Wow, what's that? Find out with our new Field Guide!

Wow, what's that? Find out with our new Field Guide! Bottom Egret Photo: Jim Havard
February 3, 2019 by: Robinne Gray

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When AWS began our work 30 years ago, few people would have considered the Anacostia River an enjoyable destination for viewing wildlife and local plants! Today, as the river has gotten cleaner and we continue to restore its marshes, floodplains, and meadows, the Anacostia and its trails are increasingly known to birders, botanists and others as a desirable place to practice identification skills and enjoy the turn of the seasons. Because we found that existing field guides tend to focus on forests, fields, or ponds and lakes, the Anacostia Watershed Society set out to create a basic guide that’s focused on our favorite river!

Our new Beginner’s Field Guide to the Plants and Animals of the Anacostia River Watershed will introduce you to the most common plants and animals you’re likely to see while walking, biking, or paddling the watershed. Featuring cover artwork by local artist Paige Billin-Frye and photographs from professionals to skilled citizen scientists, the Field Guide also notes which species are native, introduced, or invasive, along with which are threatened by declining populations.

Another feature of the AWS Field Guide is a section on seasonal phenomena  -- not just what you might see, but when you might expect to see it. Ospreys are charismatic river denizens – but you’ll only find them fishing and nesting along the Anacostia in the warm months. You’ll see other animals, such as migratory ducks, in winter. If you’re mushroom-hunting, explore in autumn; to hear cicadas, listen on summer evenings.

And if you’d like to become a citizen scientist by participating in a project like a BioBlitz or the Great Backyard Bird Count, the Field Guide will help you get started with some fun local projects that contribute to a large body of observations about our natural environment.

The Anacostia River is a great place to experience the natural world in the heart of our metro region. In and along the river live the animals and plants that depend on a river’s natural cycles for food, shelter, and reproduction. Rivers also attract a familiar animal, Homo sapiens: us and our fellow humans who enjoy exploring waterways and who are attracted by the river denizens we may see there.

We hope the Field Guide will be a handy companion to all who visit the river, from casual trail-users who want to take a closer look at their surroundings; families who are teaching their children about the natural world; and regular visitors who might increase their enjoyment of the river by tuning in to seasonal changes. We hope the Field Guide helps you “meet” many new friends along the river!

Many thanks to the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, and Anacostia Trails Heritage Area for their support to make the guide possible!

To get your free copy of the AWS Field Guide, come see us at upcoming community events like our Watershed Wednesday Happy Hours.  Use the link below to download your digital copy today!

Robinne Gray

Robinne Gray

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