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September 9, 2017

Friends of Theodore Roosevelt Island

Naturalist-Led Morning Paddle Around Theodore Roosevelt Island

9:00am – 11:00am
Thompson Boat Center
2900 Virginia Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20037

Discover the joys of paddling around Theodore Roosevelt Island on a summer morning! Author/Naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley will lead a kayak and canoe trip starting from the Thompson Boat Center and circling the island. We will paddle close to the island shoreline so that we can see and identify the island’s beautiful silver maples, sycamores, river birches, cottonwoods and other trees of the floodplain forest and get close-up views of summer wildflowers in bloom. We will also look for herons, egrets, ospreys, bald eagles, belted kingfishers, wood ducks and eastern painted turtles.

Learn how paddling can be one of the best ways to observe and enjoy the natural beauty of Theodore Roosevelt Island. We’ll catch stunning views of the Lincoln Memorial, the Kennedy Center and the Georgetown waterfront.

Registration is free and limited to 20 participants. Kayaks and canoes can be rented from the Thompson Boat Center for a fee. Register here.

September 14-16, 2017

The Theodore Roosevelt Center
    at Dickinson State University
        Dickinson, North Dakota

President Roosevelt’s Explorations of Rock Creek Park -- Melanie Choukas-Bradley

President Roosevelt’s residence at the White House didn’t stop him from pursuing his love of nature, birding, and strenuous rock scrambles and point to point hikes. Learn about his adventures exploring Rock Creek Park, the wild stream valley that runs through the nation’s capital, in the company of friends and family, the French Ambassador Jean Jules Jusserand, other colleagues and soldiers, all of whom struggled to keep up with the indomitable president. Roosevelt has a trail named for him in Rock Creek Park and a 90-acre island memorial in the middle of the Potomac that is administered by the National Park Service and celebrates its 50th anniversary this fall. The presentation will be accompanied by stunning slides of Rock Creek Park and Theodore Roosevelt Island through the seasons.

Please click here for more information. Online registration is available here.

September 22, 2017 - This tour was rescheduled. New date: September 26

United States Botanic Garden

Autumn Equinox Evening Tree Tour

DATE: Friday, September 22
TIME: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
LOCATION: Tour meets by the entrance to the Conservatory on the Terrace
FREE: Pre-registration required. This event is full.

Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of City of Trees and A Year in Rock Creek Park
Spend the evening of the autumn equinox strolling through the Regional Garden where fall fruits are maturing and the first splashes of leaf color are beginning to show through. Learn to identify trees of the Mid-Atlantic Piedmont and Coastal Plain as you tour the Regional Garden with Melanie. She will teach you how to identify tupelo, hop-hornbeam, red buckeye, pawpaw, common persimmon, oaks, and many other native trees. She will also share some of the arboreal history of Washington, DC, which has long been known as the "City of Trees," and offer ideas for self-guided tree tours in and around the nation's capital. Please note: This tour is held outdoors. We suggest bringing sunscreen, protective clothing, and water. The tour is canceled if it rains or during times of extreme heat (heat index of 95 degrees or higher/Code Red weather alert).

September 24, 2017 - This walk was rescheduled for September 29.

Audubon Naturalist Society

Forest Bathing Walk

Leader: Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Members $28; nonmembers $38

We are happy to offer a Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing walk on a farm in Comus, MD near Sugarloaf Mountain. Numerous studies in Japan, Europe and North America have demonstrated the health benefits of spending quiet time immersed in nature, including lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lowered blood pressure, increased immune system function, and elevated mood (things that ANS members already knew!). We will walk less than a mile at a slow pace and spend quiet time sitting and watching early fall wildflowers and nectaring butterflies. Our leader says this walk is “more about being than IDing.” She has portable forest bathing stools to loan to each participant for the duration of the foray. Melanie welcomes any questions about this new form of nature meditation, which evolved from practices in Japan and Korea: mcb@melaniechoukas-bradley.comREGISTER HERE.

October 27, 2017

Audubon Naturalist Society

The Natural and Cultural History of the Agricultural Reserve

Friday, October 27 (9:30 am-4 pm)
Leaders: Melanie Choukas-Bradley & Stephanie Mason
Members $36; nonmembers $54

Thirty-five years ago, with regional farmland rapidly diminishing, Montgomery County had the foresight to set aside more than 90,000 acres of farms and open space in the western and northern third of the county as an “Agricultural Reserve.” Come explore this scenic, biologically diverse area and learn how it contributes to clean air and water, the availability of fresh local produce, and the overall quality of life for residents of the metro area. Our trip will visit a working CSA farm, a fall produce and pumpkin stand, an historical site, and perhaps an artist’s studio, time permitting, to experience the rich diversity of plants and wildlife (and human livelihoods) that thrive in the Reserve’s fields, meadows, wetlands, and rocky woodlands. We’ll begin and end the tour in some of the beautiful parkland along its borders: Seneca Creek State Park and Dickerson Conservation Park, site of an American sycamore, officially the largest known tree in MD. Image credit: Don Graham REGISTER HERE

October 29, 2017

National Park Service

50th Anniversary of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial

Date & Time: 10/29/2017 10:00am to 4:00pm

Location: Theodore Roosevelt Island
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Phone Number: 703-289-2500

Events throughout the day will include an early morning bird walk, ranger programs, a Theodore Roosevelt reenactor, Civil War reenactors, children’s Teddy Bear storytime, tours of the Island, Island safari walks, games, exhibits, crafts, and food vendors.

Island of Trees, 12:30: Meet at the Information Table and enjoy the magic of an autumn day with author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley on this scenic walk around the island, pointing out distinguishing features of the many trees and birds that make this place home. Dress for the weather, wear comfortable shoes, and bring water.

Click here for a full schedule of events.

October 31, 2017

Rock Creek Conservancy

Shinrin-Yoku or Forest Bathing Walk in Rock Creek Park

Tuesday, October 31, 9:30 - approximately 12:30

Join the Rock Creek Conservancy and Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of A Year in Rock Creek Park and City of Trees, for our inaugural Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing walk. We will meet in the Pinehurst Branch area of Rock Creek Park for a mindfulness walk under the tall trees near the scenic tributary. For more than 30 years, the forest agency of Japan has encouraged Japanese citizens to spend quiet time in the forest, taking in the sights, sounds, smells and tactile sensations of nature. Numerous health studies in Japan, North America and around the world have demonstrated measurable improvements in physical health and mood following sensory immersion in nature, including lowered blood pressure, lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increased immunity to disease. See the National Geographic January 2016 article: “This is Your Brain on Nature” and The Washington Post’s“’Forest Bathing is Latest Fitness Trend to Hit U.S. –‘Where Yoga Was 30 Years Ago,’” May 17, 2016. Melanie will share some simple techniques she has learned to help us connect more deeply with the beauty and wonder of the forest and waters that the Rock Creek Conservancy works so hard to protect. (Melanie is a Forest Therapy Guide who has received certification with the California Bay-area Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs Santa Rosa, CA.)

Registration: This is a free event but all participants must register first. REGISTER HERE!

Meeting Place and Directions: We will meet at the intersection of 6800 Oregon Avenue and 3000 Beech Street, NW. (Note, this is Beech Street, not Beach Drive.) The meeting place is 1 mile north of Military Road and .4 miles north of Nebraska Avenue on Oregon Avenue. From Connecticut Avenue, NW take Western Avenue east from the Chevy Chase Circle at the DC/MD line. In one mile turn right on Beech Street and take it to Oregon Avenue. There is parking along Beech Street near Oregon.

Please note: There are no restrooms at our meeting place. The closest restrooms can be found at the Rock Creek Park Horse Center located at 5100 Glover Rd NW, about 1.5 miles from the meeting site.

What to Wear and Bring: Wear warm comfortable clothing and dress in layers for the weather. Wear sturdy shoes with good soles as trails may be muddy. This is a rain or shine event, unless conditions are dangerous or miserable. Wear sunscreen and bring water and snacks.

What to Expect: We will be walking very slowly and covering a distance of about a mile during our 2-3 hour forest bathing walk. We will provide light portable canvas chairs that we encourage you to carry for the sitting portions of the walk. (Given the slow pace of the walk, extra layers of clothing are recommended for comfort.)

November 1, 2017


Washington: City of Trees

Oasis at Montgomery Mall
At the Macy's Home Store Large Room

7125 Democracy Boulevard
Bethesda, MD  20817

Wednesday, November 1, 10:30 – 11:45 am
Class: #328
Registration and $13.00 fee required.
To register, call 301-469-6800, press 1, x211.

From almost anywhere in the Washington area, you will see an amazing tree canopy. The city has a fascinating arboreal history and botanic diversity. Melanie Choukas-Bradley will share stunning visual images of the White House and Capitol grounds, Rock Creek Park, the National Arboretum, the Tidal Basin, Mount Vernon and many other storied landmarks in our area. Explore a secret side of political Washington: the love of trees that goes back to founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and has endured through the centuries. She will also take you on a virtual tour of Rock Creek Park, the nation’s oldest urban national park, which is twice the size of Central Park in New York City.  

Ms. Choukas-Bradley will be signing the most recent edition of her book, City of Trees, as well as her most recent book, A Year in Rock Creek Park. Instructor: Melanie Choukas-Bradley, Author and Naturalist.

November 4, 2017

Audubon Naturalist Society

A Year in Rock Creek Park: Fall Nature Hike 

D: Fall Nature Hike in Rock Creek Park
Saturday, November 4 (9:30 am-3:30 pm)
Leader: Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Members $34; nonmembers $42

In 2016 the award-winning author of A Year in Rock Creek Park completed 10 years of her popular walks for ANS titled A Year at Boundary Bridge. This year, Melanie Choukas-Bradley will branch out into other areas of Rock Creek Park with a new series of field trips throughout the year. Autumn will find us hiking the Western Ridge and Valley Trails during peak autumn foliage and fruiting season, stopping to study and admire trees along the route. Please join ANS as we visit familiar parts of Rock Creek Park and explore new ones! The Fall Hike will traverse 4-6 miles, with uphill and downhill on natural surface trails which may be rocky and uneven.  REGISTER HERE

November 8, 2017

Smithsonian Associates

Autumn Nature Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Members $45, nonmembers $55
Register here. Full--register for wait list

Enjoy the magic of an autumn morning on Roosevelt Island, a 90-acre wooded oasis and national memorial in the middle of the tidal Potomac and located entirely within the District. Author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley leads a scenic walk around the island, pointing out distinguishing features of the sycamores, cottonwoods, maples, oaks, beeches, musclewoods, river birches, basswoods, and many other tree species  in their late autumn glory. Look and listen, as well, for great blue herons, bald eagles, belted kingfishers, and wood ducks while gazing out over the Potomac River toward the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial, and other iconic DC landmarks. 

During the walk, hear highlights of the fascinating history of the island, which was once owned by the family of George Mason. This fall marks the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the island’s memorial to our 26th president.

Choukas-Bradley is the author of City of Trees, A Year in Rock Creek Park, and a forthcoming nature memoir about Theodore Roosevelt Island. 

Dress for the weather and bring water and snacks or a picnic lunch. (Walk will go rain or shine, depending on conditions.)

November 11, 2017

Politics & Prose

A Walking Tour Through Rock Creek Park

9:30am - about 1:30pm
Member $36, nonmember $40
Meet at the Boundary Bridge parking lot found along Beach Drive
Reserve here

Join Melanie Choukas-Bradley, the author of A Year in Rock Creek Park—the Wild, Wooded Heart of Washington, D.C., for a walk under the trees in the Boundary Bridge area of Rock Creek Park. Susan Austin Roth, the book's photographer and a Virginia Master Naturalist, will co-lead the walk. Melanie and Susan are naturalists who frequently lead guided walks in the park, and they are intimately acquainted with the trees and wildflowers growing along Rock Creek. Melanie and Susan will share their love of nature and knowledge of the area’s wildlife, including how to identify various species of trees. See the last blaze of autumn glory in the trees and learn to identify them by their acorns nuts and other fall fruits. The enchanting, native witch-hazel will be in bloom and perhaps some fall wildflowers. The group will hope to catch the calls of pileated woodpeckers in the tall trees or the loud chatter of a belted kingfisher cruising the creek for fish, all while exploring some of the author’s and photographer’s favorite spots, including Boundary Bridge, the Skunk Cabbage Swamp, the Laurel Ledge, and Meditation Rock.

The tour will take place on Saturday, November 11th from 9:30 a.m. to roughly 1:30 p.m. The group will meet at the Boundary Bridge parking lot found along Beach Drive, where attendees can park. To get there, take the East-West Highway (Route 410) east from Connecticut Avenue (a right-hand turn if driving north on Connecticut from D.C. and a left-hand turn if driving south from the Beltway). Take the East-West Highway to Beach Drive and turn right (south) and drive to the locked gate across Beach Drive at the District line. Park in the parking lot just before the gate or along the road if the parking lot is full. Note: Beach Drive is closed to motorized vehicles south of the park gate on weekends.

Because the tour should last up to four hours, attendees are encouraged to bring water, snacks, and/or a light lunch. In addition, depending on the day’s weather, sunscreen and bug spray may be needed. Bring binoculars if you wish.

We will cover up to 2 ½ miles at a slow hiking pace with some elevation change on hiking trails. There are no restrooms at the meeting location or along the route.

For more information, contact Justin Stephani at

Return Policy: Refunds are only guaranteed up to seven days before the trip.

November 18, 2017

United States Botanic Garden

Fall Tree Tour of the Capitol Grounds

DATE: Saturday, November 18
TIME: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
LOCATION: Tour meets by the entrance to the Conservatory on the Terrace
FREE: This program is full

Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of City of Trees and A Year in Rock Creek Park
Autumn is a magnificent time to appreciate the architecture and colorful foliage of the historic trees that grace the U.S. Capitol grounds. Stroll around the Capitol, admiring and learning about grand old tree specimens from around the country and the world, including many official state trees and memorial plantings. Melanie will focus on autumn fruits and leaves, and teach how to identify diverse species of oak, maple, beech, buckeye, and many other trees. She will share history of the Capitol Grounds and the city of Washington. Binoculars optional, but recommended. Participants are encouraged to bring their own brown bag lunch to enjoy with Melanie after the tour. Please note: This tour is held outdoors. We suggest bringing sunscreen, protective clothing, and water. The tour is canceled if it rains. Hearing aid compatible assistive listening devices are available during the tour.

November 19, 2017

The Nature Conservancy

Family Tree Tour of the Capitol Grounds

November 19, 2017
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
US Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Ave SW
Washington, DC 20001

Looking for a way to experience the beautiful fall foliage in the district? Join us on Sunday November 19th as Washington, DC author and naturalist, Melanie Choukas-Bradley, leads a family friendly tour of the trees surrounding the Capitol.

Melanie will describe autumn fruits and leaves and teach attendees how to identify the diverse species of trees in the area including oak, maple, beech, and buckeye. Melanie will also share a little bit on the history of the Capitol Grounds and on the city of Washington, DC.

This free and family-friendly event is a fun and hands on way to experience nature in the city. Space is limited to 25 people (adults & children) and registration is required.


Restrooms will be available. The tour is expected to last up to three hours.  Attendees are encouraged to bring water, snacks, and/or a light bagged lunch. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars if you wish. Sunscreen and bug spray may be needed.

The tour will be canceled in the event of rain. Hearing aid compatible assistive listening devices will be available during the tour.


December 2, 2017

Audubon Naturalist Society

Late Autumn Nature Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island

Saturday, December 2 (9am-Noon)
Leader: Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Members $28; nonmembers $38

Join the author of A Year in Rock Creek Park and City of Trees for a late autumn tree walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island. With winter-in-waiting, we will walk through the floodplain forest admiring and identifying sycamore, several species of maples, black walnut, American basswood, pawpaw, cottonwood, American beech and several species of oaks. Melanie will share many tricks for identifying trees as they prepare for winter, including bark, buds, growth habit and habitat. As we stroll the island’s perimeter on this late fall day, we’ll also be able to enjoy the vistas of the Georgetown waterfront and presidential memorials. There may not be restroom facilities open on the island at this time of year. Those who are sensitive to noise should note that the island lies under the flight path of Reagan National Airport. REGISTER HERE

December 9, 2017

Rock Creek Conservancy

Late Autumn Nature Walk in Rock Creek Park

(details forthcoming)

December 19, 2017

Montgomery County Cable Channel 21

"Forward Motion" hosted by Karen Allyn

Television Interview: “A Year in Rock Creek Park”


Dec 19 4 pm
Dec 27 4 pm

Nature photographs by Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Polly Alexander.

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