A Day in the Life

August 20th, 2014 by Lisa Sanphillippo

imagine
you are outside. The sun is shining, illuminating the new growth on the western red cedars. It’s been a great growing season and the plants at Washington Park Arboretum are thriving. The backdrop of evergreen trees is a lovely frame to all of the native and non-native plants in the collection. Now, if they would just get here!

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Photo by Lisa Sanphillippo

Just when you thought you couldn’t wait any longer, here comes the bus holding 60 scheduled school-aged children just bursting with energy and excitement to be out of school and outside on such a fine day as this. Today, you will be teaching 15 of them the Native Plants and Native People program. What is native? What is invasive? Who was born in this state? Who are the Puget Sound Salish People? The kids get engaged by the questions you ask. You are showing them their participation and input is valuable.

You will focus some of their amazing energy into a running game about what it is people need to survive. After they have run out some of their shenanigans, you might point out that most everything folks need to survive comes from plants. And with the Puget Sound Salish People, they didn’t just use any old plants; they used plants that are native – original to this place.

Photo by Jacob Smithers

It will surprise you how many of them know what a western red cedar looks like. The J-shaped branches and the flat leaves are very familiar to most of them. But, you can still teach them about western hemlock and its different length needles and puzzle-piece bark. Douglas fir might be new to them, too. Though, once the children see the deep and creviced bark and the way-up high branches, it will be hard for them to forget. Maybe you will tell them the story of the mouse looking for a safe home during a forest fire using the cones of each to differentiate and describe the three trees. You know that story will create a great memory for them about how to identify all three trees.

You will show them artifacts made by local Ethnobotanist, Heidi Bohan. They will get a chance to touch and hold a model of a cedar weaving, fishing spear or canoe bailer. Each made to demonstrate how plants can be used to create a beautiful and useful object that could help a person survive and thrive. When you ask the kids what they use in their everyday lives that is made from plants, you are impressed that the list they give you is so long.

Photo by Jacob Smithers

When you show them to salal and Oregon grape plants and tell them about how berries from each were mixed together along with huckleberry to make a delicious berry cake sort of like a fruit roll up, you can see that they are almost ready for lunch! To distract them, you get them going on the hands-on activities.

This is your favorite part, because they have to work together as a team – just as Puget Sound Salish people of the past and present – to understand how to use a fire bow and drill or to build a single wall of a plank house or to learn how to cook food below the ground. It’s a great distraction because they’ve forgotten about their hunger for a moment as they dig in to the task at hand.

Jacob Smithers

It’s nearly the end of the program, now. You gather them together and ask each person to tell you something they learned or liked from the field trip. It is thrilling how many of them remember that the western hemlock makes sunscreen, how Douglas fir has mouse butts in the cones or that homes can be made without nails.

You thank them and walk them back to the start where their bus will come for them and take them back to school. You hope they will remember today as a positive and fun day. You hope the time here will aid them in their classroom work. Most of all, you hope they will continue to love and learn about plants and one day be a person who advocates for and serves the environment.

You head back to the work room to talk with your fellow guides about the kids and their chaperones and to put away the activities and props from the program. You are tired – sheesh, kids take it out of you – but you are proud to be a part of something important and worthy.

This is the kind of day we get to have at University of Washington Botanic Gardens Washington Park Arboretum. Is it the kind of day you might like?

Our Volunteer Garden Guides bring their knowledge and skills to teach about native plants, forests, pollination, photosynthesis, wetland plants and animals, ecosystems and habitat. We provide training, curricula and enrichments so each person is confident and comfortable teaching.

Consider donating your valuable time and expertise to connecting kids to nature through field trips. We welcome you to be a part of our incredible team of staff and volunteers. We can tell you will fit right in.

  • UW Botanic Gardens Volunteer Garden Guide Training begins September 5th with a kayak tour of the Washington Park Arboretum and continues the following week.
  • For more information about becoming a volunteer and training, please contact Lisa Sanphillippo, School Programs Coordinator, at 206-543-8801 or lsanphil@uw.edu.
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Take A Tour!

February 3rd, 2014 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

Get out and stretch your legs this spring! The UW Botanic Gardens are going to some familiar and not-so-familiar places this spring. Explore a new garden, and maybe even get some ideas for your own yard!

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Coming up soon is our first Wednesday Walk with John Wott. Dr. John Wott, Professor Emeritus and former Arboretum Director will lead a walking tour and share insights on the history, design, and changes over time of the Washington Park Arboretum. This tour is also well-suited to visitors with limited mobility. This season’s tour will be of the Witt Winter Garden, which will be in full bloom!

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of the Miller Garden

 

 

Our next adventure takes us to the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden, located in the Highland community. This garden has a very limited amount of visitors each year, so this may be your only chance to see this Northwest treasure! The curator, Richie Steffan, will show us how the Miller Garden uses early flowering bulbs and perennials to create a delightful and vibrant spring garden.

 

 

 

trillium

 

 

 

 

Have spring ephemerals caught your attention this year? Come visit the Cottage Lake Gardens in Woodinville to immerse yourself in one of the most famous, the trilliums! We will be having an elegant tea, followed by a talk and a tour of the gardens, which features all 48 species of trillium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition, we always offer our Free Weekend Walks every Sunday, starting at 1pm, and meeting at the Graham Visitors Center at the Washington Park Arboretum.

You can register online for any or all of these lovely tours, or call 206-685-8033.

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Lavender Escape!

July 1st, 2013 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

It’s Lavender Season, and the flowers are in full bloom!

Beautiful blooms!

Beautiful blooms!

On July 17th, come with us and escape to the quiet beauty of Woodinville Lavender. Master Gardener Tom Frei will tell us a little about all things lavender, including history, botany, selection, care and uses.

Just sit back and take it in.

Just sit back and take it in.

 

In addition, Tom will lead us on a tour of his sustainable and organic gardens, which he and his family have been working on since 2008. To top it all off, we will relax with a refreshing lavender scented cold beverage and snack!

A delicious shortbread Lavender cookie!

Don’t those lavender cookies look good?

The cost of the tour is $20, or $25 after July 10th. Register online or call (206) 685-8033.

Space is limited, so register today!

We will meet at the Woodinville Lavender Farm, in Redmond, on July 17 at 1pm . The talk and tour will last until 2:30.

More information about the farm.

All photos courtesy of Woodinville Lavender.

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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.

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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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Want to visit Cuba? Come with us in February 2013!

November 20th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Cuba image

The Fund for Reconciliation and Development, in association with UWBG, is proud to offer a people to people study tour to Cuba led by UWBG director, Professor Sarah Reichard. The 10 day tour includes visits to botanic gardens, organic farms, nature preserves, and historic national parks.

The deadline to register has been extended to January 2.

The fee includes a tax deductible donation to UWBG that funds the Education program.

For more information contact Sandy Schmidt at 877-907-5360 or email schmidt@holbrooktravel.com.

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Kayak Tours at the Arboretum Start Aug 29

August 23rd, 2012 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Discover Hidden Water-ways on a Guided Kayak Tour of the Washington Park Arboretum.

Paddling through the cattail marsh last summer.

The UWBG is unique among other botanic gardens in the country in that our “grounds” include quite a bit of water. Owing to our location around Lake Washington, our approximately 300 acres include the longest stretch of freshwater marsh in Washington State. There is no better way to enjoy this wetland ecosystem than by kayak.

The Agua Verde Paddle Club in partnership with the UWBG is pleased to offer guided kayak tours of our Foster Island Wetlands to the public for the third consecutive summer. Tours are approximately 90 minutes in length and push off from “Duck Bay” at the north end of the Washington Park Arboretum.

During the tour you will learn a little about the history of the area and have a chance to meet some of our plant and animal residents. All proceeds will go from Agua Verde Paddle Club to the UWBG for the Agua Verde Scholarship fund. This fund will help provide educational opportunities to students and schools with limited resources.

No experience necessary. Double kayaks, safety equipment and a brief training session will be provided by Agua Verde Paddle Club. Youth & children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent/guardian.

Tour Dates & Times:

Wednesday, Aug. 29th: 11am & 3pm

Thursday, Aug. 30th: 11am & 3pm

Wednesday, Sept. 5th: 11am & 3pm

Thursday, Sept. 6th: 11am & 3pm

Friday, Sept. 7th: 7am (“early birders”), 11am & 3pm

Cost & Registration:

Space is limited to 12 participants per tour, so pre-registration is required. Cost: $30/person; ($5 discount for early registration before August 1st)

Register online

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Summer Kayak Tours at the Arboretum

June 8th, 2012 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Paddling through the cattail marsh last summer.

 

Discover Hidden Water-ways on a Guided Kayak Tour of the Washington Park Arboretum.

The UWBG is unique among other botanic gardens in the country in that our “grounds” include quite a bit of water. Owing to our location around Lake Washington, our approximately 300 acres include the longest stretch of freshwater marsh in Washington State. There is no better way to enjoy this wetland ecosystem than by kayak.

The Agua Verde Paddle Club in partnership with the UWBG is pleased to offer guided kayak tours of our Foster Island Wetlands to the public for the third consecutive summer. Tours are approximately 90 minutes in length and push off from “Duck Bay” at the north end of the Washington Park Arboretum.

During the tour you will learn a little about the history of the area and have a chance to meet some of our plant and animal residents.  All proceeds will go from Agua Verde Paddle Club to the UWBG for the Agua Verde Scholarship fund. This fund will help provide educational opportunities to students and schools with limited resources.

No experience necessary. Double kayaks, safety equipment and a brief training session will be provided by Agua Verde Paddle Club. Youth & children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent/guardian.

Tour Dates & Times:

Wednesday, Aug. 29th: 11am & 3pm

 Thursday, Aug. 30th: 11am & 3pm

Wednesday, Sept. 5th: 11am & 3pm

Thursday, Sept. 6th: 11am & 3pm

Friday, Sept. 7th: 7am (“early birders”), 11am & 3pm

Cost & Registration:

Space is limited to 12 participants per tour, so pre-registration is required. Cost: $30/person; ($5 discount for early registration before August 1st)

Register online

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Discover Hidden Water-ways on a Kayak Tour of the Arboretum

July 13th, 2011 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Kayaking at the Arboretum

Discover Hidden Water-ways on a Guided Kayak Tour of the Washington Park Arboretum The UWBG is unique among other botanic gardens in the country in that our "grounds" include quite a bit of water. Owing to our location around Lake Washington, our approximately 300 acres include the longest stretch of freshwater marsh in Washington State. There is no better way to enjoy this wetland ecosystem than by kayak. The Agua Verde Paddle Club in partnership with the UWBG is pleased to offer guided kayak tours of our Foster Island Wetlands to the public for the third consecutive summer. Tours are approximately 90 minutes in length and push off from "Duck Bay" at the north end of the Washington Park Arboretum. During the tour you will learn a little about the history of the area and have a chance to meet some of our plant and animal residents. All proceeds will go from Agua Verde Paddle Club to the UWBG for the Agua Verde Scholarship fund. This fund will help provide educational opportunities to students and schools with limited resources. No experience necessary. Double kayaks, safety equipment and a brief training session will be provided by Agua Verde Paddle Club. Youth & children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by their parent/guardian. Tour Dates & Times Wednesday, Aug. 29th: 11am & 3pm Thursday, Aug. 30th: 11am & 3pm Wednesday, Sept. 5th: 11am & 3pm Thursday, Sept. 6th: 11am & 3pm Friday, Sept. 7th: 7am ("early birders"), 11am & 3pm Cost & Registration: Space is limited to 12 participants per tour, so pre-registration is required. Cost: $30/person; ($5 discount for early registration before August 1st) To register, CLICK HERE


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Free Weekend Walks

March 3rd, 2011 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

Magnolia by L. ThornbergEvery month on the first and third Sundays get outside and enjoy a free guided tour of the beautiful Arboretum.

Sunday, 11am – 12:30pm and 1 – 2:30pm
Location: Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Dr. East, Seattle.

Our Weekend Walks are led by experienced, trained, knowledgeable and engaging docents. The 11 am tours of each month are themed tours. March’s theme is Harbingers of Spring. Right about now we are all dreaming of spring. It’s not too far away! Get an early glimpse of the bright colors of spring by visiting early blooming Rhodies, Magnolias and Camellias.

Photo by Samantha Kimble

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