What would you notice?

Imagine walking through the forest with your eyes at the level of your knees. What would you notice? On a sunny morning, would it feel like you were swimming in shades of green with pools of light illuminating your path? Maybe if you were a toddler.

The Greenway Education Program offered a family nature walk at Tiger Mountain as a part of the Pacific Science Center’s inaugural Seattle Science Festival. The hikers included a diverse collection of international folks (India, USA and Germany) who were interested in learning more about the Greenway and the natural world. Children ranged in age from two to ten.  The two-year-old walked the entire mile and half, smiling, jumping in puddles and generally inspiring the adults to stop worrying about life and just appreciate the forest.

The group meandered on the Tradition Lake Trail looking at caterpillars, millipedes, berries, sunlight through Big Leaf Maple leaves, and Stinky Bob – a pretty, smelly invasive plant. We pretended to be deer with huge ears that swivel and listened for predators in the woods.  I collected small objects from the forest floor (Buttercup, Sword fern, Douglas fir branch, and trash) and arranged them on a bandanna. The families memorized the items and their placement, collected them from the forest and then replicated the pattern on the bandanna. The hikers could then identify the plants that they weren’t familiar with by using our Greenway plant ID cards.

The children were thrilled into stillness as they discovered four Garter snakes enjoying the sunshine. During a silent moment, we listened to birdsong and realized that the rushing sound we heard was the wind in the trees – not the freeway – and looked around at the emerald green forest.

Experience the wonders of the Greenway yourself and enjoy the beautiful landscape in your backyard. You might just find yourself jumping in puddles and pretending to be a deer. Explore one of the Greenway’s many trails and parks today.