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!

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Register Now for Arboretum Summer Camps

April 29th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

During the Seattle Public Schools’ Spring Break week, the Washington Park Arboretum hosted a spring-themed camp program for ten students in 1st-5th grade. Scroll through these photos and captions to see how much fun we had and how much fun YOU could have at our Summer Camps this summer!

On the first day of camp the students came up with our team name – The Buzzing Bees. We did lots of bzzzzzing during the week and there was a bee-themed mural made to honor our team name.

A pair of campers play Meet-A-Tree. The blindfolded child is getting to know his tree with all of his senses – here he is licking the tree (DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME:)! His partner is waiting until he feels like he knows his tree well enough to find it later. She will walk him (blindfolded) back to the starting spot, making sure to take a new path. There she will take off his blindfold and he will have to find his tree!

One day we made an edible salad from native plants. The campers all proclaimed that they do not like salad so we came up with two new names – Wild Greens and Garden Yum! The concoction consisted of wood sorrel, big-leaf maple flower buds, salmon berry flowers, red huckleberry flowers, and dandilion flowers and leaves. We also made teas during the week from stinging nettle, the western hemlock tree and western red cedar.

 

 

On Monday we worked as a team to do the Bird-Themed Scavenger Hunt, which took us through the wetland area in search of birds with informational tags on them. We sucessfully found all the birds and cracked the code! At the tip of foster island we took a break in the sun to make daisy chains, explore the water’s edge and do a WAM (Water Appreciation Moment – someone says something they are thankful for and we all take a big sip of water).

We also made some time to let free giggles and energy while playing tail tag! Everyone has a tail and the objective is to steal as many tails as you can without having your own tail stolen.

Wednesday was our water day – we visited the two woodland ponds to see what’s in them. We brought along some tools: small and large dipping nets, white-bottomed trays, pipettes, and field guides. It’s still early spring, but we did find a variety of egg sacs, an aquatic earthworm, a snail shell, mosquito larve and a water strider.

It’s the time of year to plant and prep gardens for a full season of growing food. We grow vegetables in garden beds behind our greenhouse to use during summer camp. Spring break campers helped us out by weeding the beds and planting kale and lettuce starts. They also painted a pot and planted seeds in it to take home, and made mosaic garden tiles to either put in our garden or take home.

Missed Spring Break Camp? Check out our Summer Camps – they’re filling quickly!

Bird-Themed Scavenger Hunt at the Arboretum – April 14-22

April 13th, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Come learn about local birds and the plants that attract them. Crack the code and receive a prize!  Two scavenger hunts are available: 8 and under; 9 and over. Pick up your scavenger sheet at the Graham Visitor Center (GVC) between 10am and 4pm or print them from these links:

Spring Scavenger Hunt – 8 and under

Spring Scavenger Hunt – 9 and over

 

If you come when the GVC is closed there is a blue folder located to the side of the front door with clue sheets inside.

Hidden throughout the Arboretum wetlands are birds and laminated cards clipped to trees, shrubs and benches waiting for you to find them. When you do, leave them where they are, but use their secret letters to fill the blanks and crack the code.

Return your sheet to the visitor center or mail them to us and we will mail you a prize! Good luck, have fun and Happy Spring!

If you have a smart phone there will be QR codes you can scan along the way for more facts on the birds and plants you will be visiting.

Earth Day for the Whole Family!

April 3rd, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Celebrate Earth Day at the Arboretum on April 22nd from 10am-12pm!

Washington Park Arboretum and Wilderness Awareness School have teamed up to offer a family-friendly Earth Day event. Bring your family, bring your friends and come celebrate the earth, play games, do a small service project and eat yummy earth snacks.