Summer Camp at the Washington Park Arboretum is starting its fourth year with more weeks and themes than ever. Kids from 6-12 years can go on weekly adventures featuring bugs, birds, frogs, trees, weeds, and even an art and cooking show.
These enthusiastic, thoughtful and genuine folks are our Garden Guides for the UW Botanic Gardens Summer Camp at the Arboretum. They are charged with creating fun, educational, nature-based experiences for our campers. They have our 230 acre nature oasis to work with, their own experience and excitement to bring to the table, and a host of materials and curriculum to support their endeavors. Together we will build connection, community and nature awareness as we discover the wonders of the Arboretum. Each guide is paired with a high school student in our Junior Garden Guide program. We still have a few spots left in summer camp, come join us for a week of adventure!
Brian Marienfeld, Summer Garden Guide
My name is Brian and I am blessed to have had an amazing journey in my life, from working for a wilderness therapy organization to getting my Masters at the University of Washington and IslandWood. I am passionate about working with kids outdoors, hiking across this country, soul music, making pizza, and building strong caring communities to mention a few. I fell in love with Washington many years ago and am so grateful for this opportunity to help others connect to this incredible place. I look forward to bringing care and energy to my students and to the Arboretum community.
Tara Nichol, Summer Garden Guide
Tara was born in Seattle and grew up exploring the beautiful Northwest forests, coasts, lakes and rivers during her childhood. Tara graduated in 2007 with a BA in Environmental Education from Fairhaven College in Bellingham, WA. She has worked in Outdoor Education for eight years leading backpacking trips, sailing, and teaching about local ecology. Tara is trained as a Waldorf teacher, and loves the awe and beauty that outdoor experiences give to young people. She enjoys hiking, biking, singing and creating art.
My name is Stephanie and I am thrilled to be a part of the UWBG Education Team this summer! I was born and raised in New York City, but I have spent the last 7 years teaching outdoors in many diverse landscapes across the country. I moved to the Puget Sound 2 years ago to continue to pursue my passion for education through the graduate program at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island. I have spent this last year teaching fourth grade in Seattle Public Schools and I am really excited to be returning to my roots in the outdoor classroom! When I am not teaching, I can usually be found biking, birding, or farming. I am looking forward to exploring and making lots of discoveries in the Arboretum this summer with your child!
Sarah is a life long Seattle resident with deep northwest roots from her childhood years of playing outside and a strong interest in all things nature. She developed and piloted summer camp at the Arboretum three years ago and has since grown the program into what it is today – 7 weeks of outdoor, nature-based fun in the heart of Seattle. Sarah keeps herself busy by developing new programs and building community at the Arboretum. On the weekends Sarah can be found climbing, hiking, scrambling and backpacking in the mountains. Sarah is looking forward to connecting with returning families and meeting all the ones!
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.
Interested in working at our summer camp? Apply to be a Summer Garden Guide!
Ever wanted to learn how to engage kids in nature? Did you love playing outside as a kid? Do you like hanging out with kids? Do you want service/volunteer hours? The Arboretum Summer Camps still need Junior Garden Guides to assist during our camp program. High school volunteers will pair up with one of our staff to lead a group of up to 12 students on adventures, hikes and nature-based activities in the Arboretum. The commitment is one day of training and a minimum of two weeks of camp. What better way to spend your summer than outside in one of Seattle’s most stunning parks playing with kids and exploring the Arboretum!
Job Description: 2-5 weeks of camp and one day of camp training (must commit to at least 2 weeks of camp + 1 day of training)
Dates and Times: July 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th (pick one to come in for training), July 9-13, 16-20, 23-27, July 30-August 3, and August 6-10. 8:30am-3:30pm each day.
Camp Overview: Our day-camp curriculums are designed in support of our mission: to promote environmental conservation through education and recreation. To achieve this we focus on hands-on exploration, play and the concept of “learning by doing”. Depending on the weekly theme, campers may become ethnobotanists, urban farmers or field biologists all while learning about the importance of teamwork and sustainability.
General Duties: This position is ideal for high school students interested in working with children outside in nature. No experience is necessary, just enthusiasm for kids, playing outside and gaining leadership skills. Junior Summer Camp Guides will assist Summer Garden Guides to plan and provide an exceptional day camp experience. Each Summer Garden Guide will be paired with a Junior Summer Camp Guide and together they will be responsible for a group of up to 12 campers. Junior summer camp guides will collaborate with their Summer Garden Guide to determine their role and responsibilities within the group.
Junior Summer Camp Guides will have the opportunity to lead games and activities with the guidance of their Summer Garden Guide. This position is designed to provide experience and skills in teaching and working with children, expand environmental knowledge and guide teens in developing leadership skills.
- Assist Summer Garden Guides
- Engage, interact and play with campers
- Attend training
- Perform related duties as required
- Must be 16 years old at start of camp (exceptions might be made for mature students)
- Strong work ethic, punctual, and dependable
- Excellent interpersonal skills with staff, children, and parents
- Must be able to comply with and maintain a smoke-free and drug-free work environment
- Ability to work outdoors in all types of weather
- Interest in working with children
- Some background in ecology, botany, biology, environmental education or related areas
- Flexible and open to new experiences
- Exhibits patience and responsibility
- Can role model mature behavior
- Ability to work as a team member
- Fulfillment of high school volunteer or service-learning requirements (up to 185 hours)
- Letter of recommendation upon request following a successful completion of the internship
Interested? Contact Sarah Heller, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206) 221-6427 with questions or to request an application.
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!
The Washington Park Arboretum is full of quiet nooks, unusual plants, and hidden groves where our imagination can run free and our curiosity is hooked. Bring your family and come find this special spot!
Who are they? This is a grove of sequoia trees, also known as:
Giant sequoia – Sierra redwood – Sequoiadendron giganteum – big-tree – mammoth-tree
Did you know?
These giant trees are all more than 70 years old and the tallest is 139 feet tall and 13 feet and 11 inches round.
The word “sequoia” contains all five vowels.
This quiet grove of sequoia trees is a favorite destination of our school groups and summer camps. We might play meet-a-tree or hide-and-seek, or eat our lunch in their shade or discover how trees grow and reproduce, and act out a tree’s life cycle.
To find this place you have to cross this:
And walk to the left of this:
Why don’t you come and visit these friendly giants? You could:
- Play hide and seek
- Feel their bark and find a cone
- Have a picnic underneath these mysterious mammoths
- Find out how many humans it takes to wrap around one
- Read a story sitting against one of their trunks (all available at CUH’s Miller Library)
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
- A Grand Old Tree by Mary Newell DePalma
- Ancient Ones: The World of the Old-Growth Douglas Fir by Barbara Bash
- A Tree is Growing by Arthur Dorros
- Act out the life cycle of a tree!
Become a seed (curl up in a tight ball) – Now sprout! (Uncurl and kneel) – Grow a branch by sticking out one of your arms – Grow another branch, stick out the other arm – Grow leaves (wiggle your fingers) = Grow tall (stand up, feet together) – Grow roots (spread your feet apart) – Grow rootlets (wiggle your toes) – Oh no! You are being attacked by insects and fungi (start scratching all over – Lose a limb to lighting (make a loud noise and put your arm by your side) – Become a home for wildlife (smile!) – Woodpeckers looking for insects start exploring your dead wood (make a knocking noise) – You are blown down (make a creaking noise and fall down) – Become a nurse log, a new seed sprouts from rotting wood (stick one arm up).
- Play a game!
I Like Trees
One person stands in the middle and everyone else finds a tree to stand in front of. Have each person mark their tree by putting a bandana, backpack or other visible item in front of it. The person standing in the middle (not next to a tree) says “I like___” and fills in the blank with something they like (could be about trees, or anything!). If other people like that thing too then they leave their tree and have to find another tree to touch (one with a marking in front of it). The person who called out “I like ____” also tries to find a tree to stand in front of. One person will be left without a tree and then it is their turn to stand in the middle and say “I like___” about something. Keep playing until everyone has had a turn in the middle.
This is a great game for younger kids. Have each kid pick a tree. Maybe encourage them to get to know their tree a bit before the game starts. When you say “tree” or “sequoia” (or whatever word you decide to be the “go” word) the kids run and touch another tree. Do this over and over and the kids will love running from tree to tree and waiting for you to call out the word. Mix it up a little and say other words to help build the anticipation before you say your “go” word.
Jacobson, A. L. (2006). Trees of seattle. (2nd ed., pp. 362-363). Seattle: Arthur Lee Jacobson.
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.
Summer camp at the Washington Park Arboretum takes place in July this year.
- Week 1: Native Plants and People (July 11 – 15)
- Week 2: Little Green Thumbs (July 18 – 22)
- Week 3: Arboretum Detectives (July 25 – 29)
Read the full theme descriptions and learn how to register at the Summer Programs page.
Family Fun Day May 22, 2011 gives a taste of what summer camp holds.