Rob’s Road Notes: Why We Chose Outdoor Education for Our Daughter

August 6, 2018

If you have been following along with the Coalition’s blog the last year and a half, you might remember the mentioning of my daughter Scarlett (only about 37 times). Well, in this edition of Rob’s Road Notes, you get to read about what she is up to once again and the connection our family has to WWRP.

Last month, my three year old started preschool. Three times a week, she gets the privilege of spending the afternoon in the outdoors in an environmental education setting with creeks, forests, salmon, and the Puget Sound, accompanied by the laughter generated from summertime toddler bliss. Tiny Trees preschool is a fairly new operation that adheres to what I am convinced is an ancient formula for young kids: play, exploration, and wonder in a nature-rich environment.

It has been about 30 days since she started and I can tell you this—I have seen a difference in Scarlett. Not only in her physical play, but also in her social interactions. In general she is less timid and more socially conscious of her surroundings. I feel like she is growing up right before my very eyes.

Tiny Trees is located in Carkeek Park. It is hands down one of my top three Seattle city parks to spend time in, along with Discover and Volunteer Parks. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to send her to Carkeek for this program—it truly aligns with who we are as a family and further introduces Scarlett to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

I got curious and I wanted to see if it aligned with my professional work here at the Coalition.

As it turns out, 20 years ago, the city of Seattle received a WWRP grant in the Urban Wildlife category for $300,000 for the Piper Creek Watershed which is located in Carkeek Park! The watershed provides a wooded ravine for riparian habitat for birds and wildlife, as well as protection and enhancement of water quality in this urban stream. On top of all of this, Pipers Creek and Carkeek Park now provide an educational setting for Scarlett. The critters that she so enthusiastically comes home and talks about with me—and this beautiful natural place that is helping to shape her education—would not be there today if it wasn’t for the WWRP.

Amazing. I’m blown away. But honestly, not too surprised.

The original stakeholders of the Coalition were visionaries. They knew what was coming to Seattle and the surrounding communities. They foresaw the population growth, industry expansion, and the need to preserve our natural habitat. They acted with urgency then and we continue to act with urgency today. The Coalition is chock full of people who believe in our mission and who want our children to have the same opportunities as we have had. I’m humbled by the vision our Coalition founding members had and I am honored to serve on the team that keeps the flame lit for education and advocacy of the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program.

Oh yea—and Scarlett thinks it is pretty cool too.