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Politics and Prose: Capitol Tree Walk with Author Melanie Choukas-Bradley

November 4, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT


Join naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of City of Trees and several other nature books, for a fall walking tour of the historic and botanically diverse trees of the U.S. Capitol Grounds and Arboretum (the new official name of the site). The visit offers the chance to admire trees in early autumn splendor including several species of maple and magnolia, century-old oaks, pecans, giant sequoia, and the intriguing jujube. Many of the trees, such as oaks, pecans, black walnuts and dogwoods, will be bearing fall fruit, a perfect time to study and appreciate them.

Learn about the many official state trees on the grounds and get an overview of Frederick Law Olmsted’s design for the Capitol landscape, which shares elements of his plan for Central Park. Stop at notable sections of the grounds to see the five crabapple trees planted to honor the five Sullivan brothers who died when their naval ship went down during World War II; a horse-chestnut propagated from Anne Frank’s tree in Amsterdam; and a white oak planted by House Speaker Sam Rayburn.

Melanie is intimately acquainted with the Capitol’s trees, having studied them for 40 years beginning with research for the first edition of her local nature classic, City of Trees. In addition to City of Trees: The Complete Field Guide to the Trees of Washington, DC, Melanie Choukas-Bradley is the award-winning author of six other regional nature titles, including A Year in Rock Creek Park, Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island and The Joy of Forest Bathing, all available for sale through Politics and Prose.

We will meet in Front of the US Botanic Garden Conservatory, at 10 AM on Saturday, November 4th.

Know Before You Go:

Politics and Prose is now following DC Government and CDC guidelines for Covid protocol. Masks are optional. We are encouraging the use of wearing masks but will not be checking vaccination cards or mandating that everyone wear a mask. We’ll continue monitoring the covid situation closely, and any decision to reinstate a mask mandate or vaccine acknowledgement requirment will be tied to the community rating system recently introduced by the CDC.

Preparation for the Walk: Dress in comfortable clothing and be prepared for slow walking around the Capitol grounds. (No stairs). Bring rain gear if showers are expected.

Weather Policy: We will go ahead in light intermittent rain but will reschedule if steady heavy rain is in the forecast.

Directions, Map and other information: Please visit this site for directions, a map and information about the US Botanic Garden Conservatory:

Registration Limited to 20 participants.

Please let us know any questions. Email:



November 4, 2023
10:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT
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Politics and Prose
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U.S. Capitol Grounds and Arboretum
Washington, DC United States + Google Map
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