The Audubon Naturalist Society is the oldest independent environmental organization in the Washington, DC region. ANS seeks to inspire residents to appreciate, understand and protect their natural environment. A pioneer in linking conservation activities with environmental education, ANS:
• Reaches more than 9,000 children each calendar year through its nature preschool and family, scout, school, and camp programs
• Offers adults a rich variety of natural history classes, local outings, and national and international travel experiences
• Works with a network of civic and environmental groups on conservation issues, such as transportation, watershed and rural lands protection, and climate change
• Has two nature sanctuaries: Woodend (Chevy Chase, MD), and Rust (Leesburg, VA) Rust Sanctuary is a partnership between the Audubon Naturalist Society and NOVA Parks
• Hosts numerous special events, including author and speaker events, member meetings, and the Bloomin' Birdathon
• Publishes the Naturalist Quarterly four times a year and broadcasts the Audubon eNEWS monthly
• Operates a Naturalist Shop at Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, MD, with a selection of birdseed, bird feeders & houses, natural history and environmental books, binoculars, spotting scopes, gifts, jewelry, note cards, coffee, and children's items.
Our vision is to create a larger and more diverse community of people who treasure the natural world and work to preserve it. We recently transformed our 40-acre nature sanctuary in Chevy Chase, Maryland to welcome all people to enjoy the outdoors. Portions of the completed project include a one quarter mile wheelchair-accessible nature trail, outdoor classroom, twenty-four woodland acres protected with a permanent forest conservation easement, and a stream and pond restoration.
Next year we will begin work on a nature play space, carefully designed to be accessible, engaging, and enriching for children of all abilities. The Nature Play Space will use natural materials like logs, stone, and sand to offer unique activities that support the cognitive, social, and emotional development of all children. Research consistently shows multiple benefits of nature play for children including encouraging resiliency, focus, self-regulation, creativity, self- confidence, problem-solving, and social functioning.
The Nature Play Space will help us to build our community of nature stewards starting with the youngest naturalists. We hope it will encourage children and families to pursue a lifetime of nature learning opportunities.