Autumn Is Amazing

October 18th, 2014 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant

liquidambfallcolorThe Liquidambar styraciflua, or Sweetgum, is one of autumn’s most brilliantly colored trees, its leaves showing off every color in the spectrum.

The Liquidambar was wide spread, existing all over the Northern Hemisphere during the Tertiary Period (250-65 million years ago), but mostly disappeared due to glaciation during the ice age. Now this tree is native only to the SE United States and some areas of Mexico and Central America.  These deciduous trees can grown to 80-100 feet tall & live up to 400 years.  Its species name in Latin means ‘flowing with resin’ as the sweet resin in this tree was originally used for chewing gum.

They can be mistaken for maples as they have a similar palmate leaf. The Sweetgum leaf has 5-7 pointed lobes, but is usually flat along the bottom. They also have a distinctive spiky  brown fruit in autumn.

Our free Weekend Walks 10/19 – 11/16 will take visitors to view this and other deciduous plants in our collection.  Please join us.  See Visit > Tours for more information.

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Fruits & Nuts appear in autumn

September 23rd, 2014 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant

Read the rest of this entry »

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September Kayak Tours at the Arboretum

August 26th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Join us for this end of summer tradition at the Washington Park Arboretum as we tour our wetlands by kayaks generously loaned to us by Agua Verde Paddle Club. All proceeds go towards our Saplings Scholarship Fund that enables underprivileged students to take part in our hands-on, science-based school field trip programs.

Learn about the wetland ecosystem, including a little bit of history and little bit of ecology!  It’s great exercise and also simply beautiful.

No experience necessary; kayaks are doubles; max tour size is 12. Spaces are filling fast, so register today!
Cost is $35 per person.
Register by emailing tours@aguaverde.com

Dates:

  • Thursday, September 4th                    3pm and 5:30pm
  • Friday, September 5th                           3pm and 5:30pm
  • Saturday, September 6th                     10:30am, 1pm, and 3:30pm
  • Sunday, September 7th                         10:30am, 1pm, and 3:30pm

Photo Credit: Ethan Welty

Photo Credit: Ethan Welty


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2014 Park in the Dark Dates

June 23rd, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Night time is special at the Arboretum – the people and cars are gone, and the nocturnal animals move about. Night hikes are a chance for us to explore our senses, search for crepuscular and nocturnal movements in the forest and learn about night-related animal adaptations. Programs are designed for families with children aged 5-12. Meet at the Graham Visitors Center and BYOF (Bring Your Own Flashlight!)
Hikes are always from 8-9:30pm on the Saturday nights listed below:

2014 Summer DatesNight Hike Image

  • June 28 (New Moon)
  • July 12 (Full Moon)
  • July 26 (New Moon)
  • August 9 (Full Moon)
  • August 23 (New Moon)

Cost is $8 per person
Register online or call 206-685-8033

Pre-registration is required. This allows our instructor to properly plan and prepare for each class so that you and your family can get the most out of it. Drop-ins are not accepted.

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Step Outside This Summer

February 4th, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Summer Camp at the Washington Park Arboretum is starting its fourth year with more weeks and themes than ever. Kids from 6-12 years can go on weekly adventures featuring bugs, birds, frogs, trees, weeds, and even an art and cooking show.

Learn more about the 2014 Summer Camp at the UW Botanic Gardens!

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Fiddleheads Winter Series

December 19th, 2013 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

A new year brings new faces, fresh starts, and a new Fiddleheads series! Join Teacher Kate this winter in exploring the Washington Park Arboretum using all of our senses. Each week will be a different theme including:

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  • Rain, Water and Mud!
  • Ice and Snow
  • Hibernation
  • Nature Through Our Noses
  • Sounds of the Forest
  • Roots, Shoots, and Bark
  • Decomposers Are My Friends
  • I Can Be A Scientist
  • Dinosaurs and Fossils
  • Signs of Spring
  • Turtles, Beavers, and Wetlands
  • How Animals Move

 

So this winter, join us for a class of nature connection activities and outdoor play. Each week’s activities include art projects, games, learning stations focusing on fine and gross motor and pre-literacy skills based around the theme, as well as hiking and exploring the park and letting the children’s interests lead the way. Fun for parents and their preschoolers!

Classes meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays from 10am-12pm at the Washington Park Arboretum. More information about the classes.

$18/class for 1 adult and 1 child. Additional child: $9/class.

Discount for 6 or more classes! ($14/class, $7 for additional child)

Register online or call 206.685.8033

 

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“Wanna Touch the Sap with Me?” A Parent’s Perspective

November 18th, 2013 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

By guest blogger Karah Pino

“Wanna touch the sap with me?”

This is the question posed by my 3-year-old every Tuesday and Thursday morning when he gets to Fiddleheads Forest School in the Washington Park Arboretum. It is his first stop before each class and he excitedly invites me or anyone else who is around to join him. The sap he is investigating comes from an extraordinary source, just outside of Forest Grove, the preschool center. A tall ponderosa pine tree whose bark has bubbled and buckled from some kind of fungus beneath the surface creates constant streams of sap pouring down in a slow-moving waterfall from 20 feet up its trunk. The sap is moving so slowly we have found spider webs build in the crevices of the bark with a lone drip suspended in the silk.

I encourage Alvin to dust his hands in dirt before touching the sap to make it easier to remove later, but he doesn’t always remember. That’s ok with me, though, because the fragrant scent of pine sap reminds me of my own childhood in New Mexico, playing in the pine trees and junipers. It also reminds me of why I started looking for an outdoor preschool two years ago to give my son the opportunities I had to explore nature free from the ever-present boundaries and dangers of the urban environment we are surrounded by in so much of Seattle.

IMG_7995When I discovered that Fiddleheads was expanding to a full year preschool located in the middle of the Arboretum, I felt as if the universe had bent around to fulfill this dream! I knew it was perfect when I discovered that forest grove is just across from the ancient Sequoia grove I loved to visit as an undergrad at the University of Washington when I lived near the Arboretum. The colors of autumn have been incredible to view each week driving to the school and the wide variety of leaves, berries, nuts and seed pods seems unending. After drop off or before pick up, I make some time for myself to enjoy the smells, sounds, sights and sightings alongside my child, so we can share the magic of the of the forest together. (I’m sure I saw a coyote tail bouncing in the brush one day!)

Occasionally, I will hear the sounds of little voices adventuring along as I am on my own walk and feel their excitement and wonder well up inside of me. I love to watch from afar as they gather sticks to build a “fire” or leaves to pile up and roll in and I inwardly thank all the forces, voices and advocates who came together to create this fantastic program.

Although my favorite sequoia grove is protected by a fence now to protect the fragile roots, their giant trunks and strong presence are a perfect example of why the Arboretum is such a treasure for Seattlites of all ages and I hope there will be many more classes of preschoolers and homeschoolers and every other age of schoolers out in appreciation all year round in this wonderous place!

(Karah Pino, MAcOM is the delighted parent of a Fiddlehead’s Forest student, the social media coordinator for the Women of Wisdom Foundation and she manages the blog Unwind your Mind and Get Creative!

 

 

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Kids’ Photo Contest Winners!

October 16th, 2013 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

We had a remarkable showing this year at the 2013 Kids Photo Contest.  A big thanks and round of applause to all the great kids that entered! We have selected our winners in 5 categories.

Artwork will be displayed at in the Graham Visitors Center on a rotating basis, and for the month of November, the photos will be on display at Katy’s Corner Cafe located at 2000 E Union St Seattle, WA 98122. Although not everyone who entered won a category, every contestant will have a photo printed and displayed.

See all the pictures in our Flickr Group Pool!

Color

Dylan Totten 4 color

Taken by Dylan, Age 4

Landscape

Logan Cox land

Taken by Logan, Age 10

Architecture

John Totten 5 arch

Taken by John, Age 5

Animals

mystery kid 3 animal

If this is your picture, please email uwbgeduc@uw.edu with your name and age!

New Places

Maeve Anderson 16 ArchTaken by Maeve, Age 16

 

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Fiddleheads Forest School Opens

September 19th, 2013 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

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The changing hues at the Washington Park Arboretum these days signal a transition.  Many of the deciduous trees that make up our collection are booting down in preparation for winter dormancy.  Despite these seasonal changes amongst the plants, however, there is an exciting new energy in the air, one of growth and development.  The source of this vibrancy is the newest and youngest members of our UW Botanic Gardens community – the inaugural class of our Fiddleheads Forest School.

This new endeavor is designed for preschool-aged children, and aims to introduce these 3-5 year olds to the natural world in the best way possible, by immersing them in it.  In gently guiding their innate curiosity, our uber-qualified teachers, Sarah Heller & Kit Harrington, seek to promote the complete development of their students – mental, emotional, physical and social.  A lofty goal to be sure, but one we feel well-worth pursuing.  And judging by the response from the families involved, one for which there is strong desire to be met. 

Innumerable studies point towards the value of early childhood learning.  Businesses and municipalities around the country are recognizing the long-term benefits of starting kids off on the right foot and are making investments in hopes of creating a more competent and competitive work force down the road.  These “Grow Smart” initiatives can be found in states across the country and make the connection between regional economic growth and the importance of early childhood education.  It behooves organizations like ours that lean green to join this movement if we are to have any hope of achieving a more sustainable relationship with the Earth.   

Richard Louv sounded the alarm in his now seminal book, “Last Child in the Woods”, in which he coined the term “nature deficit disorder” to describe a social byproduct of the information age.  Louv pointed out that while kids and people in general become more and more plugged in to a virtual world, they simultaneously become less and less connected to the natural one.  Disconnection leads to a loss or lack of appreciation, and in the Environmental Education world, appreciation is the first step towards conservation.

Over a year in the making, we are now almost two weeks into our first year of the Fiddleheads Forest School.  We have twenty-four families who have taken this exciting plunge with us and we couldn’t be more grateful for their trust and support.  The spectacular outdoor classroom that is the UWBG Washington Park Arboretum has never felt more perfect a space than with this new application.  And we could not have found a more dynamic duo than Sarah & Kit to lead this adventure.  So two weeks in, and I’m happy to report, so far, so so good. 

Are we winning the battle in combating nature deficit disorder?  Only time will tell.  At the UW Botanic Gardens we work a lot with trees and perhaps as a result, we think like trees and take a long-term approach.  The seeds we plant today, we plant to ensure healthy forests for tomorrow.  With this mentality, we hope that when these 3-5 year olds grow up to have 3-5 year olds of their own, that outdoor schools for early learners are commonplace, and that we as a society will have had the forethought to set aside spaces like the Arboretum in which to hold them.  

Kit reads a book about emotions during story time

Kit reads a book about emotions during story time

 

Sarah unleashes bubbles that elicit shrieks of joy and fits of dancing

Sarah unleashes bubbles that elicit shrieks of joy and fits of dancing


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Announcing the 2nd Annual Kid’s Photography Contest!

August 6th, 2013 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Are you a kid (or know one) between 4 and 16 that has access to a digital camera? Join our Kid’s Digital Photography Contest!

All you have to do is join the UW Botanic Gardens Flickr Group Pool and submit photos in one or more categories.

Link to more information and contest rules.

Last year’s entries!

 

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