Monday, September 21, 2009

Natural Happenings: 9/21-9/27

Each week, we list opportunities to get outdoors or learn about nature. Click through to the organization hosting each event for more details -- some events require registration or charge a fee.

This week's highlight: Saturday is National Public Lands Day -- "the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy." Check this site for events near you. Many, many parks in the area have volunteer opportunities. You can remove invasive plants, maintain trails, take trash out of the Potomac and many of its tributaries, help prepare the lotus plants at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens for the winter, restore wetlands at Carderock, and even build a butterfly garden at Andrews AFB (I guess bases do count as public land!). Give a little something back to one of the places you feel gives something to you.

Also this week:

Sierra Club
all weekend: multiple Shenandoah NP backpacking trips
Sat: Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge (8-mi)
Sat: Boiling Springs and Cumberland Valley, PA (13 mi, carpool from Shady Grove)
Sat: Little Devils Stairs, SNP (10.7 mi, 2800 ft elevation, carpool from Vienna metro)
Sun: Rock Creek Park (12 mi, from Van Ness Metro)

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
Many cabin and trail crew work trips. In particular, Saturday is the september worktrip for Rock Creek Park.
Tue: Massanutten Hike and Shenandoah Paddle (12 mi each)
Wed: Germantown paths and the Phillips Farm Pumpkin Patch (5 mi)

Center Hiking Club
Sat: Great Falls Gold Mine trail (8 mi, from Twinbrook Metro)
Sun: Rock Creek Park (5.5 mi, from Cleveland Park Metro)

Maryland Outdoor Club
all weekend: campout at George Washington National Forest, Signal Knob

Northern Virginia Hiking Club
Sat: Rocky Mount, SNP (10 mi, 2500 ft elevation gain)
Sat: Battery Kemble Park (10 mi, from Tenleytown Metro to Cleveland Park Metro)
Sun: Rosaryville State Park (7.2 mi, from Branch Ave. Metro)

Wanderbirds
Sun: Tuscarora Trail, Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area, WV (8.8-12.5 mi, Farragut and Vienna Metro pickups)

Washington Women Outdoors
Sat: South Mountain Inn to White Rocks AT Day Hike (8 mi) - Register by Wednesday

Audubon Naturalist Society
Wed: Difficult Run Trail at Great Falls
Fri eve: Bats About - slide lecture by director of Bat World NOVA, followed by outdoor ID with ultrasonic detector
Sat: birding at Occoquan Bay NWR, VA
Sun: Geology at Chain Bridge
Sun: Late Summer Butterflies of the National Arboretum

Mycological Association of Washington
Sun: look for mushrooms at Prince William Forest Park (check to make sure it's happening)

Maryland Native Plant Society

all weekend: Fall Conference in Frederick County MD. Workshops as well as field trips at Catoctin Mountain Park, Gambrill State Park, Snyder's Landing, and Cunningham Falls State Park

Rock Creek Park
Sat: Rock Creek Park Day -- Rock Creek Park's 119th Birthday -- all day delebration at the Nature Center
Sat eve: Explore the sky with the telescopes of the National Capital Astronomers
Sun: Ranger-led horseback tour (ages 12+)
Sun: Sneak peek of Ken Burns' new documentary on the National Parks, America's Best Idea

United States Botanic Garden
Mon and Thurs: Lunchtime tours of the conservatory
Sat: The National Garden’s 3rd Birthday – A Celebration for All Ages! Discover how to attract beneficial wildlife, compost, and utilize native plants in your landscape. Children can create a pollinator, seed packet, or art sculpture.
Sat: Tour of the National Garden's native plants of the Mid-Atlantic region

Bladensburg Waterfront Park
Tue-Fri: free tour by pontoon boat at noon
Sat-Sun: free tour by pontoon boat at 5PM

The Nature Conservancy
Mon: birding at Roosevelt Island
Fri: birding by bike on the Anacostia River Trail

FOR KIDS

Rock Creek Park
Wed: Art in the park - drawing outdoors (ages 10+)
Wed: Pierce Mill walk (ages 5+)
Thu: Nature journal (ages 9+)
Fri: Creature Feature (all ages)
Sat: Rock Creek Park Day -- Rock Creek Park's 119th Birthday -- all day delebration at the Nature Center
Sat eve: Explore the sky with the telescpoes of the National Capital Astronomers
Sun: Ranger-led horseback tour (ages 12+)
Sun: Sneak peek of Ken Burns' new documentary on the National Parks, America's Best Idea

United States Botanic Garden
Sat: The National Garden’s 3rd Birthday – A Celebration for All Ages! Discover how to attract beneficial wildlife, compost, and utilize native plants in your landscape. Children can create a pollinator, seed packet, or art sculpture.

Maryland Native Plant Society

Sat: To Be a Tree: activities, games, and a hike. Rock Creek Regional Park (ages 7-10)

Museum of Natural History
Daily tarantula feedings in the insect zoo and museum tours.
Tue: Hands-on activities in the Dig It! soil exhibit
Wed: Look at specimens or artifacts with a scientist in the Ocean Hall

Like the photos in this post? Mouse over for credits; a click takes you to the photographer on Flickr.

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