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Hemlock Hospice

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Art/Science Installation & Exhibition by David Buckley Borden


Presented by David Buckley Borden (2016-2017 Artist-in-residence), Aaron Ellison (Senior Ecologist), and Salua Rivero (2017 summer undergraduate intern)

Exhibition on view (in the field and Fisher Museum)
from October 7, 2017 to November 18, 2018.

Note: Hunting is allowed on most Harvard Forest properties.
People and pets should wear blaze orange while walking on trails from
Oct. 16 to Dec. 30 (no hunting is allowed on Sundays).

Download brochure to self-guide through the field exhibit (free and open to the public all year long)
Learn more about guided tours of the exhibition (available Tu, Th, Fri, Sat for group sizes under 25)


Hemlock Hospice is an art-science collaboration between David Buckley Borden2016-2017 artist and designer in residence at the Harvard Forest, and Harvard Forest Senior Ecologist Aaron Ellison. It features innovative art installed in the Fisher Museum and along a new interpretative walking trail, focused on eastern hemlock, a foundation tree in eastern forests that is slowly vanishing from North America as it is weakened and killed by a small insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid.

Hemlock Hospice blends science, art, and design in respecting hemlock and its ecological role as a foundation forest species; promoting an understanding of the adelgid; and encouraging empathetic conversations among all the sustainers of and caregivers for our forests—ecologists and artists, foresters and journalists, naturalists and citizens—while fostering social cohesion around ecological issues.

Hemlock Hospice is more than an art-science collaboration; it is also an educational initiative. Associated public workshops and print and social media are available to promote reflection, critical thinking, and creativity among scientists, artists, educators, humanists, and the general public. A diverse group of media partners will bring the concepts to a broad range of people in and outside the arts and sciences. Download the press release.

“As scientists, we envision welcoming artists into the lab and field so that they can help us communicate our scientific findings and their importance to broader audiences of non-scientists. But collaborations between artists and scientists really go both ways. Working with David on Hemlock Hospice is pushing me and the other scientists who work at Harvard Forest to revisit and re-frame the questions we ask and the hypotheses we test about how forests work.” - Aaron Ellison, Senior Ecologist Harvard Forest, Harvard University

Media Coverage 

Hemlock Hospice on Social Media

Exhibit Opening Photos
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(Browse more high-res event photos)

Examples of David Buckley Borden's Hemlock Hospice work at Harvard Forest

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[Exchange Tree, one of twelve Hemlock Hospice installations at Harvard Forest, 8 x 10 x 12.5 feet, wood and acrylic paint, 2017. Collaborators: David Buckley Borden, Dr. Aaron Ellison, Salvador Jiménez-Flores, and Salua Rivero.]   [Fast Forward Future, installation at Harvard Forest, 4 x 8 x 26 feet, wood, acrylic paint, and assorted hardware, 2017. Collaborators: Jack Byers, Dr. Aaron Ellison, Salvador Jiménez-Flores, and Salua Rivero.]   [Wayfinding Barrier, No.3, 1 x 4 x 4 feet, wood, aluminum tape, acrylic paint, assorted hardware, and recycled ant nests, 2017. Collaborators: Dr. Aaron Ellison and Salua Rivero.]   [Dendro Data Stick, 5 x 7 x 30 inches, wood, aluminum tape, acrylic paint, glue, and assorted hardware, 2017. Collaborator: Dr. Aaron Ellison]

(Explore more high-res photos of the art)

About Harvard Forest: 

The Harvard Forest is a department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) of Harvard University, located in Petersham, Massachusetts. From a center comprised of 4,000 acres of land, research facilities, and the Fisher Museum, the scientists, students, and collaborators at the Forest explore the interacting physical, biological, and human systems that drive change in the New England landscape.