Field Trips

We are pleased to offer a variety of field trips as part of this conference.  The weather in D.C. in February can be quite variable and difficult to predict.  With that in mind, we have put together field trips that can be enjoyed regardless of the weather and travel relatively short distances.

All field trips are offered on Monday, February 13.  The start times indicated below are meeting times at the Omni hotel; the end times are when the tours are expected to arrive back at the Omni. Transportation will be provided.  Tours are only available to registered conference attendees.

1.  U.S. National Arboretum. 

8:30am – 12:00pm.  Limit: 50 people

The U.S. National Arboretum is a national treasure as well as a public garden and horticultural research facility of the USDA – Agricultural Research Service. The tour will highlight some of the collections that make the Arboretum a world renowned destination, such as the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. We’ll see the U.S. National Seed Herbarium, the world’s largest, most comprehensive taxonomic seed collection.  If conditions permit we will look at the native plant restoration work underway at Fern Valley.

2. U.S. Botanic Garden Production Facility. 

9:00am – 12:00pm.  Limit: 30 people 

UPDATE: This page had said the USBG Production Facility field trip would start at 9:30.  The updated start time is 9:00.

Go behind-the-scenes on this guided highlights tour of the U.S. Botanic Garden Production Facility. Featuring almost two acres of greenhouses and 17 environmental zones, this facility is the largest support facility for a public garden in the U.S. Explore unique and unusual plants from the USBG collection and witness gardeners and horticulturists in action. Please note: This is a working greenhouse facility and some rooms may not be available for viewing. Please wear comfortable shoes, bring water, and dress in layers, as greenhouse bays may become quite warm.

3. U.S. National Herbarium and the National Insect Collection.  

9:30am – 12:30pm.  Limit: 40 people

Imagine drawers and drawers filled with plants and insects from around the world. That is what you will find during behind-the-scenes tours of the United States National Herbarium and the National Insect Collection at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Explore ways in which herbarium and insect specimens are used in taxonomy, ecology, and conservation research. The National Herbarium has 5 million specimens and the Insect Collection has 35 million specimens making these two collections among the largest in the world.  

4. Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center. 

1:00pm – 4:00pm.  Limit: 40 people

The Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center in Beltsville, Maryland, services both national and regional needs. The Center focuses on national initiatives and provides coordination and assistance for Plant Materials work across all 50 states. This tour will showcase the tools and equipment the Center uses for planting, harvesting, and cleaning seed.

5. Dumbarton Oaks Park. 

2:00pm – 4:00pm.  Limit: 16 people

Dumbarton Oaks Park, only minutes from the conference center, is an urban oasis and an active restoration site.  This 27-acre site in Washington D.C. is a “naturalistic” but intensely designed landscape of meadows, woodlands, bulbs and wildflowers, paths and ponds, and constructed waterfalls.  The Park represents the finest work of Beatrix Farrand, America’s first professional female landscape architect and regarded as one of America’s foremost landscape practitioners of the 20th century. Since 2010 the Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy has been working to eradicate invasive species and restore the aesthetic splendor of this historic site using native plants. This tour is entirely outdoors and will be cancelled in inclement weather.