People and History

Hearing What Trees Have to Say

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Hearing What Trees Have to Say

May 17, 2021

After businessman and tree planting advocate Joy Morton visited a pastoral setting 25 miles west of Chicago in 1909, he was smitten with its trees and landscapes. He purchased the property as a country estate and a retreat from living and working in Chicago. By 1922, he transformed the property into The Morton Arboretum, for the collection and study of trees, which has become one of the most highly respected tree science institutions in the world and among the largest arboreta in the U.S. in both acreage and scope of services.

Nearly 100 years later, Mr. Morton’s vision is shared with a million guests annually who come to the Arboretum to experience the benefits of spending time among trees, to learn, or enjoy the beauty of plants in a natural setting that inspires the arts. He recognized the essential need that remains today for a place to treasure being among trees and to study them for the well-being of people and the environment.

The Morton Arboretum was 735 of its current 1,700 acres when Joy last saw it in 1934, yet his vision remains at the heart of its work today for “practical scientific research work … by means of a great outdoor museum arranged for convenient study of every species, variety, and hybrid of the woody plants of the world …” 

This new blog, When Trees Talk, will be a window into what the Arboretum’s scientists learn when trees “speak” to them through scientific study and observation, as well as what we experience when in the presence of their strength and beauty. You’ll get professional advice from experts in tree and plant care, special insights about programs and exhibitions, and more. 

We look forward to sharing with you how this great outdoor tree museum is more than a walk in the woods.

Alicia LaVire, Vice President of Marketing and Communications


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