Each fall, the Washington Park Arboretum Education and Outreach Program provides training for new and veteran guides who lead school field trips and/or Weekend Walks. This fall, guides learned firsthand about current plant-related research at the University of Washington. Hyde Herbarium Collections Manager and School of Forest Resources (SFR) graduate student Katie Murphy spoke about fall plant physiology and offered pointers for leading groups in the field. SFR graduate student Shawn Behling, whose research focuses on plant morphology, gave an inspiring walk and talk on forest ecology. Shawn has a keen eye for seeing how a plant’s architecture reflects its environmental conditions (and vice versa) and we enjoyed watching her “geek out” at the myriad tree/plant forms contained within the Arboretum.
Joyce LeCompte-Mastenbrook, doctoral candidate from the Department of Anthropology, and active volunteer at the Bernie Whitebear Ethnobotanical Garden at Discovery Park’s Daybreak Star Center, joined us last Tuesday and facilitated a lively discussion on Coast Salish culture to prepare guides to lead our very popular “Native Plants & People” fieldtrip. One of the new tid-bits I gleaned from Joyce was how important a role “networking” plays in Coast Salish culture. This networking was crucial in establishing good relationships among various groups that, among other things, enabled trade between upland and lowland villages. We wrapped up training on Thursday with a review of our “Wetlands 101 & 201” fieldtrips followed by a ducks-eye view of our Foster Island Wetland, courtesy of Agua Verde Paddle Club. The highlight of the paddle was watching a Great Blue Heron ingest a fish that looked way too big for its mouth/throat. You can check out some low-quality video footage here: http://youtu.be/Ms54ZQ0T9Z4
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer guide, it’s not too late! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.