Monday, August 17, 2009

Natural Happenings: August 17-23

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: There are a lot of activities scheduled in Rock Creek Park for this weekend. Come celebrate National Park Service Founder's Day!

Hike, bike, and ride horses:

Dumbarton Oaks - Discover the trails of this naturalistic landscaped garden turned public park. 10 AM Sat - Meet at the “Lover’s Lane” entrance sign. (Ages 8+)
Teddy Roosevelt Hike- Take a rigorous two-mile hike up the Teddy Roosevelt Trail to Pulpit Rock and return to Peirce Mill via the Valley Trail. Discover the story of the Jusserand Memorial, dedicated to one of Roosevelt’s closest friends. 11 AM Sat from Peirce Mill. (Ages 8+)
Ranger-Led Horseback Tour - This one-hour tour travels south along Rock Creek. Participants must be 12 years old or older and weight limits may apply. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. Fee $35. For further information call (202) 362-0117. 11 AM Sun at the Horse Center.
Bike Hike - Explore Rock Creek Valley from the Waterfront in Georgetown to Peirce Mill and back. 10 AM Sun at Thompson Boat House. Bring your own bike and water; helmets required. (Ages 10+)
Fort DeRussy Hike -One-mile hike to learn how this little fort and the soldiers stationed there helped save Washington, DC. 2 PM Sun from the Nature Center. (Ages 8+)

Go to a Ranger Program:

Children’s Archeology - Explore the world of archeology by attempting a simulated archeological dig! 11 AM Sat at the Nature center. (Ages 8+)
How to Draw an American Landscape - Step back into the 1800s and learn about various changes to the Rock Creek valley. Review basic drawing techniques. 1 PM Sat at Peirce Barn. (Ages 8+)
Stones, Bones and Sticks - Watch a ranger demonstrate early Native American tools and discuss their uses. 3 PM Sat at the Nature Center. (Ages 5+)
Owl Pellets - Discover what owls eat for dinner by dissecting the remains – owl pellets! 2:30 Sun at the Nature Center. (Ages 5+)
Film: A Thin Green Line - Celebrate a day in the life of a ranger! See what it takes to protect our national and international parks. 3 PM Sun at the Nature Center. (Ages 8+)

Check out the Planetarium:

Summer Night Sky: When I Wish Upon a Star - View the stars, planets, and constellations of August and learn their stories. 1 PM Sat and Sun at the Nature Center. (Ages 5+)
Native American Sky Stories - Native American legends of the night sky. 2 PM Sat at the Nature Center. (Ages 5+)
Exploring the Universe - Sun, moon, stars, planets, and other space phenomena. 4 PM Sat and Sun at the Nature Center. (Ages 7+)
Oasis in Space - Journey through the solar system on a quest for water in this half-hour planetarium presentation. 6:30 PM and 7:30 PM Sat at the Nature Center. Reservations recommended. Tickets are free and are released 30 minutes before show time. (Ages 5+)

And, last but not least:

Explore the Sky with Telescopes - Join the National Park Service and members of the National Capital Astronomers in Rock Creek Park for their monthly viewing of the stars, planets, and other night sky phenomena with telescopes. This month: Andromeda Rising. 8:30 PM Sat at Picnic Grove 13. All ages. Rain or severely cloudy weather will cancel this event.

Also this week:

Sierra Club
Tue: George Washington National Park (18 mi)
Sat: Bike ride - Capitol Crescent / Rock Creek (22 mi)
Sun: Central SNP to Corbin Cabin & swimming hoes (12 mi)

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
Many cabin and trail crew work trips.
Tue: Great North Mountain Bucktail Hike, GW Natl Forest (18 mi)
Thu: Family Hike: Appalachian Trail To Annapolis Rocks (5 mi)

Center Hiking Club
Fri eve: C&O Canal evening hike (5 mi)
: Skyland to Big Meadows (8 mi)
Sun: South River Falls in SNP (10 mi)

Capital Hiking Club
Sat: AT to Gathland State Park (6 mi)

Northern Virginia Hiking Club
Sat: Canoe on Shenandoah River
Sat: Duncan Hollow (12 mi)
Sun: Wolf/Chimney Rocks (8.7 mi)

Sun: Fairfax Cross County (CCT) Trail from Oak Marr Park to Difficult Run. (9-15 mi)

Audubon Naturalist Society
Thurs eve & Sat: Dragonfly and damselfly studies
Sat: Delaware shorebird workshop
Sun: birding at Hughes Hollow


Rock Creek Park
Various planetarium programs.
Wed: Design an animal (ages 5+), Art in the Park (ages 10+)
Thu: Grandfather tree hike - see some of the oldest trees in the park (1.5 mi, all ages)
Thu: Nature Journal (ages 9+)
Fri: Creature Feature (all ages), Predators and Prey (ages 5+)
Sat & Sun: see highlights above.

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