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A silhouette of dried stalks of an aster above Rock Creek.
© Susan Roth
2015 IPPY Award Winner: the Silver Medal for Mid-Atlantic Nonfiction (from the Independent Publishers Association) (click to download the pdf of the press release)

"Rock Creek Valley has been a national park since 1890, and if the area now is mainly a hub for running, biking, birding, and commuting, the woodland along the thirty-three miles the creek runs from Laytonsville golf course to Foggy Bottom has been vital to local populations since the hunter-gatherers of the Archaic period went after huckleberries and chestnuts. As she did in her profile of Sugarloaf, Melanie Choukas-Bradley, also the author of the perennial favorite, City of Trees, intertwines the park's nature, culture, and history, pointing out herons and foxes and quoting various presidents on what Rock Creek has meant to them. The past is as alive as the present in A Year in Rock Creek Park, a written and visual record of the park in all seasons and at all times of day. Choukas-Bradley explored every mile of it, variously walking, biking, skiing, and canoeing, accompanied by naturalists and historians, whose insights join her keen observations in these evocative, conversational essays. But don't just take words for the magic of the place. The stunning full-color photos by award-winning nature photographer and garden-book writer Susan Austin Roth make Rock Creek's beauty unforgettable."
—Politics and Prose



"Evocative of Thoreau and grounded in Leopold's land ethic, Melanie Choukas-Bradley in A Year in Rock Creek Park invites readers into an unexpected urban wilderness in the heart of Washington, DC. As a naturalist, her extensive knowledge and keen observations note seasonal changes, and the reader naturally falls in step, as if on one of her walks. Choukas-Bradley paints a sense of place with her poetic descriptions of Nature and the cultural and historical information she imparts about the national park. Drawing on lessons learned from her deep connections to Rock Creek Park, she searches inwardly, reflecting on the interconnectedness of people and the land, realizing that our mutual well-being is dependent on the health of the land, which, in turn, is dependent on our responsible use. I have found another kindred spirit through this engaging book."
—Nancy Nye Hunt, author of Aldo Leopold's Shack: Nina's Story

The Valley Trail as viewed from the bridge on West Beach Drive, NW.
© Susan Roth

Mountain laurel with open blossoms. © Susan Roth



"A great addition to our bookshelf is A Year in Rock Creek Park - The Wild Wooded Heart of Washington by Melanie Choukas-Bradley. Many of you are familiar with her wonderful descriptions of Washington trees in her earlier volume City of Trees. With beautiful photos and engaging and powerful prose, Melanie leads us through the many facets of Rock Creek which has headwaters in Montgomery County. The book comes alive with stunning photographs by Susan Austin Roth. Once you start reading, you will be captivated."
—Arlene Bruhn, Conservation Montgomery Board of Directors


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