Farrand’s Flyer, February 2015

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Meadow #3, February 4, 2015

From the Drawing Board…

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“Bird in Winter”, Lucas Donovan

While it has been quite cold the past several weeks, Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy staff and board members have not been hibernating. On the contrary, we’ve been working hard with the National Park Service planning out our restoration projects for 2015. Highlights include: liberating every native tree in the Park from the chokehold of invasive vines this year, maintaining the restored meadows and Beech Grove, and adding native plants to these restored areas. 


Camp in the Winter Woodland

Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy launched its first Winter Camp for 1st-5th graders throughout the District. Themed around the physical and behavioral adaptations wildlife make to survive in cold climates, campers engaged in fun, outdoor educational games and hikes to understand how climate and wildlife interact in a winter landscape.

The success of the Dumbarton Oaks Park Winter Camp was largely due to our partnership with the Jelleff Boys and Girls Club, District Department of Parks and Recreation, and Rock Creek Park of the National Park Service. We were able to pool resources to help create a dynamic and well-attended camp. Stay tuned for more updates about the environmental education programs offered through the Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy!

-Alisha Camacho, DOPC Environmental Education Program Coordinator

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Campers in the Outdoor Classroom at the Stream Arbor


Volunteer Lens: Nancy Yoshikawa

This month, we invite you to meet Nancy Yoshikawa, former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientist and resident of the District’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood. We recently sat down with Nancy and asked her a few questions…

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Nancy Yoskikawa, Center, Volunteering in the Park, December 27, 2014

How were you first introduced to Dumbarton Oaks Park?

I first got introduced to the Park when I was looking for weekend volunteer opportunities a few years back, and I noticed that one spring weekend was designated DC Invasives Day. Dumbarton Oaks Park was the closest location to my place within walking distance, so I decided to go for it! That day I met Ann Aldrich, who has such a special love for the Park as well as a way about her that makes all the volunteers feel needed and important, including me! I was hooked and started coming back whenever I could to help with invasive removals and plantings, and working with the amazing groups of young people that come to volunteer in the Park. (Update: Nancy currently is assisting the Conservancy in grant writing skills).

What is your favorite feature of the Park?

Dumbarton Oaks Park is such a peaceful spot, and it is always rejuvenating to get away from the bustle of the city for a time. One of my favorite spots is the Beech Grove; the light in that part of the Park (the entrance) is so beautiful.


Invasive Oriental Bittersweet vs. Native Virginia Creeper

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From Top: Oriental Bittersweet Berry; A Tangle of Oriental Bittersweet Vines Choke a Tree; Fall Foliage of the Native Virginia Creeper

With its beautiful, bright red berries, Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), a plant from eastern Asia, has become a staple of our holiday decorations. Unfortunately, this invasive, non-native species is also bringing our native trees to the ground. Dumbarton Oaks Park has several areas where Oriental bittersweet has strangled and toppled native trees.

Volunteers have been working diligently to free the trees of Oriental bittersweet to ensure we do not more of the tree canopy, and you can help too. If you use this plant for holiday decor next Christmas – on the mantle or otherwise – please keep it inside so that birds cannot eat it and then dispose of the seeds in the Park. Also, at the end of the holiday season, bag and place Oriental bittersweet securely in the trashcan, and then tie the trashcan tight, so that the fruit and seeds cannot drop and spread. Thank you for limiting the spread of this plant through our woodland.

A beautiful, non-harmful native vine in the Park that creeps over ground and up the trees is the Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quiquefolia). In autumn, we can depend on a brilliant red show from this vine with its blue fruit. It climbs by suction cups – as opposed to penetrating roots like those of the Oriental bittersweet – and therefore will not damage trees or structures. Its soft green, five-leafed cover is good for fencing and buildings, and the plant itself is an important winter food source for resident birds. Virginia creeper is also the host plant for sphinx moths.

Ann Aldrich, DOPC Restoration Director


Upcoming Events

Winter Weeding Days and Winter Tour
The tour will spotlight the Park’s design features and history.
“I prefer winter, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story does not show.”
– Andrew Wyeth (Painter, 1917 – 2009)


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Meadow #4, January 7, 2015


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