This week, my 12-year-old son took the Jr. Naturalists camp through the City of Edmonds. At first I had written “at Frances Anderson Center,” but they spend so much time out and about between Yost Park and our local beaches, that it just didn’t fit.
At pick up this week, Ranger Susan and I tried to figure out when Ben started doing these Discovery Programs, so searched through my email with the keywords “receipt reczone” and got 68 hits. I browsed through receipt after receipt for things like “Camp Goodtime,” “Meadowdale Preschool,” and the little Zumba class he took when he was still 5 and just starting kindergarten. While I’m not sure if the “Preschool Science Club” events he took in 2010 were put on by the Ranger-Naturalists, I am sure that his first Discovery Program spring break camp was in 2012 as a kindergartener.
These camps, including summer options and the many Discovery Day Camp options he took on the non-student Friday’s at school, have been such an incredible resource for our kid. It was such a relief for him to have a place where he fit right in with both the campers and the Ranger-Naturalists. He was learning and playing and coming home covered in mud and sand, plus any local walk or beach trip we take now includes a lot of great info he’s learned while at these camps — if we’re being honest, it includes a lot of brother fighting and complains too, but still.
As he finishes up the last Discovery Program week-long camp he is able to do (the age cutoff is 12), I wanted to share the remaining summer events, which are all ages, and the first non-student day camp of the year and a “tots” option to get your little ones in on the action.
On Monday, Aug. 13, from noon to 1 p.m., you can join the last low-tide public beach walk of the summer. You can explore the intertidal life of the Edmonds Marine Sanctuary with a Ranger-Naturalist, which I fully recommend as we hired one for a birthday party once and it was a huge hit. They are able to point out so much more than we knew what to look for. This event, which starts at the Olympic Beach Visitor Station, is free and for all ages. For more information you can can call Edmonds Parks and Recreation at 425-771-0230.
The event that signifies summer is about to end, more than all the emails I am getting via Skyward and the scribbled-on supply lists from two different schools I keep finding in my back pocket, is the Moonlight Beach Adventure. Held this year on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Marina Beach, the Moonlight Beach Adventure is kind of like the Discovery Channel in person. Kiddie pools that serve as touch tanks are filled with creatures “brought to shore by volunteer scuba divers from the Marker Buoy Dive Club.”
These divers also hold a Q & A from just beyond the beach as they operate a live underwater video feed which is broadcast for all to see. This free event never disappoints my kids and they always run into a friend there. As always, it is recommended to dress warmly and to bring a flashlight and I can confirm, both have been necessary for us. One year, we happened to have leftover glow bracelets in the backpack that helped in keeping track of the kids. For more information on this event you can call 425-771-0227.
While it’s top of mind, and in the display window at FAC with the posters for both the walk and the beach adventure, I wanted to remind you that Puget Sound Bird Fest is Sept. 14-16. With the mission to increase “awareness of species of birds that spend all or part of their lives in the Puget Sound region, and especially Edmonds,” it is a celebration of birds and nature. We went to Bird Fest last year and we really enjoyed it, especially the birds brought to FAC by Sarvey Wildlife Center. We’ll get more into what’s offered as the event nears, for more info head to PugestSoundBirdFest.org.
While the next Discovery Camp is full — Nature Explorers for those ages 6 to 8 does have a waitlist — there are options for the school year! For the “tot” set there is “Tots Outside: Forest Tots” on Tuesday, Oct. 2 from 10 to 11 a.m.. Kids ages 2 to 4 and an adult can enjoy hands-on exploration in Yost Park. Campers can “use all [their] senses to feel, look, touch, smell and taste the exciting forested trails within the park.” In fact, this week adventurous campers at my son’s camp were eating some form of nature. This event is taught by Discovery Program Staff and meets at the Yost Park Poolhouse.
There are also two day camps left in 2018 for some non-student days in our district. The first is “Owl Camp,” which will be held on Friday, Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. Campers will learn about all seven species of owl in Edmonds and get to know them “by learning about their unique adaptations such as binocular vision, silent flight, and asymmetrical ears.” Campers will dissect an owl pellet and take a walk to a local park for exploration.
The next offering is “Walk on the Wild Side Camp,” on Wednesday, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m to 3 p.m.. This non-student day camp, held on Wednesday because its a non-student day before Thanksgiving, will cover the furry mammals that live in our area. Campers will “investigate how these animals have adapted to survive in our local parks while examining pelts and skulls.” Campers will also learn how to search for and identify tracks as they head out to explore for the days. For more information and registration for any Discovery Program event or camp you can visit RecZone.org or call 425-771-0230.
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.