This summer, Nature Consortium hosted an Eco Arts Summer Camp for youth at Yesler Terrace and Rainier Vista. It was a smashing success, and we had a jam packed week exploring art and the outdoors.

The Rainier Vista camp kicked off with a walking field trip to Cheasty Greenspace, a forested park in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle. Cheasty is just blocks away from the Rainier Vista community, so it makes a great place to start on our outdoor adventure. Students explored the local vegetation and learned the difference between native and invasive plants. After our plant lesson, we ate lunch in the heart of the forest on old logs made into benches.

On the second day of camp, students took a field trip to the West Duwamish Greenbelt to become forest stewards. After taking a course in tool safety, they began clearing invasive Himalayan blackberry bushes and learned to work together as a team. The day was filled with tons of walking, smiling, and bus rides. Back in the classroom, we played ‘Plant Bingo’ and ‘Fungi Go Fish’ to help learn the names of native plants and fungi. We continued our biology lesson at the Pacific Science Center, where students were introduced to specimens of insects and butterflies. For most students, this was their first time attending the Pacific Science Center.

Students made insects and terrariums out of recycled egg cartons and boxes and then decorated their eyes with amazing bug eyeglasses made out of pipe cleaners. They were also able to utilize this new knowledge of insects on the field trip to the Neighborhood Farm, where they got to hold worms and rollie pollies, and observed a real live bee colony. At the farm, students picked edible flowers, berries, and herbs from the children’s garden and brought them back to the community center for a family dinner. We invited parents and family members for a family style meal to commemorate the end of camp.

It was a wonderful week!

Preparing food for the family dinner!