Tree Spotters Program


Do you love spending time outdoors? Would you like to learn more about the Arnold Arboretum’s trees? Would you enjoy connecting with the Arboretum ecologists and fellow citizen science volunteers?


If so, we encourage you to participate in our new Tree Spotters program at the Arnold Arboretum. The goal of this citizen science program is to open a window into the Arboretum’s phenology––the timing of natural events, such as the leafing out of trees in the spring or the turning of colors in the fall.


To learn more about citizen science and phenology, visit the National Phenology Network, or to learn about the Arnold Arboretum, check our site here. You can visit this page for updates on Spring 2016 training sessions. All experience levels are welcome. Free snacks and fun activities included!


At the training sessions, you'll learn about phenology, exploring the observation methods we use while getting hands-on experience with one of the ten tree species we're tracking. Tree Spotters volunteers can plan on participating in the program by visiting the Arboretum two or more times each month from May through mid-November for a one- to two-hour tree-spotting session. You can do this on your own, with friends and family, or with other volunteers. A Nature's Notebook Observation Deck will provide you with your own personal data repository, allowing you to see the phenology patterns you've recorded from across the season!


With winter's arrival and the Arboretum's trees now dormant, we look forward to seeing you during Spring 2016, when Tree Spotters will be reassembling to track leaf-out and make the coming year's program even better than the last!


Know any prospective citizen scientists who might be interested in Tree Spotters? Let them know by passing on our information page. If you have any questions, you can contact us at


Events Calendar





Currently participating in Tree Spotters or just getting started? Attached are resources to help you get acquainted with our measurement guides and protocols!


Quick Start Guide – A quick guide on where to go and what to bring while you spot

Training Slideshow – An in-depth look at everything you'll need to know to participate

Phenology Timeline – An overview of when to expect our species' phenological events during spring and summer

Flower GuideA guide to all the flowers for each species and a glossary of terms


Species Fact Sheets – Visual references and descriptions for the species you'll be analyzing:

All species

Tilia americana

Quercus rubra

Quercus alba

Populus deltoides

Fagus grandifolio

Carya ovata

Carya glabra

Betula nigra

Betula alleghaniensis

Aesculus flava

Acer saccharum

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Tree Spotters Get Social Guide

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In Boston
Arnold Arboretum
1300 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02131

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Harvard University Herbaria
22 Divinity Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
ph: 617.384.5495