Sometime last night, the UW Botanic Gardens website was apparently hacked, and we have since shut it down while we work to restore the site. We are very sorry for the inconvenience and expect to have it up by later today!
For the 125th anniversary of Washington’s statehood, the UW Botanic Gardens has donated the seeds of five rare plant species—all native to Washington—from the Miller Seed Vault to be buried in the Washington Centennial Time Capsule.
The time capsule is located in the Washington State Capitol in Olympia. It’s a large green safe with 16 individual capsules, one of which will be filled every 25 years until the state’s 500th birthday in 2389. The 2014 capsule will be loaded this January and then resealed during a ceremony on February 22, 2015, George Washington’s birthday.
Back in November, the Keepers of the Capsule, a volunteer group that helps steward the capsule project, had reached out to the UW Botanic Gardens to inquire about a possible donation of native seeds. Professor Sarah Reichard and Wendy Gibble, who manages the Washington Rare Plant Care and Conservation program, decided that an appropriate contribution would include bundles of seeds that represent plants from different habitats across the state. They were careful to select seeds that are rare and endemic to Washington, but that are not in short supply in the Miller Seed Vault (just in case the seeds don’t last 375 years in an airtight aluminum foil package!).
The five selections include Thompson’s clover (Trifolium thompsonii) from the shrub-steppe of central Washington; Barrett’s beardtongue (Penstemon barrettiae) from the basalt cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge (pictured below); Washington Polemonium (Polemonium pectinatum) from the channel scablands of eastern Washington; Victoria’s paintbrush (Castilleja victoriae) from a tiny island in the San Juans; and Whited’s milk-vetch (Astragalus sinuatus) from a 10-square-mile region south of Wenatchee, Wash.
Each bundle includes 20 seeds and comes with specific instructions about propagation, as well as general information about the plant’s characteristics and where the seeds were collected. Will these seeds be alive and well in 2389? Hard to say, says Gibble, but it’s a shame we won’t be there to see for ourselves!
Photos © UW Botanic Gardens.
Tracy Mehlin, information technology librarian for the Elisabeth C. Miller Library, passed along the exciting news that the new Washington Park Arboretum Interactive Map has officially launched!
The project started in August 2012 with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to survey the Arboretum and digitize paper inventory maps. Now, the online, interactive map identifies landmarks, trails, gardens and every woody plant growing in the Arboretum. It can be browsed or searched, and users can turn layers on and off, measure distances, draw a custom route and print out a custom map.
It’s an incredibly comprehensive resource, with applications for everyone from faculty and students to visitors and researchers around the world, so get in there and start exploring!
Our friends at the UW Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER-UW) and EarthCorps passed along word of a few volunteer work parties coming up to help restore Kincaid Ravine to a healthy and beautiful campus forest!
A 2.2-acre urban forest located in the northeast corner of campus, Kincaid Ravine is currently dominated by invasive species and deciduous trees that are coming to the end of their natural lifespan. It is a declining forest that is gradually losing the ability to perform important ecological functions.
As part of the process of restoring this forest to health, the first event of the quarter—organized by SER-UW—will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, along the Burke-Gilman Trail under the 45th Street Viaduct. You’ve probably walked or cycled through there countless times, and now you have a chance to get involved and remove some invasive plants. Tools, gloves and refreshments will be provided, so all you have to do is show up ready to dig in!
After this kick-off work party, EarthCorps has partnered with the UW Campus Sustainability Fund to line up five additional opportunities at Kincaid Ravine for the winter and spring quarters. Among the other key partners in this effort are Martha Moritz, a graduate student in Environmental Horticulture who is serving as the student project manager, and SEFS Professors Kern Ewing and Jim Fridley (as well as administrative support from UW Botanic Gardens).
As before, tools, gloves and refreshments will be provided for each event, but EarthCorps asks that you sign up beforehand if you’re able to come.
Saturday, Feb. 22: EarthCorps work party from 10 a.m-2 p.m. Invasive plant removal. Sign up now!
Saturday, March 1: EarthCorps work party from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Planting and mulching. Sign up now!
Thursday, March 6: EarthCorps work party from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Invasive plant removal. Sign up now!
Saturday, March 15: EarthCorps work party from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. This will be the last work party in winter quarter. You’ll be doing a lot of planting and mulching. Sign up now!
Saturday, April 19: EarthCorps Earth Day work party from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to kick off spring quarter. Sign up now!
Learn more about the Kincaid Ravine restoration project, and please contact Yiyan Ge, volunteer coordinator, or Martha Moritz, student project manager, with any other questions.
Hosted by the UW Botanic Gardens, the programs are 90 minutes long and take place during two different timeslots, 10 a.m. or 12 p.m., Monday through Friday. They’re recruiting volunteers of all ages, and working as a Garden Guide is an especially great way for students to share their knowledge and love of nature with the next generation of environmental stewards—all while strolling through the Arboretum!
If you’re interested in signing up, Garden Guides receive a free training series to lead tours on topics such as botany, ecology and interpretation. Guides are asked to work one two-hour shift per week, and new guides shadow experienced guides to learn the programs until they’re confident and comfortable enough to lead tours themselves.
The Garden Guides program runs from now through June 15. To learn more or sign up, contact Lisa Sanphillippo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.543.8801!
Photo © UWBG.
With students flooding in and out of classes every day, and researchers cycling in for various projects and seminars, we’re accustomed to seeing unfamiliar faces around the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS). But thanks to a handful of hires in the past month, a few of those new faces will soon be regular fixtures in our halls and memories!
One of the newest additions is Wendy Star, who started as SEFS administrator on Monday, November 25. While Star is new to SEFS, she’s been connected to the University of Washington for much of her life, from when she studied business at UW as an undergrad, to her most recent position as administrator for the Department of Sociology.
There’s so much more to her story, of course, and we sat down with Star at the end of her second week to learn a little more and help introduce her to the SEFS community.
Star was born in Wisconsin, but her family moved to Seattle when she was still a baby. Her grandparents had a home in Ballard, and Star grew up playing around the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, and spending hours exploring the Washington Park Arboretum. “We have lots of pictures of this skinny little kid running around outside,” she says.
These days, though, the tables have turned, and now Star’s shelves and walls are filled with photos of her two young granddaughters. Both of her daughters live in Seattle and work for UW: Jennifer as the curriculum coordinator for the university, and JoAnn as a nurse in labor and delivery at the UW Medical Center. They each have a daughter, and Star says her free time generally revolves around what her granddaughters want to do.
They both started Girl Scouts this year, and Star says she especially loves taking them out on local adventures. “When the weather is nice, we’ll go out in nature and explore,” she says. “One of our favorite things to do is take trips over to Sequim and visit the Olympic Game Farm. You drive through in your car, and you get to see all these animals, buffalo and elk and llamas and yaks, and they come right up to you.”
Next to the grandkids, one of the easiest ways to get Star gushing is to ask her about what she’s reading. Most mornings, she carpools to campus from Everett with her daughter Jennifer, and then she takes the bus home. That gives her plenty of time to devour all sorts of nonfiction.
She recently finished Last Child in the Woods, which addresses some of the nature deficit many kids are experiencing today, when it’s harder to find open spaces to play outdoors. She doesn’t necessarily recommend that one, but she loved the book before it, The Girl With No Name, by Marina Chapman.
It’s about a 6-year-old girl who grew up in Colombia and was kidnapped. Her abductors ended up leaving her alone into the jungle, where she miraculously survived, in part through the company and protection of monkeys. She’s now grown and has her own daughters, who helped her tell her incredible story. “I couldn’t put it down,” says Star. “It was so fascinating.”
Part of the appeal of the administrator position for Star was the connection to her childhood, and those early days trekking through the Arboretum. She grew up loving these parks and facilities, and now she gets to work on behalf on them.
It’s a daunting learning curve, she says, but her first two weeks have been fun, and she’s felt very welcome and at ease. As she familiarizes herself with all the new people and programs in the SEFS community, the hardest part actually might be reminding herself she can’t learn everything overnight—and that all the new science and professors and students are precisely what make the job so exciting. “I’m so tickled to be a part of it!”
You can find Star in Anderson 107D, so feel free to stop by or shoot her an email to introduce yourself!
Photo © SEFS.
In case you missed the fun news a couple weeks ago, the UW Botanic Gardens recently welcomed the inaugural class of the Fiddleheads Forest School!
The Fiddleheads program is designed to immerse preschool-aged children in the natural world and develop deeper connections to their environment. Using the outdoors classroom of the Washington Park Arboretum, UWBG’s Sarah Heller and Kit Harrington are focusing on the complete development of their students—mental, emotional, physical and social. They’re now a couple weeks into the program with their first of 24 families, and we can’t wait to see these young nature lovers grow up to be SEFS students down the road!
Check out the full story from Patrick Mulligan, continuing education coordinator at the Arboretum!
Photo © UWBG.