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Greenbelt’s Abundance of Nature and Outdoor Activities – an Appreciation

Wildlife, Greenbelt Lake, city pool and a beach just 45 minutes away.

Explore the natural resources of Greenbelt and the many ways that Greenbelters and visitors enjoy them

When I moved to Old Greenbelt after 26 years in Takoma Park I had no idea that I’d be vastly increasing my connections to nature – my chances to spend time outdoors close-by and more great places I could easily drive to.

The differences I discovered since moving to Greenbelt in 2011 include:

  • A MUCH more amenable place to ride a bike, without Takoma Park’s steep hills, lack of shoulder and much greater traffic volume. Riding around OGB is soooo easy, and I see friends along the way. There are regular bike-club rides that start or end in Greenbelt.
  • A lake, open farmland and forests in walking distance of Old Greenbelt.
  • Swimming pools, tennis courts, volleyball courts, pickleball and more, all in the center of Old Greenbelt, all free or subsidized by the city. (As a senior I pay just $120/year for the many facilities at our Aquatic and Fitness Center. Adults pay $240/year – quite a bargain in the DC area.)
  • Greenbelt National Park across Greenbelt Road from here.
  • Within a 15-minute drive to Lake Artemesia, Bladensburg Waterfront Park and bike trails through them into D.C.
  • About 15 minutes from two major public gardens – the National Arboretum and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
  • Just 45 minutes from several Chesapeake Bay beaches.

Here are the many articles and resources on this site – so far – that expand on these many, many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors for us lucky Greenbelters.


The Birds of Greenbelt, written by Jamie Jorgensen. Birds are shown by location, with time of year, links to more and even videos.

Field Guide to Plants in the Greenbelt North Woods by Owen A. Kelley.

Greenbelt Forest Preserve website. Our city’s name—Greenbelt—comes from the 800 acres of forest that once surrounded the town in the 1930s when it was built. Over the years, the forest lands were sold piece by piece until only 225 acres remained. A citizens’ group, the Committee to Save the Green Belt, formed in 1987 and worked feverishly over the decades to save the woods from development until the City Council passed a unanimous resolution in 2003 to form the Greenbelt Forest Preserve.

Flickr collection of Animals and Insects of Greenbelt Homes Inc.

Stories about Greenbelt Lake

Owl Sighting at Greenbelt Lake

Walking Greenbelt Lake with a City Park Ranger

The Lake is my Greenbelt Cathedral

Greenbelt Lake is NO Place for Water Bottles!

Wildflower and Pollinator Garden at Greenbelt Lake

Celebrating Cleaner Water at Greenbelt Lake

Self-Guided Woodland Plant Tour omit because it was temporary?

Video by Bill Cornett

More Nature Articles Set in Greenbelt

Photos and Videos of Cicadas in Greenbelt

Trees -Worth More Dead than Alive (to Wildlife)

Growing Bluebirds in the Beltsville Ag Research Center

Greenbelt’s Nature Photographers and how to Shoot Fall Foliage

Fall Color by Kevin Parker

Resources for Outdoor Activities

Best Walking Routes in Old Greenbelt includes sidewalk, path and North Woods routes, and an ecology map for the woods. Advice from Greenbelt’s hikers and map-makers!

Where Greenbelters go Cycling recommends Greenbelters’ favorite rides, groups to ride with, and more. A great resource for beginning cyclists and cyclists new to Greenbelt.

On Camping in Greenbelt National Park – a Volunteer’s Experience

Volunteers at Greenbelt Park are Seeing the US, one Park at a Time

Groups of Outdoor Greenbelters

Greenbelt Biota, the Natural History Society of Greenbelt,” is a group of citizens (almost 500) from different backgrounds and disciplines with the common goal of cataloging the flora and fauna of the Greenbelt Forest Preserve and other natural areas in Greenbelt; and educating the public about the important role of such urban green spaces in the conservation of biodiversity.We share observations on the Group page, organize monthly walks (which are usually a Saturday or Sunday morning at 10am, though that can vary). We like to do most of our walks within Greenbelt, or very nearby.

Old Greenbelt Gardening Boosters is an informal collection of local gardeners who just want to help other people in Old Greenbelt learn to garden. So we have no dues, officers, or monthly meetings. We DO create learning and social events for local gardeners. Here are the ones we hope to do in 2020, (pending life getting back to something like normal):

Gardening in Greenbelt, Maryland Facebook Group (541 members as of 6/22).

CHEARS, the Chesapeake Education, Arts and Research Society, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the health of all who share the Chesapeake watershed environment.

Day Trips for Nature Lovers

Rivers and Lakes

Greenbelters Biking the Anacostia River Trail

Lots to love about Lake Artemesia

Pontoon Tour of the Patuxent River

Bladensburg Waterfront Park – Explore the river by boat or the hiker/biker trails linking to the Anacostia Tributary Trail System and the new Anacostia River Trail to Washington, D.C. Rent a pontoon, canoe or kayak.

Chesapeake Bay

Sandy Point

Kent Island and Kent Narrows

Solomon’s Island

North Beach – off the beach

North Beach – on the beach


Delaware Botanic Garden

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Glenstone Museum and Gardens

Miscellaneous Nature

Patuxent’s North Tract

Tram Ride in Patuxent Refuge

Patuxent Wildlife Refuge

Gardening Info for Greenbelters

Help for Gardeners from Greenbelt Public Works.

Swap Meet or Major Give-Away? describes the plant “swaps” held at the GHI offices each spring and fall.

How to Turn a Yard into a Garden

Townhouse Garden Ideas

Shrubs for Shade

Perennials for Shade

Year-Round Ground Covers for Shade

Plants for Screening

Small Trees for Small Yards

Weeding and Mulching are Satisfying but I’m aiming to eliminate those chores with the right groundcovers.

Prune those overgrown hedges now, This experts demonstrates how.

Fresh Mulch – Come and Get it

Yard Waste Dumping and Mulch Pick-up now one trip

Driving Less

Destinations on my 7-Minute Walk shows what’s located in the center of Old Greenbelt, just 7 minutes on foot for the author. It’s almost everything we need.

How to Go Car-Less in Greenbelt has tips from many car-less Greenbelters. Updated in 2019.

Composting in Greenbelt

Recycling Food Scraps and Composting in Greenbelt


Follow Susan Harris:
Susan started blogging about Greenbelt soon after moving here in 2012, and that first blog has grown into this nonprofit community website. She also created and curates the Greenbelt Maryland YouTube channel. In 2021 Susan joined the Board of Directors of Greenbelt Access TV. Retired from garden writing and teaching, she continues to blog at GardenRant.com.

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