Seattle Parks’ gardeners teach hands-on learning in Magnuson Park

Students in Magnuson Park photo by Jessica Levine

Students in Magnuson Park. Photo by Jessica Levine

Seattle Parks and Recreation believes that parks make excellent classrooms, and this June, we tested that theory with the help of 300 students.

Students pull invasive plant species in Magnuson Park. Photo by Jessica Levine

Students pull invasive plant species in Magnuson Park. Photo by Jessica Levine

On June 9, 10 and 11, Seattle Parks Northeast District Gardeners led approximately 300 sixth graders from Eckstein Middle School on field trips throughout Magnuson Park. The event was the culmination of their sixth-grade science unit on stormwater.

The gardeners shared the history of the site’s transformation from pristine wilderness, to naval airstrip and base, to constructed wetlands. The students learned about invasive weeds, native wetland vegetation, resident wildlife, and how they all relate to cleaning up stormwater before it reaches Lake Washington.

The gardeners trained a group of 50 students every two and a half hours on safe tool usage and uprooting invasive plants.  The kids were extremely productive, and many were surprised how much fun it was working in the park.

“Thank you for our memorable experience in Magnuson Park this week,” Eckstein Middle School teacher Jessica Levine said. “Removing invasives to help natives thrive is important for stormwater management. Glad we could help!”