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Commentary...Spring Has Sprung...Dr. Ramon Jordan

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With “Snowmageddon” quickly becoming a distant memory and the cherry blossoms already popping, commentator Dr. Ramon Jordan is urging all of us to get outside to enjoy the many green spaces our region has to offer.

Dr. Jordan is Interim Director of the U.S. National Arboretum.

What’s your favorite Spring activity?

Tell us at conversation.wamu.org, click on commentary forum.

There’s no denying: it was a winter to remember. Which makes Spring this year all the sweeter. Haven’t you noticed-we all seem to have an extra bounce in our step as the air outside warms up and the crocuses push their way through the battered ground.

My office at the National Arboretum provides an enviable front row seat not only to 446 acres of native woodlands, meadows, plant collections and research fields, but to nature’s Spring awakening.

In the coming weeks the Arboretum will play host to one of Washington’s premier Spring attractions when thousands of azaleas light up the forest in a brilliant blaze of color.

Having worked and lived in this region for more than 27 years, I can tell you our area is blessed with many green spaces, not only the Arboretum-though I confess it’s my favorite-but numerous parks, trails and gardens that grace the National Capital Region. With 234,000 acres of parkland and 800 miles of trails and bikeways, it’s easy to see why Outside magazine recently named D.C. the best city in America.

There’s something for everyone, from the National Mall and Mount Vernon, to urban playgrounds such as Rock Creek Park and the C&O Canal. In Alexandria’s Huntley Meadows Park, visitors will discover a variety of migratory water birds while Great Falls Park offers dozens of species of trees and shrubs commonly found in the Piedmont Forest. Brookside Gardens in Wheaton offers a spectacular wisteria arbor and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Northeast Washington features water-loving plants. If your preference is wildflowers, look no further than Potomac Heritage Trail.

We all have different reasons for enjoying the great outdoors. Some people are attracted to birds, others enjoy recreational activities such as hiking and biking while many of us are weekend gardeners. Urban green spaces provide countless opportunities to play outdoors, connect to the natural world and refresh the spirit.

This Spring I encourage listeners to “go green.” By this, I mean, participate in a Spring clean up or trail maintenance day. Support a community garden. Log onto the National Arboretum’sweb site to find out what’s blooming. Better yet, come visit. I’ll be the one stopping to smell the roses, daphnes, and witch hazels.

I’m Ramon Jordan.

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