It feels as though the lion of winter has no intention of releasing its grip on the Island and making way for the lamb. But everywhere are signs that nature is preparing for spring. At the Polly Hill Arboretum, horticulturalist Ian Jochems has even started planting trees in the frozen ground — not living trees, but important stand-ins for living trees: tree-shaped panels that make up an ambitious traveling outdoor exhibit. Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat will be at the Arboretum from mid-March to June.

“This is like a major high-quality museum show,” said Karin Stanley, arboretum education and outreach coordinator. “We are just the ninth arboretum, and the only one in New England, to host Vanishing Acts.”

The exhibit is the result of an international collaboration initiated by the Morton Arboretum located in Lisle, Ill. Other principal collaborators are the Botanic Gardens Conservation International and the Global Trees Campaign, a worldwide initiative to save the most threatened tree species and their habitats.

The exhibit’s primary mission is to raise awareness of the issue of threatened trees and to present specific actions that people can take to further tree conservation. Worldwide, over 9,000 tree species are threatened to varying degrees, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Exhibit designers chose 15 species to spotlight that represent different ranges, types of challenges to trees, and geographical locations. Using maps, basic scientific information, and stories about the species lore and use by humans and animals, the 15 interactive panels will take visitors on a global tour with touchdowns from Chile to China, from Siberia to the banks of Georgia’s Altamaha River. The arboretum has established specimens of four of the species.

Weather conditions permitting, the installation should be complete by the first day of spring.