Seattle Parks accepting applications for Seattle Volunteer Naturalists

Seattle Parks and Recreation is accepting applications for our Seattle Volunteer Naturalist program. Up to 50 applicants will be accepted into this unique program that includes 200 hours of instruction on how to be a naturalist and interpret the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest.

As a Seattle Volunteer Naturalist, you have the opportunity to share your love of nature with others.

The program is entirely free, and those accepted make a one-year commitment. Training includes 10 weeks of classes and outdoor instruction in which new volunteer students are taught how to create naturalist programming and learn about the natural and cultural history of the Puget Sound area.

The goal of the program is to enhance, promote and foster appreciation of nature and to connect the public with Seattle parklands through education.

Students will have access to an excellent natural history library, develop and hone communication, public speaking and group management techniques, and promote conservation and stewardship of natural resources.

“The people who enter this program have a chance to share fun, fellowship and community with others who enjoy nature and appreciate parks,” said professional Seattle Parks and Recreation Naturalist Penny Rose, who oversees the program.

Students who complete the training are then asked to commit to at least one year of volunteering, including teaching 12 programs or 12 two-hour Discovery Stations in public parks. These must be completed within a 12-month period, and include leading either school groups or members of the public. Continuing education is offered throughout each year of volunteer service.

Seattle Volunteer Naturalists learn about the natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest, and are taught how to share that knowledge with others.

Successful applicants will enjoy working with children and the public, have the physical ability to lead group walks over rough terrain, feel comfortable working outdoors and can transport themselves to Environmental Learning Center hubs at Discovery Park, Carkeek Park and Camp Long and other parklands throughout the City.

Applications for the Seattle Volunteer Naturalist program are due on Friday, February 8, 2013.

For more information, and for a complete application packet, please visit our website, or contact Penny Rose at penny.rose@seattle.gov.

 

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Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams Explains Changes at Environmental Learning Centers

Dear Environmental Learning Center Visitors,

It is with a sense of regret that I report to you on the state of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s 2011 operating budget. Reductions in the budget have resulted in a sharp reduction in programming at the Camp Long, Carkeek, and Discovery Park environmental learning centers.

 The City faced an unprecedented revenue shortfall for 2011, and we were directed to make deep cuts in every line of business, including grounds maintenance, building maintenance, recreation staffing, and environmental learning center staffing.

 The net loss of staff from the environmental learning centers is  2.5 full time equivalents (FTEs). The naturalist staff, formerly 6.1 FTEs, is now 3.6 FTEs. The result is that Parks can no longer provide programs for the general public, and the Carkeek Environmental Learning Center will no longer function as a visitor’s center. The meeting room is still available as a rental; please call 206-684-0877 to inquire.

 Our staff will continue provide programs for school children. Other activities that will continue are:

  • Earthkeepers summer day camp at Carkeek Park
  • Docent-led programs at Discovery Park
  • Outdoor Opportunities (O2) activities for teens at Discovery Park, Camp Long, and Seward Park
  • Programs for organized groups such as the Girl Scouts and Parks’ Specialized Populations customers at all three parks
  • Volunteer work parties and other activities

 While it is not a good budget year for us, I want to thank you for your support, your volunteer hours, your participation in programs, and your love of nature. It makes a difference, and I look forward to continuing to work with you at these gems, these parks that offer us an oasis of nature in the middle of the city.

 Sincerely,

 Christopher Williams

Acting Superintendent

You can subscribe to the Camp Long e-newsletter by going to our website: http://seattle.gov/parks/environment/camplong.htm and adding yourself. We also have set up a Camp Long Facebook page where you can follow our progress and be kept up to date on opportunities at Camp Long. 

Conservation Assoications Build Trails

Conservation Leadership Corps Orientation at Camp Long

Recently, Seattle Conservation Association (SCA) and Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) worked on a project at the SE entrance to Camp Long.

The Student Conservation Association  is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1957 to restore and protect America’s public lands and preserve them for future generations.

SCA members are high school and college-age volunteers who build trails, restore habitat, guide interpretive hikes, study plants and animals, and participate in many other conservation-related projects.

For the past several years, SCA Seattle’s Conservation Leadership Corps has started off their year at Camp Long. The Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) exposes high school students to nature and the outdoors by combining restoration service work and recreation in Seattle area greenspaces. Through hands-on volunteer projects, CLC teaches leadership, teamwork, backcountry and wilderness skills while students complete more than 100 hours of service learning. 

Earlier this month, Camp Long again hosted the CLC Orientation which includes service project stations that introduce the skills and knowledge to be gained throughout the year. CLC members commit to one weekend a month and one evening meeting a month. Members can participate with CLC for one to three years, taking on more responsibility as they gain experience. 

Here is a list of their accomplishments: Removed invasives: 495 sq. ft.; Graded trail: 40 ft.; Graveled trail: 35 ft.; Box steps built: 3; Trash removed: 1 garbage bag + odds and ends.  Photographs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/the-sca/sets/72157625816829684/

The City of Seattle WCC  Trails Crew marks the commitment of Seattle Parks and Recreation to address the need for trail maintenance, trail construction, and trail development standards within 4000+ acres of natural areas throughout the City. This crew works throughout the City Parks System to upgrade trails, construct new trail, and work with volunteer organizations and community members to improve the recreational opportunities for citizens and visiting tourists.

The crew consists of 6 members. Five members are a part of AmeriCorps and the Department of Ecology serving in a year-long term to work in Seattle Parks.  The crew members work for a stipend provided through collaborative funding of the AmeriCorps project.

In Camp Long the crew has been working under the supervision of Jacobo Jimenez and Rory Denovan, preforming work on specific restoration sites as well as the trails of the Camp Long. More specifically the south entrance the crew finished up where SCA started with installing box steps and a 6 foot crib wall, they pulled blackberries, mulched and planted the south entrance to help the entry look more appealing to hikers and visitors.

Funding for materials and support come from Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Trails Program. This CIP (Capitol Improvement Project) is the result of identifying Trails and Forested areas as Capital Assets and a commitment to maintaining that infrastructure Citywide.

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Ropes Challenge Course Coming to Camp Long

Seattle Parks and Recreation is hosting a public meeting for the community to learn about the new ropes course coming to Camp Long; it takes place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 27 at Camp Long, 5200 35th Ave SW.    

Last year, Seattle Parks and Washington State University 4-H entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to bring a ropes challenge course to Camp Long. Parks is moving forward with implementing this agreement and plans on breaking ground in spring 2011. 

“We are very excited to expand the opportunities that Camp Long has to offer the community,” said David Kipnis, President of the Camp Long Advisory Council.  

There will be several elements of the ropes course that will be integrated into the forested areas of Camp Long and will provide an integral part of the developed curriculum. WSU 4–H, through 30 years of adventure education experience, has created student focused curricula that use activities to strengthen critical life skills including decision making, self confidence, positive risk taking, self esteem, teamwork, and leadership. 

Camp Long will join an extensive system of WSU 4–H Adventure Education Programs and Courses. Funding for this project is provided by Washington State University Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program. 

Camp Long is one of Seattle’s best kept secrets. Located in West Seattle, this 68 acre park offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy nature, hike in the forest, camp overnight in rustic cabins, rock climb, and learn about natural history. For more information: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/environment/camplong.htm

For more information please call Chukundi Salisbury, Seattle Parks Project Manager, at 206-612-6342; email him at chukundi.salisbury@seattle.gov; or visit www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/camp_long_course.

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Sharing Nature with Your Children

Positive interactions with the natural environment are an important part of healthy child development, and these interactions enhance learning and the quality of life over a lifetime.  Here are some things your children will learn by interacting with you and with nature: joy, sharing thoughts and feelings, curiosity, and gratitude.

Sharing nature with your children isn’t something that experts need to do.  There are many ways that parents can be outside with their children.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Fly a kite at the beach
  • Visit a local park
  • Make a fort in your backyard
  • Ride your bike or take a walk on a local trail
  • Swim in the sound or the lake (maybe just in the summer)
  • Explore your backyard woods to discover plants
  • Plant some flowers or a garden

Because children learn best through direct, concrete experiences, they need to be outdoors to learn about it.  Simple experiences with the grass, trees, and insects in environments close to home or school rather than spending time and energy arranging for day trips to unfamiliar places your child may seldom visit is more beneficial. A one-time trip to a park or nature preserve is great, but it’s not enough.  If you can, get out on an almost daily basis.

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