"Discover the Forest" is an outdoor environmental education program conducted in the beautiful 48-acre Yost Park in Edmonds. The park is mostly mixed second-growth forest, with a stream and a network of trails meandering through its riparian valley. Click here to download a trail map brochure. Here students can experience ecological concepts such as interdependence and diversity, and learn how the forest and wetlands are part of the watershed. "Discover the Forest" is offered in the spring and the fall to schools in Edmonds and surrounding communities. The target age range for the program is K-6, but program content may be adjusted to accommodate older students. Fall registration begins in late August and spring registration begins in January. When registering for a program, please request a time that's convenient for you, and we will do our best to accomodate your schedule. Click here to download a registration form. Click here to see a photo and parent comment from Westgate Elementary's October 2014 Discover the Forest program!
During the Traditional Interpretive Program (K-6), which lasts 1-1/2 hours, students are accompanied by Ranger Naturalists on the trails where they learn about the natural history of the forest community and the seasonal cycles occurring there. Students learn about edible and poisonous plants and berries, their former uses by Native American residents of the area, mammals and birds common to the park, and the natural forest succession set in motion by logging in the early twentieth century. A variety of hands-on activities are used to encourage exploration and demonstrate natural processes. By the end of the program students have a better understanding of their connection to the natural world. A free teacher resource booklet, "Close Encounters with the Natural World" is available on our Download Information page.
In addition to the Traditional Interpretive, there are three other 1-1/2-hour programs to choose from:
Everyone Has a Habitat (1-4)
Students will discover how plants and animals live in places (habitats) where their basic needs are met. Groups of students will work together to decide what food and shelter their assigned animal will need in order to survive in the forest and present their findings to the rest of the class.
Plants and Soil Ecology (1-6)
Students will participate in experiments designed to help them answer questions such as “What is soil made of?” “How and where do plants grow?” and “What lives and grows on a rotten log?” The questions and answers are unlimited in this inquiry-driven program!
Stream Survey (2-6)
Students will explore the landscape, water, and life of Shell Creek while conducting a series of tests and observations to determine stream health. This scientific survey introduces students to the challenges and wonders of studying a complex, interconnected ecological system and helps them to answer the question: “ What does it mean for a stream to be healthy and why should we care?”
Teachers may also choose the 2-hour Science Inquiry Program (2-6), in which the Ranger Naturalists facilitate an exploration and inquiry into the health of the trees in the Yost Park forest.
All of the above programs address elements of the Next Generation Science Standards. Every program encourages students to “Ask Questions and Define Problems” and the Science Inquiry Program also emphasizes “Analyzing and Interpreting Data” and “Engaging in Argument from Evidence.” Each Discover the Forest Program focuses on at least one Life or Earth Science learning standard:*
● The Traditional Interpretive program addresses ESS3 (Earth and Human Activity) and various other concepts depending on variations in staffing and the ever-changing natural environment.
● Science Inquiry addresses LS1 (From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes) and ESS3 (Earth and Human Activity)
● Everyone Has a Habitat addresses LS3 (Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits) and LS4 (Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity)
● Stream Survey addresses ESS3 (Earth and Human Activity)
● Plants and Soil Ecology addresses LS2 (Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics)
*All programs include elements from various LS and ES goals. Yost Park is a natural setting with many variables (including seasonal differences, changing weather, and unexpected owl sightings). Please feel free contact us about your learning goals and interests!