A Brief Message from our President
Fall is quickly setting in upon the Park and as October comes to its end I have been enjoying watching the leaves in our woodlands change to vibrant hues of golden and scarlet. This special time of year is a favorite for us all—showcasing the year-round splendor of Beatrix Farrand’s ingenious design. Since Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss first donated the Park to the American people in 1940 it has been a true gift: thank you for your patronage and support of the Park. This past few months have been busy at the Conservancy and we are pleased to share with you the latest happenings in the Park. Warm regards, Lindsey Milstein.
DOPC Launches $320,000 Centennial Challenge Grant Campaign
The Conservancy is the proud recipient of one of only 69 Centennial Challenge Grants awarded by the National Park Service in 2016. The grant will fund the development of a stormwater management system to help solve the Park’s extensive runoff and erosion issues. To finish meeting the terms of the grant, DOPC must raise $320,000 in matching funds. Help us start our campaign out strong by donating now, or volunteering to help with fundraising efforts. Learn more.
DOPC Awarded 2015 Hartzog Volunteer Group Award
Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers, Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy is proud to announce its receipt of the National Park Service’s National Capital Region 2015 Hartzog Volunteer Group Award. The award recognizes outstanding service by individuals and organizations to the National Parks. From 2013 to 2015, the Conservancy logged over 30,000 volunteer work hours in its efforts to restore, maintain, and promote the Park.
Volunteers of all ages pulled stiltgrass and english ivy, cut invasive shrubs and vines, planted and watered trees, and helped with large-scale restoration projects including improvements to the Old Stone Pump House, Beech Grove, and East Falls Dam. Learn more.
Upper Stream Valley Restoration Project Nears Completion
There have been big changes happening in the park. This past spring and summer, working with Rock Creek Park, and the Latin American Youth Center’s (LAYC), Erosion Control Crew (ECC), we’ve been busy tackling the restoration of the park’s upper stream valley, a project funded by a National Park Service Challenge Grant. Historic images show the area as a designed woodland, abutting a sunlit stream whose banks were dotted with plantings of iris and perennials, but in recent years, the steep slope behind the Social Safeway on Wisconsin Avenue, and the adjacent stream valley have been taken over by invasive plants, among them porcelain berry, and oriental bittersweet vines, bush honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, and wineberry. Learn more.
Our Environmental Education Programs are Growing
The Environmental Education department has been very busy! Last spring, we launched our new pilot program, Landscape By Design, in partnership with the National Park Service and National Park Foundation. Our program was modified from the National Park Service’s Good Neighbor program in Boston, which spotlights landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s legacy, to focus on Beatrix Farrand and her American treasure, Dumbarton Oaks Park. Three fourth grade classes from Stoddert Elementary School participated in this pilot program.
Other spring and summer environmental education highlights include: the launch of our Art in the Park Pollinator program with Jelleff Boys and Girls Club, partnership with Hardy Middle school and Chesapeake Bay Trust to run new water erosion and invasive plant programs in the park, participation in the District’s BioBlitz event, partnerships with the British International School of Washington and Sidwell Friends School, and our Find Your Park Spring Camp. Learn more.
Meet Amanda Shull, Project Manager and Volunteer Coordinator
Some of our regular Park visitors may have been surprised to see a new face around the Park this past March. We would like to introduce Amanda Shull, the newest member of the Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy team. Amanda received a B.A. in cultural anthropology from Bard College, and an M.L.A. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute’s Washington Alexandria Architecture Center. An Arlington, Virginia native, she worked for The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), and the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) before coming to DOPC. She has traveled widely, including a summer spent interning for the Galway County Council in Ireland through the US/ICOMOS International Exchange Program. While at TCLF she co-curated the exhibition The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley. Amanda will be working to expand our volunteer programs and manage the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the park.
Spread the Word: 1,500 Likes on Facebook by 2017
We have big plans for our social media this fall. In support of our Centennial Challenge Fundraising Campaign DOPC will be revamping our Facebook page. Stay up-to-date with volunteer events, environmental education programs, and park news and happenings by liking us and sharing our page with your friends. Help us reach our goal of 1,500 likes by 2017.
Eco Corner: What’s in Bloom?
Situated to the left of the wooden gates, The Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) greets you as you enter the park in the late summer. This native wildflower perennial produces intense red blossoms at a time when many other perennials are withering in the summer heat.
Cardinal flowers thrive in full sun or very light shade, around moist soil; Dumbarton Oaks Park is their perfect oasis! You can identify the plant by its erect, terminal spikes of large cardinal red flowers on unbranched, alternate-leafed stalks. Trumpet-shaped flowers are two-lipped, with the three lobes of the lower lip appearing more prominent than the two lobes of the upper lip. Finely-toothed, lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Butterflies and hummingbirds can often be seen fluttering nearby, most pollinators struggle to navigate the long necks of the cardinal flowers, so it depends on them for fertilization.
It’s beautiful but deadly! The Cardinal flower has been known to be used for medicinal purposes. Amerindians used its root and leaves in tea to treat intestinal illnesses, bronchial ailments and colds. Others smoked or chewed the dried leaves as a substitute for tobacco. Since it contains a number of alkaloids it is considered to be potentially toxic if eaten in large quantities.
The Cardinal flower brings color, wildlife, and history into the park! We anxiously await for our small patch to flourish and establish itself throughout the landscape.
Opportunities and Upcoming Events
Saturdays November 19 and December 3, and Sunday, December 11, 9am-1pm
Upcoming Volunteer Days
During these public, open-to-all volunteer events, you’ll assist in the restoration of Dumbarton Oaks Park by removing invasive, non-native plant species from the park landscape.
Fall Intern Wanted
The Conservancy is searching for an unpaid fall intern to help us for 8-10 hours a week in our Georgetown office, and in the Park. The intern will be responsible for a variety of tasks including assisting with volunteer days, special events, restoration work, environmental education, marketing, mailings and other administrative tasks as needed.
Help us reach our Centennial Challenge Grant Campaign Goal of $320,000
to Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy
Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy is pleased to announce acceptance to the 2015/16 Catalogue for Philanthropy!