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Adult Classes and Field Trips


ANS offers walks and classes on the wild side throughout the area.  Check out a map of our field trip destinations. 

Explore the Great Outdoors with the Experts!

These programs offer nature novices and experienced naturalists alike an array of opportunities to explore and learn about our area’s natural history. All programs are led by experienced naturalists. Lectures are held at Woodend Sanctuary. Field trips are reached by private vehicle or carpool.

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 or register online.





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  • All changes/cancellations/transfers must be handled through the EE office.
  • Questions? Call Pam at 301-652-9188 x16 or email pam.oves@anshome.org

May I bring along children on ANS adult field trips?

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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. Call 301-652-9188 x 16 or email Pam Oves to cancel.

If ANS cancels a program due to low enrollment, you will receive a full refund. If a weather-related concern or another issue outside of ANS's control forces a cancellation, you will receive a full credit to your credit.

Upcoming Classes / Field Trips   


Sights and Sounds of Early Spring
Sunday, April 2 (8:30 am-2 pm)

Leader: Stephanie Mason
Members $30; nonmembers $42
Early spring wildlife activity is the focus of our loop hike along the Potomac River. Watching (and listening) for birds, butterflies, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, we'll hike upriver along the C&O Canal towpath from the Widewater area to Great Falls, MD. We'll also search for early spring wildflowers along the River's rich bottomland habitats. On the return walk back to our cars, we'll follow the Berma Road trail above the Canal for a total hiking distance of 4 miles.

Budbreak at Theodore Roosevelt Island  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINEPawpawFlower
Wednesday April 5 (9:30 am-1:30 pm)
Leader: Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Members: $28; nonmembers: $38
Join award-winning author and naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley for an early spring walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island, an 88-acre park in the middle of the Potomac River opposite the Kennedy Center. We will explore the park using a loop trail through the island’s forests and along the boardwalk through its scenic swamp. During spring in the Washington area, when naturalists’ eyes turn to our magical ephemerals and migrating birds, the miracle of “budbreak” among the woody plants is often overlooked. We will examine the buds of many species of trees and shrubs as they burst from their winter-protective scales to reveal their spring leaves and flowers. Expect a leisurely walk of 2-3 miles.

Introduction to Wildflower ID
Thursday, April 6 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Saturday, April 8 (9:30 am-3:30 pm)
Leader: Stephanie Mason
Members $46; nonmembers $64
Lecture only members $20; nonmembers $28
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.

Barred Owl 16022579448Evening on the Canal  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
Friday, April 7 (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.

Saturday, April 8 (10 am-2 pm)
Leader: Joe Marx
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Seneca Creek State Park, in central Montgomery County, MD, preserves much of the valley of a medium-sized Piedmont stream. Modern floodplain and valley wall features are easily observed along the Greenway Trail, which threads through the Park. In addition, dramatic rock outcrops tell the story of an ancient ocean that was consumed during the formation of Pangaea. We will hike from Darnestown Road to Black Rock Mill and then back, for a total of around 3 miles. Our hike on natural surface trails will combine potentially muddy floodplain terrain, with some rocky upland areas. Note: Our geology hikes move at a faster pace than our usual naturalist’s shuffle.

The Secret Lives of Spring Wildflowers  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINETroutLily
Sunday, April 9 (2-5 pm)
Leader: Stephanie Mason
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. Our Senior Naturalist 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.

Conservation Cafes
Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm
Fee: $10
April 13 - Sarah Anderson, Urban Nature For All: Inclusivity and the Environmental Movement
DATE CHANGE May 11 - Lim Lyons, What Now? Public Lands and the Environment under Trump
June 8 - Scott Kratz, The 11th Street Bridge Project
Enjoy a fun evening with friends, learn about hot environmental topics and support ANS conservation work! Join us in the Woodend Mansion library for coffee and dessert while enjoying inspiring presentations on a variety of nature conservation topics. Register using the links for each topic.

220px-VirginiaBluebellsWalk Among the Giants
B. Saturday, April 15 (8 am-Noon)  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
C. Sunday, July 23 (8 am-Noon)
D. Sunday, Oct. 22 (8 am-Noon)
Leader: Stephanie Mason
Each walk members $24; nonmembers $34

Walk among the giant Sycamores, Oaks, and River Birches on this new seasonal series of explorations along the Potomac River just upstream of Great Falls, MD. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open for all manner of wildlife, and watch the winter woods turn green, and then summer sultry before fall colors herald the coming of another winter. Our floodplain trail, connecting with the Towpath, is mostly level, but could be muddy as we walk our loop of roughly 2.5 miles.

Native Plant Gardening for Homeowners 
Spring Walk: Wednesday, April 19 (10 am-Noon)
Summer Walk: Thursday, July 20 (10 am-Noon)
Fall Walk: Wednesday, October 25 (10 am-Noon)

Leader: Stephanie Mason
Members $20; nonmembers $28
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 values of gardening with native plant species, including: lower maintenance; more value to native 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 broadening one's knowledge and understanding of plants natives to the mid-Atlantic. You're welcome to bring along a bag lunch to eat with the leader after the walks, which are scheduled to highlight seasonal aspects of the Garden.

Spring in the Parks
B: Friday, April 21 – Riverbend Park, VA
C: Sunday, May 21 – Rock Creek Park, DC
(8 am-12:30 pm)
Leader: Stephanie Mason
Each walk members $24; nonmembers $34
Entire Series: $65/$82
Join our Senior Naturalist for these broad-based nature explorations of close-by parks rich in natural history. We'll walk between 2-3 miles on natural surface trails, with some uphill and downhill, in a search for spring wildflowers and seasonal wildlife activity, including birds, butterflies, and amphibians. Our first destination visits the coastal plain woodlands along the Patuxent River in Prince Georges County. On our next outing, we'll explore the floodplain and upland habitats along the Potomac River upstream of Great Falls. As the pulse of spring change slows down and the woods stand fully green again, we'll explore the surprisingly wild urban forest of Rock Creek Park in the District.

River Herring Return to Rock Creek  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
Saturday, April 22 (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. 20th annual walk!

Prothonotary WarblerSpring Early Birds (7-10 am)
A.  Saturday, April 22 – Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge, MD (Mike Bowen)  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
B. Sunday, April 30 – Huntley Meadows, VA (Mark England)  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
C. Saturday, May 6 – Occoquan Bay Wildlife Refuge, VA (Mike Bowen) FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
D. Sunday, May 14 – Glover-Archbold Park, DC (John Bjerke) FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
E. Saturday, May 20 – Great Falls Park, MD (John Bjerke) FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
Each walk members $24; nonmembers $34

Entire series $102; 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.

A Spring Morning on Roosevelt Island  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
Sunday, April 23 (8:30 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!

Spring Saunters Along the Canal
Wednesdays (10 am-12:30 pm)
Section C: April 26 - Swain’s Lock  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
Section D: May 10 - Riley’s Lock  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
Section E: May 24 - Violettes Lock  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
Leader: Stephanie Mason
Each walk members $20; nonmembers $28
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.

Bird ID Series: Spring Warblers
warblerA: Thursday, April 27 (7-9 pm)

B: Saturday, April 29 (7-11:30 am)
C: Sunday, May 7 (7-11:30 am)
Leader: Mike Bowen
Lecture session (A) members $20; nonmembers $28
Walk B members $24; nonmembers $34
Walk C members $24; nonmembers $34
Lecture and both walks: members $62; nonmembers $86
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.  Our leader, a long-time birder in the area, will use both slides and recordings during the evening class to introduce us to these species. Two half-day field trips to metro-area locations (exact locations chosen closer to the time) will take us to natural areas where we’ll hope to hear and see a wide variety of warblers.  

Botanical Gems of Montgomery County: Rachel Carson Park
Sunday, April 30 (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 spring 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. 


It's May - and All Is Abloom FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINEWild Geranium
Wednesday, May 3 (10 am-12:30 pm)
Leader: Marney Bruce
Members $20; nonmembers $28
The display of spring wildflowers is remarkably rich in the varied habitats along the Potomac River close-in to our metro-area. From moist bottomlands to rocky, forested uplands, the woods in May beckon with blooms underfoot and spring-green leaves overhead. Our leader is excited to add the Lock 10 area along the C&O Canal to our spring flora destinations. This walk will leave the towpath and follow natural surface trails, with some mild uphill and downhill.

Spring on Wheels Along the Potomac
Friday, May 5 (8:30 am-3 pm)

Leader: Stephanie Mason
Members $30; nonmembers $42
Spring has sprung and the towpath along the Potomac River is one of the finest places in the DC-metro area to experience the season's richness. In order to cover more territory and visit more habitats, we'll use bikes to explore the stretch from Swain's Lock to Riley's Lock, a 12.3 mile round-trip ride. We'll dismount often to look for spring wildflowers, butterflies and other insects, and reptiles and amphibians, all the while keeping an eye and ear open for spring migrants and other breeding bird activity. Bring your own bike.

Showy orchis in bloomAppalachian Spring
Sunday, May 7 (8:30 am-3 pm)

Leader: Cathy Stragar
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 rocky and uneven trails.

Spring Hike on the Appalachian Trail
Saturday, May 13 (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 Maryland's South Mountain. Beginning at Gathland State Park, the former estate of a Civil War correspondent, we'll hike along the AT for around 2.5 miles, before retracing our steps. We'll cover around 5 miles on this moderately strenuous uphill/downhill hike on trails that will be rocky and uneven. We'll stop to observe natural phenomena, but will keep a pace necessary to cover the distance stated.

Butterflies of Worcester County's Foster TractDusted Skipper
Saturday, May 13 (10 am-5 pm)
Leader: Rick Borchelt
Members $34; nonmembers $36
Join us for this first ANS foray to the newly-opened Foster Tract in Worcester Co., part of the Chesapeake Forest complex in the Nassawango Creek drainage. We should be able to see many of the Eastern Shore's common spring butterfly species here in a variety of sandy and marshy habitats, including a new location for the uncommon Dusted Skipper. The area also supports a good population of Festive Tiger Beetles, as well as offering good habitat for herps like Eastern Hognose Snake. After a thorough exploration of the east end of the Foster Tract, we'll take a short drive to known locations for another rare butterfly that may still be flying, the Frosted Elfin, and its sundial lupine hostplant. We'll end the trip listening and looking for Prothonotary Warblers and other spring birds along the Nassawango.

Spring in 17 Syllables
Tuesday, May 16 (12:30-2:00 pm)

Leader: Julie Bloss Kelsey
Free, but registration is required.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines haiku as: a Japanese lyric poem of a fixed, 17-syllable form that often simply points to a thing or a pairing of things in nature that has moved the poet. What better time of year than spring to be moved by nature! Join Julie Bloss Kelsey, an award-winning haiku poet, for a walk at our Woodend Sanctuary and an opportunity to try your own hand at writing haiku and experiencing nature in a new way. Our leader is a volunteer Maryland Master Naturalist who completed her training with ANS at Woodend. More than 100 of her haiku have appeared in various publications.

MountainLaurelSpring Hike on Sugarloaf
Wednesday, May 17 (10 am-3 pm)

Leaders: Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Tina Thieme Brown
Members $34; nonmembers $46
The author and the artist of two books about Sugarloaf Mountain team up once again for a seasonal outing devoted to the botany, wildlife, geology, and history of our local monadnock in the rural Piedmont northwest of Washington, D.C. The 1.5-2.5 mile hike is timed to coincide with the budding and 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. Over lunch, Tina will show you how to approach a quick leaf sketch, and Melanie will introduce the concept of "forest bathing," time permitting. Our hike includes uphill/downhill walking over rocky trails and a fairly steep ¼ mile hike up to the summit—all at a leisurely pace.

Geology along the Gold Mine Loop at Great Falls  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
Sunday, May 21 (8:30-11:30 am)

Leader: Joe Marx
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Although the original Piedmont Upland forest in Great Falls Park, Maryland was felled for crops, pasture and the processing of gold ore, today's woods are notably thick and stately. We will hike about 4 miles, on unpaved trails, starting at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center. During the hike, we will visit the trenches, pits and ruins of the Maryland Mine, where gold ore was treated as recently as 1940, as well as look for the exploration diggings of the Atlantic Development Company, which once owned most of the parkland. As an added bonus, near the end of the hike, we will pass good exposures of the mica schist bedrock through which Mather Gorge was cut. Note that although most of the hike will be flat and easy, it begins and ends with steep inclines and minor rock scrambling. The pace set and distance covered on our geology hikes will be faster and farther than our usual "naturalists' shuffle."

Introduction to Bird ID by Voice
Tuesday, May 23 (7:30-9 pm)

Thursday, May 25 (7:30-9 pm)
Saturday, May 27 (7 am-Noon)
Leader: Mark England
Members $46; nonmembers $64
The sounds made by birds can help find and identify many species, yet to beginning birders, the wide variety of sounds can be confusing. If you know many of our area birds by sight but not by sound, this class is for you. Two evening sessions will use recordings and slides to study bird songs and calls. Our field trip to one or more sites in Montgomery County will give us a chance to listen for and try to learn some of the local species.

A Year in Rock Creek Park
C: Forest Bathing at Pinehurst Branch
Wednesday, May 31 (9:30 am-12:30 pm)
D: Fall Nature Hike in Rock Creek Park
Saturday, November 4 (9:30 am-3:30 pm)
Leader: Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Walk C: members $28; nonmembers $38
Walks B and D: members $34; nonmembers $42
In 2016 the award-winning author of A Year in Rock Creek Park completed 10 years of her popular walks for ANS titled “A Year at Boundary Bridge.” This year, Melanie Choukas-Bradley will branch out into other areas of Rock Creek Park with a new series of field trips throughout the year. In May, we will have a change of pace and scene with a Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing walk in the Pinehurst Branch area of Rock Creek Park. We’ll walk slowly through the forest, tuning in to the sights and sounds of the upland woods and the meandering tributary of Rock Creek. We will also sit and silently witness the wonders of Rock Creek Park in special light-weight portable chairs that Melanie will provide for the occasion. This quiet form of nature immersion has demonstrated proven benefits in numerous health studies from around the world. Autumn will find us hiking the Western Ridge and Valley Trails during peak autumn foliage and fruiting season, stopping to study and admire trees along the route. Please join ANS as we visit familiar parts of Rock Creek Park and explore new ones! 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.


Chuck-wills-widowNatural Heritage Series: Elliott Island
Saturday, June 3 (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.

Forest Bathing Walk on Theodore Roosevelt Island
Wednesday, June 7 (9:30 am-1 pm)
Leader: Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Members $28; nonmembers $38
Join natural history author Melanie Choukas-Bradley for a Shirin-Yoku or forest bathing walk at Theodore Roosevelt Island. Numerous studies in Japan, Europe and North America have demonstrated the health benefits of spending quiet time immersed in nature, including lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lowered blood pressure, increased immune system function, and elevated mood (things that ANS members already knew!). We will walk for about 2.5 miles at a slow pace and spend quiet time sitting and watching summer wildflowers and nectaring butterflies. Our leader says this walk is "more about being than IDing." She has portable forest bathing stools to loan to each participant for the duration of the walk. Limited to 14 participants.

Breeding Bird Walk at Sycamore LandingRed Headed Woodpecker
Saturday, June 10 (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 the Sycamore Landing area along the Potomac River and the C&O Canal near Poolesville, MD, we'll explore both bottomland and upland woods, plus wetland and edge habitat, to search for common as well as uncommon breeders. We'll discuss the breeding strategies of species such as Red-headed Woodpecker, American Redstart, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Gray Catbird, among others. We'll also consider 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 on natural surface paths and a quiet road. Our leader has participated in the Maryland/DC Breeding Bird Atlas Project.

Early Summer Butterflies of Gambrill State Park and the Frederick Watershed
Saturday, June 10 (10 am-5 pm)
Leader: Rick Borchelt
Members $34; nonmembers $46
Early June in the Catoctin Mountains offers an excellent window to observe many of Maryland's common summer butterflies, in addition to some rare or uncommon species. This trip will include short forays to search for three of these hard-to-find butterflies, depending on how the season progresses: Appalachian Azure, Indian Skipper, and Edwards' Hairstreak. The habitats we will visit include sites known for interesting dragonflies and other insects, as well as the occasional rattlesnake and black bear. Expect some uphill/downhill walking on uneven and rocky natural surface trails.

Ferns and Their Reproduction240px-maidenhair fern
Sunday, June 11 (9 am-Noon)
Leader: Kit Sheffield
Members $24; nonmembers $34
On this moderate hike in Turkey Run Park, just off the GW Parkway near McLean, VA, we will go beyond basic fern ID and delve into the amazing world of fern reproduction. We'll talk about how ferns normally reproduce, and some of the odd twists they take along the way. We'll hope to find and identify well over a dozen species of ferns and enjoy beautiful views of the Potomac River along the way. Our hike of around 2.5 miles will be on mostly flat (but possibly very muddy) terrain along the River, but it includes a fairly-steep downhill and uphill stretch on a natural surface trail which is uneven and rocky in places. Also, be prepared for two rocky stream crossings.

Summer Shuffles Along the Canal
Wednesdays (9-11:30 am)
Section A: June 14 - Pennyfield Lock  FULL - REGISTER FOR WAITLIST ONLINE
Section B: June 21 - Riley's Lock
Section C: July 19 - Carderock
Section D: July 26 - Swain's Lock
Leader: Stephanie Mason
Each walk members $24; nonmembers $34
Entire series $86/$122
Summer's here and it may be hot, so we'll keep our pace to a shuffle as we visit four 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.

HoneyBeeThe Buzz on Bees and Wasps
Saturday, June 17 (9-11:30 am)
Leader: Cathy Stragar
Members $20; nonmembers $28
From solitary parasitic wasps to the highly social honey bee, from potter wasps to carpenter bees, these related insects form a fascinating and critically important part of the natural world. We'll take a look at their diversity, life histories, significant ecological roles, and worrisome threats facing bees and wasps. We'll spend our time outdoors, combing the Woodend Sanctuary for wasps and bees, identifying them, and observing their habits.

Western Montgomery County Butterfly Count
Saturday, June 17
Join us for the 28th annual Western Montgomery County Butterfly Count. Participants in this citizen science project will be 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.

It's (Almost) Summer Hike Along the Potomac
Sunday, June 18 (8 am-2:30 pm)
Leaders: Stephanie Mason and Cathy Stragar
Members $34; nonmembers $46
Join two naturalists to explore the (almost) summer richness of the varied habitats along the C & O Canal towpath and the Potomac River nearly 50 miles above the Canal's starting point in Georgetown, D.C. We'll hike from Point of Rocks to the Monocacy Aqueduct (5.6 miles) along the Towpath in our search for birds, butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, amphibians, and summer plant life.

Advanced Dragonfly Studies: Common Emeralds and AmericanEmeraldDragonfly
   Skimmers of the Mid-Atlantic

Thursday, June 22 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Sunday, June 25 (3/4 day field trip)
Leader: Richard Orr
Members $46; nonmembers $70
Lecture only $20/$28
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, returning this year with field identification of Common Emeralds and Skimmers (Families Corduliidae and Libellulidae). Our instructor will combine an evening presentation with a field trip to Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, where we'll hope to see many of these and other species in action. This is the first of three advanced 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.

Solstice Walk Among the Elders
Sunday, June 25 (9 am-1:00 pm)
Leader: Carole Bergmann
Members $24; nonmembers: $34
Montgomery County's forest ecologist leads this celebration of the botanical lushness of summer in the floodplain plant community along the Potomac River in Frederick and Montgomery Counties. Starting at the Monocacy Aqueduct, we'll have the chance to admire a magnificent, ancient Eastern Cottonwood, among many other bottomland woody and herbaceous plant species. Heading downriver to Dickerson Conservation Park, we'll search out the largest known tree in MD, an old American sycamore, as well as the co-champion Silver Maple in Montgomery County and all things green.

Six-legged Songsters of Summer
Thursday, June 29 (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 at our Woodend Sanctuary 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 fourth annual Cricket Crawl citizen science activity in late August.


Swallowtail on WingstemHoliday on Wheels Along the Patuxent
Tuesday, July 4 (8:30 am-1 pm)
Leader: Stephanie Mason
Members $28; nonmembers $38
Dust off your bike and join us to explore the woods and wetlands along the Patuxent River in Prince George's County, MD. We'll use the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Tour roadway, closed to cars on this day, to visit a variety of habitats in our search for summer activity in the natural world. We'll dismount often to look for wildflowers, birds, butterflies, and frogs, as we cover the Tour's reach from Patuxent River Park to Merkle Wildlife Refuge. Our round-trip ride will be between 5-8 miles. Bring your own bike.

Firefly Fling
Wednesday, July 5 (8-9 pm)
Leader: Stephanie Mason
Free, but registration required.
As dusk descends, come and enjoy nature's fireworks—the courting of fireflies over our Woodend fields and forests. The evening begins with a short discussion of the life history and behavior of these luminescent beetles. We'll then move outdoors to observe the various flash and light patterns of different species and try to "communicate" with these insects ourselves.

Art and Nature JournalingTinaSketchPage
Saturday, July 8 (10 am-2:30 pm)
Leader: Tina Thieme Brown
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Create an art journal page under the guidance of the artist of the Sugarloaf Mountain books and the illustrated Agricultural Reserve Map. Following a short stroll looking closely at nature, participants will share observations of native trees along the trail. Tina will show you how to create an art journal page using sketches and handwritten notes that reflect your walk in the woods. After showing a few sketchbook examples and demonstrating art techniques, our leader will guide you through your personal sketch. The only experience required is a love for our native woodland trees. Site for this outdoor workshop will be Black Hill Regional Park in upper Montgomery County, MD. A list of art supplies will be provided with the confirmation letter.

How Do Their Gardens Grow?
Saturday, July 15 (9 am-12:30 pm)
Leaders: Liz Jones and Marney Bruce
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Here's your chance to visit the home gardens of two ANSers who have worked to reduce lawn coverage, increase food and shelter for wildlife, and incorporate native plants when possible. Liz and Marney will share their successes and failures on walks through their yards, both of which include water features. One yard is mostly shaded, while the second sports sun-loving plants in the front and shade-loving species in the back. Participants will divide into two groups, visiting one garden for roughly an hour before switching to the other site. Our destination gardens are both in the Bethesda, MD vicinity.

Geology of Northwest Branch
Wednesday, July 19 (10 am-2:30 pm)
Leader: Joe Marx
Members $24; nonmembers $34
Northwest Branch, straddling the border between Prince Georges and Montgomery County, carves a canyon as it descends from the Piedmont upland to the Atlantic Coastal Plain. We will hike upstream 3 miles from Adelphi Mill to Burnt Mills, using a car shuttle to complete the loop. Sandy coastal plain deposits change into splendid outcrops of tortured metamorphic rock, culminating in a steep, rocky gorge. The various bedrock exposures illustrate a history of colliding and rifting continents, while the stream has its own tale to tell as it carries broken pieces of our landscape downhill towards the sea. The terrain for our hike is gently uphill on a good surface, except for two steep, rocky sections. Some stretches may be muddy. The pace set and distance covered on our geology hikes will be faster and farther than our usual "naturalists' shuffle."

Introduction to the Natural History and Identification of Shorebirds
Thursday, July 20 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Saturday, July 22 (full-day field trip)
Leaders: Cyndie Loeper and John Bjerke
Members $50; nonmembers $70
Lecture only $20/$28
Shorebirds are among the most spectacular migrants in the avian world. Many species breed as far north as the Arctic tundra and winter as far south as Patagonia. By mid July, they've already begun their remarkable journeys southward, passing through our coastal areas in the process and presenting an identification puzzle to beginning and even mid-level birders. Our beginners' level class will focus on the most common shorebirds that occur in our region, using a field trip to Delaware's Bombay Hook and Little Creek Refuges to reinforce Thursday night's slide-illustrated lecture.

Paddle on the Potomac
Friday, July 21 (9:30 am-12:30 pm)
Leaders: Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Stephanie Mason
Members $30; nonmembers $42
Meet two naturalists at the Key Bridge Boathouse for a summer paddling trip around Theodore Roosevelt Island. Discover the magic of paddling around DC's historic 88.5 acre island in the Potomac beneath the boughs of magnificent sycamores, cottonwoods, silver maples, black walnuts, basswoods and river birches. Witness the blooms of many summer wildflowers growing along the shoreline and the thrill of spotting ospreys, bald eagles, herons and egrets, and the noisy kingfisher! Canoes or kayaks can be rented or you can bring your own. NOTE: registration fee does not include boat rental.

B is for Butterfly
Saturday, July 22 (9 am-1 pm)
Leader: Stephanie Mason
Members $28; nonmembers $38
On this slow stroll through several habitats at Black Hill Regional Park, near Boyds, MD, we'll offer an introduction to some of the butterflies of summer: their habitats, how to identify them, and where to look for their caterpillars and host plants. Our areas of exploration will be open and sunny.

RedFoxSunset Stroll in the Hollow
Sunday, July 23 (6:30-8:30 pm)
Leader: Stephanie Mason
Members $24; nonmembers $34
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.

Bugs 101
Thursday, July 27 (7:30-9:30 pm)
Saturday, July 29 (8:30 am-2 pm)
Leader: Nate Erwin
Members $46; nonmembers $64
Lecture only $20/$28
All true bugs are insects, but not all insects are truly bugs. Confused? And where do those strange names like 'butterfly' and 'dragonfly' come from when these insects are not flies at all? Join entomologist Nate Erwin in addressing these and other questions about the most diverse group of animals on the planet. The evening lecture will prepare participants for the field trip using close-up images of these amazing creatures, as well as some live specimens. Our field trip "classroom" will be the McKee-Beshers WMA near Poolesville, MD, where we'll learn to distinguish insects from related arthropods as we look for the identifying characteristics of major insect groups. Expect sunny, open areas with tall vegetation on our field trip.

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