Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center

April 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Set within the Seattle city limits, Seward Park consists of close to 300 acres of beautiful landscape with old growth forest, biking and walking trails, hiking trails, an indigenous garden, an art studio, abundant birdlife – including eagles – and much more. This suburban oasis is home to the Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center – a partnership between the National Audubon Society and the City of Seattle.

The establishment of the Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center is a significant step toward the goal of establishing neighborhood nature education centers in ethnically diverse urban areas. The center aims to use Seward Park as its primary “classroom” to promote environmental education designed to inspire people of all ages to explore, discover and accept responsibility for stewardship of the natural world. The varied terrain of Seward Park, which borders beautiful Lake Washington, has been sculpted by ancient glaciers and includes forests, grasslands and savannas, as well as a wide array of flora and fauna, with more than 100 recorded species of birds – a fascinating classroom indeed!

Programs that will be offered by the Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center will be divided into five categories – Schools, Youth, Community, Arts and Special Events. Each of these categories will offer many events, opportunities and programs throughout the year.

Within the Schools program, 5th to 12th grade students can enjoy Eco Explorations – a field study and hands-on exploration of the chemistry, food chains, habitats, ecology and botany of Seward Park. With the use of microscopes, test kits, nets, preserved and live specimens, and games, students will have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of interesting learning experiences related to environmental science. Other aspects of the School’s program include Climate Kids, an investigation into the significance of each individual’s carbon footprint.

The Youth program includes the Talking Tree – an interactive comparison of the relationship between trees and people which is aimed primarily at preschoolers and first-graders. Several one-week Summer Nature Camps will introduce youngsters to nature through activities such as hiking, climbing and swimming, as well as an in-depth study of their surroundings and the birds and animals the live there.

Community programs will take place primarily on Saturdays and will offer a range of fun and exciting activities for the entire family to enjoy together. The lecture series in the Community program will cover topics such as urban forestry, landscaping to attract birds and wildlife, and chemical free gardening. Evening “Owl Prowls” will introduce participants to the fascinating world of these enigmatic nocturnal predators, and themed walks and hikes will take place throughout the year.

Other activities that are planned include summer movies at Seward Park’s amphitheater, nature photography workshops and community art exhibits. Birding enthusiasts – both experienced and beginners – can participate in a number of bird-related activities, including the Christmas Bird Count and the February Great Backyard Bird Count. The Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center has gone to great lengths to ensure that every member of the local community will have the opportunity to enjoy, and benefit from, the natural wonders of Seward Park.

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