September 27, 2018
Nature is often thought of as being far away from the city, untouched by humans. In reality, nature can be found in the dense, urban environment of a city. Nature is everywhere, sometimes you just need to look a bit harder for it. Below are a few ideas to find nature in your neighborhood.
Take a Walk
Head out on a walk around your neighborhood the early morning to find urban wildlife. Hit the streets before the hustle and bustle of the day to find birds, raccoons, squirrels, rats, bugs and maybe even a coyote.
Go on a Leaf Hunt
Take a stroll and collect fallen leaves from around your neighborhood. Bring them home to see if you can identify what tree they belong to. Sites like iNaturalist can help with identification. Create a journal with leaf etchings to record your findings.
Find a Bird Cam
Bird cams provide a unique opportunity to watch birds in their nests. Find a list of bird cams on the Seattle Audubon site to experience birds in their natural environment without disturbing them.
Photograph the Sky
Find a spot near your home where you can see as much of the sky above you as possible. Take a photo of the sky everyday for a month around the same time of day and then compare the images. Does the sky look different depending on the weather? Are there any birds or clouds in the sky? What else is different about your images?
Look around your home or yard. Who else shares your home other than your family and pets? You might be surprised to learn we also share our homes with insects. Search your home and look in the nooks and crannies to find the bugs sharing your space. Take pictures or draw pictures of the bugs you find. Search online to identify the bugs sharing your home and yard.
Observe the Seasons
Does the city look different in different seasons? Find two areas for observation – one inside your home and the other outside. Observe these spots during various seasons – take photos, keep notes about what you see and after a year, look at your findings and compare how the four seasons are different in your urban environment.
Plant a window garden or even a backyard garden if space allows. Watching plants as they go from tiny seeds to grown plants which produce their own fruit can be exciting. Growing plants can be a great way to interact with nature while digging in the dirt.
Head to the Park
City parks can be wonderful places to find nature. Take a stroll around the park and take note of everything you see from weeds to birds and urban wildlife. Lie in the grass and observe the trees above you. Sit quietly and listen to the sounds of nature intermingled with the sounds of the city.
By Rebecca Mongrain
September 24, 2018
Autumn is a spectacular season with crisp leaves and cooler weather. Take advantage of the changing season by enjoying some fall specific outdoor activities like going apple picking or jumping in a leaf pile. We put together a list of our favorite 50 fun fall outdoor activities so you can enjoy this season to its fullest.
Here are 50 fun fall outdoor activities for kids:
4) Jump into a leaf pile
5) Play “I Spy” during a nature walk
6) Collect and identify leaves
8) Take a hayride
9) Roll down hills and listen to crunching leaves beneath you
10) Visit a park and bring along a tree or bird guidebook
12) Collect acorns and paint faces on them
13) Go on a color walk, gathering outside “treasures” in yellow, orange, red and brown
14) Have a neighborhood costume parade
15) Play hide-and-seek with glow sticks
16) Set up a fire pit and make s’mores outside
17) Host a fall- or Halloween-themed scavenger hunt
21) Take a drive to view the colorful foliage
22) Collect pinecones to decorate a mantle or tabletop
23) Plant spring bulbs
24) Trace a tree pattern by placing a piece of paper on the trunk and rubbing a colored pencil over it
25) Build a leaf fort
26) Play a game of two-hand touch football
27) Make a pinecone bird feeder
28) Get spooked in a haunted house
29) Celebrate Oktoberfest
30) Jump in puddles
32) Find constellations in the night sky
33) Play With Sidewalk Chalk
34) Set Up an Obstacle Course
36) Plant a fall garden
39) Have a fall picnic
40) Drink Hot Coco outside
41) Read a book about the outdoors
42) Bring the outside in with indoor plants
43) Go to a Fall Fair
44)Tell spooky stories by a bonfire
45) Have a backyard sack race
47) Carve a pumpkin
49) Paint with mud
Written for Project Nature by Rebecca Mongrain
September 21, 2018
This weekend marks the official beginning of Fall. Visit the Project Nature Activities page to discover events happening this weekend in and around the Greater Seattle area. Keep reading below to learn more about events happening outside this weekend. Go outside today and everyday! Happy Fall!
Sunday, September 23rd, 2018 at 1010 Valley St, Seattle, WA 98109
Take the fam to The Center for Wooden Boats to sail around Lake Union in classic wooden boat! Before or after your sail take a walk on the docks and discover the unique boats, watch the volunteer crews rigging the boats, get your questions answered, and if you’re lucky–help with the rigging!
Boats sail rain or shine, but wind conditions may keep the boats at the dock. Reservations are taken day-of-sail only at the CWB front desk. This is a popular activity, so please arrive early to reserve a spot.
Note: The Center for Wooden Boats opens at 10 a.m. Rides take place from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday, September 15 – Sunday, November 11 at 125 W Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA 98027
Fall is here, and the salmon are returning to streams and rivers around Puget Sound. Watch for these natural beauties at viewing sites listed here – and cheer them on if you see them!
Daily viewing will take place from the bridge or through viewing windows. Trained docents from Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH) will lead drop-in guided tours on weekends from Sep. 15-Nov. 11, 2018 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Saturday, September 22 at 5808 Lakemont Blvd SE, Bellevue, WA 98006
Did you know that leatherback sea turtles forage for jellyfish just off the cost of Washington state? Join a Bellevue park ranger at the Lewis Creek Park Visitor Center to learn about their biology and play a fun sea turtle migration game outside. This is an indoor/outdoor program.
Saturday, September 22 at 7201 East Green Lake Dr N, Seattle, WA 98115
Celebrate the autumnal equinox at Green Lake with the Fremont Art Council’s Luminata event. The celebration of light begins with a ceremony at the Aqua Theater where families are invited to bring lanterns, glowing umbrellas and luminous costumes to join in. Take in the whole part to find art installations, live music, performances and a secret banquet.
The Fremont Solstice Parade floats are stowed away, and the summer days have begun to shorten. It’s time for Luminata! The Fremont Arts Council celebrates the autumnal equinox on September 22nd at Green Lake Park to bid farewell to summer and move gently into autumn with our annual illuminated celebration.
Full participation is open to the public! Many traditions around the world recognize the last days of the productive summer are about to shift into the dark and introspective time of winter. Lanterns are a beautiful symbol of our spirit as a community that will sustain us through the cold months.
We begin our celebration with a ceremony at the Aqua Theater at the south shores of Green Lake. Everyone is invited to bring lanterns, glowing umbrellas, luminous costumes, or other beaming creations to parade around the lake. Hand-decorated lanterns created at workshops by your friends and neighbors will be available for sale at the Luminata Lantern Shoppe to complement your ensemble and keep you glowing through the long nights to come. Throughout the park you will encounter magical art installations, music, performances, and a secret banquet!
Saturday, September 22 at 39000 State Route 706 E, Ashford, WA 98304
The National Park Service is over 100 years old! Celebrate the start of our second century by visiting a park in 2018. During several days of the year, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone.
January 15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
April 21: First day of National Park Week
September 22: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day
Saturday, September 22 at 2000 N.W. Sammamish Road, Issaquah, WA 98027
Visit a Washington State Park for free! On the days below, visit any Washington state park by vehicle for the day without a Discover Pass. If you are in the Greater Seattle area, consider checking out:
This is the perfect excuse to stretch your legs, plan a picnic, head to the beach and enjoy Washington State’s beautiful parks.
Jan. 1 — First Day Hikes; New Year’s Day
Jan. 15 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
March 19 — State Park’s 105th birthday
April 14 — Spring day
April 22 — Earth Day
June 2 — National Trails Day
June 9 — National Get Outdoors Day
June 10 — Fishing Day
Aug. 25 — National Park Service 102nd Birthday
Sept. 22 — National Public Lands Day
Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
Nov. 23 — Autumn day
Friday, September 21 – Sunday, September 23 at 13701 NE 171st St, Woodinville, WA 98072
Celebrate fall with a visit to the farms and businesses in the Sammamish Valley between Redmond and Woodinville. Local food, artists, demos, kid activities and farm exploration. All ages are welcome and the event is free. Each location has its own schedule of events during the Celebration weekend; days ad hours vary at each. Visit sammamishvalley.org for details. Participants include 21 Acres, Molbaks, Off the Branch Farm, Tonnemaker Family Farm, VIva Farms/SAgE, Sammamish Valley Grange, Woodinville Arts Alliance and the Crop Walk for Hunger. Dress for the outdoors with farm friendly footwear.
The Sammamish Valley Alliance (SVA) table will be located along the River Trail on Saturday, Sept. 22, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Walk, skate, or bike the trail to join us; the farm gate will be open or use the farm road access at 16215 140th Pl. NE in Woodinville (Classic Nursery entrance.)
Friday, September 21 at 1932 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
PARK(ing) Day happens once a year in September and is an opportunity for Seattleites to rethink how streets can be used. Seattle has participated in this international event since 2007 and has given people the opportunity to temporarily turn on-street parking spots into public spaces. The program is intended to encourage creative placemaking, particularly in places where access to parks is limited, as well as raise awareness about the importance of walkable, livable, and healthy communities.
PARK(ing) Day is also a great opportunity to celebrate the parklets and streateries that have opened in Seattle. Parklets and streateries are an outgrowth of PARK(ing) Day and provide a way for businesses and community groups to convert on-street parking into open space on a longer-term basis.
View the website for this year’s parklets and streateries in Seattle, including Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill, West Seattle, U-District, Lake City and Rainier Beach.
Friday, September 21 at 15416 SE 16th Street, Bellevue, WA 98007
Garter Snakes are the only native snake in Bellevue. Nearly harmless, they slither through the wetlands hunting insects, frogs, and other small creatures. Join us at the Lake Hills Greenbelt Ranger Station as we learn about this awesome snake, who was recently named the master naturalist species of the year! Ages 3-8, FREE. Please preregister by calling us at 425-452-7225.
September 18, 2018
Welcome to Project Nature
As a pediatrician, I am passionate about the health benefits of a childhood spent in nature. These benefits are many—increased curiosity, attention, school performance, and pro-social behaviors as well as lower risk to develop obesity, ADD/HD, anxiety and depression. Children who are connected to nature are more willing to protect nature and wildlife as adults.
There can be many barriers for parents and caregivers to give children the gift of time in nature. They may also lack understanding of these benefits and may not know where to start.
The time is now for Project Nature
My colleagues and I from BestStart Washington founded the Project Nature initiative to help break down these barriers. Project Nature is a multifaceted program and resource to introduce very young children and their families to tools for nature play and information at a very young age—right in the doctor’s office. These resources will reach beyond a “nature prescription” by creating a bridge to nature and nature activities.
This initial intervention by pediatricians is supported by our website, which provides outdoor places and activities finders to help connect children and families to Washington parks, attractions, experiences and organizations. We are also creating social media campaigns to share the evidence-based information we’ve developed along with the places and activities that can help bring children to nature and keep them coming back.
We hope you’ll visit our Project Nature website often and will follow us on social media. You’ll find a community of parents and health care providers who want to help provide pathways for you and your children to get outdoors to play and learn.
Thank you and happy outdoor adventuring!
Danette Glassy, MD, FAAP
Dr. Glassy is a co-founder and Board member of BestStart Washington. A primary care physician at Mercer Island Pediatrics since 1989, she earned her MD from the University of Washington and completed her pediatric residency at Seattle Children’s. Dr. Glassy is a clinical professor in pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, past president of the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and chair of the American Academy’s Section on Early Education and Child Care. She served for two years on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Head Start Research and Evaluation Committee. In 2012, U.S. News & World Report named her as a Top Doctor. Dr. Glassy also has earned the Susan Aronson Early Education and Child Care Advocacy Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Read Dr. Glassy’s CV.