Urban Nature Guides provided hands-on learning at parks across Seattle this summer

Classifying animals. Bird walks. Working with science tools. These might sound like activities that are part of a college biology class, but thanks to our Urban Nature Guides, these hands-on activities were available to youth and families at parks across Seattle this summer.

Urban Nature Guides are trained volunteers with Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) who help enhance, promote and foster appreciation of nature by leading educational activities in a variety of settings from playgrounds to beaches. This summer, the Guides teamed up with our Environmental Education and Outdoor Learning Unit to provide a wide variety of educational activities to young people across Seattle.

Summer Food Service and Extended Recreation Program

Seattle Urban Nature Guides offered activities to 131 young people participating in our eight-week Summer Food Service and Extended Recreation Program at Othello Playground and Roxhill Park. The activities promoted an awareness of and connection to the natural world, and provided the opportunity for young people to practice observation and classification skills, work with science tools, and participate in a craft.

World School Summer Science Academy

Seattle Urban Natures Guides worked with the Seattle World School’s Summer Science Academy to provide environmental education over the course of five weeks to 348 youth on the importance of water to the city’s culture and economy. The Seattle World School is composed of English-language learners who are immigrants and refugees. The school offers free or reduced lunch to 96% of students, and ten languages are spoken amongst the student body.

Special events

Seattle Urban Nature Guides offered activities at SPR special events such as the Duwamish River Festival, where Guides helped 193 people create natural history prints, and the Big Day of Play, where Guides assisted 200 children in assembling kites. Activities promoted environmental appreciation and connection to the natural community in local parks.

Public programs on natural history

Seattle Urban Nature Guides provided programs at various Seattle parks that foster awareness, knowledge and appreciation of Salish Sea intertidal life and the marine environment. Guides led a family beach walk and a bird walk for seniors at Carkeek Park, two family beach walks at Me Kwa Mooks Park, and one family beach walk, one beach clean up and one tot trek at Discovery Park, serving 80 adults and 28 youth in total.

Natural and cultural history information stations

Drop-in stations on urban wildlife, Salish Sea beaches, and the history of Discovery Park were staffed by Seattle Urban Nature Guides at parks across Seattle. These stations engaged 749 park visitor and helped to foster awareness, knowledge of and appreciation for the natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest, and promote environmental stewardship of our communities.