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Cicadas! Cicadas Everywhere!

Article and photo by FMN Ana Leilani Ka’ahanui, also of Capital Nature

What’s that late spring, early summer buzz, that loud chorus in the trees, all over the DC metro area? The 17-year periodical cicadas have made their entrance, to the fascination and delight of nature lovers in our region. While some may fear the emergence of a billion insects, many are reveling in this natural wonder, as evidenced by the explosion of cicada photos on social media. There’s even a phone app for reporting sightings. Cicada Safari will record and track your discoveries on a live map, and help scientists collect valuable data.

Want to learn what the fuss is all about? Visit Cicada Mania for everything you need to know about the 3 periodical species of Brood X: Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini and Magicicada septendecula. And great radio programming by WAMU’s environmental reporter Jacob Fenston. While most cicadas have red eyes, did you know that some have white, gray, blue, or multi-colored eyes? Learn more fun facts like this by playing Brood X Bingo.

As the ground is now well above 64 degrees, Brood X is emerging to climb trees and plants to molt, then head to the treetops for some raucous partying to mate. Females lay their eggs in trees and the nymphs will later drop onto the ground, where they will burrow down and live till the next emergence party in 17 years. Their life cycle is a short 5-6 weeks and has been documented in this Return of the Cicadas video.

Dr. Michael Rapp is an entomologist at the University of MD and an excellent local authority on cicadas. Check out his media appearances at The Bug Guy. The New York Times covered all things cicada in great detail in this article. USDA entomologist Dr. Sammy Ramsey explains the science behind their loud calls. If you’re feeling adventurous, here’s a Washington Post article about recipes for cooking them.

Cicadas can be artists too. During the recent global City Nature Challenge, Teresa Leonardo discovered that cicadas had burrowed tunnels under some tarps in her yard in West Falls Church, VA in their effort to emerge. See their intricate patterns on iNaturalist.

According to the National Wildlife Federation: “Cicadas are mostly beneficial. They prune mature trees, aerate the soil, and once they die, their bodies serve as an important source of nitrogen for growing trees. When cicadas come out, they’re eaten by just about anything with an insectivorous diet.” As nature’s grand buffet, these curious creatures are providing entertainment and education for all ages.

A Naturalist Finds Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island, December 4th

Photo by Melanie Choukas-Bradley

Friday, December 4, 2020
12 – 1:15 pm
Online event
Register here.

Explore Washington DC’s beautiful and wild Theodore Roosevelt Island with renowned naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley and Capital Nature.

Who knew that a kingfisher and Theodore Roosevelt island would be the antidote to a year full of disappointments? After the unexpected and surreal outcome of the 2016 election, Washington D.C. naturalist Melanie Choukas-Bradley discovered a new sense of hope and belonging as she explored the wild shores of the island, a green memorial to the United States’ foremost conservationist president. Join Capital Nature’s Stella Tarnay and Melanie as she traces the inspiring beauty and wild diversity of this 88.5-acre oasis.

The program is inspired by Melanie’s latest book Finding Solace at Theodore Roosevelt Island .

Attendees will be sent a link prior to this online event.

For more events like these, please visit the Capital Nature calendar!

Nature in a Time of Crisis: A Conversation with Melanie Choukas-Bradley

Jun 12, 2020, 1:00 PM

Join Capital Nature and Park Rx America for a timely discussion with naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley. Inspired by her new book: Resilience: Connecting with Nature in a Time of Crisis, the program will explore how a relationship with nature can nurture and support our wellbeing during COVID-19 and other crisis times.

Melanie will share highlights from her interviews with aspiring and seasoned naturalists across the country. She will offer practical advice for: “how to establish a wild home; how to develop nature connection as a mindfulness practice such as integrating meditation, yoga and tai chi; how to become a backyard naturalist and weave nature appreciation and study into your home schooling and how to develop new ways of seeing and being in the world.” We will also hear from DC-area residents who have found new ways to engage with nature for their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of their families.

This event is co-hosted with Park Rx America. We invite you to listen in and join us for the conversation!

Register here

Healthy Parks, Healthy People 5k Fun Run/Walk

July 20, 2019

7:30 am – 11:00 am

(MD) Join Brookside Gardens, Latino Outdoors, Latino Health Initiative and Montgomery County Councilmember Gabe Albornoz in celebrating Latino Conservation Week at the Second Annual Healthy Parks, Healthy People 5k Fun Run/Walk!

Full details here

2019 Green Spaces for DC Meet + Greet

Thursday, July 18th
5:30-7:30pm
Historic Earth Conservation Corps Pumphouse

Join the GSDC Board of Directors for a summer evening of networking and celebration on the Anacostia River. Capital Nature is a proud member of the Green Spaces for DC (GSDC) alliance of organizations that support healthy and accessible green areas for the Washington DC area. Come hear about their advocacy. See old friends and make new ones. Special guest, naturalist and author Melanie Choukas-Bradley, will talk about her latest project!

Refreshments provided by The Green Bee Cafe and friends.

Free. To attend, please RSVP.