Nature Forward is announcing our winter courses for Natural History Field Studies. Sign up for one or all of the classes offered in this unique program which provides a comprehensive and stimulating view of our region’s natural history and conservation issues.

  1. Winter Bird Life-Taught by Gemma RadkoWoodland birds are easier to see in the winter when leaves are off deciduous trees. Waterfowl are also numerous and easy to locate. We’ll learn about the strategies birds use to survive cold weather, how to attract overwintering birds to your yard, where to look for winter birds and the essential connection between waterfowl and the Chesapeake Bay. The field trips are to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the C&O Towpath.
    January 11 – February 8
    Lectures online via Zoom: Wednesdays, 6-8 pm
    Field trip dates: Saturday, January 21; Saturday, February 4
  2. Winter Woody Plant ID- Taught by Bradley Simpson During this winter course, students will learn how to identify trees and other woody plants in winter when there are no leaves to rely on. We will learn how to use twigs, buds, bark, and fruit to identify species throughout winter. During our field trips, students will begin to understand the diversity of features, especially bark, that trees possess. Field trips include the Patuxent River Park – Jug Bay Natural Area and Sugarloaf Mountain.



    January 12 – February 9
    Lectures online via Zoom: Thursdays, 6-8 pm
    Field trip dates: Saturday, January 21; Saturday, January 28; and Saturday, February 4

  3. U.S. Conservation History- Taught by Eliza Cava
    Students will learn about famous conservation “heroes” as both professionals and people, whose complicated, and often racist, views shaped patterns and divisions in the early conservation movements that continue to echo today. Students will explore the historical origins and development of a conservation topic of great interest to them with a written paper and class presentation. Field trips will visit sites of local conservation initiatives from different eras (Prince William Forest Park, Urban Parks of DC and Indigenous Conservation). The class considers how land and natural resources have been fundamental agents in shaping the lives of the country’s inhabitants and, in parallel, how Americans’ perceptions of the environment and its resources have shaped the natural world. This course examines the development of natural resources conservation and preservation thought and policy in the United States from the pre-colonial era through the early twenty-first century.January 13 – March 17
    Class Location: Lectures online via Zoom: Fridays, 12-2 pm
    Field trip dates: January 22; February 12; and March 5
  4. Maryland Lichens – Taught by Natalie HoweIn this class, participants will learn about lichens, fascinating symbiotic species coming from the relationship between fungi and algae. Learn what they are, how they grow, where they do and don’t grow, and what makes them the most enthralling organisms in the world. We’ll practice lichen identification using local keys. We’ll also practice documenting of our finds iNaturalist and collecting herbarium specimens. We’ll go on field trips to explore some of the interesting aspects of lichen biology and ecology.

    February 16 – March 16
    Online lectures via Zoom: Thursdays, 6-8 pm
    Field trip dates: Saturday, February 18;  Woodend Nature Sanctuary; Saturday, March 11; and Patuxent Research Refuge.