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Adult Classes and Field Trips

Explore the Great Outdoors with the Experts!
These programs offer nature novices and experienced naturalists alike a wide array of opportunities to explore and learn more about our area's natural history. All programs are led by experienced naturalists; foray lectures are at the Woodend Sanctuary, with field trips by private vehicle or carpool, unless otherwise noted. Don't miss out, sign up early!

Questions? Email Senior Naturalist Stephanie Mason or call Stephanie at 301-652-9188 x37. For registration information, email Pam Oves or call Pam at 301-652-9188 x16. To register for a program, please mail or fax the registration form.

May I bring along children on ANS adult field trips?

Did you know? Paying by check saves ANS $ on credit card processing fees!

janice browne_adultprograms

Cancellation Policy

To qualify for a credit if you cancel a program, you must give at least six business days' notice, i.e. you can't cancel on a Monday for a weekend program and still receive a credit. The credit postcard will be mailed to you less a $5 administrative fee and must be included with a registration form to be valid. Call 301-652-9188 x 16 or email Pam Oves to cancel.

If ANS cancels a program, you will receive a full refund.

Upcoming Classes / Field Trips

 APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY

 

APRIL

Introduction to Wildflower ID
Thursday, April 3 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Saturday, April 5 (3/4 day field trip)
Leader Stephanie Mason
Members $46; nonmembers $70
Lecture only members $20; nonmembers $26
In April, spring wildflowers in the Washington area are dazzling! We’ll spend Thursday evening at Woodend discussing books, equipment, and terminology for beginning wildflower identification. On Saturday we’ll travel to the Carderock area along the C&O Canal and explore several short trails between the Canal and the Potomac River. We’ll practice using keys to identify wildflowers and look for Virginia bluebells, dutchman’s breeches, twinleaf, toad trillium, and many other species. Expect some rocky, uneven terrain on the field trip. Registration required, please use registration form.

springpeeperSpring Peepers
Saturday, April 5 (7-9 pm)
Leader Stephanie Mason
Members $20; nonmembers $26
Why should kids have all the fun? In this “grown-ups” session of our popular family program, we’ll use our eyes and ears to search for these small tree frogs. We’ll learn about spring peeper life histories, then walk to a nearby wetland to try and spot the singers. We may be lucky enough to eavesdrop on other early-spring amphibians, including American toads and pickerel frogs. Our location is ANS’s Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase and adjacent Rock Creek Park. An ANS/Rock Creek Conservancy Partnership. Registration required, please use registration form.

Geology and Ecology at the Fraser Preserve
Sunday, April 6 (8:30 am-12:30 pm)
Leader Joe Marx
Members $24; nonmembers $34
The Fraser Preserve is a private sanctuary near the Potomac River in the northwestern corner of Fairfax County, VA. A former summer refuge of a Washington family, the 220-acre tract of floodplain and rolling hills has been returning to untamed nature for forty years. The Preserve contains examples of riparian forest and Piedmont upland forest, and should be showy with spring ephemerals at the time of our visit. We will hike, at a relatively brisk pace, up to 4 miles on a well-maintained network of dirt trails. The upland trail includes climbs and descents, while the floodplain trails may be gullied or muddy. You must be able to hike at a moderate, but sustained, pace with some uphill and downhill to participate in this foray. Registration required, please use registration form.

Spring Wildflowers of the Potomac River Gorge
Fridays (10 am-12:30 pm)
Walk B: April 11 - Turkey Run Park, VA
Walk C: April 18 - Great Falls, MD
Leader Cris Fleming
Members $20; nonmembers $28
The display of spring wildflowers in the Washington area is especially rich in the varied habitats along the Potomac River Gorge. From Virginia bluebells blanketing the bottomlands to the rare Coville’s phacelia on the slopes and wild columbine on rock outcrops, different parks of the Gorge present a grand show. Join us for one or more of these visits to three nearby natural areas to find and identify local wildflowers and to observe the seasonal progression of blooms. Our explorations will involve some steep, uneven, rocky, and/or muddy terrain, and a stream crossing at Turkey Run, but we will proceed at a slow pace. Registration required, please use registration form.

The Secret Lives of Spring Wildflowers
Saturday, April 12 (9 am-Noon)
Leader Sujata Roy
Members $24; nonmembers $34
They’re lovely to behold. But their beauty belies the scrappy, survival strategies of our region’s short-lived spring wildflowers. Coping with cold temperatures, species such as Trout Lily and Dutchman’s Breeches race to complete their flowering and fruiting cycles before the brief window of spring sunlight gets shut out by the unfolding forest canopy. NHFS Spring Flower instructor Sujata Roy will spill some of their secrets in a roughly 2-mile round trip walk between Violettes and Riley’s Locks along the C&O Canal. Registration required, please use registration form.

Spring Early Birds
(7-10 am)
A. Saturday, April 12 – Mason Neck NWR, VA (Leader: Mike Bowen)  FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
B. Sunday, April 27 – Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, DC (Leader: John Bjerke)
C. Saturday, May 3 – Governor’s Bridge, MD (Leader: Mike Bowen)
D. Sunday, May 11 – Little Bennett, MD (Leader: Mark England)
E. Sunday, May 18 – Riley’s Lock, MD (Leader: John Bjerke) FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Each walk members: $24; nonmembers $34
Entire series $105; nonmembers $145
Immerse yourself in the phenomenon of spring migration with this series of short bird walks at nearby parks. These walks are designed for beginning and intermediate birders for whom the spring migration can sometimes be overwhelming. On each walk we’ll search for songbirds by sight and sound. We’ll discuss the arrival sequence of spring migrants, practice spotting them in the forest, and learn the songs of many species. Registration required, please use registration form.

Budbreak at Carderock  FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Sunday, April 13 (9:30 am-1:30 pm)
Leaders Melanie Choukas-Bradley & Elizabeth Rives
Members $24; nonmembers $34
During spring in Washington, all eyes seem to be on the colorful wildflowers and showy migrating birds. But one of the greatest miracles of spring, the bursting buds of native trees and shrubs, is often overlooked. Join Natural History Field Studies woody plant ID teachers Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Elizabeth Rives for a walk devoted to the identification and admiration of native trees and shrubs as their buds break and their leaves and flowers emerge! The 2-3 mile hike will mostly follow the C&O canal towpath, but we will venture down to the Potomac River on Section B of the Billy Goat Trail for a portion of the hike.This stretch involves some scrambling over rocks, a few steep sections, and some up and down, but we will move at a slow pace. Registration required, please use registration form.

Spring Saunters Along the Canal
Wednesdays (10 am-12:30 pm)
Section B: April 16 - Widewater FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Section C: April 30 - Swain’s Lock FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Section D: May 7 - Riley’s Lock FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Section E: May 21 - Violettes Lock FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Leader Stephanie Mason
Each walk members $20; nonmembers $26
Enjoy one or all of these leisurely walks along portions of the C&O Canal. The focus of our walks, each beginning from a different location, will be general natural history of the varied habitats along the Potomac River and the Canal. We’ll proceed at a slow “naturalist’s shuffle” pace as we watch spring unfold. We’ll stop often to observe birds, wildflowers, butterflies, snakes, turtles, and whatever else we might find. Carpool from Woodend with the leader if you desire. Registration required, please use registration form.

Evening on the Canal  SORRY CANCELLED
Friday, April 18 (6:45-8:45 pm)
Leader Stephanie Mason
Members $20; nonmembers $26
Early spring evenings can be alive with wildlife as you’ll discover on this stroll from Swain’s Lock up the C&O Canal towpath. We’ll watch for wildlife as the sun sets, and as twilight gives way to the darkness of night, we’ll listen for calling frogs and hooting Barred Owls while discussing the adaptations of these and other nocturnal animals. Registration required, please use registration form.

riverherringRiver Herring Return to Rock Creek  FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Saturday, April 19 (9 am-1 pm)
Leaders Neal Fitzpatrick and Bill Yeaman
Free, but registration required.
Tom Horton describes the annual Rock Creek migration of herring in Bay Country: “No finer parade, or one more unappreciated, ever swung through this capital than the quicksilver legions of Alosa pseudoharengus, the common river herring.” On our four-hour walk, we hope to view the spawning run and discuss opportunities for restoring fish migration to Rock Creek. We will visit the fish ladder construction site at Peirce Mill. Meet at the Cleveland Park Metro Station and end at the Woodley Park/National Zoo/Adams Morgan Station. 17th annual walk! Registration required, please use registration form.

A Spring Morning on Roosevelt Island
Saturday, April 19 (8 am-12:30 pm)
Leader Stephanie Mason
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Come and explore the bottomland woods, shrub swamp, and freshwater marsh of Theodore Roosevelt Island, an 88-acre park in the Potomac River at the Fall line. Join our senior naturalist on this loop hike around the Island, where we’ll keep our eyes open for seasonal blooms and ears open for early migrants - as well as all things Spring! Registration required, please use registration form.

Earth Day Along the River  FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Tuesday, April 22 (10 am-2:30 pm)
Leader Stephanie Mason
Members $24; nonmembers $33
Join this Earth Day exploration of the season’s great burst of life in the bottomland woods along the Potomac River just above Great Falls, MD. Our Senior Naturalist leads this search for spring wildflowers, blooming trees, and early spring wildlife activity, including birds, butterflies, and amphibians. The natural surface trail is mostly level, but could be muddy. Our round-trip walk is roughly 2.5 miles. Registration required, please use registration form.

Native Plant Gardening for Homeowners
A: Wednesday, April 23 (10 am-Noon) SORRY CANCELLED
B: Wednesday, May 14 (10 am-Noon)
C: Wednesday, June 25 (10 am-Noon)
D: Wednesday, July 23 (10 am-Noon)
Leader Stephanie Mason
Each walk members $20; nonmembers $28
Entire series $72; nonmembers $86
Explore the Blair Native Plant Garden, located just outside the Sanctuary Shop, with our Senior Naturalist, who helped develop the garden and its educational focus. Find out more about the value of using native plants, such as: lower maintenance; greater appeal to birds, butterflies and other insects, including pollinators; reduced negative impact on local ecosystems; and more. We’ll discuss native alternatives to popular non-native species such as English ivy, as well as resources for expanding one’s knowledge and understanding of plants native to the mid-Atlantic. Sign up for the whole series to observe changes in the garden over the season—or pick and choose separate walks. You’re welcome to bring along a bag lunch to eat with the leader after the walk. Registration required, please use registration form.

Geology of Patapsco Valley Park – Orange Grove Area FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Saturday, April 26 (1-5 pm)
Leader Joe Marx
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Southwest of Baltimore near Catonsville, the Patapsco River passes through a scenic gorge as it descends from the Piedmont onto the Coastal Plain. The metamorphic rocks exposed there derive from a micro-continent and a volcanic arc that were joined to proto-North America during the formation of Pangea. We’ll meet within sight of I-95, in Patapsco Valley State Park. From here, we’ll hike a circuit of about 4 miles on well-maintained gravel trails to and from the Orange Grove area of the Park. In addition to examining the bedrock, we will view evidence of the history of early industrialization and railroading along the lower Patapsco. Park trails have occasional steep grades and are muddy or rocky at places. You must be able to hike at a moderate, but sustained, pace with some uphill and downhill to participate in this foray. Registration required, please use registration form.

Natural Heritage Series: Calvert Cliffs State Park
Saturday, April 26 (full-day field trip)
Leader Stephanie Mason
Members $34; nonmembers $46
While most visit Calvert Cliffs State Park for the marine fossils along its Chesapeake Bay beach, this park in southern Maryland offers rich natural history as well. We’ll walk up to 4 miles of trails - out to the Bay and back - but with lots of stops along the way, as we explore the coastal plain forests, marshland, and stream valley habitats of this protected area. We’ll look and listen for spring migrants, butterflies and dragonflies, and reptiles and amphibians, as we stroll past spring blooms. Registration required, please use registration form.

PipevineSwallowtailButterflySpring Butterflies of Hoyle’s Mill Conservation Park  FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Sunday, April 27 (11 am-3:30 pm)
Leaders Dick Smith and Stephanie Mason
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Hoyle’s Mill Conservation Park in upper Montgomery County, preserves the largest diabase bedrock habitat in Maryland, making it a rich area of both common and uncommon plants. These plants are caterpillar hosts and nectar resources for spring butterflies, such as the pipevine swallowtail and its more common cousins: falcate orangetip; olive hairstreak; Eastern comma; and several species of duskywing skippers. We’ll look for these species and their associated plant communities along a mostly flat dirt/gravel road in the Park. Registration required, please use registration form.

Botanical Gems of Montgomery County: Blockhouse Point Conservation Park
Sunday, April 27 (10 am-2 pm)
Leader Carole Bergmann
Members $24; nonmembers $34
We continue our field trips to some of the botanically rich, but often underappreciated, Montgomery County Parks. On this hike we’ll visit Blockhouse Point, along the Potomac River, where we’ll explore the preserve’s notable, contiguous forest of typical Piedmont plant species, as well as more uncommon ones. We’ll cover 2-4 miles, with some uphill/downhill and a hike out to a bluff above the Potomac, on this moderate hike. Our leader is the forest ecologist for the County. Registration required, please use registration form.

MAY

Agrocybe pediadesWindow into the World of Fungi
Thursday, May 1 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Saturday, May 3 (9 am-1 pm)
Leader Tovi Lehmann
Members $42; nonmembers $58
Lecture only members $20; nonmembers $26
Rooted, yet not plants, heterotrophs, but not animals (growing in fairy rings, yet not even fairies), fungi are members of another kingdom. Mostly hidden under the surface, fungi have evolved their own solutions to life’s persistent problems. Gaining the recognition for their pivotal role in shaping the living world, they now reshape fundamental perceptions of biologists. In this workshop, we will explore the natural history and ecology of our local fungal neighbors, rather than focus on the edibility of particular species of mushrooms. Our field trip will visit a close-in natural area chosen by the leader, based on his scouting closer to the program. Registration required, please use registration form.

Bird ID Series: Spring Warblers
Thursday, May 1 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Leader Mike Bowen
Members $20; nonmembers $28
More than 30 species of warblers pass through the mid-Atlantic during spring migration, but finding and properly identifying these active songbirds can be a real challenge—even for seasoned birders. Since we all need an annual refresher, our expert leader will use slides and recorded songs to help prepare us for this rich and long-awaited period of birding. Registration required, please use registration form.

Large-Flowered TrilliumAppalachian Spring
Sunday, May 4 (8:30 am-3 pm)
Leader Stephanie Mason
Members $30; nonmembers $42
Spring rains, warming temperatures, and longer hours of daylight ignite a great burst of life in the valleys and ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Thompson Wildlife Management Area in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Linden, VA, a wildlife reserve that is well known for its botanical diversity. Our field trip will focus on the rich wildflower display, as well as spring migrants, butterflies, and other wildlife. We’ll cover around 3 miles at a leisurely pace, but there will be uphill and downhill walking on rocks and uneven trails. Registration required, please use registration form.

Geology at Government Island State Park  TIME CHANGED TO 8:30-11 am
Saturday, May 10 (9 am-Noon)
Leader Joe Marx
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Government Island, near Aquia in Stafford County, Virginia, is a 17th to 19th-century quarry site that supplied the Aquia Creek sandstone that was used to construct the White House and U.S. Capitol building. Called “freestone” by masons, the Aquia sandstone is a rare case of Potomac Formation clay, sand and pebbles cemented into rock. The park features 1.5 miles of level trails, with boardwalks over marshy areas. The quarry sites are easily approached and show the sandstone in various stages of excavation. Once surrounded by open water, Government Island is now embedded in a silted estuary a few miles from the Potomac. It is an ideal location to observe aquatic and woodland plants, as well as birds and other wildlife. Registration required, please use registration form.

Spring Hike on the AT Trail
Sunday, May 11 (full day hike)
Leader Stephanie Mason
Members $34; nonmembers $46
Spring rains, warming temperature, and longer hours of daylight ignite a great burst of life in the valleys and ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. One of the best ways to explore this seasonal richness is along the Appalachian Trail.Our Senior Naturalist leads this search for spring blooms, butterflies, and breeding bird activity amongst the rocky terrain of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. On our hike from the Pinnacles Picnic Area to Skyland, we’ll follow the ridge to the second highest peak in the Park—Stony Man Mountain (4010 ft), which was formed by the erosion of layers of lava flow. We’ll cover 5.4 miles on this strenuous to moderately strenuous uphill/downhill hike on trails that will be rocky and uneven. Registration required, please use registration form.

Appalachian Tiger SwallowtailButterflies of Blue Mountain
Sunday, May 18 (full-day field trip)
Leaders Dick Smith and Stephanie Mason
Members $34; nonmembers $46
Blue Mountain, near Linden, VA, is best known for its spectacular wildflower display earlier in the month at the Thompson Wildlife Management Area. We’ll search for the rich diversity of butterflies that can be found here at the lower elevation Lake Thompson. We’ll hope to find swallowtails, including the uncommon Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail; the Appalachian Azure and other blues; plus other species both common and uncommon. We’ll walk up to several miles, with some uphill and downhill over uneven terrain. Registration required, please use registration form.

Spring Shorebird Migration on the Delaware Bay
Thursday, May 22 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Sunday, May 25 (full-day field trip)
Leaders John Bjerke and Cyndie Loeper
Members $46; nonmembers $64
Lecture only members $20; nonmembers $28
Each year in May, horseshoe crabs migrate to the beaches of Delaware Bay to mate and lay their eggs. During the same time period, hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, en route to summer breeding grounds, stop at the Bay to feast and refuel on the concentrated number of horseshoe crab eggs. At Thursday’s lecture, we will discuss shorebird migration and use slides to help ID some of the most common shorebirds in our region. Sunday’s field trip will take us to the Bay, where we will hope to see and ID a variety of shorebirds. Registration required, please use registration form.

Spring Hike on Sugarloaf Mountain
Saturday, May 24 (10 am-3 pm)
Leaders Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Tina Thieme Brown
Members $30; nonmembers $42
Join Sugarloaf author Melanie Choukas-Bradley and artist Tina Thieme Brown for an outing devoted to the botany, wildlife, geology, and history of Sugarloaf Mountain, a monadnock in the rural Piedmont northwest of Washington, D.C. The 1.5-2.5 mile hike, with some uphill and downhill on rocky terrain, is timed to coincide with the flowering of many woodland plants, including mountain laurel, pinxter, fringe-tree, Canada mayflower, several violet species, and possibly one or more orchids. Bring binoculars to look for Wood Thrushes, Worm-eating Warblers, Ravens, and other bird species. Tina will give a brief demonstration on illustrating plants in the field during our lunch break. Registration required, please use registration form.

Horseshoe crab 1Frenzy on Cape May’s Beaches  FULL - CALL TO BE ADDED TO WAITLIST
Wednesday, May 28 (9 am) to Thursday,
May 29 (5 pm)
Leader Mark Garland
Members $96; Nonmembers $140
By late May the protected beaches of Cape May, N.J., have exploded with activity. Nesting colonies of Least Terns, Piping Plovers, and American Oystercatchers have formed on the ocean beaches, and the first chicks may have already hatched. Many thousands of arctic-nesting shorebirds will have gathered on the beaches lining Delaware Bay, feasting on the eggs of horseshoe crabs. The New Moon falls on Wednesday, and towards dusk that evening, weather permitting, thousands of horseshoe crabs will climb onto these beaches to lay their eggs, as they do with every extreme high tide in the spring. We’ll visit coastal wetlands, fields, and forests to see some of the area’s butterflies, dragonflies, wildflowers, nesting birds, and late songbird migrants. We’ll break for an early supper on Wednesday, and head back afield in the evening to see the horseshoe crabs on the beaches and to listen for frogs and owls. Registration required, please use registration form.

Fern ID Hike at Turkey Run Park
Saturday, May 31 (9 am-2 pm)
Leader Cris Fleming
Members $30; nonmembers $42
At least 25 species of ferns occur along the Potomac River at Turkey Run Park in Virginia, off the GW Parkway. On our field day, we’ll begin with a discussion of fern terminology and useful techniques to aid in identification of different species. We’ll then amble along the River where participants will practice using a simple key to identify many of the Park’s ferns. Our field trip is on mostly flat terrain along the River shore, but the hike does include a fairly steep downhill and uphill stretch. There are also two rocky stream crossings—but there will be plenty of hands to help navigate these. Registration required, please use registration form.

JUNE

Late Spring Hike on Bull Run Mountain
Saturday, June 7 (9 am-2 pm)
Leader: Cliff Fairweather
Members $35; nonmembers $42
Get some good exercise and chase disappearing spring up into the mountains on this 3-4 mile hike on Bull Run Mountain in Prince William County, VA. We’ll hike to the top of High Point Mountain (1,300 feet) on this moderately strenuous outing on rocky and uneven terrain. Along the way, we'll watch for nesting bird and other wildlife activity, as well as late spring wildflowers. Fee includes a donation to the Bull Run Mountain Conservancy, which protects and maintains this natural area. Registration required, please use registration form.

800px-Red-shouldered-hawk 1Breeding Bird Walk at Pennyfield Lock
Sunday, June 8 (7-11 am)
Leader John Bjerke
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Breeding birds are excellent environmental indicators, and breeding bird surveys generate important data for monitoring the health of ecosystems. At Pennyfield Lock along the C&O Canal in upper Montgomery County, MD, we’ll explore woods and wetlands to search out both common and uncommon breeders of this protected habitat. We’ll discuss the breeding strategies of species such as Red-shouldered Hawk, Green Heron, Baltimore Oriole, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Red-eyed Vireo, among others, as well as the types of census techniques which ornithologists and citizen scientists use to determine population levels and trends. We’ll walk up to 2.5 miles at a leisurely pace with our leader, who has participated in the Maryland/DC Breeding Bird Atlas Project. Registration required, please use registration form.

Advanced Dragonfly Studies:
Common Darners, Spiketails, Cruisers & Clubtails of the Mid-Atlantic
Thursday, June 12 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Sunday, June 15 (3/4 day field trip)
Leader Richard Orr
Members $46; nonmembers $64
Feel like you’re ready to “graduate” from our annual Introduction to Dragonfly and Damselfly class led by entomologist and dragonfly expert Richard Orr? Join us for his advanced series of classes, combining an evening presentation with a field trip to Patuxent Research Center, where we’ll hope to see many of these and other species in action. This is the second of four classes which will cover field ID of all of the dragonfly and damselfly groups in the mid-Atlantic area. Just getting started in dragonflies? Our leader’s introductory class coming up in August is for you. Registration required, please use registration form.

Butterflies of Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge
Saturday, June 14 (full day field trip)
Leaders Dick Smith and Stephanie Mason
Members $34; nonmembers $46
Join a butterfly expert and our Senior Naturalist on a search for early summer butterflies at Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge, situated near the mouth of the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay. We’ll explore up to a couple of miles in generally open and sunny terrain as we explore the meadow, woodland, and beach habitats of this natural area. We’ll hope to spot and ID a wide variety of species, all the while discussing their life histories and host plant relationships. Registration required, please use registration form.

CarolinaSphinxMothCo-Evolution in Our Own Backyard
Wednesday, June 18 (7:30-9:30)
Sunday, June 22 (9 am-3 pm)
Leader Nate Erwin
Members $46; nonmembers $64
Why is the Carolina sphinx moth's proboscis so long? Why do the white Datura flowers bloom at night, emitting a pungent fragrance? Why do insect-eating bats look so different from fruit, nectar and pollen-eating bats? Why do ants gather around Azure butterfly larvae on summer flower heads? Join entomologist Nate Erwin for a look at these questions, as well as many co-evolutionary relationships in the gardens, fields, and forests of the DC area. Our evening of images,objects, and discussion will be reinforced by a field trip to McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, near Poolesville, MD. Registration required, please use registration form.

Summer Shuffles Along the Canal
Wednesdays (9-11:30 am)
Section A: June 18 - Riley’s Lock
Section B: July 2 - Widewater
Section C: July 16 - Carderock
Section D: July 30 - Swain’s Lock
Leader Stephanie Mason
Each walk members $20; nonmembers $28
Entire series $72/$100
Summer’s here and it may be hot, so we’ll keep our pace to a shuffle as we visit three areas along the Potomac River and the C&O Canal. We’ll stop often to observe birds, wildflowers, butterflies, dragonflies, snakes, and whatever else we may find underfoot or overhead. Carpooling will be available from Woodend. Registration required, please use registration form.

Natural Heritage Series: Elliott Island
Saturday, June 21 (2:30-11 pm)
Leaders Hal Wierenga and Lynn Davidson
Members $34; nonmembers $46
Extensive wetlands border the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and the marshes near Vienna, MD are diverse, well-studied, and accessible. Hal Wierenga, who has conducted the state’s Black Rail study, leads this exploration of the natural history and management of the Elliott Island marsh ecosystem. We’ll identify marsh plants and search for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. We’ll also discuss the effects of human activities on the marsh environment. Our foray continues into the night, when we’ll listen for rails, frogs, owls, and Chuck-will’s-widows. Note: our group will meet in Cambridge then carpool out to our field site. Registration required, please use registration form.

Solstice Morning Along the Potomac
Saturday, June 21 (8 am-Noon)
Leader Mark Garland
Members $30; nonmembers $42
Join naturalist Mark Garland for a general nature walk along the Potomac River on the morning of the Summer Solstice. We’ll stroll along the towpath of the C&O Canal beneath the towering trees at Sycamore Landing, watching for the activity of nesting birds, noting summer wildflowers, and hoping to spot butterflies, reptiles, and amphibians. Mark, who was a naturalist at ANS from 1984-2001, will be back in the area for a school reunion. He considers this field trip a “nature reunion,” as he returns to a favorite spot he first started visiting more than 40 years ago. Beware, you may be subject to a bit of reminiscing! Registration required, please use registration form.

Botanical Gems of Montgomery County: Rachel Carson Park
Sunday, June 22 (9 am-12:30 pm)
Leader Carole Bergmann
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Rachel Carson Park protects a variety of natural communities, including oak-hickory woodlands, mountain laurel thickets, rocky outcroppings, and Hawlings River bottomlands. Under the guidance of the County’s forest ecologist, we’ll explore these communities identifying trees, ferns, and summer wildflowers along the way. On this 2-3 mile walk, expect some uphill/downhill walking over terrain that may be uneven, rocky and/or muddy. Registration required, please use registration form.

CicadaSix-legged Songsters of Summer
Thursday, June 26 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Leader Cathy Stragar
Free, but registration is required.
Sticky summer has arrived, and the songs of insects such as cicadas, crickets, and katydids begin to swell into a noisy and riotous chorus. Join naturalist Cathy Stragar for a slide introduction to the most common of these songsters: who they are, why they sing, and how they make their amazing sounds. She’ll also describe how to get involved with the third annual Cricket Crawl citizen science activity in late August. Registration required, please use registration form.

Wetland Plant Identification Walk
Saturday, June 28 (10 am-3 pm)
Leader Cris Fleming
Members $35; nonmembers $42
Freshwater tidal wetlands are home to many beautiful and interesting plants that have adapted to the twice daily change in water level. On this 3/4 field trip, we will meet at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, located along the eastern shore of the Patuxent River in Anne Arundel County. We’ll look at specimens of plants growing at the preserve and discuss special adaptations of tidal wetland plants. We’ll then walk a narrow boardwalk along the edge of the high marsh where we can observe many herbaceous and woody species. After lunch, we’ll visit a larger wetland along the river where we’ll search out species of the low marsh, as well as watch out for marsh wildlife and nesting osprey. Fee includes admission charge to visit the Sanctuary. Registration required, please use registration form.

A Year at Boundary Bridge
Saturdays (9 am-2 pm)
Section C: June 28
Section D: October 25
Section A: February 22
Section B: April 5
Leader Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Each walk members $30; nonmembers $42
Join the author of City of Trees for our eighth year of hikes in one of Washington, D.C.’s most beautiful wild areas. Starting at Boundary Bridge and following the same 2.5-mile loop trail each season, we’ll explore the large trees, diverse shrubs, and exceptional wildflowers along a scenic stretch of Rock Creek. We’ll also see and hear many species of birds, butterflies, and amphibians. On our winter walk, an ideal time to admire the Park’s topography, we’ll look and listen for winter flocks and identify many species of woody plants. In April, we’ll witness the spring magic of Rock Creek’s myriad wildflowers. As summer arrives in the Park, we’ll hope for a glimpse of a kingfisher as we look for ferns and early seasonal wildflowers such as enchanter’s nightshade. Autumn is glorious in Rock Creek Park, and we’ll conclude our series with a walk through colorful oaks, maples, and ashes, searching for the flowers of an early witch hazel in bloom. Our hike will be on trails with moderate uphill and downhill walking. An ANS/Rock Creek Conservancy Partnership. Registration required, please use registration form.

Western Montgomery County Butterfly Count
Saturday, June 28
Join us for the 26th annual Western Montgomery County Butterfly Count. Participants in this citizen science project will sent into the field in teams to count butterfly species in a given area. No experience is necessary. This mid-summer count, modeled after the Christmas Bird Counts, is organized by ANS and sponsored by the North American Butterfly Association and Xerces Society. Email Stephanie Mason at stephanie.mason@anshome.org for a participant’s information letter.

Summer Walks on the Wild Side
A: Sunday, June 29 - Natural Area of Patuxent River Park, MD (8:30 am-Noon)
B: Saturday, July 19 - Theodore Roosevelt Island, DC (8-11:30 am)
C: Sunday, July 27 - Occoquan Bay Wildlife Refuge, VA (7:30-11 am)
Leaders Stephanie Mason and Cathy Stragar
Each walk members $24; nonmembers $34
Entire series members $66; nonmembers $92
Join two naturalists to explore the summer richness of parks along area waterways. As summer arrives and progresses into its hot, muggy days and nights, wetlands and meadows soak up the sun and come alive with plant and wildlife activity. We’ll explore these open habitats with walks of up to 2—3 miles, at a slow summer pace, in search of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, amphibians, and summer plant life. Registration required, please use registration form.

JULY

Geology at Great Falls, Maryland
Saturday, July 12 (8:30-11 am)
Leader Joe Marx
Members $20; nonmembers $26
People in our region find Great Falls both fascinating and perplexing. Arguably our most dramatic landscape feature, its origin and development remain obscure to many. We will take a short and easy walk from the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center to the falls overlook, a round trip of about a mile. During the walk, we will discuss how the bedrock of the Great Falls area formed in tectonic collisions hundreds of millions of years ago and how the waxing and waning of the continental glacier led to the much more recent creation of the falls. There should even be time to examine the flora and birdlife along our path. Registration required, please use registration form.

spicebushBotany by Nose
Sunday, July 13 (8:30-Noon)
Leader Carole Bergmann
Members $24; nonmembers $34
While most of us rely on visual clues to help us identify the plants that comprise our landscape, our sense of smell can be an important, complementary tool. Anyone who has broken a Spicebush or Black Birch twig can confirm that. Our outdoor classroom will be Little Bennett Park near Clarksburg, MD, as we “scratch and sniff” our way through woodland and wetland habitats. Registration required, please use registration form.

Bees in the Backyard
Saturday, July 19 (9:30 am-Noon)
Leader Nate Erwin
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Discover the diversity of native bees and other pollinators right outside your doorstep and in your garden. Join our leader in his home garden in Alexandria, VA and in surrounding natural areas for a look at what’s helping produce many of the seeds and fruits in your neighborhood. Nate Erwin is an entomologist working on collections at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Registration required, please use registration form.

MuskratPaddle on the Patuxent
Sunday, July 20 (9 am-1 pm)
Leader Jug Bay volunteers
Members $30; nonmembers $42
Enjoy a leisurely paddle through tidal marshes and along the Patuxent River’s edge at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Anne Arundel County, MD. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open for turtles, muskrats, eagles, osprey, and other wildlife. Cost includes canoe fee and sanctuary entrance fee. Participants can explore the sanctuary on their own after the canoe trip. Limited to 15 participants who will walk one mile each way to access the canoes. Registration required, please use registration form.

Sunset Stroll in the Hollow
Sunday, July 20 (7-9 pm)
Leader Stephanie Mason
Members $20; nonmembers $28
Enjoy a slow evening stroll through the field, forest, and wetland habitats of the Hughes Hollow area, south of Poolesville, MD. As the sun sets, we’ll look and listen for owls, frogs, foxes, beavers, bats, and insects, discussing the adaptations of these crepuscular and nocturnal animals. Registration required, please use registration form.

Summer Wildflower Walk
Saturday, July 26 (8:30 am-Noon)
Leader Sujata Roy
Members $24; nonmembers $ 34
Under the guidance of a naturalist who knows this park well, we’ll search the open meadows and wetlands of Black Hill Regional Park in upper Montgomery County for the showy blooms of summer. We’ll focus on the identifying characteristics of the most common plant families in bloom this time of year. Be prepared for field conditions in full sun with tall vegetation. Registration required, please use registration form.

woollybearcaterpillarThe Natural History of Caterpillars
Thursday, July 31 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Saturday, August 2 (9 am-3 pm)
Leader Nate Erwin
Members $46; nonmembers $64
Lecture only members $20; nonmembers $28
Here’s a chance to learn about caterpillars’ many forms and their fascinating life histories, including defense strategies. We’ll find and identify local caterpillars and discuss their host plant associations. With entomologist Nate Erwin, we’ll combine an evening presentation at Woodend with field exploration at Hughes Hollow, near Poolesville, MD. Registration required, please use registration form.

  

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