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CAMP WASKOWITZ NATURE WALK

cAMP WASKOWITZ NATURE WALK

EXPLORE THE STOPS ON THE CAMP WASKOWITZ NATURE WALK

The stops below are points along the Camp Waskowitz Nature Walk, a [distance] loop through beautiful evergreen forest.

To start the Nature Walk, head to [instructions for where to start the walk]. 

Camp Waskowitz manages this 372-acre forest using silvicultural techniques that improve forest structure and wildlife habitat while preserving educational opportunities for youth and providing a sustained source of timber revenue that pays for the management of the forest. 

Stop 1 | Stop 2 | Stop 3 | Stop 4 | Stop 5 | Stop 6 | Stop 7 | Stop 8 | Stop 9 | Stop 10

STOP #1

FORESTS OF MANY USES

Forests are complex systems with thousands of living things interacting in amazing and varied ways. The forest is not made only of trees, but also of soils, small plants, animals, birds, and even humans that use it and call it home.

In addition to being a home for animals, the forest is an amazing resource for humans to create things that make our daily lives possible.

ACTIVITY

Name 10 things that you can think of that are made from forest resources. Expand the section below to find examples.

Houses
Furniture
Cutting boards
Fabrics (rayon, viscose, modal)
Wreaths
Firewood
Essential oils
Guitars
Paper
Baskets

TELL ME MORE ABOUT:

– What makes Northwest forests unique

– The history of Camp Waskowitz’s forest

STOP #2

HUMANS IN THE FOREST

People have been living in this area for tens of thousands of years. Indigenous people, including the nearby Snoqualmie tribe, have lived in this area for thousands of years and used these forests for hunting and resource gathering. In the last 200 years, white settlers moved into the area in search of resources like timber.

Their methods of timber extraction were usually not sustainable, and in many cases entire areas had their amazing old growth trees taken out to build and sell. In the last few decades, many of these areas have been regrowing and one day these young forests may be towering giants like thousands of years ago.

ACTIVITY

What evidence of humans can you see? What can you hear? 

TELL ME MORE ABOUT:

– What tribes live in this area

– How different tree species came to be, according to PNW peoples

– How early settlers cut down such large trees

STOP #3

UNDERSTORY

Trees aren’t the only thing that make a forest. The forest has many levels, and each level has certain animals that take most advantage of its special resources. 

While eagles may rest at the tops of the trees, songbirds flit in the understory gathering berries, and many mammals and reptiles use the forest floor. Each level of the forest has different types of species that have made it their home.

ACTIVITY

How many plant species do you notice
What level of the forest do they occupy?

TELL ME MORE ABOUT:

– What plant species I’m looking at

STOP #4

TRANSPORT

In order to get around, people create pathways and roadways to speed the process from getting from one place to another. Hundreds of years ago, these spaces had simple trails that tribes used to get from one area to the other.

When white settlers arrived, they created small roads and railroad tracks, which were initially intended to move resources like cut trees to more urban areas where they could be used by more people. Now the local freeway is wide and flat and allows automobiles to go very fast.

ACTIVITY

What method of transportation did you use to get here? How did you know how to get here?

Did you know you can know exactly where you are with a few numbers? GPS locate yourself.

 

TELL ME MORE ABOUT:

– Early Western railroads

– How the timber industry shaped the PNW economy

STOP #5

THINNING

After most of the old growth trees were cut down, many small trees grew in their place. In many areas across the Northwest, these trees compete for limited resources, especially for water during the dry summer months.

In order to reduce competition between trees and make space for trees to grow bigger, areas like where you’re standing have been thinned, which is where loggers cut down some trees but leave many standing to regrow. Over time, this forest will continue to grow and the trees will grow more rapidly with their extra space and resources.

ACTIVITY

The forest is always changing. Stand on this stump and take a photo through the metal frame. You can see how different the forest looks from it used to by comparing it to this photo/hashtag.

TELL ME MORE ABOUT:

– How thinning works

– What kinds of machines are used for thinning

STOP #6

BOARDWALK / SLASH

10,000 years ago, this area was covered by almost a mile of ice. Glacier sheets had moved down from Canada and were covering the entire area. When the glaciers retreated, they carved out valleys and left big boulders from when they were there. Can you see any boulders that may have been left by the glacier? 

These days, there is much more life on the ground, including from old and dying plant species instead. Just because a plant is dead or a tree has been cut down, that’s not the end of its life cycle.

Plant debris that is left in the forest, either after a windstorm or after a timber harvest, eventually decomposes and becomes part of a rich and healthy soil that supports new plants. In this way the plant never really dies, but gives life to something new.

ACTIVITY

Do a simple soil type test: Pick up a small handful of soil. Can you see evidence of decomposing plants or small bugs?

TELL ME MORE ABOUT:

– How the ice age changed the landscape

– How soils are created

– What lives in soils

STOP #7

OLD RIVERBED

100 years ago, this spot looked very different than it looks today. The original course of the Snoqualmie river ran right through where you’re standing. During the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps created an earthen levee, a type of dam, which was meant to control water level and reduce flooding. You can learn more about the CCC at the history installation near the main building.

ACTIVITY

How does this area where the river used to run differ from the forest you were just walking in? Do the species look different? Do the species look younger or older?

TELL ME MORE ABOUT:

– How the ice age changed the landscape

– The Civilian Conservation Corps

– Dams and salmon

STOP #8

WILDLIFE

We’re not alone in these woods. Many species called the forest home, hundreds that we can see and thousands that we cannot. Birds fly in the canopy and eat the berries, while small mammals wander the understory and dig for grubs. 

In the soil, hundreds and thousands of types of bacteria and fungi interact in amazingly complex ways to keep the forest healthy. Some of the fungal networks actually allow the trees to communicate with each other and share nutrients!

ACTIVITY

What evidence of animals have you seen? Scat, trails, footprints.

If you were a tree, what would you want to share with your neighbor trees?

TELL ME MORE ABOUT:

– What wildlife might I see in these woods

– How trees communicate

STOP #9

RIVER

While forests and rivers are different ecosystems and run by different rules, they are completely linked. The water that falls as rain drains into the river, and the health of the forest that it falls into makes a big difference and how clean that water is. Some of this water is also stored underground, and is slowly pulled up into the forest over the course of the dry season. Additionally, forests increase rainfall, as they allow more water to be available for evaporation and precipitation (the famous Northwest rain!). 

ACTIVITY

Where do you think the rest of the water comes from? Where does it go?

TELL ME MORE ABOUT:

– Forests and hydrology

– How forests influence rainfall

STOP #10

CEDAR

You’re now surrounded by one of the most important tree species in the Northwest, the Western redcedar. You may notice the forest looks a little different here – cedar trees have thick canopies that prevent water and sunlight from reaching the forest floor when they grow close together. They also like more acidic soil than most plants in the forest.

Western redcedar has been used for thousands of years by people who live in the area, including for baskets and clothing. Some of the large logs were hollowed out and made into boats.

ACTIVITY

What is the most interesting thing you learned today? How do you think you’ll learn more about that subject?

TELL ME MORE ABOUT:

– How cedar trees become canoes

– How the Coast Salish believe the cedar tree came to be

CONGRATULATIONS!

You’ve reached the end of the Camp Waskowitz Nature Walk. Share your photos of the walk with the hashtag #Waskowitzwalk.