68 new-to-me places I explored in 2021

At the beginning of 2021, I set a goal of 52 new-to-me hikes. But really, my definition of “hike” is more like “explore an area where I haven’t made any iNaturalist observations yet.” And the area could be tiny and didn’t necessarily need to have a trail (e.g. small urban parks). I also revisited many parks I’d been to before, but hiked new trails. The idea was to average one new place each weekend so it kept me motivated to go outside, especially during the first few months of 2021.

I exceeded my goal and explored 68 new-to-me places in 2021! Where did I explore?

I did the most hikes in DC (31), followed by Maryland (20). Surprisingly, I only did one new-to-me hike in Virginia! It was with @ana_kaahanui in February at Huntley Meadows and we ran into @saw_it on the boardwalk.

While traveling, I also explored new areas in Delaware, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

In DC, I made a big effort to explore areas in Wards 7 and 8, east of the Anacostia River. The parks in that part of the city don’t tend to get as much attention as places like Rock Creek Park, so I really wanted to get to know them better and document the biodiversity there. Some of my favorite observations of the year were from there. I found a beetle that looks like a new genus for DC, a brilliant gold tortoise beetle, a barred owl, and my first box turtle in DC.

I’ve now hiked every trail in Fort Dupont (DC ward 7) and all but a tiny bit of the Hiker-Biker Trail that runs through Fort Dupont and other Civil War-era fort parks in southeast DC (these are collectively called the Fort Circle Parks because they encircled DC).

I can’t easily sort out the observations from the new-to-me places, but excluding the ones I’ve obscured is a decent approximation since that at least takes out everything from home. Here's the same with a photo-centric view.

Here's a few of my favorite photos, all from Washington, DC. You can click through to the observations to see where they were made.

White-tailed deer

barred owl

box elder flowers

mourning cloak

I hiked with 19 different friends or family members. 16 of the hikes I did alone. I hiked the most with my daughter (22), @dbarber (12), @maryeford (12), @mattgrosso (7), and my parents @angieseltzer and @daveseltzer (6). I enjoyed hiking with all of you so thank you for joining me on this adventure!

2021 was a pretty great year for me when it came to observations and species, even though it's the first year since 2013 that I haven't left the United States, I didn't fly anywhere, and the furthest I went from home was a day's drive. For a summary of everything I saw this year, you can check out my Year in Review. I did also manage to make at least one verifiable observation every single day this calendar year for the first time ever!

If you’re interested in the places I visited by state and name, here’s a breakdown:

State Place Name Count
DC Fort Circle Trail 10
Fort DuPont 4
Misc DC Parks 3
Rock Creek Park 2
Oxon Run 2
Kingman and Heritage Islands 2
US National Arboretum 1
Roosevelt Island 1
Pope Branch 1
National Mall and Memorial Parks 1
Misc National Capital Parks East - DC 1
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens 1
Fort Totten Park 1
Anacostia Park 1
DC Total 31
DE Cape Henlopen State Park 3
Delaware Total 3
IN Whitewater Memorial State Park 1
Indiana Total 1
MD Watkins Regional Park 2
Cosca Regional Park 2
Calvert Cliffs State Park 2
C & O Canal National Historic Park 2
Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary 2
American Chestnut Land Trust 2
Wells Run Park 1
Sugarloaf Mountain 1
Patuxent 1
Patapsco Valley State Park 1
Misc National Capital Parks East - MD 1
Guilford Woods 1
Greenbelt Park 1
Belt Woods Natural Environment Area 1
Maryland Total 20
MI Meijer Gardens 1
Ingham Park 1
Fitzgerald Park 1
Michigan Total 3
OH Possum Creek Metropark 1
Glen Helen Nature Reserve 1
Cooperrider-Kent Bog State Nature Preserve 1
Charleston Falls Preserve 1
Ohio Total 4
PA Powdermill Nature Reserve 1
Pennsylvania Total 1
VA Huntley Meadows 1
Virginia Total 1
WV Coopers Rock State Forest 3
West Virginia Botanic Garden 1
West Virginia Total 4
Posted on December 31, 2021 08:51 PM by carrieseltzer carrieseltzer


This is such a great post, Carrie. :) Way to go on your goal too!

Posted by sambiology over 2 years ago

I loved being part of this and very excited for 2022 adventures!

Posted by maryeford over 2 years ago

Thanks, Mary and Sam!

Posted by carrieseltzer over 2 years ago

I love this! Also, did you go out with a new camera now? Or those are still phone only shots? Awesome regardless.

Posted by muir almost 2 years ago

@muir I have a Sony a6000 with a 70-350mm lens that I use mostly for birds and more distant bugs or plants. All the macro stuff was on my iPhone XS with my Ztylus revolver lens.

Posted by carrieseltzer almost 2 years ago

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments

Gracias al apoyo de:

¿Quiere apoyarnos? Pregúntenos cómo escribiendo a snib.guatemala@gmail.com