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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What the Cluck?!

December 11th, 2012 by Jessica Farmer, Continuing Education Coordinator

Making Sense of Keeping Chickens in the Home Garden
Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 7-9pm 
Instructor: Jessica Bloom, NW EcoLogical Landscapes

Free Range Chicken Gardens by Jessica Bloom

Photo courtesy of Jessica Bloom

If you have ever thought about keeping chickens or you have chickens but are baffled by common problems, this class is for you. Jessica Bloom, award-winning garden designer and author of Free Range Chicken Gardens, will teach
you how to integrate chickens into your life and backyard. Believe it or not, chickens can be trained like other pets!

Learn how to share your garden with your feathered egg-producing friends, how to design habitat, and about the
“Top 10″ must-have plants that you and your chicken will love. Chicken raising myth-busters and breeds will also be covered.

NHS Hall, Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St, Seattle, WA 98105
Early registration $35; $40 after January 23
Register online, or call 206.685.8033

Copies of Free Range Chicken Gardens will be available for purchase from the instructor at the class. See Bloom’s website for more ideas!

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Master Pruner Series

November 2nd, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Master Pruner Series with Plant Amnesty

This series is designed for those who work in maintenance of residential and public landscapes.   Each lecture will provide information on techniques for quality pruning with better long term results and customer satisfaction.  Common plant types and landscape situations, as well as specialized pruning for roses, fruit trees, and vines will be covered. Print flyer.

Full class list and descriptions

Online registration

All classes held at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle.

COST:

Each 2-hour lecture

$30 General
$23 PlantAmnesty Member

All 12 lectures

$300 General
$234 PlantAmnesty Member

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Fall Flight: Migratory Birds – Family Ecology Tour 11/3 cancelled

October 24th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Where are all the birds going? Birds spend the summer here and fly south for the winter. Others use our urban oasis as a stopping place on their way south. We’ll discover which birds are here to stay and which are on their way out or on their way through. Why do birds fly so far every year? What is their journey like? Together we’ll explore and discover the wonders of these winged adventurers.

Fall Flight – Migratory Birds for 6-12 year olds, 10am-12pm on November 3rd – Cancelled

All Family Ecology Tours include hands-on activities, games, and exploration for families with kids ages 6-12. Cost is $8/person, pre-register online or by phone, (206) 221-6427. Meet at the Graham Visitor Center and dress for the weather, we’ll be out rain or shine!

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Fieldtrips in Fall…

October 12th, 2012 by Lisa Sanphillippo

are going like gangbusters! Between the months of September and November, we have over 1300 kids signed up for fieldtrips.

Our guides have been loving the mild weather and teaching and learning from these budding naturalists. The Arboretum is such an amazing place to explore; all of the senses can be engaged, well, except for taste! Those of us in the field are so fortunate to be able to teach a variety of topics to kids based on what they are learning in class. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve done so far:

Plant Parts - kids act out each part and then work together to show how a tree’s parts function together to form a whole organism

Seed Dispersal - we go on a seed hunt, look at all of the seeds with magnifiers, then categorize each seed into methods of dispersal such as eaten by an animal, wind, water, propulsion, hitchhikers and fire

Native Plant Identification - we learn how to identify native plants and use artifacts made by Ethnobotanist, Heidi Bohan, to demonstrate how those plants can be used to help people thrive and survive

Producers, Consumers and Decomposers - kids learn that life can be grouped into these three main categories by playing a running game and observing, recording and organizing the organisms they find on a hike

Aquatic Dip – kids get to take a look at the aquatic macro-invertebrates that live in our very own Lake Washington and think about how these small creatures contribute to the overall health of a wetland ecosystem

Here are some of the things students have been saying about their time here at the Arboretum:

“I love it here at the Auditorium.”

[I overheard two kids talking to each other on our walk]

“I wish we could come every week.” “I wish we could come here everyday!”

[At the end of the field trip, we ask the students what they liked or learned, here's a few quotes]

“I like when you gave us 2 minutes of free style!”

“I liked looking at spiders.”

“I liked looking at all of the trees.”

Here are some quotes from a packet of thank you letters from Seattle Country Day School:

“I learned Arboretum means tree place. I think it was really fun when we made a tree out of our bodies!”

“It was fun being the bark and chanting we are bark please keep out.”

“Thank you for showing us around the Arboretum. My favorite part was when we planted a seed. I learned that you need the perfect temperature to grow a plant.”

“I learned that plants help us breathe.”

You know, you don’t have to be a student on a field trip to get out into the Arboretum! Take off your adult worries and slip into a more comfortable and comforting environment. Re-engage your sense of wonder by smelling some soil or hugging a tree. You might just see us with a group of students doing the exact same thing.

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Learn Autumn Perennial Care from Riz Reyes

October 11th, 2012 by UWBG Communication Staff

Autumn in the Soest Perennial Garden

When - Saturday, November 3, 2012, 10am – 12pm – Cancelled
Where - Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA
Cost - $25; $30 after October 28th, registration required.


Join the Soest Garden gardener Riz Reyes for this hands-on workshop on fall perennial garden care. Walk the extensively planted beds and learn about which plants to cut back now, and which ones to leave until spring. Learn how to divide and transplant specific types of plants, and some tricks and techniques for maintenance practices that create visual appeal for the dormant season. Riz will also share his favorite “tried and true” selections for fall interest.

Participants should bring their own hand-pruners, gloves, and hori-hori soil knife, and dress for the weather.

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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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Take a Halloween walk in a cemetery

September 29th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Ghosts and Goblins in a cemetery for Hallowe’en?

lichen on a tombstone photo by bert23.com

Why not consider lichens as an alternative?  Lichens are friendly and interesting organisms that love to grow on headstones and old trees.  Cemeteries can take on new meaning as a fun place to observe a symbiotic organism made up of a fungus and algae.  You will also learn about common lichens found in an urban environment and take home a user-friendly chart that lists lichens found in your neighborhood.

Always wondered about what lichens are and why they are found on your trees and Rhododendrons?  Lichens are harmless to your plants and add aesthetic value to trees and shrubs.  We can actually use them as indicators of air pollution!  Join Dr. Katherine Glew and the Center for Urban Horticulture on Saturday, October 27 to get a head start on learning lichens from your local cemetery.  You can enjoy Hallowe’en looking for lichens rather that scary witches and pumpkin heads.

Cost: $25; $30 after October 24.

 

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Cuba Tour Planned for Feb. 2013

September 7th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

In early 2012, UWBG led its first trip to Cuba. Director Sarah Reichard, the leader, blogged about the fascinating and sometimes perplexing world they encountered.
Cuba by Barbara Wright - iSustain We hope to do a similar trip in 2013, although it pending the renewal of our license to travel to Cuba. Because the license has expired, we cannot take deposits at this time, but if you are interested in being notified when the license is approved, please contact Sarah at reichard@uw.edu. The complete itinerary is available for review.

 

Mil Cumbres photo

Our guide leans against the very rare Microcycas calocoma


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We Have Winners!

September 6th, 2012 by Lisa Sanphillippo

The UWBG Kids Digital Photography Contest was a complete success! We had 12 entries, ranging from ages 7 to 16, who submitted some really incredible artwork.

At least one photo of every contestant is displayed at Fuel Coffee on 24th Ave in the Montlake neighborhood.

You can also view all of the photographs on Flickr.

You will note that at both locations we have displayed photographs taken by our Art in the Park Summer Camp kids. Their photos were inspired by their study of Ansel Adams and Andrew Goldsworthy.

And now for our winners – drum roll, please! Congratulations to Srija, Cooper, Teagan and Annie!


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