iSchool Capstone: Improving the visitor experience with an app

June 20th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By Sarai Dominguez

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Information School graduate students, Anna Sgarlato, Sarai Dominguez and Loryn Lestz, presenting their Capstone poster 6/5/2014.

It has been a great pleasure to work in partnership with the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and Information School to design the future Arboretum mobile app. My team and I had a blast!

After four quarters of information science courses, we were all eager to practice our learning’s in a real-world scenario. Throughout our first meetings with UWBG staff, we learned about the exciting digitization projects at hand. However, we still realized the information need of Arboretum visitors who wanted map and plant information while wandering the park, and not just at home on a desktop computer. We started our project with a research phase (which allowed us to meet and interview volunteers and staff throughout the organization), sketched our ideas, built an interactive prototype and tested our design with Arboretum enthusiasts; it was a hit!

My favorite part of the project was meeting volunteers and staff and noticing how invested in the Arboretum this group is. They truly believe in the Arboretum as a place for retreat, exploration, learning and building valuable friendships. These principles were the inspiration for our mobile app design and we hope that current and future park visitors will experience this in the information tool we have placed in their hands.

Thank you, UWBG, for an incredible capstone experience!

Interactive map of the Arboretum (optimized for desktop computers)

Sketching out the app user experience.

Sketching out the app user experience.

A design comp of the app home screen

A design comp of the app home screen


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iSchool Capstone: Designing an app for Arboretum visitors

June 19th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By Loryn Lestz

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Information School graduate students, Anna Sgarlato, Sarai Dominguez and Loryn Lestz, presenting their Capstone poster 6/5/2014.

Working with the staff and volunteers of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens to design a mobile app for Arboretum visitors has been a wonderful way to bring my graduate school experience to a close. Everyone my team came in contact with during the design process was not only enthusiastic and supportive of our project but also eager to contribute ideas and provide feedback on the app itself. A number of the usability tests we conducted to confirm our design choices were done with volunteers and the passion they expressed for the Arboretum in my interactions with them was truly inspiring. It was truly encouraging to hear them talk about the ways in which they felt the app would be able to help them and the visitors they interact with to enjoy the Arboretum even more than they already do.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of this project for me as a designer was getting to negotiate a balance between enriching Arboretum visitors’ experience with new technologies and keeping that experience focused on the natural beauty of the Arboretum. As someone who loves coming to the Arboretum and forgetting that I am in the middle of the city for a few hours, I knew this was something we would need to be mindful of as we worked. My team and I were successful at keeping this among our top priorities throughout the design process, and couldn’t be happier with the resulting design. I am looking forward to seeing the app move into the development phase and can’t wait to see (and use!) the final product.

Interactive Map of the Arboretum (optimized for desktop computers)

Sketching out the app user experience.

Sketching out the app user experience.

A design comp of the app home screen

A design comp of the app home screen.


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A glimpse into the past – a view of MOHAI before SR 520

June 3rd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

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In the Montlake Section in the Washington Park Arboretum looking NE down the site of the canal fill, with the Museum of History and Industry in the background.

This photo of the Montlake Section in the Washington Park Arboretum was taken September 10, 1953. The label states that you are “looking NE down the site of the canal fill, with the Museum of History and Industry in the background.” It is suspected that the small trees on the right are Japanese Cherry trees, which were later moved into the Quad on the University of Washington campus. A few of the conifers on the left side of MOHAI are probably in the wedge of UW property still evident as you currently exit the SR 520 ramp. When SR 520 was built in the early 1960’s, this entire area was destroyed in order to make the approach to the ramps and the new floating bridge. In the very near future, the newest SR 520 bridge and interchanges will take away the remaining area plus MOHAI itself.

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Student Poster Exhibit 2014

May 7th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

posterExhibit_Kim2008Wonder what goes on in the labs of Merrill Hall or in the study plots sprinkled throughout Union Bay Natural Area? Find out at the annual UW Botanic Gardens graduate student research review May 9 to June 13 in the Library.

Want to meet the researchers? Then join us for the public reception Friday, May 9 from 5 to 7pm. Light refreshments will be served. The public is invited to this free event.

 

 

Participating students and research topics

Crescent Calimpong Elwha Revegetation 2013: A Plant Performance Study
Natalie Footen How do parasites affect prairie plant communities?
Nate Haan Interactions between hemiparasites, hosts, and herbivores
Alex Harwell The Restoration of Sweetgrass (Schoenoplectus pungens) in the Nisqually Delta: An Ethnobotanical Restoration Effort
Kathryn Hill Effects of prescribed fire on the spatial structure of butterfly habitat in South Puget Sound prairies
Eve Rickenbaker UW Student Perception of the Washington Park Arboretum
Kathleen Walter Amphibian Use of Union Bay Natural Area
Christopher Wong The Sisyrinchium Common Garden Study
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A glimpse into the past: a 1950’s view from the lookout

May 6th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

This photograph, taken on April 4, 1950, is located somewhere to the left of the location of the Lookout Shelter. It points southwest. Originally, the hillside held a large collection of Ceanothus, but they were killed during severe winters and never replaced. If one looks closely you can see “tracks” on Azalea Way, the outline of Arboretum Creek, and East Lake Washington Boulevard. It appears there is one house on the lower level of Interlaken Boulevard East, and of course, many homes on the slopes of Capitol Hill are easily seen.

Looking southwest to Lake Washington Blvd and Capitol Hill from Ceonanthus area by the Lookout Shelter

Looking southwest to Lake Washington Blvd and Capitol Hill from Ceanothus area by the Lookout Shelter

 

The kiosk at the intersection of East Lake Washington Boulevard and Interlaken Boulevard East is visible. Note how open the area is with small collection plantings and few towering native trees. This was taken before the construction of the Japanese Garden.

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What does the cone symbolize to you?

April 8th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

The cone represents our collections and the importance of conifers in our landscape. It holds the seeds that embody our commitment to a future where plants and people thrive together.

coneWebFeature_imagine

Much like our varied and extensive collection of woody and herbaceous plants, our organization has evolved and grown over time. Throughout this growth, we have always striven to enrich the lives of students and the public through our education programs, outstanding collections and natural areas. Our two locations, the Center for Urban Horticulture and the Washington Park Arboretum, remain treasured destinations that provide an urban escape, accessible and free, in the heart of Seattle.

With that in mind, we’re very pleased to share with you the latest evolution of our logo. Come grow with us.

uwbgLogo340pxAbout the logo…

THE CONE: Inspired by our native Shore Pine (Pinus contorta), the cone represents our collection and the importance of conifers in our landscape. It holds the seeds that symbolize our commitment to a future where plants & people thrive together.

THE COLORS: Purple & gold to underscore our place within the University of Washington family; we are an integral part of the UW’s School of Environmental & Forest Sciences and serve as a “front porch” where academia mingles with the general public.

THE LOOK: As leaders in the fields of horticulture, environmental restoration and conservation, we are here to share the latest research and expertise with our diverse community of learners. We wanted a look that was professional yet approachable, and recognizable throughout our campus sites and facilities.

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A glimpse into the past: the early years of FlorAbundance

April 2nd, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Directory Emeritus

The first major plant sale in Seattle (now called FlorAbundance) was sponsored by the Arboretum Foundation as a fund raiser for what was then the University of Washington Arboretum. The sales were originally held in a small building called Floral Hall, which later burned down. As the plant sale grew, it was moved to the small cluster of buildings on the northern end of the Arboretum.

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An eager crowd of shoppers line up waiting to get into the 1982 FlorAbundance sale. Photo by John A. Wott.

When the Graham Visitors Center and its larger parking lots were opened in 1986, this increased the available sale area. Eventually the sale outgrew this location as well. First, it was moved to an outdoor area on the Naval Station Puget Sound grounds where the volunteers almost froze with the cold winds. Then for several years it was held in the E-1 Parking lot on the University of Washington campus.   Although the parking lot had plenty of space, it also had hot sun, beating winds, and no shelter from heavy rains. It also had little electricity and water. After the Puget Sound Naval Station was “given” to the City of Seattle and become Warren G. Magnuson Park, Building 30 became an ideal home for many years. While that building underwent renovation during 2012 and 2013, the sale returned to the Arboretum. This year, FlorAbundance will again return to Building 30 at Magnuson Park.

For many years, the Plant Sale was managed through the Unit Council, an organized sub-group of the Arboretum Foundation. The many AF Units were represented in the Unit Council. The AF members often raised the plants which were sold, or the chair of each section (e.g. trees, perennials) secured those plants from nurseries. Today it is primarily a vendor’s sale composed of area nurseries and garden centers.

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A sale volunteer decked out in a floristic fancy hat. Photo by John A. Wott

Both pictures were taken by me on May 5, 1982 during the first sale I attended. The first shot shows the line-up of attendees at the entrance from Foster Island Drive onto Arboretum Drive. When the rope was dropped, there was a massive stampede to grab the most unusual plants. For many years, after that, it was my privilege to manage the massive line-ups for the cashiers. The second picture features Lee Clarke, a long-time volunteer (and resident poet). Many of the volunteers loved to dress up and wear fancy hats. They obviously enjoyed the customers and working for the Arboretum and its sales.

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Students: Earth day work party at the Arboretum April 12

March 25th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

SCA2014EarthDayJoin the Student Conservation Association for our annual Earth Day service event while celebrating the 30th anniversary of SCA’s conservation leadership youth program in Seattle! Attending will be Liz Putnam, SCA’s Founder and the first conservationist to receive the Presidential Citizens Medal—the nation’s second highest civilian award! Following a short program in the meadow, volunteers will prune back overgrown vegetation, remove invasive plant species, and re-vegetate areas with native plants.

WHEN: Saturday, April 12th, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
WHERE: Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Dr. E, Seattle, WA 98112
WHAT: Invasive plant removal, planting native species, and spreading mulch
BRING WITH YOU: Please wear weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty
PROVIDED: Whole Foods Market in South Lake Union will provide breakfast. SCA will also provide work gloves and all project supplies.

Please register at earthdayseattle.eventbrite.com to complete the online volunteer waiver.

Questions? Contact Meredith Stone at wanw@thesca.org or 206-324-4649.

Recruit your friends: share this FLYER or this post.

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7th Annual Pacific Northwest Botanical Artists’ exhibit opens April 4

March 18th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

Fragaria_x_ananassa©SylviaPortilloAs spring revives our parks and  gardens, come and enjoy an exhibit of botanical art at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library.

Visit this display of original  paintings and prints from April 4 through May 3. Artwork, prints and cards will  be for sale, with a portion of the sales benefiting the Library.

PNBA is a chapter of the American  Society of Botanical Artists, a nonprofit organization dedicated to  promoting public awareness of contemporary botanical art, to honoring its  traditions, and to furthering its development. This year PNBA has invited  members of the local chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators to join  in the exhibit.

For more information on PNBA  please visit: www.pnba-artists.com and  GNSINW at www.gnsinw.org


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A glimpse into the past: A view of Azalea Way 70 years prior

March 7th, 2014 by UWBG Communication Staff

By John A. Wott, Director Emeritus

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Azalea Way from Lake Washington Boulevard. Photo by H. G. Ihrig 1944

This view looks from Lake Washington Boulevard toward the southern end of Azalea Way. The photo was taken by H. G. Ihrig in May, 1944. It shows the opening of Arboretum Creek along Azalea Way as it flows north from the culvert under Lake Washington Boulevard. Note the large weeping willow trees as well as the large open grass path we all know as Azalea Way. The wooden bollards with the long grass growing under them are also noteworthy of the time.

On the extreme left is the entrance to East Interlaken Boulevard. The small kiosk located at the intersection was built by the Works Progress Administration crew. The kiosk was later destroyed and removed.

The intersection appears much the same today, with a few minor changes. Besides being widened, formal concrete curbs along Lake Washington Boulevard have been added.

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