2016 Bioblitz

April 15th, 2016 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant
Jenni Cena and Liam Stacey, guest entomologists, examine a catch at our 2013 Bioblitz

Jenni Cena and Liam Stacey, guest entomologists, examine a catch at our 2013 Bioblitz

Coming up on May 6 and 7, the UW Botanic Gardens invites you to join our 2016 BioBlitz at the Washington Park Arboretum! A BioBlitz is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and community volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period. Sign up this year and help us look for bats, birds, insects, lichens, weeds, and mussels at the Arboretum’s Foster Island!

On Friday night, you can partake in “Introduction to BioBlitz” activities, as well as walks with our naturalists for families with kids ages 4 to 11. Stop in any time between 4 and 7 p.m., and we will also stay out late to look for bats from 8 to 10 p.m.

On Saturday, we’ll be searching for birds at daybreak, insects, lichens and noxious weeds in the morning, then plants and freshwater mussels/macroinvertebrates in the afternoon. The BioBlitz is open to everyone, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned naturalist, and children are welcome in all groups.

So if you’d like to join other students, citizen scientists and families for a rewarding, hands-on weekend of discovery, you can RSVP online for an organism group (or taxa), by phone (206.685.8033), or by email (uwbgeduc@uw.edu).

Hope you can make it!Andrew_Westphal_by_Christina_Doherty

Spring Family Nature Classes

March 16th, 2016 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

We are happy to announce that our Spring Classes are open for registration!

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(2-5 years) and their caregivers will experience the UW Botanic Gardens using their senses.

Classes are Wednesday through Saturday 9:30 to 11:30am (We are not offering any older student Friday afternoon classes at this time)

Week of: Theme
March 30-April 2 Dirt!
April 6-9 Trees and Seasons
April 13-16 Forests Are a Healthy Home
April 20-23 Our Planet Earth – Celebrate Earth Day
April 27-30 Tree Appreciation – Celebrate Arbor Day
May 4-7 WEEK OFF  – Come to our Bioblitz Friday night and Saturday all day!
May 11-14 Flowers and Pollinators
May 18-21 What Makes a Bird a Bird
May 25-28 Owls
June 1-4 Birds on the Water
June 8-11 Wetlands

kids with binos

Feel free to register online, or call 206-685-8033. Please call if you have a class credit to use!

Cost is $18/class, $9 for additional children, (additional adults free) and there is a discount for purchasing 6 or more at once.

Meet our teachers!

Wednesday and Thursday: Tifanie Treter
Tifanie Treter received her Naturalist Certificate from the Morton Arboretum, near Chicago, where she was a lead guide for school field trips, family programs, and summer camps. After relocating to Seattle, she has volunteered at the Washington Park Arboretum with the school programs and the Fiddleheads Forest School.  In her free time Tifanie enjoys learning about her new Pacific Northwest surroundings through exploring the many natural areas that surround Seattle. She looks forward to sharing the Arboretum with the many families that visit!

Fridays: Lisa Sanphillippo:
Lisa Sanphillippo is a Certified Interpretive Guide and Naturalist living in Seattle for 23 years.  Her background is in theater, but she has been an informal educator for 17 years – the last 12 here at UW Botanic Gardens leading field trips for preschool to high school students at both Washington Park Arboretum and Center for Urban Horticulture.  Lisa is super excited to work with families exploring and discovering the wonders of nature at both sites.

Saturdays: Stephanie Aragon
Stephanie Aragon is an Environmental Educator, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Her background is in Anthropology and Environmental Studies, looking at how humans and the environment interact.  When Stephanie is not teaching Family Nature classes, she explores the natural world with students at the Fiddleheads Forest School, and presents engaging programs and experiences at the Woodland Park Zoo. Stephanie approaches environmental education with a sense of wonder and excitement. She can’t wait to join you on adventures that foster our fundamental appreciation for the natural world.

More information…

Winter with the Family Nature Class

January 27th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Investigating a spider sighting




The winter session of Fiddleheads Family Nature Class is in full swing this month, despite the weather. Preschoolers aged 2-5 are learning how winter is special, what a skeleton is, what a fossil is and how they form, and even delving into a little chemistry! Every week is a different theme with fun new activities to get you and your little one interested in science, nature, and the world around us.




Taking a closer look at a slug

Taking a closer look at a slug



Classes are Tuesday-Thursday mornings from 10am-12pm with a special Wednesday afternoon session from 1:30-3:30pm for preschoolers ages 4-5.

More information on price, time, discounts, location, and topics.

Call 206-685-8033 or email uwbgeduc@uw.edu for more information.



What lives in a pond?

What lives in a pond?



Upcoming topics:
I Can Be a Scientist! – February 3-5

Trees Grow Up, Too – February 10-12

How Animals Move – February 24-26

Spying With Our Eyes – March 3-5

Sounds of the Forest – March 10-12

Fun In the Mud – March 17-19

Snails, Slugs, and Slimy Things – March 24-26















Arboretum Summer Camp!

May 20th, 2011 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Summer is coming. Summer is coming. Summer is coming! I’ve had to repeat this reassuring mantra more than usual this spring, but it’s true, I promise, summer is indeed just around the corner. This is especially exciting for us in the WPA Education Program because it means SUMMER CAMPS! We’ve partnered with other organizations in the past to hold summer camps, but this year we’re taking complete control and we couldn’t be happier about it. Having control means we choose the dates, times, themes, activities, size and most importantly the Summer Camp Guides. We put out the call and were overwhelmed by the response, and now after some difficult decisions we’re thrilled to introduce our summer camp team of top-notch environmental educators:

Sarah Short: Sarah is our fearless leader who will be overseeing our Summer Camps this year. She’s a Seattle native who received her B.A. in Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic in Maine where she realized that her love of nature and science could best be used in teaching others. Sarah returned to Seattle, her one and only true home, to attend IslandWood and the UW. She will be receiving her M.Ed. in Science Education this June. Sarah loves coming up with fun and interesting ways to connect people to science and nature – that’s one of the many reasons she’s so excited about Arboretum Summer Camps!

Rachel Nagorsky: Rachel comes to us via the University of British Colombia, and IslandWood. She will be pursuing her M.Ed. from UW in the fall. Rachel has worked with kids of all ages from kindergarten to high school both here and in Canada, sharing her love of mountains and nature. When she’s not in class learning about teaching or in the field actually teaching, Rachel is a nanny and volunteer at Seattle Tilth’s children’s garden – she just can’t seem to get enough. She’s bubbly and bright and her “bag of tricks” is filled to the brim. She looks forward to putting those tricks to good use this summer at the Arboretum and we look forward to her infectious excitement.


Gabriel Finkelstein: Gabe is an outdoor and environmental educator who loves exploring the natural world any way he can – by bike, foot, kayak or ski. He has spent the last 8 years providing outdoor learning opportunities for youth that engage their natural curiosities and interests. He holds a B.A. in Education from College of the Atlantic in Maine where he was active in programs
that worked to get public school students outdoors and involved with their natural surroundings. He’s fascinated by the interconnections between humans and the environment and loves sharing this fascination with children.

Kathie Branford: Kathie is a transplant from California where she grew up spending summers attending and eventually working at camps set in the redwoods near Yosemite Valley. She received her B.S. in Biology from Brigham Young University and is currently perusing a M.A. in Science Teaching from UW in conjunction with the IslandWood Graduate Program. Aside from summer camps, Kathie has worked at natural history museums teaching students about animals, and environmental consulting firm teaching businesses about water conservation. She also studied abroad in Paris where she fell in love with the French language and the French cuisine. Her favorite book is “The Count of Monte Cristo”, and her favorite tree is the Western Hemlock.

click here to learn more about WPA Summer Camps