Witch Hazels are in bloom

February 4th, 2013 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant

Hamamelis There are several species of Witch Hazel, genus Hamamelis, featured in the Witt Winter Garden, which is in all its glory this month. The colors range from yellow to orange to red and their scent is incredibly heady.
The plant’s common name comes from the Old English word “Wych” which means “pliable”. The pliable branches of this plant were used for water dowsing, which was a way to find underground water, hence this activity also is known as ‘water witching”.
The Witch Hazel and many other winter blooming plants are featured on the Free Weekend Walks held each Sunday at 1:00 pm.

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Leaves, Paint Swatches and Nature Connection: A Student Perspective

December 18th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Written by Mackenzie Urquhart, UW Service Learning Student

I had so much fun participating in the Fiddleheads Program these past couple of months. Through out the sessions we play games, explore, do arts and crafts, and teach the kids about their surroundings.  What is special about this program is the kids get to interact with the nature they are learning about directly instead of reading it from a textbook or in a classroom.

On our first walk through the Arboretum we taught the kids about fall and how the environment changes during that time period.  We explored how the leaves change colors and how the leaves eventually fall off the trees.  The kids were able to see the changes happening with their own eyes.  Through out the walk we gave them each a brown bag and they were to fill it with the leaves that fell off the trees.  At the end of the walk we reminded them why they fell off the trees and had them each do a leaf rubbing so they could take it home and have it be a reminder of what happens during fall.  All through out the walk the kids were asking questions, interacting with nature, feeling the leaves, and touching the trees.

One of my favorite games we played with the kids was called the color game.  Sarah and I each gave the kids a paint swatch and they were to find a plant, animal or anything in nature that was the same color.  This was a unique and fun way to get the kids to explore nature.  The kids were running all around and would show us what they found that matched their paint swatch.  If they didn’t know what the species or plant was we would tell them and have them share it with the other kids so they could all learn about each others.

Another game the kids loved was called the matching game.  Sarah and I laid out a bunch of leaves two of each kind and had the kids play a matching game and at the end we would have them guess what the name of the leaf was.  Then we would circle as a group and talk about each leaf and point out what the tree looked like that the leaf came from. In that kind of setting the kids are able to learn about the environment in a fun and stress free environment.  They retain the information better and see how humans and other species directly impact the environment.   Each session has an overall theme so the kids are constantly learning about different issues and topics related to nature.

Check out the Fiddlehead Forest School website for more information and to register for classes.

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Celebrating evergreens with stories

December 10th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

 Join us Saturday, December 15 from 10:30 to 11:15 am  for stories and art.

In the Pacific Northwest, we treasure our evergreen forests, and today’s stories celebrate them. After the stories you’ll have time to color a tree picture or use homemade salt dough to sculpt your own evergreen tree. Free for kids ages 3 to 8 and their parents.

GRANDPA GREEN by Lane Smith
THE TREE by Dana Lyons
DOUGLAS FIR by Wendy Davis

Miller Library monthly Story Program happens once a month in the Children’s Corner.

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Fall Scavenger Hunt at the Arboretum – Fruits & Nuts

November 16th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director


Our Fruits & Nuts scavenger hunt highlights some often missed collections and specimens that are particularly interesting for their persistent seeds. From crabapples and roses to ashes and oaks this scavenger hunt has something for everyone! Birds are active on trees with brightly colored fruit so keep your eye out for some feathered companions along your way. Complete the scavenger hunt and you can collect a small, seasonal prize.

Grab your friends and family, print your clue sheet or pick one up at the Graham Visitor Center and come explore some fall highlights. Follow the white painted cones to find the clues.

The scavenger hunt will be available on Tuesday 11/20 and run through Sunday 12/9. You can pick up a clue sheet at the Graham Visitor center, which is open from 10am-4pm 7 days a week .

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: Where does the scavenger hunt begin?

A: At the strawberry tree directly in front of the big greenhouse (dark evergreen leaves and bright red fruits). Exit the east side of the visitor center (back towards parking lot), walk to the parking lot and turn right. Walk towards the greenhouse the tree will be on your right.

Q: What is the scavenger hunt about?

A: The scavenger hunt highlights fruits and nuts that are on display at this time of year. It is a loop exploring a variety of collections and specimens that have unique or unusual fruits and nuts.

Q: Who is the scavenger hunt for?

A: The scavenger hunt is designed for families, but anyone can do it. There are purple painted tree cones along the way to help people navigate. There are also written directions on the clue sheet.

Q: I’m interested in doing this at a future time/date. Can I get the clue sheet online?

A: Yes, you can get it at the link below. Also, you can pick up and drop off clue sheets outside the visitor center when it is closed – there will be a sign with folders attached to it.

Clue sheet for fall scavenger hunt

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Autumn is at its peak

October 26th, 2012 by Catherine Nelson, Adult Tours Program Assistant

 

The Japanese maple collection in the arboretum boasts more than 90 different cultivars, many of which have been new plantings in the last few years.  This makes our collection one of the largest in the United States.  The Woodland Garden garden itself contains over 70 of these cultivars and the next couple of weeks is the time to see them in all their blazing glory.  The tree pictured is Acer palmatum, cultivar Osakazuki which is at the NE pathway into the Woodland Garden.  This photo does not do the vibrant red leaves justice, but this cultivar is considered to have the most intense crimson color of any of the maples.  It is a hardy grower which does not get much above 8′ tall even in extreme old age and has been listed in catalogs since the mid-1800s.

 

The name Osakazuki is a reference to its leaves which cup at the base, the literal translation is “saki-cup-like leaf.”

Please join one of our free weekend walks over the next couple weeks and view the amazing fall colors.   All tours meet at 1:00 pm, Sundays at the Graham Visitors Center.

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