UW Botanic Gardens Spring Break and Summer Camps

February 19th, 2013 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

It’s that time of year again when we pull out our calendars and begin to think about summer plans. Consider signing your child up to play and learn outside all summer! We are offering seven weeks of outdoor, nature-based summer camps at the Washington Park Arboretum. New themes have been added like Wetland Rangers and Northwest Naturalists, and kept some of our favorites like Woodland Wonders and Art in the Park.

We are also offering a spring break camp in conjunction with the Seattle Public Schools spring break week. What better way to spend a week in April than exploring our 230 acres of natural wonderland in the heart of Seattle? Spring break is supposed to be a *break* so we plan to play games, go on hikes and adventures through the nooks and crannies of the Arboretum, and tackle projects like building a fort, creating Andy Goldsworthy inspired art and exploring the uses of our native plants.

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Interested in working at our summer camp? Apply to be a Summer Garden Guide!

We also have volunteer opportunities for high school students! Check out our Junior Garden Guide position and application.

 

 

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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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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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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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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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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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Fiddlehead Thursdays – Fall Series

August 23rd, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Check out our new twice-a-month Thursday program geared towards preschool-age children and their caregivers. Come adventure through the Arboretum with us this fall! Fun, nature-based themes will guide us through an hour and a half of free play, exploration, games, and songs along the trails of the Arboretum.

More information and registration can be found on our Fiddleheads Forest School web page.

September 20 – Salamanders

Salamanders live in our Woodland Garden ponds starting as an egg, growing into larva and eventually leaving the pond as full-grown adults. We will use nets to catch a few and see who else makes their home in the ponds.

October 4 – Nature’s Design: Spiders and their Webs

Explore the intricate webs and the diversity of spiders along our trails. We will use bug sheets and bug boxes to catch and observe spiders, and anything else that crosses our path.

October 18 – Falling Changing Leaves

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 – Bats

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?

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 – Camouflage

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

What are trees doing in the winter? We will investigate different trees and discover what they’re up to.

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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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Family Ecology Tours

June 14th, 2012 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

We’re excited to announce a new focus area for UWBG’s Education & Outreach Program at the Washington Park Arboretum – families!  We’ve done School Fieldtrips since the 80′s and will be offering Summer Camps for 1st – 6th graders for the second year come July, but we’d like to engage an older audience too. adults, after all, are really just big kids.


So be on the lookout for our new “Family Ecology Tours” and help us bring our fun, hands-on version of environmental education to “kids” of all ages.

Our first program is this Saturday, so come join us!

 

(“Park in the Dark” night hikes just around the corner)

June 16th: Citizen Science: Water Works for 6-12 year olds, 1-3pm

Help us kick off our participation in the “World Water Monitoring Challenge” – an international education and outreach program to build public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. Come learn about our watershed, water quality testing and the world of water. We will collect our first set of water quality data from Lake Washington, play some games, dip for macro invertebrates and dive into ways to keep our water clean.

 

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