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June 1, 2018

United States Botanic Garden

Botanical Bliss: An Immersive Walk in the National Garden

DATE: Friday, June 1
TIME: 6pm to 8pm
LOCATION: Tour meets on the Lawn Terrace of the National Garden
FREE: Pre-registration required. This tour is full.

Melanie Choukas Bradley, Author, Naturalist, Certified Forest Therapy Guide
Studies have shown that spending time in nature is good for both mental and physical health. This slow moving, immersive tour through the USBG National Garden aims to promote wellness and reflections on nature. Join Melanie as she explores the beauty and wonder of the Garden through all five senses. Stop to periodically share experiences and observations with other participants and sip some pure maple sap "tea" at the conclusion of the journey.

June 8, 2018

Smithsonian Associates

Finding Paradise in Montgomery County:
Sugarloaf Mountain and the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve All-Day Tour

This tour is full. To register for wait list, please go here.

Friday, June 8, 2018 - 8:30am to 7:30pm
Code: 1ND027

A summer day in Western Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve (Photo: Martin Radigan)

Did you know there is rural beauty nearby to Washington that rivals the English countryside or Provence? Spend a June day exploring the verdant rolling hills of Montgomery County’s scenic 93,000 acre Agricultural Reserve and nearby Sugarloaf Mountain. Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a longtime resident of the reserve and author of two books about Sugarloaf, serves as guide and introduces some of her favorite places in this close-in slice of paradise bordering the Frederick County line.

Along the way, she covers two remarkable preservation stories: Gordon Strong’s lifelong mission to save Sugarloaf Mountain from development and keep it open for public enjoyment and education; and Montgomery County’s innovative farmland preservation program, which has served as a model for agricultural areas throughout the country and the world.

Visit lushly landscaped historic farms and meet farmers who offer a view of the progressive methods they employ to bring fresh strawberries, peaches, apples, and a myriad of vegetables to local markets. Step into an artist’s studio, explore historic sites, and take a short walk along one of the shaded and inviting trails of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Lunch is at the Comus Inn, which offers a view of Sugarloaf Mountain. Enjoy wine, cheese, and fresh strawberries at a local farm at the end of the day.

Fringe stop at about 9:10am
This tour includes lunch and afternoon refreshments.

Learn more about Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve.

June 8, 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.)

Airtime: June 8 at 4pm


June 16, 2018 

Audubon Naturalist Society

A Year in Rock Creek Park -- Nearing the Solstice Nature Walk

C: Nearing the Solstice Nature Walk at Boundary Bridge, Saturday, June 16 (9:30am-2:30pm)
D: Fall Nature Hike in Rock Creek Park, Saturday, November 3 (9:30am-3:30pm)
Walks 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. 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. REGISTER HERE.

June 23, 2018

Aspen Ideas Festival / Spotlight Health

Forest Therapy Walk in the Ashcroft Wilderness Area, Colorado

Please visit the Aspen Ideas Festival website for details.

Melanie Choukas-Bradley is a certified nature and forest therapy guide who teaches, lectures, and leads walks for many organizations in Washington, DC. In 2017, she traveled to Japan to learn about the health-enhancing practice of Shinrin-yoku. Choukas-Bradley is the author of four natural history books, including City of Trees, which has been in continuous print for 35 years, and A Year in Rock Creek Park, which won an Independent Publishers’ award for nonfiction. Her forthcoming book is The Joy of Forest Bathing. Choukas-Bradley’s forest walks have been featured on NPR and in National Parks magazine, and in 2014 she was awarded one of four inaugural Canopy Awards by Casey Trees.

July 8, 2018

Casey Trees

Forest Bathing Walk at the Franciscan Monastery 

July 8 from 10:00am - 12:00pm EDT
$30.00 - $55.00
The Franciscan Monastery is a 0.7 mile walk from the Brookland-CUA Metro Station on the Red Line. The #6 Fort Lincoln bus will take you directly in front of the building.
This event will take place rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather where safety could be jeopardized, the tour will be rescheduled.
Register here.

Join Casey Trees and author and certified nature and forest therapy guide, Melanie Choukas-Bradley, for a forest bathing walk among the lovely and contemplative gardens and trees of the Franciscan Monastery. This peaceful oasis in northeast Washington is the ideal location for a forest bathing walk.

Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, began in Japan in the 1980s as a response to the overly stressed and over-worked status of citizens of Tokyo and other urban areas. The Forest Agency of Japan began encouraging people to get out into the forests periodically and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature with all of their senses. The practice, which is rooted in the ancient Japanese reverence for nature, has caught on all around the world as people everywhere are discovering the joys—and proven mental and physical health benefits—of time spent in nature.

Melanie will guide us on a slow-paced walk through the trees and gardens of the Franciscan Monastery with plenty of time to stop and soak up the beauty of our surroundings. Melanie has visited Japan and participated in forest bathing walks led by Shinrin-yoku guides near Tokyo and in the Japanese Alps. Melanie has led many tree walks, cycling and kayaking trips for Casey Trees, and she looks forward to spending a summer morning with us in one of her favorite spots in the City of Trees. Her forthcoming book, The Joy of Forest Bathing, will be published in September.

Come Prepared: To ensure you enjoy your experience with us:

  • Dress for the event and weather. Be prepared for rain if forecast.
  • Wear layers and comfortable hiking boots or shoes that can get muddy.
  • Apply sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • Bring water and snacks.

What to Expect: We will be walking at a slow pace for about 2 miles and soaking up the beauty of our surroundings. Melanie is happy to answer any questions about the practice of forest bathing prior to our walk:

If you purchased a Thermos: We will bring for you to use in the tea ceremony and hand out on site! Here it is — a stainless steel thermos to get you through the summer heat and winter chill, and allow you to broadcast your Casey Trees pride.

About our Instructor: Melanie Choukas-Bradley is the author of City of Trees, A Year in Rock Creek Park, two books about Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland, and the forthcoming book, The Joy of Forest Bathing. She is a Nature and Forest Therapy Guide with certification from the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs of Santa Rosa, CA.

July 18, 2018

Audubon Naturalist Society

A Year at Theodore Roosevelt Island -
Summer Kayaking Trip with Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Stephanie Mason

B: Summer Kayaking Trip around Theodore Roosevelt Island with Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Stephanie Mason, Wednesday, July 18 (10am-1pm)
C: Autumn Tree Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island, Wednesday, November 7 (10am-2pm)
D: Late Autumn Tree Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island, Wednesday, December 5 (10am-2pm)
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! 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. REGISTER HERE

August 28, 2018

Publication of The Joy of Forest Bathing

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.

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.

September 9, 2018

Audubon Naturalist Society

Forest Bathing Walk near Sugarloaf Mountain

Sunday, September 9 (9:30am-12:30pm)
Leader: Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Members $28; nonmembers $38

We are happy to once again offer a Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing walk on a farm in Comus, MD near Sugarloaf Mountain. Numerous studies have demonstrated the health benefits of spending quiet time immersed in nature–things that ANS members already know well. We will walk less than a mile at a slow pace, and spend quiet time sitting and watching late summer wildflowers and nectaring butterflies. Our leader says this walk is “more about being than IDing.” She has spent time on walks with Shinrin-yoku guides throughout Japan. Melanie has portable forest bathing stools to loan to participants for the outing. Her new book, The Joy of Forest Bathing, will be published in early September. REGISTER ONLINE.

September 15-20, 2018

Smithsonian Associates

Theodore Roosevelt’s North Dakota: Badlands, Bison, and
The Making of a Conservationist 5-Day Tour

Register here.

Depart from Bismarck, ND: Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 7:00pm
Return to Bismarck, ND: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 1:00pm

$1,600 Double Room Member
$1,900 Single Room Member
$2,100 Double Room Non-Member
$2,400 Single Room Non-Member

In 1883, Theodore Roosevelt looked to the Badlands of western North Dakota as a place where he could transform himself from an asthmatic 24-year-old New Yorker into a big-game hunter, rancher, and authentic cowboy. A year later, it took on new meaning as place of refuge and solace after the deaths of his wife and mother.

The Badlands did transform Roosevelt over the course of the more than three decades he lived or visited there, reinventing himself into the kind of vigorous outdoorsman he’d idealized as a youth—and that shaped his public image as president. Perhaps more importantly, this corner of the West turned him into a passionate conservationist dedicated to the preservation of the rugged landscapes and native wildlife of the place he described as “where the romance of my life began.”

Experience those landscapes—filled with dramatic vistas, vividly colored canyons, and wandering herds of wild bison—on an extraordinary 5-day study tour led by author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley that brings you into the heart of Roosevelt’s Badlands and the national park that bears his name.

After assembling in Bismarck, travel to the historic town of Medora, where the Rough Riders Hotel (the modern incarnation of an inn where TR once stayed), provides a base for the group. Over the course of the next days, explore the north and south units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, as well as the site of Roosevelt’s Elkhorn ranch along the Little Missouri River. Clay Jenkinson, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University, and National Park Service rangers are among the specialists who offer insights into Roosevelt’s pivotal years in the Badlands and the area’s natural history.

The return trip to Bismarck includes a stop at Dickinson State, site of the future Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. (Participants can opt to attend the 2018 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium at the university, which takes place after the tour’s conclusion, at their own cost).


  • Program begins Saturday, Sept. 15 at 7pm with dinner in Bismarck and ends Wednesday, Sept. 19 after lunch (around 1 p.m.) with a mid-day transfer to the Bismarck Airport or return to the hotel.
  • Cost includes 4 nights of accommodations, bus transportation, services of a study leader and Smithsonian representative, 11 meals (4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners), gratuities, taxes, and entrance fees. An airport shuttle is provided by the hotel.
  • Single-room supplement $300 (factored into Single Room Member & Single Room Non-Member pricing).
  • Singles registering at the double-room rate are paired (on a nonsmoking basis) if possible, but must pay the single-room supplement otherwise.
  • An initial informational packet is emailed to all participants within one week of registration with detailed instructions. For questions, call the tours office at 202-633-8647.
  • Registrants may want to consider purchasing trip insurance.
  • Travel Information: Flights are not included; participants make independent flight arrangements to Bismarck, North Dakota. Round-trip fares typically range from $400 to $600 from Washington-area airports; American, United, and Delta serve this route. Once the tour has reached its minimum registration, participants will be notified and encouraged to purchase airline tickets.

Nature photographs by Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Polly Alexander.

©2018 Melanie Choukas-Bradley All rights reserved.
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