In The News

Blossoms Off The Beaten Path: Where To See The Region’s Flowering Bounty

Melanie was Kojo's guest on
Thursday, March 29, 2018
WAMU 88.5 FM

In the nation’s capital, there’s nothing more synonymous with the arrival of spring than cherry blossoms. But is it really necessary to battle crowds at the Tidal Basin during the official Cherry Blossom Festival? We look beyond the usual spots to see the delicate blooms, and take some time to appreciate the less famous flowering trees among us.

Forest Bathing: A Retreat
To Nature Can Boost
Immunity And Mood

The aim of forest bathing, Choukas-Bradley explained, is to slow down and become immersed in the natural environment. She helped us tune in to the smells, textures, tastes and sights of the forest. We took in our surroundings by using all our senses.

Click here to read and hear how forest bathing therapy is a stress-reduction strategy, as heard on NPR's
Morning Edition by Allison Aubrey

Shinrin-yoku 101:
Forest Bathing for Wellbeing

"Interest in Shinrin-yoku is now gaining in popularity in the United States as a way to reconnect with nature for health and many other benefits," says Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a forest therapy guide certified with the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy (ANFT), who shares some advice in this piece from the Travel Channel’s Steve Larese.

Some D.C. activities never
get old - no matter how many
times you revisit them

Nature trips that will
have you beating a path

Melanie hikes the same path in Rock Creek Park nearly every day, but her experience changes by the days, weeks, and months. Read more in the Washington Post Express article here.

Photo by Toni Genberg

The woods are lovely, dark
and deep — perfect for forest bathers searching for a
little peace of mind.

Read about Melanie's forest bathing walk in Rock Creek Park in the summer issue of National Parks magazine here.

While many of us enjoy hiking or
running in Rock Creek Park, we
generally do not take the time to notice all the gifts of nature. Forest bathing encourages you to connect with the Earth through all of your senses: we looked at the autumn foliage and the sunlight dappled on the forest floor;
we heard the leaves rustling, sounding
eerily similar to a burbling brook.

Read more here of this article
written by Kate Arion for
The Rock Creek Conservancy.

Image by Korrin Bishop

With the leaves, flowers, and birds of
the park as her pen, Melanie captures
a compellingly relatable narrative on women’s empowerment, climate change, life with Lyme disease, the nuanced tugs of family, career, and wildness, and
how to find connection in a bustling
city center.

Read more of Korrin Bishop's
story here.

We Had a Wheelie Great Time on our Tree Tour by Bike

Last weekend Casey Trees volunteers, members, bikers, and tree enthusiasts joined us for a tree tour on wheels to our nation’s Capitol. Nearly thirty bikers in neon vests hit the road to learn more about the trees planted on the Capitol grounds. Read about the tour here.

Teddy Roosevelt's Mar-a Lago

We set off walking in the footsteps of our 26th President along the Theodore Roosevelt Side Trail. While on the trail I was reminded of Teddy’s love for the outdoors. His favorite resort was Rock Creek Park, and he frequently led members of his “Tennis Cabinet” and foreign ambassadors on grueling hikes here. To be invited by the President to go on one of those hikes was regarded as a mark of special favor. Read more here.

Worried About the Cherry Blossoms? You May Have ‘Phenology Anxiety.’

Read more about this in Melanie's Washington Post op-ed here.

2017 Review of
A Year in Rock Creek Park
by Miriam R. Aczel, Imperial College of London, UK, Electronic Green Journal, UCLA Library

Review excerpts:

"When I walk through the bottomland forest and into the upland woods,
I may be deep in solitary reverie
but I am never alone."

With its rich descriptions but clear
warnings about the fragility of the
author's beloved sanctuary, the book serves as homage to an ecosystem,
while demonstrating its fragility.

Read the full review here.

Inauguration Day Nature Walk in Rock Creek Park with Congressman Jamie Raskin, Maryland’s 8th District, and Author Melanie Choukas-Bradley

Message from Congressman Raskin:
“Join me and my friend, author/ naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley, at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, January 20 at Boundary Bridge in Rock Creek Park!”

To read more of Jamie Raskin’s message about the walk, click here.

Award-Winning and Forthcoming Books

A Year in Rock Creek Park
The Wild, Wooded Heart of
Washington, DC

By Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Photographs by Susan Austin Roth

2015 IPPY award
for regional nonfiction

Click here to read about the award


The Joy of Forest Bathing
Reconnect With Wild Places
& Rejuvenate Your Life

By Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Illustrations by Lieke van der Vorst

Forthcoming book available for
preorder through Amazon.

Click here to read about the edition
published by George F. Thompson Publishing and distributed by the 
University of Virginia Press.

Click here to read about the
limited edition of A Year in Rock Creek Park published by
George F. Thompson Publishing.

Being present in a forest can produce
mental, emotional, and physical health
benefits; The Joy of Forest Bathing
is a simple antidote
to our nature-starved lives.

The Joy of Forest Bathing is both
an invitation to take up the practice,
and an inspiration to
connect with nature to heal 
your mind and spirit

Melanie leads a spring nature walk, April 2018. Photo by Ana Ka’ahanui.

Melanie Choukas-Bradley is a Washington, DC author and naturalist who leads field trips and tree tours for the Audubon Naturalist Society, the United States Botanic Garden, Smithsonian Associates, the Maryland Native Plant Society, the Rock Creek Conservancy, the Nature Conservancy, Casey Trees, Politics & Prose and other organizations. She is the author of the award-winning book, A Year in Rock Creek Park: The Wild, Wooded Heart of Washington, DC, with photographs by Susan Austin Roth. The book was published in two editions in the fall of 2014 by George F. Thompson Publishing. The softcover edition is distributed by the University of Virginia Press.

Melanie is the author of three other critically acclaimed books: City of Trees: The Complete Field Guide to the Trees of Washington, DC, illustrated by Polly Alexander and now in its third edition (2008), An Illustrated Guide to Eastern Woodland Wildflowers and Trees: 350 Plants Observed at Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland, illustrated by Tina Thieme Brown (2004, 2007), and Sugarloaf: The Mountain’s History, Geology, and Natural Lore, illustrated by Tina Thieme Brown (2003), all published by the University of Virginia Press.

Melanie with forest therapy guides Akira and Kouriki in the Japanese Alps, October 2017

Melanie is also a long-time contributor to The Washington Post and other publications, has appeared as an author and guest expert on All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, and The Kojo Nnamdi Show. In 2014, Melanie was awarded one of four inaugural “Canopy Awards” by Casey Trees, for her efforts to educate people about the trees of Washington, DC. Melanie is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide (Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, Santa Rosa, CA). 


Hear recent interviews on the Kojo Nnamdi Show, Washington, DC’s NPR affiliate, WAMU:

Rock Creek Park Celebrates 125 Years
September 24, 2015

Rock Creek Park: Past, Present, and Future
August 28, 2014, (program rebroadcast Thanksgiving Day 2014)

(Click here for 2015 interview, here for 2014 interview,
then click “Listen” near the top left of page.

More interviews on WAMU:

Kojo Nnamdi show with guest host Paul Brown - Local Trees

Metro Connection interview - Feb. 19, 2010 - Tree Tour of the US Capitol Grounds

Metro Connection interview - City of Trees

Kojo Nnamdi show with guest host Corey Flintoff -
Sugarloaf: The Mountain's History, Geology, and Natural Lore

Kojo Nnamdi interview - Montgomery's Agricultural Reserve at 25

Kojo Nnamdi interview - The City of Trees

More News Items

The Benefits of Forest Bathing

“Forest bathing is slowing down and connecting with nature with all your senses and it’s something you can do very close to home,” says Melanie, in an interview with Alexa Mergen, writing for mylittlebird -
The Grownup Girl's Guide to
D.C. Living

Find out more about forest bathing here.

How to Absolutely Crush Rock Creek Park
From Top to Bottom In One Day

The Washingtonian Magazine has created a
Rock Creek Park Hiking Guide
based on
Melanie's experience and suggestions.

You can find it here, ready to download and print!

“Which Kind of Cherry Blossom
Are You?”

Click here to take the online quiz in the
Washington Post Express.

Also published in the Washington Post Weekend Section as “Know Yourself, and Your Flowers,” by Sadie Dingfelder, March 25, 2016.

Confidence is Key

Nature Walk with Melanie Choukas-Bradley

"If you want to enjoy an informative, fun nature walk in the D.C. area, you have to go on one with Melanie Choukas-Bradley."

Check out Kathryn Arion's descriptive blog here.

Closely Observed Trees - Takoma Voice

"And so, on a bright, brisk Saturday morning in early December, a small group of us gathered in Rock Creek Park at Boundary Bridge. After a quick review of history and maps, we set off, first through the floodplain forest by the creek, later to return on the higher elevations of the Western Trail Ridge via Riley Spring Bridge. We were, Melanie announced, going to take a very close look at trees."

Read more of Linda Pentz Gunter's article on this special trip in the Takoma Voice.

“A Year in Rock Creek Park”
(Click on the image to see the interview.)

"Forward Motion" television interview
hosted by Karen Allyn.

Tune in to Montgomery County 
Cable Channel 21

April 6
May 28 4pm
June 8 4pm

23 Books Obama Should Buy On
His Annual D.C. Bookstore Trip

From Kojo Nnamdi's blog November 21, 2016
Go here to read the whole Blog.

Politics & Prose recommends books for President Obama
to the Kojo Nnamdi Show:

A Year in Rock Creek Park
by Melanie Choukas-Bradley

"President Obama and family should get to know the beautiful park near their
new home in Kalorama. If he needs a tour guide, there are eager
Politics & Prose staffers happy to be of service!"

In 2017, Resolve to Appreciate D.C. Better

... get outside more.

Be one with the trees
"Thanks to its temperate clime and international citizenry, D.C. is home to about 350 species of trees from around the world, and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley is friends with them all."

Read more of Sadie Dingfelder's article in the Washington Post Express!

Rachel Carson 75th Anniversary Jubilee Celebration

We celebrated the 75th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s historic arrival on the American environmental and literary scene with her beloved first book, Under the Sea-Wind. We heard and met leading authors, environmental leaders, and members of Congress at the Rachel Carson Council’s all-day, one-of-a-kind event on Wednesday, November 30, 2016, on Capitol Hill. See more details here.

Learn about DC trees -- and the
Witness Tree Protection Program

with Melanie Choukas-Bradley in the
Washington Post Express,
July 27, 2015.

(Click here to see the story.)

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