Magnuson Nature News: September e-newsletter

Magnuson Nature News – September 2017

Newsletter Contents:
  • Memorable Moments from Teacher Emily
  • Summer Camp wrap-up: what a fabulous season!
  • Hope to see you at Scarecrow Fest on October 7th!
  • September and October Nature Walks
  • What’s next for Magnuson Nature Programs?
  • Magnuson Preschool opens Sept. 11th

Memorable Moments from Teacher Emily

On the last day of our 2013 “Wiggly World of Worms Camp”, I had the kids put a pile of fallen leaves into a big green tub filled with water, and take turns stirring it all up  like “soup”.  Then every camper had a great time picking up big hand-fulls of soggy leaves and plunking them into the worm bin to give the worms a “fresh new bed”. The kids in the photo at left were especially dedicated to making sure that our worms got every last leaf from the tub, and right after this photo was taken, they asked me what we were going to do with all the brown, gooey water that was left at the bottom of the bin.  When I replied, “you can give it to a plant that looks like it needs it”, the kids quickly focused in on a tiny fern near the Children’s Garden kiosk, and worked together to drag the bin over to it.  Right as they tipped the bin to let out the water, Rowan (the boy in the blue coat) bent down low and said to the fern, “I hope you’re thirsty because this is the drink of your life!”  Truer words were never spoken…

I treasure this memory and so many others that have made me certain that I’ve learned more from kids than I’ve ever taught!

The next time you are in the Children’s Garden, check out “Rowan’s Fern” at the left of the kiosk- it’s now grown to be almost 2 ft tall!

…and stay tuned, because I’ll be adding another favorite memory next month!

Summer Camp Wrap-Up!

What a great summer!  Jr. Nature Explorers built fabulous worm caves, bug houses, and more during 8 weeks of camp, Nature Explorer campers dug and planted and climbed and sang their way through 5 weeks of camp, and Nature Rangers explored the park from “coast to coast” to learn about plants, animals, and birds while creating amazing nature journals and other art.

Fresh-from-the-Garden campers outdid themselves each month with their cooking and restaurant decoration, and parents enjoyed the oh-so-spacious dining in the Garden Room, as well as all the scrumptious food made by their kids!

Those of you who have brought your kids to Magnuson Nature Programs over the years have occasionally seen me get a little teary-eyed with joy on the last camp day, because of how much bonding has happened between campers, nature, and staff even during just 5 days together. Well, this  summer that was a real regular occurrence because of how many times I had the joy of seeing campers again who have been attending my programs for 3-8 consecutive years, and all the lovely notes I’ve received from parents and kids.  It really means a lot to me.

Thank you campers for all the delightful hours we have spent together in the classroom, Children’s Garden, and throughout the park trails…. for the past 13 years!

And thank you parents for all your support and enthusiasm over all that time, and for trusting me and my staff with your greatest treasure- your kids- it has been a privilege and a powerful amount  of fun!

I will never forget all these happy times, and sincerely hope that our paths will cross again, whether out on the park trails or in the Children’s Garden that you have all come to know and love.

Magnuson Community Center and the Magnuson Children’s Garden Committee invite you to

our annual fall Scarecrow Festival!

FREE admission!

Date and time: Saturday October 7th from 11:00am – 2:00pm

Location: Magnuson Children’s Garden, Brig lawn, and Amphitheater

6344 NE 74th St. Seattle 98115


  • Bluegrass concert!
  • Nature exploration and art in the Children’s Garden, plus have your picture taken with Teacher Emily in the “Nature Kids” photo booth!
  • Scavenger hunt maze and apple tasting tent in the Community Garden Orchard!
  • Ride-on kiddie tractor corral for toddlers!

There will also be 25-cent “Garden Carnival” tickets for a variety of kids activities with prizes too!

Plus you can make a super cool scarecrow!  You bring the clothes and a pillow case for the head, and Magnuson Community Center will supply the straw, the wood frame materials, markers and other decorations for a $20.00 fee. Then put your scarecrow on display during the Festival and see if you win one of the Scarecrow Fest special prizes!

September and October Nature Walks

  • Family Forest Walk: “Birds of Promontory Point!” Saturday September 9th from 10:00 am – 11:30 am.  Learn about Magnuson’s resident and migratory birds in one of the “birdiest” places in the park!  We’ll keep our eyes and ears out for raptors, woodpeckers, songbirds, and more, as we walk up and down the wood chip trails and stairs to the highest point in the park.
  •  Lifelong Recreation Walk: Fall Migration Wednesday October 4th from 9:00 am – 11:00 am. October is a great time to spot year-round residents in the wetlands, as well as fall migrants and winter arrivals!  We’ll also be on the lookout for signs of new Beaver activity and Pacific Chorus Frogs who are making their way from forested areas back to the wetlands.

What’s next for Magnuson Nature Programs?

  • After my last workday at the Scarecrow Fest on Oct. 7th, Magnuson Nature Programs will take a hiatus, then kick off again in spring with the annual Celebrate Urban Nature special event, school field trips, as well as spring break and summer camps.  Magnuson Community Center’s plan is to start up Magnuson Nature Programs on a smaller scale and grow gradually as time goes on… which I am totally in favor of, as it’s the way of all living things!

HOWEVER, I will be staying involved in the all-volunteer Magnuson Children’s Garden Committee (which is a separate non-profit entity) … and we have already started planning new, family-friendly, fun special events for 2018 that will keep the Children’s Garden vibrant, and full of happy times throughout the year!

If you’d like to learn more about the Children’s Garden Committee and/or take part in creating new ideas and plans, I’d love to hear from you!  Just drop me a line at

Magnuson Preschool opens September 11th!

Openings are still available for 2, 3 or 5 mornings per week.  Maximum enrollment will be 14 children, rates are affordable, and scholarships are available too! Director Elisabeth Rafailedes is also planning to incorporate a lot of nature-based outdoor activities in Magnuson Children’s Garden.

For more information, visit the ARC Preschool website and click on the Magnuson Community Center link, or call Magnuson Community Center at 206-684-7026.

Thanks again for 13 years of your support!