Luther Goldman Birding Trail

It’s Official!  The Luther Goldman Birding Trail Is Open for Birding!

In the fall of 2006, The Prince George’s County Planning Board approved the designation of the Luther Goldman Birding Trail in memory of Luther Goldman, renowned wildlife biologist, photographer, nature tour leader, and beloved longtime PGAS member and field trip leader.  We are pleased to report that this 2.2-mile trail, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Anacostia Tributary Trail System, was officially dedicated at Lake Artemesia Natural Area Park on Monday, May 19, 2008.

As of May 20, birders are invited to take a stroll on the Luther Goldman Birding Trail, and we hope you do.  To give you a mental picture if you can’t make it to Lake Artemesia anytime soon, just imagine walking into a beautiful urban park near College Park and Berwyn Heights.  With the lake as a backdrop, you’ll see a large sign near the entrance of the park that tells about Luther – the man, his life and his work.  Another, by its side, gives simple birding tips – the perfect start for a bird walk. 

As you stroll around the 38-acre man-made lake that was excavated to provide fill for Metro track beds, you can follow the signs with the trail logo and arrows, and you will loop around the lake and through a variety of surprisingly diverse habitats.  Along the way, you can pause briefly at any of the nine interpretive signs to read information on songbirds, waterfowl, aquatic mammals, fish and the very curious and interesting history of Lake Artemesia. 

Luther frequently hiked these trails and loved to bird them; indeed, the trail’s bird checklist was built from his records.  As a pleasant hike and interesting bird walk, this designated trail and education displays make a fitting and educational tribute to Luther, and you can bird it at any time of the year and come away with a satisfying sighting or two.

Think you might enjoy it?  There will be a series of bird walks on weekday mornings, weekday evenings, and Saturdays, led by park staff and volunteers which are now listed on the Field Trips page.  Perhaps you might want to join in as a volunteer birding walk leader yourself.

The members of the Luther Goldman Birding Trail Committee – Don Messersmith, Matt Perry, Greg Kearns, Mike Donovan, Rich Dolesh and Maureen Blades – are extremely grateful to those groups and their members who have donated time and funds for this project, including the Prince George’s Audubon Society, the Montgomery Bird Club/MOS, the Patuxent Bird Club/MOS, Chris and Lisa Garrett of the Old Town Bowie Wild Bird Center, and the many individual contributors who also answered our call for financial support.  More recently, a number of contributions have been received in support of the project by friends and family of Leonard Lutwack, a long-time friend and birding companion of Luther’s, and we are grateful to the family and friends of Leonard as well.

In addition, we extend out thanks to Dave Mozurkewich for the birding site guide he put together for the trail, and to Don Messersmith for the contribution of his time and talents in writing the History of Birding in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  A preliminary keepsake copy was presented to attendees of the dedication ceremony.  The Luther Committee is also grateful to PGAS for hosting a description of the project on its web site: www.pgaudubon.org

We continue to welcome contributions to help cover expected expenses, which will include a detailed color trail map/birding site guide brochure and a more durable publication of the History of Birding in Prince George’s County, Maryland replete with bird and wildlife photos taken by Luther Goldman.  Want to help?  No contribution is too small.  Individuals and groups may mail a check to: Prince George’s Audubon Society, P.O. Box 2598, Laurel, MD 20709-2598.  Please mark your memo line: Luther Goldman Birding Trail or LGBT.

The members of the “Luther Committee” hoped that this tribute to the memory of Luther would be the kind of memorial that keeps on giving in the spirit that Luther embodied – a willingness to learn new things, and share new knowledge and the enjoyment of nature with others.  Therefore, the committee hopes to coordinate some applications for small grants to fund ongoing research related to birds and other wildlife in association with the educational goals of this project.  If you are, or know of, a local college student or grad student interested in birds, with some ideas to test, and willing to collect data and produce a final report, contact Maureen Blades at 301-262-5148 (mblades@comcast.net), or Rich Dolesh at 202-887-0290 (w) (dolesh@erols.com).

One dream is that this first-of-its-kind birding trail might serve as a springboard for a more expansive Anacostia River Birding Trail.  If that is a vision you might share and would be willing to bring to fruition, please contact Rich Dolesh of the Luther Committee at 202-887-0290.

We are deeply appreciative of the continuing interest and support shown for this fitting tribute to a truly fine man.  We look forward to keeping you apprised of future developments – and we encourage you to add the Luther Goldman Birding Trail to your field trip destinations, and imagine you are in the company of Luther himself when you take a pleasant stroll around Lake Artemesia yourself.

Rich Dolesh and Maureen Blades
Luther Goldman Birding Trail Committee
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Last updated: 6/1/08

Questions or comments?  Contact the PGAS Webmaster at:  info@pgaudubon.org