If you look carefully, stories can be found everywhere. Certainly within the pages of a book, within an epic adventure, a heartbreaking love story, the greatest achievements and tragedies of our nation, or the perseverance of one willing to lay down their life for a good cause.
After getting an early start on the third day of our Olympic National Park trip, we headed to the Olympic National Park Visitor Center to meet with Dean Butterworth, the Outreach and Education Specialist at Olympic National Park. Believe it or not, Dean started as a volunteer at Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1998. He eventually made his was way to Olympic in 2008. Dean clearly enjoys engaging with youth and he had a lot to say about the opportunities for youth in the area.
For most perceptive Seattleites, Mount Rainier is a familiar sight. On a clear day the picturesque mountain graces our views. Mount Rainier National Park is a fabulous location for day hikes. Some of the In My Backyard team members went there for a day of hiking and research. There are several visitor centers at the park that serve as good starting points for hikes. We went to the Sunrise Visitor Center for our trip, but the Paradise Visitor Center is also a great location to begin a hike. Both of these visitor centers are starting points for many hiking trails that range in difficulty. Some of the hikes are super easy (even for me) and some of them are more challenging. At Sunrise, many of the hikes intersect so you can jump from hike to hike if you want to go to multiple locations.
After grabbing some delicious coffee and breakfast at Caffe Ladro, the In My Backyard team made their way to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). I say the In My Backyard team because almost all of the team member went, instead of just the interns. This was our first museum trip with so large of a crew and it was to get to see everyone and have fun together. When entering the SAM, the first thing that you will notice is the white cars, filled with exciting light fixtures, hanging from the ceiling. The fixture is quite the spectacle.
This week, we were lucky enough to visit the North Cascades Institute (NCI) where we had a tour led by the lovely Chris Kiser, a Program Coordinator at NCI. Completed in 2005, NCI is located right on Diablo Lake, a gorgeous, turquoise lake just south of Ross Lake tucked into the mountains with incredible views in every direction. To start off, Chris amazed us with the fact that the North Cascades National Park (NOCA) is the second most ecologically diverse National Park in the country. NOCA is also the only park “complex” in the United States, meaning it includes both National Park and National Recreation.
The Woodland Park Zoo is home to a remarkable range of animals from all corners of the world. When we, the SCA interns plus Jimi and Leila, visited on Tuesday we were able to see most of the animals. As we entered the zoo we were handed tokens which were used to show support for research and conservation projects funded by the zoo. I placed my token in the box supporting northwest carnivore research since that is a local project. The zoo funds these projects from a percent of the admission fee, no matter the percent support shown by the public. Another admission related fact: if you take public transit to the zoo and show your transfer or ORCA card then you are eligible to receive two dollars off admission.
This Wednesday, we, the group of SCA interns, made our way to the Burke Museum. Located in the bustling University district, the Burke Museum is a treat to visit. As we entered the museum we were greeted by our tour guide, Michael. Michael is post undergrad and a volunteer in the museums docent program. Michael, the former zoology major, told us that he never considered education as a life path until he became a volunteer at the Burke Museum. Though it was Michael’s first guided tour, he did an excellent job keeping us involved by asking us questions about what we thought certain artifacts were.
Today our four interns and a new volunteer, Jimi, ventured out for a tour of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and a discussion with the Education Coordinator at the museum.
Wing Chong Luke himself was the first Asian American to hold elected office in the state of Washington and was a crucial part of the passing of an Open Housing Ordinance in Seattle in 1963 that had provisions against racial discrimination in the selling/renting of real estate. We toured the museum which skillfully recreated a hotel which many immigrants new to Seattle stayed in. After learning a great deal about Wing Luke the plight of the Asian Pacific Americans and their role in Seattle history, we learned about the fabulous opportunities for middle schoolers and high schoolers at the Wing.
This Friday, two other project interns and I visited the Pacific Science Center. It was quite an experience for me to see the Pacific Science Center again. I hadn’t actually walked around the entire museum since I was far younger. It was fun to see the dinosaur and naked mole rat exhibits that I remember from my childhood. Also, random side note, naked mole rats are extremely fascinating creatures with super interesting social systems. If you ever have time to check out their Wikipedia page, you’ll learn some cool animal facts. There were also several new exhibits such as “Professor Wellbody’s Academy of Health and Wellness.”
This Thursday we, the interns of this project, went to Experience Music Project (EMP). Though some of us had not been to EMP before, I had visited the museum about a year ago and was very excited to go again. The EMP really is an experience. The building itself is designed in such an interesting way that if the museum had no exhibits people could still be entertained simply looking at the interior. However, the exhibits in the museum are extremely impressive as well.