Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

Connecting people, plants, and place.

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Lectures

Lectures & Talks

Connections Beyond Our Garden


Lectures are supported in part by the Klein Lecture Endowment given in memory of Dr. William M. Klein who served from 1977-1990 as the Arboretum’s first full-time director, the Laura L. Barnes Lecture Endowment of The Philadelphia Foundation, given in memory of Laura Barnes by students and alumni of her school of horticulture, and the Byron Lukens Lecture Endowment, given in memory of educator and Arboretum volunteer, Byron Lukens and his wife Elizabeth.


Will We Find Trees on Other Planets?

Derrick Pitts, Hon.D Chief Astronomer, Franklin Institute

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7 | 2:00pm
Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

As foreboding as the trip might be, there's actually a chance that after hundreds of light years of travel in the most spartan of accommodations, we could arrive at a very familiar place; trees, grass, lakes, streams and oxygen! Compelling, stimulating, sometimes humorous, but always accessible, Derrick Pitts tackles what we really know about the universe, what we think we know, and what questions astronomers most want to answer.

Derrick Pitts is currently the Chief Astronomer and Director of the Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute. He appears regularly in the national media as a science content expert. For more than two decades, he has also hosted award-winning astronomy radio programs for Philadelphia's two public radio stations and created signature astronomy television programming for PBS. His motto is "Eat, breathe, do science. Sleep later." Visit Derrick's website.


GMOs: The Science, the Hope, and the Real World

Dr. Andrew Binns, Biology Professor, University of Pennsylvania

SUNDAY, JANUARY 22 | 2:00pm
Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

Agricultural and horticultural scientists have developed the capacity to modify the genomes of plants with the general goal of developing plant varieties or cultivars that, for example, would be resistant to disease, produce a better product, or have desired horticultural characteristics, among numerous different possibilities. Many genetically modified plants are currently grown and marketed across the globe. While this has been happening, anxiety has developed about such plants and their impact on society and on ecosystems. Dr. Binns will provide a brief summary of the science behind GMO production and ‘conventional’ breeding; discuss the conceivable positives and negatives from these two approaches based on the science behind them; and examine how political/ economic discourse affects decision making in relation to utilization of these technologies.


The Critical Role of Plants in the Urban Landscape

Dr. Ari Novy, Executive Director, U.S. Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1 | 2:00pm
Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

Engaging urban populations in important environmental issues is critical for creating beautiful, healthy cities. In this lecture Dr. Ari Novy will explore using ecology and agriculture to teach people about the importance of plants. As more and more people around the world move into cities, fewer and fewer of them have regular contact with natural or agricultural landscapes. Yet, our success and survival as a society relies on our ability to effectively steward the open spaces in our cities as well as those that are often far away from our urban centers. Learn more about what Dr. Ari Novy and the staff at the U.S. Botanic Garden have done to teach the public about the aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic, and ecological importance of plants to the well-being of humankind.


Approaching Sustainability

Dr. John Francis, National Geographic Explorer and Environmental Educator

SUNDAY, MARCH 5 | 2:00pm
Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

Beginning with his journey on foot across the Americas, Dr. Francis will speak about his transformation from an environmental activist to environmental practitioner and how his and our own journeys might lead us closer to sustainability. Dr. Francis speaks on environmental issues internationally. He began his work in 1971, when after witnessing an oil spill in San Francisco Bay, he stopped using motorized vehicles and took a vow of silence lasting 17 years. He earned three degrees including a doctorate in land resources, from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The founder of Planetwalk, an environmental awareness organization, he ended his silence on Earth Day 1990, telling the assembled crowd, “Environment is about how we treat each other.” He served as project manager for the United States Coast Guard Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and authored Planetwalker: 17-Years of Silence, 22-Years of Walking, and Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World, both published by National Geographic Books.


Approaching Sustainability


This lecture may be held at an off-site location. Registration will be open when the location is finalized. Check back soon. If you are interested and e-mail us at education@morrisarboretum.org, we will send you a link for on-line registration as soon as it is available.


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