MD/DC Director of Marketing Sev Smith gets a helping hand from daughter Charleigh during red spruce planting at Cranesville Swamp Preserve.
Little Lorax MD/DC Director of Marketing Sev Smith gets a helping hand from daughter Charleigh during red spruce planting at Cranesville Swamp Preserve. © The Nature Conservancy

Stories in Maryland/DC

Volunteer in Maryland DC

There is more than one way to volunteer for The Nature Conservancy in Maryland and Washington, DC!

The chapter hosts four volunteer events each year. Click on the drop down list below to learn more about each of these events.

Annual Events

  • March: Atlantic White Cedar Planting at Nassawango Creek Preserve

    Help us restore habitat at Nassawango Creek Preserve by planting Atlantic white cedar seedlings.

    This volunteer opportunity is in partnership with the National Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

    The planting is part of an ongoing restoration effort through the National Aquarium’s Wetland Nursery Program, which encourages students in Worcester and Somerset counties to become environmental stewards through hands-on opportunities to care for trees in a nursery pond on their school grounds.  

    Nassawango Creek Preserve is located on Maryland's Eastern Shore, approximately 2.5 hours from Washington/Baltimore.

  • April: City Nature Challenge

    Held over four days, the City Nature Challenge is a citizen science event that encourages people to discover and document the biodiversity of our urban spaces. What began in 2016 as a friendly challenge between Los Angeles and San Francisco has now grown to an international event.

    You don't have to join an organized outing to be a part of the City Nature Challenge.  Explore your neighborhood parks—or even your own backyard.  There's nature all around you!

  • April: Red Spruce Tree Planting at Cranesville Swamp Preserve

    Help us replant several thousand locally-sourced red spruce seedlings at Cranesville Swamp Preserve.

    Red spruce (Picea rubens) once covered thousands of acres in western Maryland. Logging and subsequent wildfires at the turn of the 20th Century drastically reduced its range. It's estimated that in the Central Appalachians as much as 90% of the original red spruce forest is now gone.

    You can help us change that statistic—one seedling at a time.

    This volunteer opportunity takes place over two days; volunteers are welcome to join for one day or both. 

  • November: Holiday Card Addressing Event in Silver Spring, MD

    Join fellow Conservancy supporters over a cup of tea or coffee as we work to hand-address nearly 500 holiday card envelopes in preparation for the season! The event is hosted each year in the DC metro area.

In addition to participating in these events, assistance may also be needed in these areas:

  • Volunteer Photography/Videography: Take pictures and/or video throughout the year for use in the Maryland/DC chapter's publications, website and social media.
  • Social Media: Share posts from the chapter's FacebookInstagram and Twitter accounts with your personal networks to help spread the word about our work across the region.
  • Annual report highlighting growing volunteer programs and partnerships across The Nature Conservancy.

    2018 Volunteer Annual Report

    (17.24 MB PDF)

    Highlights from across the US and around the world of TNC's growing volunteer programs and partnerships.

    DOWNLOAD

Which city on Earth has the most nature and the most engaged residents? The City Nature Challenge aims to find out!

Explore Your World

The City Nature Challenge encourages people to discover and document the biodiversity of our urban spaces. What began in 2016 as a friendly challenge between Los Angeles and San Francisco has now grown to an international event!

The 2019 City Nature Challenge takes place April 26 - 29. 

The 4-day challenge connects local communities with the value of urban biodiversity, while also collecting important data for scientists, land managers, non-profits, and governments about the areas that they help to protect. 

The City Nature Challenge is organized by the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Get Involved

It’s easy to get involved using the iNaturalist app (free on the app store). Just take a picture of a plant or animal and upload it to the app.  Any observations made in the Baltimore or Washington, DC metro challenge areas will count during the four day challenge. 

You don't have to join an organized outing to get involved in the City Nature Challenge.  Anyone can take part! Explore your own backyard or neighborhood parks.  There's nature all around you!

City Nature Challenge Events

  • April 26: Moths in the Morning

    Join us at Fleming Park on Friday morning to view moths that have been lured onto a white sheet by a black light (which will be set up the night prior).

    Space is limited and registration is required

    MD/DC Conservation Ecologist Deborah Landau will identify the attracted moths and will take the group for a walk around the forest in search for other native insects. This event is family friendly and all ages are welcome!

    The group will meet in front of the picnic tables at Fleming Park at 8:30am. An early start is to ensure that we don’t miss the moths!

    There are porta potties on the park grounds. This bioblitz is expected to last up to two hours. Attendees are encouraged to bring water and snacks. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars if you wish. The tour will be canceled in the event of rain.

  • April 27: Capitol Tree Tour

    Join us for a family friendly bioblitz at the Capitol grounds led by DC author and naturalist, Melanie Choukas-Bradley.

    Space is limited and registration is required.

    Melanie will describe spring flowers, fruits and leaves and will teach attendees how to identify the diverse species of trees in the area including oak, maple, beech, and buckeye. Melanie will also share a little bit on the history of the Capitol Grounds and on the city of Washington, DC.

    The tour will meet at the US Botanic Garden at 10:00 a.m. Restrooms will be available. The tour is expected to last up to three hours.

    Attendees are encouraged to bring water, snacks, and/or a light bagged lunch. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars if you wish. Sunscreen and bug spray may be needed. The tour will be canceled in the event of rain.

    Melanie Choukas-Bradley has authored a host of critically acclaimed books including, City of Trees: The Complete Field Guide to the Trees of Washington, DC, illustrated by Polly Alexander. 

  • April 27: BioBlitz by the Water

    Join us for a family friendly bioblitz at Oxbow Nature Preserve led by MD/DC Conservation Coordinator Christina Thompson.

    Space is limited and registration is required

    Oxbow Nature Preserve is considered the largest natural freshwater lake in Maryland. This 70-acre wetland has easy and scenic trails where visitors can observe bald eagles, rare plants, and a variety of insects. How many species you can spot?

    The group will meet in front of the Oxbow Nature sign at 10:00 am. Please abide the no parking signs and park along the side of the road where the sign is located.

    Restrooms are not available on site but can be found at the nearby Russett Community Library-Anne Arundel County Public Library. The bioblitz is expected to last up to three hours.

    Attendees are encouraged to bring water, snacks, and/or a light bagged lunch. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars if you wish. Sunscreen and bug spray may be needed. The tour will be canceled in the event of rain.

  • April 27: Pollinator Garden BioBlitz

    Join us for a family friendly pollinator garden bioblitz led by naturalist and MD/DC Director of Land Management Deborah Barber.

    Space is limited and registration is required

    In late 2017, the Maryland/DC chapter of The Nature Conservancy transformed approximately 18,000 square feet of roadways into raingardens at Washington, DC's Mount Olivet Cemetery. These raingardens help reduce stormwater runoff into the Anacostia River and provide habitat for native pollinators.

    The group will meet at the entrance gate of the cemetery (1300 Bladensburg Rd NE, Washington, DC 20002) at 3:30p.m. Parking is free. Restrooms are available inside the administrative building. 

    The event is expected to last up to an hour and a half. Attendees are encouraged to bring water and snacks. Please be prepared to walk and wear comfortable walking shoes as the cemetery has quite a few windy hills. Sunscreen and bug spray may be needed. The tour will be canceled in the event of rain.

  • April 28: Billy Goat Trail Guided Hike

    Join us for a family friendly hike of the Billy Goat Trailled by naturalist and MD/DC Director of Land Management Deborah Barber

    Space is limited and registration is required

    We will meet in front of the Great Falls Tavern visitor center at 10:00 am. Restrooms are available in a building nearby. The event is expected to last up to three hours.

    Attendees are encouraged to bring water, snacks, and/or a light bagged lunch. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars if you wish. Sunscreen and bug spray may be needed. The tour will be canceled in the event of rain.

    The Potomac Gorge has one of the nation's highest concentrations of globally rare natural communities. The Billy Goat Trial offers a premiere spot for finding biodiversity in the DC area.

Taking part is easy!
City Nature Challenge Taking part is easy! © TNC