Amazing Photos from Art in the Park Kids

July 31st, 2012 by Lisa Sanphillippo

We haven’t even begun our Digital Photo Contest (starts TOMORROW! August 1st), but thought we would share some of the photographs taken by the Art in the Park Campers here at the Arboretum.

These 4th – 6th graders are studying photography, art in nature – sculpting with natural objects, music, painting and using food to make art. Yesterday they took photos and learned a bit about Ansel Adams and today they learned a bit about Andy Goldsworthy and making art using natual objects.

We are so lucky to have these budding artists on our grounds. Here are some of their photos.

If you are between 4 and 16 – or know someone who is – don’t forget about our Digital Photo Contest starting tomorrow. For more information visit our calendar pages.

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Park in the Dark

June 26th, 2012 by Lisa Sanphillippo

Boy was I worried about the weather on Saturday June 23rd. It was awful – cold, rainy and windy. Would anyone come out for the scheduled Park in the Dark at Washington Park Arboretum? I was just about to give up hope, when suddenly and miraculously, the skies cleared just in time for the night hike we had planned!

About 20 people (kids and adults) joined me for a delightful walk learning about nocturnal animals and how they use their senses to get around in the night.

Early on in the walk, we talked a little about the possibility of seeing barred owls (Strix varia). The Horticultural Staff and Garden Guides had been seeing the adults and their young for a couple of weeks. I played the Park in the Dark guests the barred owl “Who Cooks for You” call and the ascending high pitched sound the youngsters make when begging for food on my iPad. That way we could listen for their call and let our ears lead the way.

Lucky for us, we didn’t even have to use our ears, because as we were walking down Azalea Way, a very kind man said that the owls were out and about in the big leaf maple tree (Acer macrophyllum) just before the Winter Garden. Our large group quickly, and not so quietly, hustled to the spot.

Eureka! Three juvies were very low in three different trees begging for food. Their beg sounds a lot like they are whining, “Pleeeeaaaase!” We were all mesmerized. We probably stood and watched them for about 15 minutes.


Photo by Stephanie Colony

We decided to move on to another activity and give the owls some space. We played a fun game called Bat and Moth in the Winter Garden and walked to one of my favorite spots in the Arboretum, Loderi Valley. The King George Rhododendrons (Rhododendron ‘Loderi King George’) look like upside down people; heads under the ground and limbs above reaching outward and upward.

On the ground we found leaf skeletons from the many varieties of magnolias that surround Loderi Valley. Among the leaf litter, one little girl found an Almond Scented Millipede (Harpaphe haydeniana).


Photo by Franco Folini

These garden friendly critters release hydrogen cyanide when threatened. It smells like almonds, but tastes really bad to birds. Almond scented millipedes are excellent at breaking down the leaf litter and freeing up nutrients for other organisms.

On our way back to the Graham Visitors Center we stopped by the big leaf maple to see if the owls were still there. They were! Still making their whiney “feed me” call.

It was a great night and I hope the rest of our Park in the Dark night hikes are filled with as many surprises as Saturday’s.

Park in the Dark
July 14 8-9:30pm
August 25 8-9:30pm
September 15 7-8:30pm
October 13 7-8:30pm
$8.00 per person
Register online here

Lisa Sanphillippo is a Program Assistant and Garden Guide for Education and Outreach at UW Botanic Gardens.

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Summer Kayak Tours at the Arboretum

June 8th, 2012 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Paddling through the cattail marsh last summer.

 

Discover Hidden Water-ways on a Guided Kayak Tour of the Washington Park Arboretum.

The UWBG is unique among other botanic gardens in the country in that our “grounds” include quite a bit of water. Owing to our location around Lake Washington, our approximately 300 acres include the longest stretch of freshwater marsh in Washington State. There is no better way to enjoy this wetland ecosystem than by kayak.

The Agua Verde Paddle Club in partnership with the UWBG is pleased to offer guided kayak tours of our Foster Island Wetlands to the public for the third consecutive summer. Tours are approximately 90 minutes in length and push off from “Duck Bay” at the north end of the Washington Park Arboretum.

During the tour you will learn a little about the history of the area and have a chance to meet some of our plant and animal residents.  All proceeds will go from Agua Verde Paddle Club to the UWBG for the Agua Verde Scholarship fund. This fund will help provide educational opportunities to students and schools with limited resources.

No experience necessary. Double kayaks, safety equipment and a brief training session will be provided by Agua Verde Paddle Club. Youth & children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent/guardian.

Tour Dates & Times:

Wednesday, Aug. 29th: 11am & 3pm

 Thursday, Aug. 30th: 11am & 3pm

Wednesday, Sept. 5th: 11am & 3pm

Thursday, Sept. 6th: 11am & 3pm

Friday, Sept. 7th: 7am (“early birders”), 11am & 3pm

Cost & Registration:

Space is limited to 12 participants per tour, so pre-registration is required. Cost: $30/person; ($5 discount for early registration before August 1st)

Register online

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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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Mobilizing Volunteers – 2012 Urban Forest Symposium

March 14th, 2012 by UWBG Communication Staff

Mobilizing Volunteers for the Urban Forest

photoThe 2012 Urban Forest Symposium will address the concerns of municipalities, NGOs and educational groups whose work involves volunteer planting and care for the urban forest. This year’s speakers understand what it takes to have a truly successful program.  Our keynoter, world renowned speaker and grassroots organizer Andy Lipkis, will take us on the inspirational journey from the founding of the Los Angeles’ Tree People who planted one million trees for the 1984 Olympics to the influential, 10,000 volunteer organization it is today. Throughout the day representatives from a variety of non-profit organizations will share what has, and what hasn’t worked to motivate volunteers and secure funding. The technical track will cover how to avoid common problems with volunteer tree planting projects and how to set your project on track for long-term success. It will also have the latest on best practices for tree planting.

 

 

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Resolve to Learn Gardening Skills in 2012

January 4th, 2012 by UWBG Communication Staff

photo by S. Jeter
Landscape design, tree identification, pruning and creating mosiac stepping stones are just a few of the many continuing education classes offered this winter and spring at the UW Botanic Gardens.

Take a look at the complete list of classes for home gardeners and professionals and register online.

Willing to trade your time and sweat for plant care knowledge? Work side-by-side with skilled UWBG gardeners at one of the many volunteer drop-in work parties.

volunteer photo

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UWBG Gift Certificates make great gifts

December 9th, 2011 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin
A. Rubin photo

Landscape tree identification is one of many classes offered by UWBG.

Holiday shopping got you stressed? Look no farther than UWBG! Gift certificates are now available for classes such as landscape design and mosaic art techniques. Gift certificates are offered in $25, $50 and $100 values and may be purchased by telephone at 206-685-8033.

Other gift ideas for garden or nature lovers available for purchase that benefits programs at the UW Botanic Gardens:

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2012 Cuba Tour Rule #1: Keep a good journal

October 18th, 2011 by Jennifer Youngman, Communications Specialist

“We were…amazed at how much we did in such a short time. At the end of the trip we were trying to remember our first full day and it seemed like months, rather than weeks, had passed.” So wrote Dr. Sarah Reichard, director of UW Botanic Gardens, shortly after returning from her 2011 Chile tour.

Dr. Reichard’s upcoming Cuba tour (Feb. 22 to Mar. 4, 2012) will feature equally outstanding opportunities to observe indigenous flora and fauna, view enticing gardens, experience Cuba’s unique culture, and learn from local experts. So be forewarned! Keep a good journal, Cuba by Barbara Wright - iSustainand you’ll be telling firsthand stories of this unusual destination for years to come.

Your walking tour of Havana Vieja with a professor of architecture will help put everything into context and inform you about historical restoration projects. You’ll learn of recent research on invasive species and ecosystems of the area with Botanic Researcher Dr. Ramona Oviedo and curators of the National Museum of Natural History. You’ll investigate horticultural practices at Alamar Organoponic Gardens, unique Cuban gardens with 160 cooperative owners. You’ll meet elementary school students, and you’ll attend a presentation by members of the National Institute for Research on Tropical Agriculture and the Cuban Association of Crop and Forestry Professionals.

And that’s just the first two days! What were we saying about keeping a good journal?

Despite revolution and economic hardship, Cuba is alive with private and botanic gardens and agricultural innovation. The ecologically protected area of Mil Cumbres, orchid gardens, and Zapata Peninsula’s 1,000 plant species await you! Contact Holbrook Travel at 800.451.7111 to reserve your space today!

Flyer with detailed itinerary

Reservation form and terms

Holbrook Travel logo

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Barbara Wright of iSustain (click to enlarge).


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Bioblitz 2011

September 9th, 2011 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

 

The UW Botanic Gardens is pleased to announce BIOBLITZ 2011, the 3rd installation of a long-term citizen science experiment aimed at measuring and tracking biodiversity within the Washington Park Arboretum – a 230 acre collection of trees founded in 1934 making it Seattle’s 4th oldest public park.

Bioblitz 2010 was held last May and attended by over 100 volunteers comprised of scientists, both professional and aspiring, of all ages and interests. Approximately 400 species from a variety of taxa groups, including a potentially new species of Philodromus crab spider.

foster island phil1The Fungus Among Us”, a special edition held in partnership with the Puget Sound Mycological Society and focused entirely on mushrooms was held in October, 2010. Close to 80 volunteers collected approximately 500 specimens during four 3-hour shifts.

With these base line numbers, we now have some idea of who is calling the WPA “home”, but these two surveys provide only snapshots of the ever changing story being played out upon this piece of urban green space. In order to gain a deeper understanding of this special place, we strive to duplicate our experiment and turn these snapshots into a movie. Our mission at the UWBG is to “sustain managed to natural ecosystems and the human spirit through plant research, display, and education.” You are invited to help us fulfill that mission by taking part in this unique event.

What: Small field groups surveying various habitats for different taxa groups during six 2.5 hour shifts over a 24 hour period.

When:  October 21 – 22

What time:

Friday, Oct. 21st                                                            Saturday, Oct. 22nd

  • 3pm-5:30                                                                     7am – 9am
  • 5:30 – 7pm (cookout dinner/lecture)              9am – 11:30
  • 7pm – 9pm                                                                   12pm – 2:30
  • 9pm – 11:30                                                                  2:30 – 3pm (show & tell)

Who:  Anyone and everyone, no experience necessary, just a healthy curiosity.

Cost:  FREE

How:  RSVP for specific shifts to simsigan@uw.edu or call 206-616-3381

 

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Learn field sketching and botanical watercolor

August 24th, 2011 by Jennifer Youngman, Communications Specialist

Koi Rock by Suzanne FerrisIn a single, all-day Plein Air Field Sketching workshop Sept. 24, botanical artist Suzanne Ferris will get you started indoors by drawing basic shapes and then head outdoors to discover the same shapes in trees and shrubs. You’ll consider “value veils” for creating depth, one- and two-point perspective, point of view and the process of seeing by mark making, while working in sumi and walnut ink as well as soft graphite. Register by Sept. 12to secure the Early Bird Price of $75. Suzanne’s work is pictured at right.

In Beginning Botanical Watercolor, botanical artist and instructor Kathleen McKeehen will show you how the application of controlled washes and the dry-brush technique produce images that are three-dimensional and aesthetically appealing. Five weekly classes meet at the Center for Urban Horticulture 7:00-9:30 PM beginning Sept. 28. Register by Sept. 16 to secure the Early Bird Price of $170.

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