Students work at the Ada and Archibald MacLeish Field Station in Whately, MA, on using the existing landscape and vegetation to help "tell the story" of the land now owned by Smith College. One critical aspect to this interpretation is the trees. The age, location, and species of trees at MacLeish can help us to tell a rich story to site visitors.
Students will study the Botanic Garden infrastructure with particular attention to that of the Arboretum, from the database of trees to the interpretive brochures and signage, in order to design an appropriate database of significant and representative trees and an interpretation program for the trees at the field station. Their goal will be to build on the successes of the Botanic Garden's Arboretum to develop a new system for interpreting the land use history of Smith's land in Whately, which includes maple sugar production, apple orchards, pasture, agricultural lands, selective and clear-cut forest management, and ecosystem changes resulting from the introduction of aggressive species.
Students benefit from interaction with Botanic Garden staff around topics of database development and management, tree and shrub care, interpretation and outreach, and the manufacture of tree labels.