|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
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
or Rich Dolesh at 202-887-0290 (w) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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
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