Harvard Forest—Not Just for Owls Anymore

Most freshmen can roll out of bed at 10:57 a.m. for Expos at 11 a.m. But for the select few in Freshman Seminar 21w, the journey to class is a little more rugged.

Their class is jointly taught by Dr. David R. Foster and Mother Nature herself, deep in the heart of the Harvard forest.

A forest, you say?

Yes, my child, a forest.

Indeed, in 1907, Harvard bought a forest, and soon added a museum, colonial farmhouses, and, most importantly, DSL.

According to Forest Director Dr. David R. Foster—whose last name is “coincidentally” an anagram of forest—this forest is a whole lot more than a bunch of trees.

“It’s really a 3000-acre laboratory and classroom,” he says.

While the Forest is primarily used for research, don’t think there’s no fun to be had.

“[We have] an incredible group of 23 dioramas,” explained Museum Director Dr. James F. O’Keefe ’67.

Harvard’s Crimson Key Society held its annual board retreat in the forest last winter. After a foliage-packed weekend, President Nicole T. Townsend ’07 gave the earthy vacation spot a thumbs up.

“It was great to get away and not worry about campus activities,” she said. “I imagine the forest would be absolutely gorgeous in this spring weather.”

Nathan A. Sharp ’08, who visited the forest with an Adams tutor, was impressed with the forest’s dedicated staff.

“The most amazing thing is that Harvard actually pays someone to sit there year round and poke holes in the trees to count the number of rings to see how old they are,” he said, adding that he may return soon. “I think it would a perfect place to take your girlfriend for a special night.”

What girl wouldn’t love a tree-t like that?