Annual Winter Solstice Field Trip

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Sunday, December 23, 2018
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Chapman Forest State Park


Please join us for this annual winter tradition to celebrate the beginning of the winter season at Chapman Forest (Chapman State Park, MD) with its spectacular scenery and remarkable diversity of native plants, wildlife, and natural communities! Leaders will be Rod Simmons, Bonnie Bick, Mary Farrah, and Robin Firth.

This year we will visit the old-age forest section from the low river terrace and extensive Water-willow Shrublands along the Potomac River to the marl cliffs and ravines near Glymont. This section of the park is a fascinating and regionally unique meeting ground for plants with a primary range in the inner Piedmont and mountains and those of the Coastal Plain. Before participating, be sure to read Rod’s description of the old-age forest at Chapman.

Late-season sun setting over Maryland State Champion Cherrybark Oak (Quercus pagoda) at Chapman Forest. Cherrybark Oak (Pagoda Oak) is a massive, long-lived tree of bottomlands and mesic forests of the southeastern U.S. that reaches the northernmost limits of its range in the Coastal Plain of Maryland and vicinity.  This tree is not a component of Shell-Marl Ravine Forest, but is common and reaches great size at Chapman State Park on well-drained bottomlands and the coastal variant of Northern Coastal Plain / Piedmont Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest that occurs above Shell-Marl Ravine Forest at the site.  Photo by R.H. Simmons.

Late-season sun setting over Maryland State Champion Cherrybark Oak (Quercus pagoda) at Chapman Forest. Photo by R.H.Simmons

Co-sponsored by the Maryland Native Plant Society, Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society, Botanical Society of Washington, and Mattawoman Watershed Society.

This year’s Solstice Field Trip is in memoriam: Philip Blair, Tom Hollowell, and Gaylan Meyer.

The Winter Solstice Field Trip is free and open to non-members. Registration is not required.

For ARMN members, this event will apply towards advanced training hours in botany, dendrology, forest ecology, and geology.

Special Instructions: Wear sturdy shoes and bring lunch or snacks and water. Most of the walk traverses rolling, fairly open forest along trails, though some steep grades will occasionally be encountered.

Driving directions: Take Indian Head Highway (Rt. 210) south from Capital Beltway (495). Proceed south on Rt. 210 for app. 15 miles. Continue on Rt. 210 past the Rt. 227 intersection at Bryans Road (McDonald’s, Burger King, and shopping center on right and large CVS and builders supply will be on left) and start looking for Chapman Landing Road on right. Take half right on Chapman Landing Road and proceed a couple of miles to entrance to Mount Aventine (Chapman State Park) on right. Park and meet in small parking lot at entrance gate (additional parking is available along the shoulder of Chapman Landing Road, though please be extra mindful of the neighboring residents and careful not to damage the road edges when parking).

Carpooling: For those interested in carpooling to the field trip – or who have room to provide a ride – please email Kathy Bilton at She will send out a list of names, general location, and contact info which she has received so that folks wishing transportation to the field trip can arrange something. A number of folks in the Alexandria-Arlington-D.C. area will likely be looking for a ride to the site.

Leaving early: For folks who aren’t able to stay the full time, there will be numerous points throughout the field trip to depart from and easily get back to the parking area.

Contact: (for additional information; not to register) Anne DeNovo (

In the event of heavy-steady snow, sleet, pouring rain, or icy, dangerous conditions of roads, the field trip will be cancelled.

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