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Botanical Diversity in the Piney Branch Valley
Speaker: Steve Dryden and John Parrish
This will be presented both via Zoom and In Person.
IN PERSON LOCATION: Hilton Garden Inn, 7810 Walker Drive, Greenbelt Maryland, 20770. Limited to 50 people to allow for COVID distancing guidelines.
Though 95 percent of the 2500-acre Piney Branch watershed in DC has been paved over, the remaining land has been found to include a remarkable array of grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees. Close to 300 species of flora were identified in 2021 by botanist John Parrish, who carried out a survey for the Rock Creek Songbirds habitat restoration project. Songbirds director Steve Dryden will highlight the findings and discuss ongoing efforts to protect and enhance the 67 acres that form the Piney Branch Parkway area of Rock Creek National Park.
Steve Dryden, a native of Northern Virginia, became entranced with local natural history while camping in the Blue Ridge region as a Boy Scout. After many years in journalism, Steve joined the staff of the Audubon Naturalist Society as media relations director. Later, he was a founding board member of the Rock Creek Conservancy, and currently serves as executive director of the Friends of Peirce Mill. He created the Songbirds project in 2013 with grant support from National Audubon Society, followed by collaborations with Casey Trees, the DC Department of Energy and the Environment, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. In addition to planting more than 500 trees, the Songbirds project brings students into the park for hands-on learning, and has used the migratory journey of songbirds as an outreach theme for the Latino community.
A lifelong resident of Montgomery County, he currently works to protect the Ten Mile Creek watershed from over-development. Parrish is a naturalist with extensive knowledge of local geology, soils, and fauna, and is an expert in rare plants and rare plant communities of the Mid-Atlantic region.
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