With the click of a few buttons, visitors to Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. who have long admired its lush vegetation and lovely wildflowers can now enrich their understanding of the park’s signature habitats and quirky residents such as skunk cabbage.
The park’s nearly 1,800 acres twist through the heart of the nation’s capital, flush with mountain laurel—a shrub that blooms into beautiful pink flowers—lush ferns along babbling brooks, and the majestic canopy of chestnut oak and American beech.
Never before has there been an online guide to the park’s native habitats and plants. Explore Natural Communities is an online resource NatureServe built in partnership with the U.S. National Park Service. It is both a guide for park visitors and a means for enhancing park managers’ knowledge of Rock Creek and deepen what they are able to teach visitors about its biodiversity.
But it is more than simply a compendium to where the plants are: it also explains rarity, threats, and importance to conservation, improving decisions on how to manage the park and building public awareness about important natural resources. Learn more at: