Staff Spotlight: Catherine Moore Nelson

April 22nd, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

Catherine began volunteering to lead adult tours and youth programs for the UW Botanic Gardens in 2006 and in 2011, she received the Brian Mulligan volunteer of the year award.

More recently, she became employed part-time as a Tour Program Assistant, leading tours, training and coordinating volunteer guides, and contributing to the UW Botanic Gardens blogs. Adding to her long list of skills, Catherine also now helps with the adult education program, setting up private group tours, driving the tram and helping to lead youth and family programs.

Catherine leading her Adult tour.

Catherine leading a tram tour.

Catherine and her family moved to the area in 1974 and she grew up on San Juan Island. After obtaining a B.A. in Greek Culture and History at Western Washington University in Bellingham,  she moved to Seattle to enroll in a Horticulture program at Lake Washington Technical College, graduating in 2005 as a certified horticulturist.  She now has her own business, focusing on long term garden care for clients.

“I love the variety of work I do at the UW Botanic Gardens, ” says Nelson enthusiastically, “I especially enjoy interacting with visitors and sharing the great wonders of the Arboretum with them–plants, botany and horticulture.” But, she adds, she also learns a great deal from visitors who come from many different states and countries around the world.

A friend of Catherine’s from the UW Botanic Gardens Education department enticed Catherine to volunteer.  Although she was initially intimidated by the training, she instantly became excited about being a part of such a great Arboretum.

Catherine’s favorite place here is the grove of Sequoiadendron giganteum in the Pinetum.

“Its so quiet there, I feel as if I am in a natural cathedral encircled by giant towering trees,” and, she admits, “I take visitors there as often as possible to see the 100 foot tall trees that are really still just babies.”

When Nelson is not driving trams or sharing her wealth of botanic knowledge,  she loves to read, watch movies or enjoy the outdoors camping, playing softball and having barbecues.  She doesn’t have a favorite plant, but is smitten by conifers and loves the Ericaceae family, and she adores plants with large, showy flowers.

Staff Spotlight: Sasha McGuire

April 1st, 2016 by Donna McBain Evans

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Sasha McGuire is the Education Programs Assistant for Adult, Youth and Family Programs at the UW Botanic Gardens. Sasha enjoys reading, hiking, and video games; she also dabbles in cooking and homesteading activities like making cheese and sausage.

Sasha grew up in upstate New York and received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Anthropology and Plant Science from SUNY-Geneseo. There she worked in the research greenhouse taking care of orchids, tropical plants, cacti and research plants like tobacco. She then became a Buckeye at The Ohio State University, earning her Master’s in Horticulture and Crop Science. “I was a research assistant on the University farm, which was hard work, but it kept me fed–I got all the vegetables I could eat!”

Sasha loves classifying and identifying things so no surprise her favorite class was Taxonomy of Vascular Plants. “I also loved the field trips, especially when we climbed Algonquin Mountain,” one of the High Peaks in the Adirondacks. Unfortunately, it was cloudy that day, and she didn’t get any views. “We did see a number of alpine plants,” she notes, “but we were all unimpressed after the exhaustion of getting to the summit!”

Despite her eastern roots, Sasha’s husband landed a job as professor at UW-Tacoma. They headed west and never looked back. Sasha started out at UW Botanic Gardens as a volunteer in the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium, working on making plant cards and helping audit the herbarium samples. When a position opened at the UW Botanic Gardens Education programs, Sasha jumped at the chance, as working at a botanic garden was her dream job since college.

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Sasha loves the variety of her work at UW Botanic Gardens, from searching for interesting articles to posting on the Facebook site to helping create craft projects for our preschool programs. She also enjoys talking with members of the public about the wide array of program offerings. “I really like being able to help people connect with plants, whether it’s a new homeowner who needs gardening classes, or a parent who wants their child to spend more time outside.” She also really enjoys working in the beautiful Center for Urban Horticulture, and with coworkers who are as nutty about plants as she is!

“I can’t just pick one favorite place here!” she pines, “I love the Witt Winter Garden at the Arboretum in February since it smells amazing—so awake and active when many other parts of the Botanic Garden are quiet.” Sasha also recommends the Soest Garden at the Center for Urban Horticulture in summer, when all the perennial beds are busting at the seams with color and every day there is something new blooming. But Sasha’s real soft spot is for the Union Bay Natural Area where she finds the perfect place to walk and unwind after work, and if she’s lucky, get a little sun!

And speaking of sun, Sasha’s favorite plants just happen to be cacti and succulents, though, she admits, it has been a challenge adapting that hobby to Western Washington. She loves their low maintenance nature and their huge range of shapes, colors, and spiny-ness.

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2016 Classes Open for Registration

December 19th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Our new Winter 2016 catalog is out, and we have a lot to offer in the next few months!  We are offering a number of popular classes, such as Plant ID, Intro to Mosses,  birding classes with Connie Sidles, and photography classes with David Perry.
We have plenty of free classes and tours this winter, and don’t forget our ProHort classes for our professionals and advanced gardeners.

Here are some of the highlights this winter:

Picturing Your Garden In Winter

Saturday, February 20th, 9am-12pm

Want to learn to capture the beauty of the winter garden and bring it inside? Learn the best techniques in an extraordinary setting with master photographer and storyteller, David Perry. This class begins with short tour of the Witt Winter Garden, a photo shoot, moves indoors for a warm-up and instructional lecture, and then continues back outside for an opportunity to take what you’ve learned and put it into practice. David will inspire you with his fantastic images, and explain how to photograph your own winter garden as well as how to set up simple indoor photo sessions. Bring your camera (point-and-shoots are most welcome), for equipment tips.
Cost: $60

winterPhotography02_David_Perry

Plant Identification in the Field

6 week course – Tuesdays, March 8-April 12, 6:30-8:30pm plus field trips on Saturday March 26 and April 16

plantidThis course is designed for students who want to develop basic field identification skills and gain experience using the keys in Hitchcock and Cronquist’s “Flora of the Pacific Northwest.” Over the six-week course students will learn how to recognize approximately 25 of the most common plant families found in Washington.
Emphasis is placed on learning the combination of vegetative (leaf and stem) and floral characters that are unique to each family. Class time is spent learning basic terminology required for plant identification and keying out local native and introduced species using a combination of dissecting microscopes, an introductory text for identifying plants families, and “Flora of the Pacific Northwest”.

Cost: $175

Botanical Sketching In Ink and Watercolor

hydrangeas_in_ink_Bot_Sketch4 Tuesday Mornings, 10am-12pm, February 23-March 15 OR April 5-26

Capture the essence of flowers and foliage in this 4-part class with simple, quick techniques and portable materials! While using the beautiful perennial beds and borders at the Center for Urban Horticulture as a backdrop, you will be guided in an intuitive approach to sketching with pen, layering watercolor washes, and gathering tips that can be applied to everyday sketching. A simple supply list will be provided. All levels welcome.
Cost: $95

Free Classes and Tours

Botanical Identification

Become the person who knows the names of plants!

Don’t forget our professional series (ProHort) for landscape professionals and advanced home gardeners. Professional Credits available.  Topics this winter include:

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Come visit us this winter!

Seminar: Reconstructing Natural Areas in the Built Environment

December 8th, 2015 by Jessica Farmer, Adult Education Supervisor
garden photo

Prairie rain garden, Center for Urban Horticulture

Reconstructing Natural Areas in the Built Environment:

Linking design, function, and long-term performance for natural areas, restoration sites, and trail sides

January 25 & 26, 2016
9:00 am-4:00 pm

University of Washington Botanic Gardens
Center for Urban Horticulture
3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, WA 98105

 

PROFESSIONAL CREDITS: CPH-6/day, ecoPRO-6/day, NALP/WALP-6/day, APLD-4.25/day, ASLA-5.5/day

 

RESOURCES FOR SEMINAR ATTENDEES:

Day One: January 25, 2016

Day Two: January 26, 2016

Additional Resources from Presenters and Attendees

2016 Family Nature Classes Open for Registration

November 18th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Join us for a Family Nature Class and make connections with the natural world that will last a lifetime! Through science-based exploration and outdoor play preschoolers and their caregivers will experience the UW Botanic Gardens using their senses. We’ll explore sight, hearing, touch and smell, as well as delve into mud, trees, and what exactly happens in winter!

Here is what some previous families have said about Family Nature Class:

kids with binosI liked everything! I thought it was great how all the books and games during each class was specific to the topic of the class.”

“We all had a wonderful time. You had so many engaging activities for the kids and I liked how you had creative ways to incorporate the adults into the fun as well.”

“We really found the class inspiring and fun.”

Come see what all the fuss is about!

WHO: Children ages 2-8 and their caregivers.

WHEN: Thursday, Friday or Saturday from 9:30-11:30am  for 2-5 year olds
OR Fridays, 1-3pm, for 4-8 year olds.
WHERE: Washington Park Arboretum (2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle), under the white tent behind the greenhouse

SERIES: Sign up for 6 or more classes (any day of the week) $14/class for 1 adult and 1 child. Additional child: $7/class (children must be attending with the same adult to receive the second child discount). Additional adults are free!

INDIVIDUAL CLASSES: $18/class for 1 adult and 1 child. Additional child: $9/class (children must be attending with the same adult to receive the second child discount). Additional adults are free!

Register Online, or call 206-685-8033.

More information…

Beekeeping for Beginners

November 9th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

So you think you want to be a beekeeper? This workshop will give you a snapshot of what it is all about from your backyard hive to the wide world of apiculture. We’ll look at a brief history of bees and beekeeping, then consider what you might expect, how much you might spend, best hints on getting started, and answers to the most-asked questions about bees. Also covered will be details on some of the major beekeeping challenges and ways you can meet them as well as the mindset of successful beekeepers today. Whether you are already keeping bees, aspiring, or just curious, this session will give you insight and a straighter path to success and enjoyment.

beekeeper_PDWHAT: Introduction to Beekeeping 2 hour class
WHEN: Monday, November 23rd, 7-9pm
WHERE: UW Botanic Gardens – Washington Park Arboretum, Wisteria Hall (2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle)
COST: $20
SIGN UP: Register Online, or call 206-685-8033

The instructor, Dr Evan Sugden, has been a beekeeper most of his adult life. His experiences span all aspects of the trade, including commercial, hobby, research, teaching and solitary bee management. Evan was intimately involved in honey bee research during the calamitous late 1980’s and early ’90’s and had a first hand perspective of how beekeeping has changed since before that time. This has influenced his continued involvement and has inspired him to constantly strive to be a better beekeeper and to teach good practices to others as a new generation of beekeepers evolves.

 More information…

Fiddleheads Forest School Fall Fair

November 5th, 2015 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Walking with Parents through the woodsFiddleheads Forest School is hosting a Fall Fair at the Graham Visitor Center from 1-3pm on Nov. 14th!

Currently enrolled families and those interested in being a part of our Fiddleheads community are welcome to attend, rain or shine. The fair is family friendly and will feature:
-Fall Crafts
-Fiddleheads Science and Exploration Activities
-Hot Cedar Tea and Treats
-Forest Grove tours throughout the morning

Support our efforts and learn about: SPrOut (Study of Preschoolers Outdoors), a new research opportunity developed by Dr. Pooja Tandon of Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington in collaboration with Sarah Heller and Kit Harrington of Fiddleheads. Families enrolled or interested in Fiddleheads with preschool-age students will have the opportunity to participate this spring, 2016!

Fiddleheads is committed to developing evidence-based practice and encourages research efforts to better understand the benefits and impacts of outdoor learning and the Fiddleheads approach to education

Please share our event and help spread the word!

Fall Fair Flyer (image)Fall Fair Flyer

Journey Plant Medicine

October 22nd, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant
Prepare a poultice with little equipment

Prepare a poultice with little equipment

 

Learn how to use common native and wild plants for first aid along the way during your outdoor travels, using poultices, infusions, compresses, syrups and more made simply from raw plants. We will learn plant identification and preparation techniques, and practice these techniques in sample scenarios. Each person takes home a set of laminated Journey Plant Medicine Cards.

 

Instructor Heidi Bohan is an ethnobotanist known regionally for her knowledge of native traditional plants and their uses. She has worked extensively with local tribes, organizations and schools throughout the Pacific Northwest for over twenty years. She serves as adjunct faculty at Bastyr University and advisor for Northwest Indian College Traditional Plants Program. She is author of The People of Cascadia – Pacific Northwest Native American History, Starflower Native Plant ID Cards, Journey Plant Medicine Cards, and numerous other publications.

Take home these handy laminated cards, perfect for camping, hiking, or kayaking

 

 

 

WHAT: Journey Plant Medicines
WHEN: Saturday, November 7, 10am – 4:30pm
WHERE: UW Botanic Gardens – Washington Park Arboretum, Wisteria Hall (2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle, WA 98112)
COST: $75
HOW: Register Online, or call 206-685-8033

2015 Fall Class Schedule – Birds, Botanical Art, and More!

September 5th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

fall2015CatalogCoverOur new Fall catalog is out, and we have a lot to offer in the next few months! We’ve got some old favorites, like the Cemetery Lichen Tour, Plant Pressing WorkshopBotanical Sketching, and Beekeeping, new classes by favorite teachers (more birding classes with Connie Sidles, and photography classes with David Perry) and a new, exciting offering, Journey Plant Medicines taught by Heidi Bohan, local ethnobotanist and author.
We continue to offer free classes and tours well as sustainable home gardening, and of course plenty of ProHort classes for our professionals and advanced gardeners.

Here are some of the highlights this fall:

Journey Plant Medicines

Saturday, November 7, 10am – 4:30pm

Learn how to use common native and wild plants for first aid along the way during your outdoor travels, using poultices, infusions, compresses, syrups and more made simply from raw plants. We will learn plant identification and preparation techniques, and practice these techniques in sample scenarios. Each person takes home a set of laminated Journey Plant Medicine Cards.

David Perry will show students how to achieve this look with just their phone and a simple app.

David Perry will show students how to achieve this look with just their phone and a simple app.

Botanical Photography Classes

Picture Perfect Plant Portraits

Lecture – Plant portraits celebrate the unique beauty and characteristics of a plant. Learn to take better close-ups and capture a dreamy mood while showing the plants within a larger garden setting.

Japanese Maple Photography Workshop

Lecture and workshop – Learn to photograph the essence, spirit and beauty of trees using different portrait styles in the Arboretum’s stunning collection of Japanese Maples.

iPhone and iPad Botanical Photography

3 part series – Learn to use the camera you already have on your smartphone or tablet and the best photography apps to make pictures that can populate your website, portfolio, Instagram and Facebook pages

Free Classes and Tours

Sustainable Home Gardening Practices

Learn to keep your yard looking spiffy the right way.

Don’t forget our professional series (ProHort) for landscape professionals and advanced home gardeners. Professional Credits available.  Topics this fall include:

fall-06 381

Come visit this fall!

Fall Family Fun!

August 25th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

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Visit the UW Botanic Gardens this fall for to see some colorful leaves, and participate in some fun activities for families with kids 2-12 years old!

For families with preschoolers 2-5 we have Family Nature Class – Through science-based exploration and outdoor play preschoolers and their caregivers will experience the UW Botanic Gardens using their senses. Above all, we will explore and let the natural curiosity of the young ones direct our adventures. Interested, but have an older child? Try our Friday Afternoon class from 1-3pm for families with children ages 4-8.

For families with children 5-12 we have Park in the Dark – 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.

Families with children 6 and up can try out a Kayak Tour – 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.

Family Nature Class

WHO: Children ages 2-5 and their caregivers. The group maximum is 12 children.
WHEN: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday from 9:30-11:30am for 2-5 year olds
OR Fridays, 1-3pm, for 4-8 year olds.
WHERE: Washington Park Arboretum (2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle)
ENTIRE SERIES: Sign up for 6 or more classes (any day of the week) $14/class for 1 adult and 1 child. Additional child: $7/class (children must be attending with the same adult to receive the second child discount). Additional adults are free!
INDIVIDUAL CLASSES: $18/class for 1 adult and 1 child. Additional child: $9/class (children must be attending with the same adult to receive the second child discount). Additional adults are free!

Park In The Dark

2015 Fall DatesNight Hike Image

  • Saturday, September 12, 7-8:30pm
  • Saturday, September 26, 6:30-8pm
  • Saturday, October 10, 6-7:30pm
  • Saturday, October 24, 5:30-7pm

Cost is $8/person.

Meet at the Graham Visitors Center at the Washington Park Arboretum (2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle)

Register for both programs over the phone (206-685-8033), or online!

Fall Kayak Tours

No experience necessary; kayaks are doubles; max tour size is 12. Spaces are filling fast, so register today!
Suitable for children ages 6+. Children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.
Cost is $35 per person.
Register by emailing tours@aguaverde.com or call 206-545-8570

Dates:

  • Thursday, September 10th                     3pm and 5pm
  • Friday, September 11th                           3pm and 5pm
  • Saturday, September 12th                      9am, 11am, and 1pm
  • Sunday, September 13th                         9am, 11am, and 1pm
Photo Credit: Ethan Welty

Photo Credit: Ethan Welty