Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

Connecting people, plants, and place.

Notice: The garden will open late April 10 at 1:00pm

Lectures

Lectures & Talks

Deadout Book Launch and Celebration

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6 | 6:00 - 8:00pm

Free. Widener Visitor Center/Compton Café.

Local author Jon McGoran will debut his new book Deadout, the sequel to his ecological thriller Drift. Jon will speak about topics from the books — including food security, GMOs, and the collapse of honeybee populations — and will read from and sign copies of his new book. Also on hand will be representatives from local co-op, sustainability and beekeeping organizations. Live music and free food and drink samples will make the evening a true celebration.

Read the first review of Deadout


Book Launch and Sustainability Celebration

Jon McGoran
Author


Connections Beyond Our Garden Lecture Series


Birds Can Save the World: A Special Talk with John W. Fitzpatrick of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22 | 2:00pm
Payment and registration required. $15 Members / $20 Non-members; click here to register online or call 215.247.5777, ext 125.

This illustrated lecture emphasizes the vital roles that birds play in fostering conservation of worldwide biological diversity. Importantly, birds represent our most accessible and sensitive indicators of environmental health and ecological change. Today, thanks to technology and individual citizens, we now have a genuine revolution in how we visualize and comprehend species distributions. As a result, humans have crossed an historic threshold and now, literally, serve as worldwide biosphere sensors. Do we also have the will to self-correct? Birds present us with numerous motivations to do so, and an excellent barometer for measuring our successes and failures. Birds, both the rarest and the commonest, teach us much about human nature, environmental protection, and our opportunities for saving not just species, but also the great natural systems on planet Earth.

This event is part of the 'Connections Beyond Our Garden' Lecture Series. A reception with refreshments will follow the presentation.

Register Online Now


John W. Fitzpatrick

John W. Fitzpatrick
Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Biography


Why was Charles Darwin Aboard the HMS Beagle?

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19 | 2:00pm
Payment and registration required. $15 Members / $20 Non-members; click here to register online or call 215.247.5777, ext 125.

Speaker: Keith Thomson, Executive Officer of the American Philosophical Society

In 1831 was Charles Darwin just an amiable but aimless young man with connections or was he already a serious naturalist? Darwin had gone to Cambridge University to prepare (rather unenthusiastically) for a career as a parson. He came back from the Beagle a serious naturalist and the talk of London. In five years of relative isolation on a small ship circumnavigating the world everything changed. This presentation will investigate the range of influences and ideas, the mentors and rivals, and the formal and informal education that shaped Charles Darwin and prepared him for his remarkable career of scientific achievement. Keith Thomson is currently Executive Officer of the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. He is also emeritus professor of natural history at the University of Oxford and was President of Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences.

This event is part of the 'Connections Beyond Our Garden' Lecture Series. A reception with refreshments will follow the presentation.

Register Online Now


Keith Thomson

Keith Thomson
Executive Officer of the American Philosophical Society
Biography


Emily Dickinson & Beatrix Potter: Tale of Two Gardeners

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10 | 2:00pm
Payment and registration required. $15 Members / $20 Non-members; click here to register online or call 215.247.5777, ext 125.

Speaker: Marta McDowell, Author, Teacher, and Lecturer

Reclusive poet Emily Dickinson, followed a life of obscurity with posthumous celebrity as one of America's greatest writers. In Amherst, she was known as a consummate gardener, exploring the fields around town for wildflowers, studying botany and tending her own conservatory. Author and illustrator Beatrix Potter's children's books are famous for captivating stories about rabbits, ducks and mice. In real life Potter was as much a naturalist and gardener as a writer, eventually owning a series of farms in England's Lake District. She became an early advocate of sustainable agriculture and a pioneering landscape preservationist and conservationist. Author, teacher, and popular lecturer Marta McDowell, whose books include Emily Dickinson's Gardens: A Celebration of a Poet and Gardener (2004) and Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Tales (2013) is particularly interested in the relationship between the "pen and the trowel" - people who, like her, are passionate about both writing and gardening.

This event is part of the 'Connections Beyond Our Garden' Lecture Series. A reception with refreshments will follow the presentation.

Register Online Now


Marta McDowell

Marta McDowell,
Author, Teacher, and Lecturer
Biography

Please check back for upcoming lectures and talks.

Don't miss our exciting line-up of Spring special events here


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Keith Thomson

Keith Thomson is professor emeritus of natural history, University of Oxford, and Executive Officer, American Philosophical Society since 2012. He is also the author of more than 200 scientific papers and twelve books. Thomson lives in Philadelphia.

Keith Thomson on The Young Charles Darwin
What sort of person was the young naturalist who developed an evolutionary idea so logical, so dangerous, that it has dominated biological science for a century and a half? How did the quiet and shy Charles Darwin produce his theory of natural selection when many before him had started down the same path but failed? This book is the first to inquire into the range of influences and ideas, the mentors and rivals, and the formal and informal education that shaped Charles Darwin and prepared him for his remarkable career of scientific achievement.

Keith Thomson concentrates on Darwin’s early life as a schoolboy, a medical student at Edinburgh, a theology student at Cambridge, and a naturalist aboard the Beagle on its famous five-year voyage. Closely analyzing Darwin’s Autobiography and scientific notebooks, the author draws a fully human portrait of Darwin for the first time: a vastly erudite and powerfully ambitious individual, self-absorbed but lacking self-confidence, hampered as much as helped by family, and sustained by a passion for philosophy and logic. Thomson’s account of the birth and maturing of Darwin’s brilliant theory is fascinating for the way it reveals both his genius as a scientist and the human foibles and weaknesses with which he mightily struggled.

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Marta McDowell

Marta McDowell lives, writes and gardens in Chatham, New Jersey. She shares her garden with her husband, Kirke Bent, their crested cockatiel, Sydney, and assorted wildlife. Her garden writing has appeared in popular publications such as Woman’s Day, Fine Gardening and The New York Times. Scholars and specialists have read her essays on American authors and their horticultural interests in the journals Hortus and Arnoldia.

Timber Press published Marta’s book, Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life, in 2013. It won the Silver Award from the Garden Writers Association in June 2014. Emily Dickinson’s Gardens, was published by McGraw-Hill in 2005.  Marta was an advisor for the New York Botanical Garden's 2010 exhibit "Emily Dickinson's Gardens: The Poetry of Flowers" and was a featured speaker.

Marta teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden. A popular lecturer on topics ranging from design history to plant combinations, she has been a featured speaker at locations ranging from Wave Hill to the Garden Club of Philadelphia to the Beatrix Potter Society's Linder Lecture at the Sloane Club in London. With artist Yolanda Fundora, Marta wrote A Garden Alphabetized (for your viewing pleasure) in 2008.

Her current projects include a book about the history of American gardening as seen through the gardens and grounds of the White House due out from Timber Press in 2016. Marta is on the Board of the NJ Historical Garden Foundation at the Cross Estate in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

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John W. Fitzpatrick

John W. Fitzpatrick became the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in August 1995. He received his B.A. from Harvard in 1974 and his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1978. An expert on the Florida Scrub-Jay, he is co-author of at least six bird species new to science. His book, Florida Scrub Jay: Demography of a Cooperative-breeding Bird earned him a William Brewster Award, the highest research award given by the American Ornithologists' Union. He also studies systematics and biogeography of South American birds. He co-authored Neotropical Birds: Ecology and Conservation, and was a major contributor to Volume 9 of the Handbook of Birds of the World.

Today, Fitzpatrick works on the ecology, conservation biology, landscape genetics, and regional land management of endangered species, with emphasis on the cooperative-breeding Florida Scrub-Jay. He remains closely involved in an intensive, long-term demographic study (42 years and counting) of the color-marked jay population at the Archbold Biological Station. At the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Fitzpatrick is involved in developing internet-based projects for citizen engagement in monitoring bird populations around the world, and using these data to draw attention to regional and global conservation priorities.

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