Check back later for more winter and spring events.

January 12, 2018

"Forward Motion" television interview
hosted by Karen Allyn.

Tune in to Montgomery County 
Cable Channel 21

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

Jan 12
Jan 24 9pm
Feb 4 10:30am
Mar 5 4pm

January 27, 2018

Rock Creek Conservancy

Winter Nature Walk in Rock Creek Park

© Susan Austin Roth
Join the Rock Creek Conservancy and Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of A Year in Rock Creek Park and City of Trees, for a winter nature hike through the floodplain forest and upland woods of Rock Creek Park. On February 19, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote to his son, Kermit: “Rock Creek Park was beautiful. It is really a wonderfully wild piece of scenery. The steep hillsides were covered with snow which lay in strips on the limbs of the trees, and the stream churned noisily between the ice-rimmed banks and among the ice-coated boulders.” In another letter to Kermit in February of 1908, TR reported that he swam in the creek after the ice had just melted, in his winter clothes and hobnail boots. We will not follow the example of our intrepid 26th president and wade into the creek although we’ll admire the winter beauty of the park that he loved. We’ll walk along a scenic stretch of Rock Creek beginning at Boundary Bridge on the Maryland-DC line. Sycamores, silver maples, American elms, cottonwoods, ironwoods, river birches, tulip trees, pawpaws and bladdernuts are among the woody plants we’ll encounter. We’ll pass a swamp where the skunk cabbage blooms in January and switchback into an upland forest where extremely old oaks and beeches grow. We’ll study the trees in their winter condition and admire the beauty of their leafless crowns.

If weather permits, we’ll picnic on a dramatic rocky ledge crowned with American beech, pinxter, mountain laurel and witch-hazel.

The event is free but all hikers need to pre-register here
. There is a strict 20-person cap on attendees.

Meeting Place and Directions:
The Boundary Bridge parking lot, Beach Drive. Take East-West Highway (Route 410) east from Connecticut Avenue (a right-hand turn if driving north on Connecticut from DC and a left-hand turn if driving south from the Beltway). Take East-West Highway to Beach Drive and turn right (south) and drive to the locked National Park Service gate across Beach Drive at the District line (beyond the right-hand intersection of Wyndale Road). Park in the parking lot just before the NPS gate or along the road if the parking lot is full. Please note that Beach Drive is closed south of the NPS gate so you will have to approach the meeting place from the north.

Please note:
There are no restrooms at our meeting place.

What to Wear and Bring:
Wear warm comfortable clothing and dress in layers for the weather, keeping in mind that we will be stopping often to look at trees so extra layers may be required. Wear sturdy boots or shoes with good soles as trails may be muddy. This is a rain/snow or shine event, unless conditions are dangerous or miserable. Wear sunscreen and bring water, snacks and a light lunch.

What to Expect:
We will be covering 2 ½ miles at a slow pace, with some moderate elevation change.


February 24, 2018

Audubon Naturalist Society

A Year in Rock Creek Park

A: A Winter Tree Walk at Boundary Bridge, Saturday, February 24 (10 am-2 pm)
B: Spring Wildflower and Budbreak Walk at Boundary Bridge, Saturday, April 7 (9:30 am-2:30 pm)
C: Nearing the Solstice Nature Walk at Boundary Bridge, Saturday, June 16 (9:30 am-2:30 pm)
D: Fall Nature Hike in Rock Creek Park, Saturday, November 3 (9:30 am-3:30 pm)
Walk A: members $28; nonmembers $38
Walks B, C, and D: members $34; nonmembers $42

Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of the award-winning book, A Year in Rock Creek Park and the critically acclaimed, City of Trees, will offer her twelfth year of popular nature walks for ANS in the country’s oldest urban national park, created in 1890. During the winter tree walk, we will examine the twigs, buds, bark, and overall shapes of the park’s floodplain and upland forest trees and shrubs as we look and listen for winter bird flocks and the rattling voice of a kingfisher. We will also look for the winter-flowering skunk cabbage. On the April walk, we will witness the annual floral miracle of Virginia bluebells, spring beauties and trout lilies in the floodplain forest, and admire the leaves of tuliptree and American beech as they begin to spill from their buds. In June, we’ll revisit the dense canopy of floodplain forest and upland woods of the Boundary Bridge area as we learn about and marvel over trees, late spring and early summer wildflowers and nesting birds. Autumn will find us hiking the Western Ridge and Valley Trails during peak fall foliage and fruiting season, stopping to study and admire oaks, maples, hickories and many other trees along the route. The Boundary Bridge Walks will cover a 2.5 mile loop on natural surface trails with moderate uphill and downhill. The Fall Hike will traverse 4-6 miles, with uphill and downhill on natural surface trails which may be rocky and uneven. 


March 3, 2018

United States Botanic Garden

Winter Tree Tour of the Capitol Grounds

Sat., Mar 03, 2018
10am to 1pm
Tour meets in the Conservatory Lobby
This program is full

Melanie Choukas Bradley, Author of City of Trees
Winter is the best time to appreciate the architecture of the historic trees gracing the U.S. Capitol grounds. Stroll around the Capitol with Melanie, admiring and learning about its magnificent trees from around the country and the world. Learn to identify Kentucky coffee-trees, Japanese pagoda trees, beeches, magnolias, and dogwoods during winter. Melanie will focus on the bark, buds, and overall growth habit of grand old trees, including many official state trees and memorial plantings. Giant sequoias and a massive bur oak are among the trees on the tour. Melanie will share history of the Capitol grounds and the city of Washington throughout the tour. Please note: This tour is held outdoors. Please come prepared to be outside in the winter weather. The tour is canceled if it rains or snows.

April 4, 2018

Audubon Naturalist Society

A Year at Theodore Roosevelt Island

A: Budbreak and Spring Wildflower Walk at Theodore Roosevelt Island, Wednesday, April 4 (10 am-2 pm)
B: Summer Kayaking Trip around Theodore Roosevelt Island with Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Stephanie Mason, Wednesday, July 18 (10 am-1 pm)
C: Autumn Tree Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island, Wednesday, November 7 (10 am-2 pm)
D: Late Autumn Tree Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island, Wednesday, December 5 (10 am-2 pm)
Each walk: members $28; nonmembers $38

Join Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of A Year in Rock Creek Park and City of Trees, for a year-long exploration of Theodore Roosevelt Island, a 90-acre island in the Potomac that serves as a fitting memorial to our conservationist and naturalist 26th  president—and Audubon Naturalist Society member! In the early spring, we’ll witness the miracle of budbreak among the island’s remarkable trees and see the floodplain forest come alive with Virginia bluebells, spring beauties, trout lilies, and trilliums. During summer, ANS Senior Naturalist Stephanie Mason will join us for a kayaking trip around the island, launching from Key Bridge Boathouse on the Georgetown waterfront. We’ll paddle under the island’s graceful silver maples and sycamores, get close to the  summer wildflowers along the shore, and watch herons, egrets, wood ducks and—hopefully—the noisy kingfisher! As a bonus, we’ll be treated to stunning views of the Lincoln Memorial and the “City of Trees” on the horizon. Our fall tree walks will take us deep into the swamp and tidal inlet along the boardwalk where willows, bald-cypresses and cattails frame views of the city behind it. Melanie will share details of the island’s fascinating history during this year-long exploration and we’ll witness the ebb and flow of the Potomac tides along with the changing seasons. 

Fee for trip B does not include canoe or kayak rental. 


April 14, 2017

Politics and Prose

A Walking Tour through Rock Creek Park

Saturday, April 14, 9:30am to 1:30pm

Join Melanie Choukas-Bradley, the author of A Year in Rock Creek Park—the Wild, Wooded Heart of Washington, D.C., for a spring nature 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 if her work-travel schedule permits. 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. We will look for Virginia bluebells, spring beauties, trout lilies and other early spring wildflowers of the floodplain forest as we witness the miracle of "budbreak" among the park's venerable trees. Our trail will take us into the upland woods where ancient oaks reach for the sky and the lovely wild pinxter azalea grows. The walk will be a musical experience too – as resident and migrating birds sing from the canopy, we may hear the calls of spring peepers and other amphibians. Melanie and Susan will share some of their favorite spots, which are described and depicted in their book, including Boundary Bridge, the Skunk Cabbage Swamp, the Laurel Ledge, and Meditation Rock.

The tour will take place on Saturday, April 14th from 9:30 a.m. to roughly 1:30 p.m – there are no restrooms at the meeting location or along the route. 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.

Because the tour should last up to four hours, attendees are encouraged to bring water, snacks, and a light lunch. In addition, 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.

Price of the walk and a copy of A Year in Rock Creek Park—the Wild, Wooded Heart of Washington, D.C. (9781938086243): $65

Price of the walk: $40

To be added to the wait list, contact Justin Stephani at

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

April 14, 2018

Smithsonian Associates

Spring Nature Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island

When: Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 9:30am
Where: The Theodore Roosevelt Island parking lot next to the footbridge.
Register here.

Enjoy the magic of a spring 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 spring 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. Last fall marked 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 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.)

Most nature photographs by Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Polly Alexander.

©2018 Melanie Choukas-Bradley All rights reserved.
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