Fiddlehead Fridays – New Sessions!

October 9th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Our Fiddlehead Thursday Fall Series filled so fast I could barely keep up! As the wait lists started to grow we decided to add a second set to our fall series. Now the same programs are offered every other Thursday AND Friday. Here’s what’s coming up:

October 18 – Falling Changing LeavesFULL
October 19 – Falling Changing Leaves, 9-11am
Everything is changing as we move from summer to fall. How can we tell and what is happening? Falling leaves, changing colors, and shifting wildlife patterns will clue us into the signs of fall.

November 1 – BatsFULL
November 2 – Bats, 9-11am
Bats move through the forest at night using only sound while they hunt for insects. What’s it like to be a bat?

November 15 – Where do the Birds Go?FULL
November 16 – Where do the Birds Go?, 9-11am
Some birds stay, some birds fly south. Why? We will learn about why birds migrate and discover which birds are here to stay for winter.

December 6 – CamouflageFULL
December 7 – Camouflage, 9-11am
How come we rarely see the coyotes living in Seattle or the millions of insects tucked around our green spaces? Camouflage is the ticket to staying hidden. We’ll discover different forms of camouflage and see how well we can camouflage ourselves!

December 20 – Trees in Winter, 10am-12pm
December 21 – Trees in Winter, 9-11am
What are trees doing in the winter? We will investigate different trees and discover what they’re up to.

Head on over to the Fiddleheads webpage to register:http://depts.washington.edu/uwbg/education/Youth/nature_preschool.shtml

Coming soon: Fiddlehead Thursdays – Winter Series!

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Fiddlehead Thursdays – Fall Series

August 23rd, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Check out our new twice-a-month Thursday program geared towards preschool-age children and their caregivers. Come adventure through the Arboretum with us this fall! Fun, nature-based themes will guide us through an hour and a half of free play, exploration, games, and songs along the trails of the Arboretum.

More information and registration can be found on our Fiddleheads Forest School web page.

September 20 – Salamanders

Salamanders live in our Woodland Garden ponds starting as an egg, growing into larva and eventually leaving the pond as full-grown adults. We will use nets to catch a few and see who else makes their home in the ponds.

October 4 – Nature’s Design: Spiders and their Webs

Explore the intricate webs and the diversity of spiders along our trails. We will use bug sheets and bug boxes to catch and observe spiders, and anything else that crosses our path.

October 18 – Falling Changing Leaves

Everything is changing as we move from summer to fall. How can we tell and what is happening? Falling leaves, changing colors, and shifting wildlife patterns will clue us into the signs of fall.

November 1 – Bats

Bats move through the forest at night using only sound while they hunt for insects. What’s it like to be a bat?

November 15 – Where do the Birds Go?

Some birds stay, some birds fly south. Why? We will learn about why birds migrate and discover which birds are here to stay for winter.

December 6 – Camouflage

How come we rarely see the coyotes living in Seattle or the millions of insects tucked around our green spaces? Camouflage is the ticket to staying hidden. We’ll discover different forms of camouflage and see how well we can camouflage ourselves!

December 20 – Trees in Winter

What are trees doing in the winter? We will investigate different trees and discover what they’re up to.

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High School Students – Be a Junior Garden Guide this Summer

June 21st, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Ever wanted to learn how to engage kids in nature? Did you love playing outside as a kid? Do you like hanging out with kids? Do you want service/volunteer hours? The Arboretum Summer Camps still need Junior Garden Guides to assist during our camp program. High school volunteers will pair up with one of our staff to lead a group of up to 12 students on adventures, hikes and nature-based activities in the Arboretum. The commitment is one day of training and a minimum of two weeks of camp. What better way to spend your summer than outside in one of Seattle’s most stunning parks playing with kids and exploring the Arboretum!

Here is the position description:

Job Description:  2-5 weeks of camp and one day of camp training (must commit to at least 2 weeks of camp + 1 day of training)

Dates and Times: July 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th (pick one to come in for training), July 9-13, 16-20, 23-27, July 30-August 3, and August 6-10. 8:30am-3:30pm each day.

Camp Overview: Our day-camp curriculums are designed in support of our mission:  to promote environmental conservation through education and recreation.  To achieve this we focus on hands-on exploration, play and the concept of “learning by doing”.  Depending on the weekly theme, campers may become ethnobotanists, urban farmers or field biologists all while learning about the importance of teamwork and sustainability.

General Duties: This position is ideal for high school students interested in working with children outside in nature. No experience is necessary, just enthusiasm for kids, playing outside and gaining leadership skills. Junior Summer Camp Guides will assist Summer Garden Guides to plan and provide an exceptional day camp experience. Each Summer Garden Guide will be paired with a Junior Summer Camp Guide and together they will be responsible for a group of up to 12 campers. Junior summer camp guides will collaborate with their Summer Garden Guide to determine their role and responsibilities within the group.

Junior Summer Camp Guides will have the opportunity to lead games and activities with the guidance of their Summer Garden Guide. This position is designed to provide experience and skills in teaching and working with children, expand environmental knowledge and guide teens in developing leadership skills.

Essential Tasks:

  • Assist Summer Garden Guides
  • Engage, interact and play with campers
  • Attend training
  • Perform related duties as required

 

  • Requirements:

-          Must be 16 years old at start of camp (exceptions might be made for mature students)

-          Strong work ethic, punctual, and dependable

-          Excellent interpersonal skills with staff, children, and parents

-          Must be able to comply with and maintain a smoke-free and drug-free work environment

Desirable:

-          Ability to work outdoors in all types of weather

-          Interest in working with children

-          Some background in ecology, botany, biology, environmental education or related areas

-          Flexible and open to new experiences

-          Exhibits patience and responsibility

-          Can role model mature behavior

-          Ability to work as a team member

Compensation:

-          Fulfillment of high school volunteer or service-learning requirements (up to 185 hours)

-          Letter of recommendation upon request following a successful completion of the internship

 

Department Contact: 

Interested? Contact Sarah Heller, sshort@uw.edu or call (206) 221-6427 with questions or to request an application.

 

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Meet our Summer Camp Staff

May 29th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

We are very excited about the Garden Guides we hired to run our summer camps. All three come with a love for and knowledge of the natural world, experience and educational background in teaching and being outside with kids, and a diverse set of qualities that will make for a dynamic and fun-filled summer!

Kathie Bradford

Born and raised in beautiful Northern California, I grew up exploring the creek behind my house and playing with the horses and goats that lived next door.  After graduating from Brigham Young University with a degree in Biology, I worked at a small education consulting company in the Bay Area.  Wanting to combine my love of the natural world and my new-found interest in education, I fortuitously found and was accepted to IslandWood’s graduate residency program.  After spending a year on Bainbridge Island teaching environmental education to elementary school students, I recently moved to Seattle to finish a Master’s Degree in Science Education at the University of Washington.   I’ve completely fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest and I love encouraging students from all over the city to explore the beautiful ecosystems that can be found right outside their back door! This will be my second summer as a Garden Guide.

 

Rachel McCaffrey

Originally from Portland, Oregon and having lived in Seattle for school, my Pacific Northwest roots run deep. I just graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in both Community, Environment & Planning (CEP) and Environmental Studies. I’m interested in outreach projects that educate and engage people in urban environmental, education, and social justice issues. I am a runner, writer, climber, cook, aspiring adventurer, and – most importantly – a learner. I believe that education should be fun and am excited to share my enthusiasm for environmental education with students this summer.

 

Dana Radcliffe

I recently moved to Seattle from Virginia and completed my Master’s of Science in Education.  Since my move, I have been able to teach in the classroom, in small groups, and in one-on-one settings covering a range of content areas and topics – everything from the environment to music!  I am always excited and inspired by the vast possibilities working with kids and the opportunity to be a part of the dynamic and interactive process of learning and development.  This summer I look forward to sharing my love of nature with the kids through our hikes and activities.  I am an avid hiker and backpacker and it will be a lot of fun to share the joys of being outdoors and explore the many wonders of nature available throughout the Arboretum.

 

Sarah Heller

I have worked for the Arboretum for about a year and half and could not possibly love my job any more than I do right now. I was brought on in 2010 to design and develop a summer camp program. We piloted a 3 week program last summer and through positive parent, camper and staff feedback we deemed it a huge success. I am excited this program is growing and that we will spend this summer teaching about, playing in and connecting over 140 kids with the natural world at the Arboretum. Like many in the field of environmental education my love for the outdoors started as a kid building forts, going on forest expeditions with my sister on Orcas Island, using mud for mosquito repellent and experiences with the Wilderness Awareness School. Now, I am grateful I get to share my passion for nature through teaching and program development (check out our new Family Ecology Tour Program). My current naturalist pursuits are expanding my ethnobotanical knowledge, learning some bird ID and song skills, and stretching my plant knowledge to include the higher altitudes as I explore the mountains through backpacking and alpine scrambling.

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Register Now for Arboretum Summer Camps

April 29th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

During the Seattle Public Schools’ Spring Break week, the Washington Park Arboretum hosted a spring-themed camp program for ten students in 1st-5th grade. Scroll through these photos and captions to see how much fun we had and how much fun YOU could have at our Summer Camps this summer!

On the first day of camp the students came up with our team name – The Buzzing Bees. We did lots of bzzzzzing during the week and there was a bee-themed mural made to honor our team name.

A pair of campers play Meet-A-Tree. The blindfolded child is getting to know his tree with all of his senses – here he is licking the tree (DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME:)! His partner is waiting until he feels like he knows his tree well enough to find it later. She will walk him (blindfolded) back to the starting spot, making sure to take a new path. There she will take off his blindfold and he will have to find his tree!

One day we made an edible salad from native plants. The campers all proclaimed that they do not like salad so we came up with two new names – Wild Greens and Garden Yum! The concoction consisted of wood sorrel, big-leaf maple flower buds, salmon berry flowers, red huckleberry flowers, and dandilion flowers and leaves. We also made teas during the week from stinging nettle, the western hemlock tree and western red cedar.

 

 

On Monday we worked as a team to do the Bird-Themed Scavenger Hunt, which took us through the wetland area in search of birds with informational tags on them. We sucessfully found all the birds and cracked the code! At the tip of foster island we took a break in the sun to make daisy chains, explore the water’s edge and do a WAM (Water Appreciation Moment – someone says something they are thankful for and we all take a big sip of water).

We also made some time to let free giggles and energy while playing tail tag! Everyone has a tail and the objective is to steal as many tails as you can without having your own tail stolen.

Wednesday was our water day – we visited the two woodland ponds to see what’s in them. We brought along some tools: small and large dipping nets, white-bottomed trays, pipettes, and field guides. It’s still early spring, but we did find a variety of egg sacs, an aquatic earthworm, a snail shell, mosquito larve and a water strider.

It’s the time of year to plant and prep gardens for a full season of growing food. We grow vegetables in garden beds behind our greenhouse to use during summer camp. Spring break campers helped us out by weeding the beds and planting kale and lettuce starts. They also painted a pot and planted seeds in it to take home, and made mosaic garden tiles to either put in our garden or take home.

Missed Spring Break Camp? Check out our Summer Camps – they’re filling quickly!

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Bird-Themed Scavenger Hunt at the Arboretum – April 14-22

April 13th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Come learn about local birds and the plants that attract them. Crack the code and receive a prize!  Two scavenger hunts are available: 8 and under; 9 and over. Pick up your scavenger sheet at the Graham Visitor Center (GVC) between 10am and 4pm or print them from these links:

Spring Scavenger Hunt – 8 and under

Spring Scavenger Hunt – 9 and over

 

If you come when the GVC is closed there is a blue folder located to the side of the front door with clue sheets inside.

Hidden throughout the Arboretum wetlands are birds and laminated cards clipped to trees, shrubs and benches waiting for you to find them. When you do, leave them where they are, but use their secret letters to fill the blanks and crack the code.

Return your sheet to the visitor center or mail them to us and we will mail you a prize! Good luck, have fun and Happy Spring!

If you have a smart phone there will be QR codes you can scan along the way for more facts on the birds and plants you will be visiting.

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Earth Day for the Whole Family!

April 3rd, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Celebrate Earth Day at the Arboretum on April 22nd from 10am-12pm!

Washington Park Arboretum and Wilderness Awareness School have teamed up to offer a family-friendly Earth Day event. Bring your family, bring your friends and come celebrate the earth, play games, do a small service project and eat yummy earth snacks.


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Are you Ready for Spring?

March 7th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

I know I am! I went for a walk through the Arboretum wetlands yesterday to gather some photos and information for our upcoming spring scavenger hunt (stay tuned for more info later this month!) and it truly felt like spring. Here’s what I saw:

Thimbleberry leafing out:

Flowering Indian plum:

So many water birds:

Blooming (or ready to bloom) tall Oregon grape:

Sunshine + pussy willow buds:

Grab your friends, family or come alone and see how many signs of spring you can find. If you have kids in 1st-6th grade sign them up for our Spring Break Camp where we will be adventuring in the Arboretum and looking for (and learning about) all the signs of spring we can find.


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Where in the Arboretum is this?

February 22nd, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

The Washington Park Arboretum is full of quiet nooks, unusual plants, and hidden groves where our imagination can run free and our curiosity is hooked.  Bring your family and come find this special spot!

Sequoia trees in the Pinetum collection

Who are they? This is a grove of sequoia trees, also known as:

 Giant sequoia – Sierra redwood – Sequoiadendron giganteum – big-tree – mammoth-tree

 

Did you know?

These giant trees are all more than 70 years old and the tallest is 139 feet tall and 13 feet and 11 inches round.

The word “sequoia” contains all five vowels.

This quiet grove of sequoia trees is a favorite destination of our school groups and summer camps. We might play meet-a-tree or hide-and-seek, or eat our lunch in their shade or discover how trees grow and reproduce, and act out a tree’s life cycle.

 

To find this place you have to cross this:

Photo of the wilcox bridge

 

And walk to the left of this:

 Photo of the play structure

 

Why don’t you come and visit these friendly giants? You could:

  • Play hide and seek
  • Feel their bark and find a cone
  • Have a picnic underneath these mysterious mammoths
  • Find out how many humans it takes to wrap around one
  • Read a story sitting against one of their trunks (all available at CUH’s Miller Library)
    • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
    • A Grand Old Tree by Mary Newell DePalma
    • Ancient Ones: The World of the Old-Growth Douglas Fir by Barbara Bash
    • A Tree is Growing by Arthur Dorros

 

  • Act out the life cycle of a tree!

Become a seed (curl up in a tight ball) – Now sprout! (Uncurl and kneel) – Grow a branch by sticking out one of your arms – Grow another branch, stick out the other arm – Grow leaves (wiggle your fingers) = Grow tall (stand up, feet together) – Grow roots (spread your feet apart) – Grow rootlets (wiggle your toes) – Oh no! You are being attacked by insects and fungi (start scratching all over – Lose a limb to lighting (make a loud noise and put your arm by your side) – Become a home for wildlife (smile!) – Woodpeckers looking for insects start exploring your dead wood (make a knocking noise) – You are blown down (make a creaking noise and fall down) – Become a nurse log, a new seed sprouts from rotting wood (stick one arm up).

 

  • Play a game!

I Like Trees

One person stands in the middle and everyone else finds a tree to stand in front of. Have each person mark their tree by putting a bandana, backpack or other visible item in front of it. The person standing in the middle (not next to a tree) says “I like___” and fills in the blank with something they like (could be about trees, or anything!). If other people like that thing too then they leave their tree and have to find another tree to touch (one with a marking in front of it). The person who called out “I like ____” also tries to find a tree to stand in front of. One person will be left without a tree and then it is their turn to stand in the middle and say “I like___” about something. Keep playing until everyone has had a turn in the middle.

 

Tree Tag

This is a great game for younger kids. Have each kid pick a tree. Maybe encourage them to get to know their tree a bit before the game starts. When you say “tree” or “sequoia” (or whatever word you decide to be the “go” word) the kids run and touch another tree. Do this over and over and the kids will love running from tree to tree and waiting for you to call out the word. Mix it up a little and say other words to help build the anticipation before you say your “go” word.

 

Resources:

Jacobson, A. L. (2006). Trees of seattle. (2nd ed., pp. 362-363). Seattle: Arthur Lee Jacobson.

 

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