Training Dates Announced

January 16th, 2013 by Lisa Sanphillippo


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.


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 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.

Wanted: Volunteer Garden Guides for Saplings

September 11th, 2012 by Lisa Sanphillippo

This could be you!

This could be you!

If you enjoy being outdoors, teaching and learning about plants of the Arboretum, and you like working with school aged children then you might be a Saplings Garden Guide!

Our fall season begins in just a few short weeks and we have field trips booked! Apply here today to be a Saplings Garden Guide. Our volunteers receive free training, on-going enrichments and opportunities for further learning.

For questions or more information, contact Lisa Sanphillippo: or 206-543-8801.

Let’s work together to engage children in nature.

Save the date: CUH work party on 9/15

August 13th, 2012 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

UWBG invites our friends and neighbors to join NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, to a work party to spiff up the Center for Urban Horticulture. Projects include invasive plant removal, small construction projects, painting, planting and much more. The transformation starts at 6:30 am on Saturday, September 15.

IT’S EASY AS PIE TO VOLUNTEER FOR NAIOP 2012 Community Enhancement Project/SEPT 15/CUH:

  • Register w/ NAIOP anytime from 6:30am or sleep in and join us later in the day
  • Registration located north side of NHS Hall
  • You or your group will be assigned to one of the 17 work projects throughout CUH grounds and gardens, including UBNA!
  • Grab a T-shirt and gloves!
  • Public transportation, carpooling, biking… all recommended, as parking may be difficult, especially if you’re not an early bird.
  • Community Service Hours honored!
  • Breakfast treats and BBQ lunch provided!

Come one, come all and help your CUH take on a fresh new look!  Projects include:

  • New Stairway from central courtyard to events lawn!!
  • New landscape along 41st St planting strip!!
  • New gravel along entire length of UBNA loop trail
  • New pavers to replace gravel paths in Soest Garden
  • 2 newly refurbished hoop houses
  • Newly painted sheds
  • Invasive weed removal
  • Mulching and weeding in Goodfellow Grove
  • And MORE!!!!

High School Students – Be a Junior Garden Guide this Summer

June 21st, 2012 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

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!

Here is the position description:

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.

Essential Tasks:

  • Assist Summer Garden Guides
  • Engage, interact and play with campers
  • Attend training
  • Perform related duties as required


  • Requirements:

–          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


Department Contact: 

Interested? Contact Sarah Heller, or call (206) 221-6427 with questions or to request an application.


Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium

May 29th, 2012 by Heidi Unruh, UWBG Communications Volunteer

photo Have you ever stopped in to visit the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium here at the Center for Urban Horticulture? This amazing resource is home to over 20,000 plant specimens and focuses on horticulturally significant plants for gardens and landscapes. With specimens dating as far back as 1908, you can view native plant specimens taken from the UW campus from before the campus was even built. Or identify a plant growing in your garden today with the Herbarium’s free plant identification service.

In addition to providing plant identification to the public, the Herbarium serves as a resource to University of Washington students learning about plant identification. Students can compare multiple  specimens of the same plant side-by-side to observe finite details between species, something that would be very difficult to do in nature!

Want to support this great resource? Take a little piece of the UW Botanic Gardens home with a one-of-a-kind framed herbarium specimen  or stop by the Washington Park Arboretum gift shop for a pressed flower note card handmade by Herbarium volunteers.  Speaking of volunteers, the Herbarium has a large and active volunteer community and is always looking for new volunteers.

The Herbarium is run by a part-time Research Assistant and is open 20 hours per week. Check the website for current hours.

Get Your Hands Dirty this Earth Day

April 7th, 2012 by UWBG Horticulturist

Join the Student Conservation Association (SCA), the University of Washington Botanic Gardens (UWBG), and Seattle Parks and Recreation for a day of fun service projects at the Washington Park Arboretum.

When: Saturday, April 14, 2012. 9:00am – 2:00pm

Where: Washington Park Arboretum, 2300 Arboretum Drive E, Seattle 98112. (Meet in the Meadow—a 5 minute walk south of the Graham Visitors Center.)

What to bring: water bottle, sack lunch, travel mug for a hot drink, sunscreen, rain gear, long pants, layers of clothing, and boots. Some snacks & drinks will be provided. Tools, gloves, snacks, environmental education, and project materials will be provided.

Student volunteers having fun spreading mulch at the Arboretum at a previous Earth Day event.


For more information and to register, visit, email or call 206.324.4649

Printable Flyer 

Map of project locations at Washington Park Arboretum

In partnership with the Seattle Parks and Recreation, UW Botanic Gardens and Woodland Park Zoo.

Student Capstone Experience in Habitat Restoration at Union Bay Natural Area

February 17th, 2012 by Caitlin Guthrie
Yesler Swamp Student Restoration Team

Yesler Swamp student restoration team at a habitat restoration work party. Photo by Lewis E. Johnson.

One of the many engaging courses offered to the undergraduate and graduate students at the Center for Urban Horticulture is the Restoration Capstone Sequence. In this course, students of different academic backgrounds work together to complete a local ecological restoration project. Students plan, design, install, and monitor a restoration project while working in teams over the course of eight months, beginning in fall of each year.

Clients in the community, including local governments, utilities, non-profits and private firms, submit RFP’s (requests for proposals) to the UW Restoration Ecology Network concerning restoration opportunities. This year, students are working on projects at Pierce College Lakewood Campus, Cotton Hill Park, North Creek Forest, Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, Ravenna Park, Yesler Creek (near Burke Gilman Trail) and Union Bay Natural Area.

Yesler Swamp Map

Map of the restoration site from students’ Work Plan. Pie charts show the initial relative cover of invasive plant species. The upper left hand portion of the map is the SE corner of the Center for Urban Horticulture’s parking lot.

A seven-student, multidisciplinary team is partnering with Friends of Yesler Swamp to restore a portion of the Union Bay Natural Area to native Puget Sound forest. The site was highly disturbed and much of it was dominated by invasive plant species, specifically Himalayan blackberry.

For the past few weekends, the team has been hard at work, coordinating and executing habitat restoration volunteer events to remove the invasive plants. Many of their volunteers to date have been undergraduate students with little to no previous exposure to natural systems and the field of restoration ecology.

After completing site preparation, the student team will cover much of the site with organic wood chip mulch and plant a structurally and biologically diverse suite of native forested wetland and upland plant species.

To keep up to date on the Yesler Swamp student restoration project and to join in future volunteer habitat restoration events, check out the Restore Yesler Swamp Facebook page.

For more information on the innovative and award-winning UW Restoration Ecology Network:

UW Restoration Ecology Network Website

Article in Science Magazine on the Restoration Ecology Network capstone program

Resolve to Learn Gardening Skills in 2012

January 4th, 2012 by UWBG Communication Staff

photo by S. Jeter
Landscape design, tree identification, pruning and creating mosiac stepping stones are just a few of the many continuing education classes offered this winter and spring at the UW Botanic Gardens.

Take a look at the complete list of classes for home gardeners and professionals and register online.

Willing to trade your time and sweat for plant care knowledge? Work side-by-side with skilled UWBG gardeners at one of the many volunteer drop-in work parties.

volunteer photo

WPA Fall Guide Training

September 26th, 2011 by Arboretum Education Supervisor, Patrick Mulligan

Lisa & leaves








Each fall, the Washington Park Arboretum Education and Outreach Program provides training for new and veteran guides who lead school field trips and/or Weekend Walks. This fall, guides learned firsthand about current plant-related research at the University of Washington. Hyde Herbarium Collections Manager and School of Forest Resources (SFR) graduate student Katie Murphy spoke about fall plant physiology and offered pointers for leading groups in the field. SFR graduate student Shawn Behling, whose research focuses on plant morphology, gave an inspiring walk and talk on forest ecology. Shawn has a keen eye for seeing how a plant’s architecture reflects its environmental conditions (and vice versa) and we enjoyed watching her “geek out” at the myriad tree/plant forms contained within the Arboretum.








Joyce LeCompte-Mastenbrook, doctoral candidate from the Department of Anthropology, and active volunteer at the Bernie Whitebear Ethnobotanical Garden at Discovery Park’s Daybreak Star Center, joined us last Tuesday and facilitated a lively discussion on Coast Salish culture to prepare guides to lead our very popular “Native Plants & People” fieldtrip. One of the new tid-bits I gleaned from Joyce was how important a role “networking” plays in Coast Salish culture. This networking was crucial in establishing good relationships among various groups that, among other things, enabled trade between upland and lowland villages. We wrapped up training on Thursday with a review of our “Wetlands 101 & 201” fieldtrips followed by a ducks-eye view of our Foster Island Wetland, courtesy of Agua Verde Paddle Club. The highlight of the paddle was watching a Great Blue Heron ingest a fish that looked way too big for its mouth/throat. You can check out some low-quality video footage here:
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer guide, it’s not too late! Email: for more information.

Farm Groundbreaking -May 22, 2011

May 22nd, 2011 by UWBG Horticulturist

“It’s really happening!” shouted the small, yet ecstatic, gathering of Farm Partnership* members, as they watched the plow turn the first soil over in the Center for Urban Horticulture’s northwest field. Farm manager, Robert Servine, knows this is just the first step of many to come before the .75 acre farm will be in full production. It’s certainly a major tangible step after months of planning with UW Botanic Gardens and UW campus grounds management, as well as between the 2 Farm Partnership organizations, to get this exciting urban farm project launched.

Thanks to the generous donation of Full Circle Farms, groundbreaking was a one-person job accomplished via use of tractor, mower and a 4-blade moldboard plow. The conditions for turning earth today couldn’t have been better. After a cold, wet spring, last week’s warmer, sunnier days, dried the field out for accessibility w/ heavy equipment. The plan now is to wait a few weeks, let the weed seed that’s now at the surface germinate, then come in and disc the field. Also, because the field’s soil is depleted of most nutrients, it’s been estimated that 600 yards of compost will need to be incorporated to bring the fertility up to standards needed to grow healthy vegetables.

The farm will contribute to the bounty of our region’s food system by producing vegetables for sale on the University of Washington campus and at the University District Farmers’ Market.

  • The Farm is a partnership between Seattle Tilth’s Seattle Youth Garden Works program and the UW Student Farm.
  • Seattle Youth Garden Works (SYGW) empowers homeless and underserved youth through farm-based education and employment.
  • The UW Student Farm is a student organization committed to growing and learning about sustainable food systems.

For more info or to get involved, contact: Robert Servine, SYGW Farm Coordinator – or (206)633-0451 x102.

Michelle Venetucci Harvey, UW Student Farm –

Plow used to turn soil




Attaching plow to tractor