What’s Going on Around the Burnt Tree?

March 12th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff

By Andrew Fraser

Preparing the area to be planted with native grasses and flowers near Shoveler's Pond

Preparing the area to be planted with native grasses and flowers near Shoveler’s Pond

If you have walked around Shoveler’s Pond in the Union Bay Natural Area (Montlake Fill) this month you have seen the area undergoing a flurry of activity from plowing to bulldozers moving dirt. This is all part of the ESRM 473 restoration project. Each winter quarter, students in the class design and implement a restoration project in the Union Bay Natural Area. Previous year projects have included mound construction and prairie plant installation around Shoveler’s Pond, trimming the willows and clearing up the area around the large central pond, wetland construction and prairie conversion of the E5 parking lot.

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Planting native grasses near Shoveler’s Pond.

This year is the first of a multi-year process of converting the non-native grassland of UBNA into that of the local South Puget Sound Prairies and Gary Oak Savannas. Students have selected, propagated and purchased a large quantity of plants and seeds of  native flora and have begun installing them this week. The goal of these projects is to help our native flora to get a leg up over the large number of non-native plants in the area and provide an easy view location of some of the beautiful local native grasses and wildflowers. Within the next two years, this year’s project site will change from an open gravel and sand patch to a prairie landscape covered with native grasses such as Idaho Fescue, Blue Wildrye, and Tufted Hairgrass with wildflowers such as Common Camas, White Fawn lily, Chocolate lilies, Prairie lupine, Scarlet Paint Brush, and Broad-leafed Shooting Start blooming in the area from Early Spring to Early Summer.

Please forgive our mess and come see the next stage of UBNA’s transformation from the Montlake Dump to a premier Seattle natural area.

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UW Student Restoration Ecology Program featured in BGjournal

March 8th, 2013 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

BGjournal 10.1The January 2013 edition of BGjournal features an article on the restoration work UW students have accomplished as part of the Restoration Ecology Capstone course sequence. The capstone works with community partners to accomplish restoration projects in and around Seattle. Capstone projects have helped to restore 15 acres of the Union Bay Natural Area, a former landfill.

To learn more, read the full article:

BGjournal 10.1

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Work parties to restore nature

February 22nd, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff

The students involved with UW Restoration Ecology Network need the public’s help restoring degraded natural areas in urban sites. Join a work party to rip out invasive weeds, build trails, spread mulch and many more invigorating tasks.

Richmond Beach Saltwater Park

flier

Click for work party details

Yesler Swamp Trail

Proposed dates

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Training Dates Announced

January 16th, 2013 by Lisa Sanphillippo

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UWBG School Programs serve over 6,000 kids a year and we could not possibly do it without the help of our volunteers. We are hiring volunteer Garden Guides now and have two dates to get folks started on their journey to engage kids in the great outdoors.

Saturday February 9th from 11:00 – 3:00 pm and
Saturday February 16th from 11:00 – 3:00 pm

Guides need only attend one training, but are welcome to both. Both trainings will cover an introduction to the University of Washington Botanic Gardens as well as round table and in the field discussions about class management, interpretation techniques and age appropriate teaching.

2-way viewer for Paige

February 9th we will focus on our Plants 101 and 201 programs and February 16th we’ll focus on Wetlands 101 and 201. New guides will learn what the big ideas of each program are, how the student’s age affects the level and amount of information given and how to use the props and activities in the field.

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If you would like to fill nature with children and teach them about plant science, ecology and more, contact Lisa Sanphillippo at 206-543-8801 or lsanphil@uw.edu for more information.

We value our volunteers for their time, experience and dedication! We hold enrichments, training and other educational opportunities regularly. Call or email now to become a treasured part of our team.

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Grad student’s thesis work benefits rare plants

December 26th, 2012 by Wendy Gibble
Ivy Clark plants Castilleja seedlings (photo by Wendy Gibble)

Ivy Clark plants Castilleja seedlings (photo by Wendy Gibble)

Reprinted from the Rare Plant Press

Graduate student Lauren “Ivy” Clark has been knee deep in seeds ever since
she started her Master’s work at University of Washington. She first came to work with Rare Care in 2009 to develop protocols for propagating ten shrub-steppe species from seed for a project Rare Care was working on with BLM. Having developed an interest in germination ecology, Ivy also started working with Rare Care’s rare plant seed collection, conducting germination tests on collections held in the Miller Seed Vault. This ongoing work dovetails nicely with her thesis work, in which she explores the potential for hybridization between golden paintbrush (Castilleja levisecta) and harsh Indian paintbrush (C. hispida).

Both Castilleja species occur on Puget Sound prairies, and hybridization has been observed in a nursery setting. Recent golden paintbrush reintroductions have resulted in both species growing in close proximity to one another at out-planting sites. After ascertaining that the same pollinator species frequent both species, Ivy collected seeds from both species where they co-occur and is propagating them in the greenhouse. She will evaluate morphological features of the progeny to determine whether and to what extent hybridization is occurring at these reintroduction sites and whether the risk of hybridization is reduced by increasing the distance between neighboring individuals of the two species.

Ivy has had an interest in plants for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Texas, her interest in the natural world was nurtured by her parents. She’s held a variety of jobs since becoming a biologist, many of them restricting her to laboratories. Finding that she really enjoys being in the field, she hopes to use her skills and degree to work in the restoration ecology field. In the meantime, we are delighted to have her working on Rare Care projects and caring for our ex situ collection.

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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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In the Arboretum with the total station and other milestones

November 30th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

The Leica Builder theodolite is a central part of the total station.

In August 2012 UWBG was awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create a georeference database of the living collections. The first phase involves surveying in the Washington Park Arboretum.

Where are the monuments?

On a sunny autumn day a team of UW students, UWBG staff and team leader Jim Lutz headed down the East Arboretum trail to the Meadow with a shiny, new total station. They were on a mission to track down monuments that define the grid used to map Arboretum plant accessions. Once a monument was found they used the total station to determine the location in real space. (more photos below)

Total what?

A total station is a collection of equipment, such as a Leica Builder theodolite, tribrach, tripods, and prisms, that is used to measure distance and slope. A team of two or three people use it together to measure coordinates. Most of us have seen a total station in use by transportation survey crews. Low tech equipment like measuring tapes and marking paint are also used to do the job.

Making progress: georeferenced database project milestones

After months of preparation the  Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium records are now integrated into the BG-Base plant records database which means that a search now returns records for both plant accessions and vouchers. Vouchers are pressed plant material that serve to document and archive living collections while also supporting species identification.

Another milestone completed was scanning the print copies of grid squares. These print maps record where individual trees and shrubs grow with a dot and accession ID number. As plants are added, moved or removed the print maps are redrawn with updated information. As grid corner monuments are surveyed the corresponding scanned map will then be imported as a layer into ArcGIS Desktop and each plant accession will be clicked to essentially digitize the print map.

This is a portion of grid 35-2E. The scanned maps will be digitized the information incorporated into the georeferenced database.

The green dots represent the monuments recently surveyed and entered into an ArcGIS Map project with layers of city streets, park trails, an aerial view and the Arboretum grid map.

November 10th day in the field photos

 


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Paths II: The Music of Trees now playing

September 25th, 2012 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

We’ve been closely following the progress of Abby Aresty’s “Music of Trees” project, a sound installation project in the Arbortetum. We’re pleased to report that the installation is up and running. Aresty describes the project as “a series of sound installations that explore the layers and permutations of acoustic space in seven sites throughout Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum. Each installation creates a sonic dialogue with its acoustic and physical space. The striking forms of the trees and plants, as well as their relationship to the surrounding environments, provide a unique opportunity for the artistic and physical exploration of sound in space.” 

The installation will be running in October on Wednesdays from 3 to 6pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am – 1:30 pm throughout October.

Abby in the media

Click this trail map to learn the location to Music of Trees.


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More Service Learning at the Arboretum

June 12th, 2012 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Posted on behalf of Will Pleskow, UW student and UWBG volunteer service learner


 

I never thought weeds would be so endless and time consuming but I certainly have a new perspective on weeding after many back-breaking hours digging out seemingly endless little green plants. All of the planting and weeding that I have done and will do take place right outside the greenhouse in a secluded part of the Arboretum used for plant propagation. The vegetable garden has lain fallow for many months so as you can imagine the weeds were quite healthy at the start of the quarter.  The two primary weeds are shotweed (Cardamine hirsute) and horsetail (Equisetum sp.).  Horsetails were some of the first land plants to evolve on planet earth and continue to make their impact on gardens as well as my back.

Shotweed is a small  plant that has green leaves and sometimes a yellow-white flower budding from the middle. It’s native to North America, Europe, and Asia. It’s part of the mustard family and is the only weed I encountered at the Arboretum that is edible. Shotweed flowers early in the spring up until autumn.  After budding Shotweed develops seeds in pods that are highly sensitive and will often burst upon being touched “shooting” its seeds flying in a close proximity to its mother plant. The easy distribution of seeds is what makes this plant multiply and infest so quickly. Often times removing all of the shotweeds visible with the naked eye is not enough as their seeds may still lie around buried in the soil.  Due to shotweed distinct qualities it makes it a difficult weed to eradicate and is therefore very prevalent in many parts of the world.

Horsetail is about 1 – 2 feet tall and sticks straight up with whisker-like leaves coming off the sides that give it its distinct look and name. Horsetails, like ferns, are plants that reproduce with spores rather than seeds. Despite its irritating affect when dealing with in the garden, this fascinating plant is a “living fossil” and one of the oldest land plants on earth dating back some 375 million years. This remarkable weed is found everywhere in the world except Antarctica. The horsetail prefers wet sandy soils but is adaptable to almost any type of soil. The stalks start deep beneath the ground, which make it hard to dig out, and also very enduring. In addition, it is also unaffected by many herbicides so the only way to remove this weed is by hand. Horsetail along with shotweed makes for a very lethal duo in the garden and creates a situation where one must constantly be weeding to sustain a healthy garden.

With the new experience I have gained by volunteering at the Arboretum this quarter, I plan to grow and cultivate a sustainable and environmentally friendly garden of my own. This ties directly with what we have been discussing in class and the strong importance professor Litfin places on “knowing where your food is coming from.” I hope one day to have a garden of my own where I can grow my own plants and provide food for myself from my very own garden. This service learning project has been a great opportunity to get hands-on experience with growing and cultivating food in an environmentally friendly and healthy way.

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Aspiring Plant Geek

June 1st, 2012 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

posted on behalf of UW Student and Arboretum volunteer extraordinaire, Lora Mitchell

Aspiring Plant Geek, Lora Mitchell

This quarter I signed up for an environmental studies course that offered service learning. Upon first learning about the service learning program I was intrigued, but slightly hesitant until I saw a position at the Washington State Arboretum. Thrilled at the idea of working with plants the entire quarter I immediately signed up for that position. You see, I’m a biology major who also happened to be talking a lant identification course this quarter as well. I figured working at the arboretum would not only be a great experience in it of itself, but it could also help me learn plant families. My job consisted of making plant ID sheets and eventually tweeting about current plants in bloom around the arboretum. With summer around the corner, being able to walk along hidden paths throughout the arboretum discovering plants I had never heard of or seen before was amazing. Informing the community about native plants is important in building a sustainable future. Some of my favorite discoveries include…

Dove Tree (Davidia involucrata)

The beautiful Dove Tree, part of the family Cornaceae (Dogwoods) was in bloom on my last visit to the arboretum. When first seeing this plant I initially thought it to be a magnolia, but after learning its name discovered it’s actually part of the dogwood family.

Now,  Magnolia sinensis is one of the most beautiful magnolias I had ever seen. It is endemic, or restricted to, China and is being threatened by habitat loss.

 

 

 

The Golden English Oak (Quercus robur ‘Concordia’) glistens in the sun, making it hard not to notice. Native to Europe, with bright golden-yellow leaves, this tree made me stop in my tracks. On that beautiful May afternoon I stood for a while and looked in awe.

Overall, I have enjoyed my experience at the Arboretum this spring quarter. I have learned a lot more about various plants and will definitely make a habit of stopping by from time to just to look around. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to help during the summer.

 

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