing will speak of Shurcliff’s early work in Boston and how this led to Colonial Williamsburg, his largest and most significant contribution to American landscape architecture.  Fee Free, but registration requested. You may register on line at Seating is limited. A reception will follow the lecture.

The Esplanade Association is please to be a co-sponsor of this event along with the Library of American Landscape History, Boston Society of Landscape Architects, Friends of Fairsted, the and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.

Thursday, November 20, 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm – Volunteerism on the Mystic River

The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) began in 1972 as a grassroots environmental organization and continues to rely upon grassroots support and volunteerism to accomplish its many projects and programs today. On Thursday, November 20, come learn about the work of the association and how MyRWA engages the 22 community watershed through volunteerism and citizen science.

Beth MacBlane is the Outreach and Communications Director at the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA). In this role Beth manages MyRWA outreach events and the association’s electronic and print communications, including social media. She received her B.A. in environmental studies and anthropology at Tufts University, where she volunteered with MA Community Water Watch as the education coordinator. She received her M.S. in environmental studies with a concentration in environmental education at Antioch University New England. Her professional experience comprises various educational and community organizing endeavors including four years of work with the National Park Service as an interpretive park ranger.

Lunch & Learn lectures take place every Thursday from 12:00-1:00pm at the Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room on the Medford Campus during the academic year. The Tufts Institute of the Environment generously sponsors lunch. If you are interested in participating in the Lunch & Learn program as a guest lecturer/participant, contact You can’t make it to the talk? No problem! Watch it live here from your computer or smart phone.

Thursday, November 20, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Animals of the North: What Will Climate Change Mean For Them?

Sue Morse, field naturalist and founder of Keeping Track, will speak at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive in Hadley on Thursday, November 20, beginning at 7 pm, on Animals of the North: What Will Climate Change Mean for Them?  This program details ways in which northern wildlife species are already being affected by climate change, with more serious challenges ahead. Canada lynx, moose, American marten, caribou, polar bears, arctic fox and marine mammals and waterfowl are some of the species covered in this stunningly beautiful show. We promise not to overwhelm our audience with bad news. Instead, our program will devote equal time sharing remarkable images of animals and their northern habitats—all in the spirit of Jane Goodall’s “reason for hope.” Our intent is to inspire our attendees, young and old alike, to join us in the vital crusade to change our fossil fuel-burning ways, conserve natural resources, and share a healthy planet with all that lives. Donations appreciated. Photo courtesy of

Thursday, November 20, 9:00 am – 3:15 pm – Trees in the Urban Landscape Symposium

Urban tree professionals, tree wardens, persons working in the tree-care industry and anyone interested in learning more about the urban forest are invited to attend Trees in the Urban Landscape Symposium, to be held Thursday, November 20, from 9 – 3:15 at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive in Boylston.  $35 fee, with an additional $14 if you wish to reserve a box lunch.  Sponsored by Tower Hill Botanic Garden and the Nathaniel Wheeler Trust, Bank of America, Trustee.  For more information, or to reserve, visit

Sunday, November 16, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Vision, Practice and Legacy: Edward Winslow Lincoln and the Worcester Park System

Jack Herron will present Vision, Practice and Legacy: Edward Winslow Lincoln and the Worcester Park System, on Sunday, November 16 from 2 – 3 in the Library of Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive in Boylston, followed by a reception.  This talk is the second in a series of lectures sponsored by Lost Gardens of Worcester, a joint project of the Worcester Garden Club, Preservation Worcester, and Tower Hill Botanic Garden.  Free with admission to Tower Hill.

Saturday, November 8, 12:30 pm – Preparing Plants for Dormancy

The November meeting of the New England Carnivorous Plant Society will be held Saturday, November 8 at 12:30 pm at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center in Providence, Rhode Island.  John Lombardi will speak on Preparing Plants for Dormancy, and there will, in addition, be a talk on Propogating Cephalotus Follicularis  (pictured, courtesy of by Jeff Matteson.  The meeting is free and open to the public.  For more information visit

Wednesday, November 12, 5:30 tour, 6:00 pm lecture – Prohibition: Boston Dry/Boston Wet

The Jamaica Plain Historical Society presents Stephanie Schorow, author of Drinking Boston: A History of the City and its Spirits, who will discuss the history of Boston during the era when the 18th Amendment was in effect. Prohibition in Boston was a period rife with class politics, social reform, and opportunism. Our hosts will be the Boston Beer Company, housed in the historic Brewery Complex where Haffenreffer survived Prohibition by brewing ‘near beer’ and sodas.

In Drinking Boston, Stephanie Schorow serves up a remarkable cocktail representative of Boston’s intoxicating story: its spirit of invention, its hardscrabble politics, its mythology, and the city’s never-ending battle between personal freedom and civic reform-all told through the lens of the bottom of a cocktail glass.

Come early (at 5:30) to the Sam Adams Brewery at 30 Germania Street in Boston on Wednesday, November 12 to go on a tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery before the talk. Books will be for sale.

Saturday, November 8, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – Earthwatch Summit 2014

You are cordially invited to Earthwatch Summit 2014, a Citizens for Science Exposition, on Saturday, November 8, from 9 – 4 at the Harvard Science Center in Cambridge.  Although the registration deadline has passed, please contact Nicole Barry at 978-450-1235 if you wish to attend.  The event is sponsored by the Earthwatch Institute. This FREE event is a great opportunity to learn about meaningful research from scientists around the world, including Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist and author of Blue Mind, Dr. William Moomaw, Chief Science Officer of the Earthwatch Institute, Dr. Richard Primack, Boston University biologist and author of Walden Warming, and Dr. Meg Lowman, Chief of Science & Sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences. You will also learn how citizen science research directly influences wildlife, the environment, and community members. At the Summit, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and network with some of the world’s brightest scientists.

Tuesday, November 18, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Protecting the Ash Tree: Wabanaki Diplomacy and Sustainability Science in Maine

Brown ash trees sustain the ancestral basket-making traditions of the Wabanaki people of Maine and play a key role in their creation myths. These trees are now threatened by the emerald ash borer, a beetle that has already killed millions of ash trees in the eastern United States. Wabanaki tribes and basket makers (see basket image below from Hood Museum at Dartmouth) have joined forces with foresters, university researchers, and landowners to develop and deploy actions aimed at preventing an invasion by this insect. Anthropologist Darren Ranco, PhD, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of Native American Research, University of Maine discusses how the stakeholders involved in this interdisciplinary effort are making use of sustainability science and drawing from Wabanaki forms of diplomacy to influence state and federal responses to the emerald ash borer, and prevent the demise of the ash trees that are so central to Wabanaki culture. The program will take place on Tuesday, November 18, from 7 – 8 at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street in Cambridge, and is sponsored by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, in collaboration with the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture. Visit the exhibits in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology and the Harvard Museum of Natural History, open for special evening hours following the lecture. Free event parking is available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage. Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, November 19, 10:00 am – Tablet Tech for Gardeners

The Garden Club of the Back Bay’s November meeting will take place Wednesday, November 19, beginning at 10 am at The College Club, 44 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.  Continuing our exploration of Technology in the Garden, we welcome Sarah Roche who will speak on Tablet Tech for Gardeners. Sarah Roche teaches a variety of courses for all abilities throughout the year, focusing on botanical drawing and painting in watercolor. She currently teaches at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset MA, at the Copley Society in Boston and at the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens for the Friends of Horticulture, where she is Education Director for the Certificate program in Botanical Art and Illustration . She will demonstrate how the tablet computer can be an invaluable tool in the garden – feel free to bring your tablet with you to this meeting. Open to the public but reservations are essential.  Please email if you plan to attend.  Garden Club members will receive written notification of the event. One of Sarah’s beautiful watercolors is shown below, courtesy of the Copley Society.

Thursday, November 13, 6:00 pm – Mummies, Mildews, Manna, and Mosses: Four Kingdoms Under One Roof

The Farlow Library and Herbarium of Cryptogamic Botany is steward of a world-class collection of books, archives, and specimens related to four different types of organisms—fungi, protista, plants, and monera—that play key roles in nature and society. Founded by William G. Farlow (below) in the nineteenth century, the collection celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2014. From expanding our understanding of plant diseases and helping us assess the impact of climate change and habitat destruction on geographic distributions of organisms, to offering insights into ancient ecosystems, the Farlow collection advances scientific research that is relevant to society and our understanding of life on Earth. On Thursday, November 13 at 6 pm, join mycologist Donald Pfister, Asa Gray Professor of Systematic Botany and Curator of the Farlow Library and Herbarium, Harvard University, in an exploration of the history and impact of this unique Harvard collection.

Lecture and Reception. Registration required:
Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street
Presented in collaboration with the Friends of the Farlow
Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage

Thursday, November 6, 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm – Invasive Species: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions

Invasive species are a leading component of environmental change. Some of the main challenges in invasive species research are understanding the causes of species invasions, their consequences in the invaded range, and solutions for invasive species management. This talk on Thursday, November 6 will combine principles from ecology and economics to understand causes, consequences and solutions to invasive species management.

Rebecca Irwin is an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at Dartmouth College. Dr. Irwin’s research focuses on the ecology and evolution of multiple-species interactions, pollination biology, and species invasions. She received a B.A. in Biology from Middlebury College, and she holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Vermont. Her research is well funded, having received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation as well as other organizations. Her impressive publication record includes articles in top journals such as Ecology, Ecology Letters, and PNAS.

Lunch & Learn lectures take place every Thursday from 12:00-1:00pm at the Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room on the Medford Campus during the academic year. The Tufts Institute of the Environment generously sponsors lunch. If you are interested in participating in the Lunch & Learn program as a guest lecturer/participant, contact

You can’t make it to the talk? No problem! Watch it live here from your computer or smart phone.

Wednesday, November 12, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm – Topology: On Sensing and Conceiving Landscape

The invention of landscape has always oscillated between a history of beliefs in nature, with its many representations, and a history of terrain measurements through various techniques of appropriation. In his talk sponsored by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design on Wednesday, November 12, from 6:30 – 8 in the Piper Auditorium of Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street in Cambridge, Christophe Girot will consider the longstanding balance between culture and its instruments for sensing and conceiving a landscape, noting that the particular representation of landscape that we hold true today has roots in the dialogue between ars and techne that has characterized every epoch. The aim of this talk and discussion is to open a window on topology’s shifting point of view with regard to this form of interdependence that will considerably affect our ability to act and perform effectively on landscape’s reality. Girot is chair of Landscape Architecture at the Institute of Landscape Architecture, ETH Zürich.

For accessibility accommodations please contact the events office two weeks in advance at (617)-496-2414 or  Free and open to the public.

Saturday, November 15, 1:00 pm – The Art and Science of the Unfeathered Bird

Imagine that you could see beneath the fluff and feather of a bird to view bone and muscle in action. What would this perspective reveal about movement, structure, and evolution? The Unfeathered Bird is a magnum opus, twenty-five years in the making, that features 385 finely-rendered drawings and paintings of 200 bird species. In a Harvard Museum of Natural History program intended for artists, scientists, and bird lovers alike, Katrina van Grouw will explain her approach to preparing and drawing the specimens featured in her book and share her insights into bird anatomy and biomechanics.

Lecture and Book Signing will begin at 1:00 pm on Saturday, November 15, in Haller Hall of the Museum.  Enter at 26 Oxford Street in Cambridge. Regular museum admission rates apply. Free event parking available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage.

Friday, November 14, 12:20 pm – 1:10 pm – STORMISE – An Initiative to Manage Trees and Forests for Storm Resilience

Mark Rudnicki, Associate Professor, Forest Ecology, Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Connecticut will speak on Friday, November 14, from 12:20 pm in Room 305, University of Massachusetts/Amherst’s Department of Environmental Conservation, 160 Holdsworth Way in Amherst.  His topic is STORMISE – An Initiative to Manage Trees and Forests for Storm Resilience.  Dr. Rudnicki is interested in understanding the mechanisms that govern forest stand dynamics.  In particular, he is interested in catastrophic and chronic wind interactions with forest ecosystems, and in quantifying tree sway in the wind and effects of sway on tree growth and canopy architecture. For more information call 413-545-2665.  Image from

Thursday, October 30, 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm – Biodiversity and Land Conservation at the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program

The overall goal of the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP), part of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, is the protection of the state’s wide range of native biological diversity, particularly the vertebrate and invertebrate animals and native plants that are officially listed as rare in Massachusetts. The talk by Patricia Swain, Ph.D., Natural Community Ecologist on Thursday, October 30, at noon, will focus on conservation through identifying, tracking, managing, and regulating rare species and identifying and mapping NHESP priority natural communities. Land use history, climate change, and other influences on native biodiversity will be part of the discussion.

Patricia Swain’s job as natural community ecologist for NHESP means working state wide with the rarest and most imperiled natural communities in Massachusetts and the best examples of the more common types. Patricia is currently revising The Classification of Natural Communities of Massachusetts that was first produced in 2001; since then they have been adding new types and adjusting the original descriptions so that a clean version (with illustrations and a key) seems like a useful product. Patricia has been the Natural Community Ecologist for MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program since 1987. Before that she was a stay at home mom and part time academic, teaching occasional ecology and biology classes at the local university and technical college. She graduated from Tufts with a Biology major, and obtained her MS and PhD degrees in Ecology from the University of Minnesota.

Lunch & Learn lectures take place every Thursday from 12:00-1:00pm at the Lincoln Filene Center, Rabb Room on the Medford Campus during the academic year. The Tufts Institute of the Environment generously sponsors lunch. If you are interested in participating in the Lunch & Learn program as a guest lecturer/participant, contact You can’t make it to the talk? No problem! Watch it live here from your computer or smart phone.  Photo by Patricia Swain.

Tuesday, November 18, 10:00 am – 11:30 am – Tablescapes for the Holidays

Elaine DiGiovanni and Linda Ladd will create six floral designs, both formal and informal, for fall and winter holidays. Table settings with linens, dishes, glasses and napkins will accompany the arrangements and reflect the desired celebration. This Needham Garden Club program will take place Tuesday, November 18, from 10 – 11:30.  If you wish to attend, and for information on the venue, contact: Bonnie Waters, Program Chair at Image from

Saturday, November 8, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm – The 18th Great Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show & Sale

The GCC Pioneer Valley Institute once again brings you its wonderful annual Gem and Mineral Show with talks, demonstrations, videos, and a dozen or more vendors selling fossils, minerals, gems and jewelry.  The Jurassic Road Show will be there, too. Free admission at the GCC Dining Commons, 270 Main Street, Greenfield, Massachusetts.  For more information visit

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