Edible Watertown Presents Urban Nature: Human Nature
Join Edible Watertown, a project of the Watertown Public Arts & Culture Committee, and Peter Del Tredici of Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University for a lecture on urban ecosystems and how plants, animals, and humans in urban centers can thrive together.
Urban ecosystems are the ultimate manifestation of the dynamic interaction between humans and nature—between our desire for neat, orderly landscapes on the one hand and our fear of messy ecological chaos on the other. This presentation will focus on the plants that grow without cultivation in cities and their remarkable ability to flourish in spite of stressful environmental conditions. Cities—along with the plants and animals they support—can be considered "novel" ecosystems that not only reflect a tumultuous past but also preview our unpredictable future. The spontaneous vegetation that inhabits our cities is as cosmopolitan as its people and, quite frankly, better adapted to their changing environmental conditions than the native species that once grew there. Like it or not, these novel ecosystems have become the new normal and people need to recognize that they not only help make our cities more livable but also help clean up the mess we have made of the planet.
Peter Del Tredici is a botanist specializing in the growth and development of trees. He retired from the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in 2014 after working there for 35 years. He taught in the Landscape Architecture Department at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for 24 years and the Urban Planning Department at MIT. He has published over a hundred scientific articles on a wide variety of subjects including, the ecology and taxonomy of hemlocks and stewartias, the history of plant introductions from Japan and China, and the ecology and evolution of the Ginkgo tree. Since 2004, his research has focused on urban ecology and climate change, and in 2010 he published the widely acclaimed, Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide.