Sunday, November 7, 2010

Save Carkeek Park's "Nature Play" Program for Preschoolers!

There is, in our local Piper's Creek watershed, nestled between 
ferns and conifers and among Nature's critters, 
a Special Place for you and your child to explore and learn....

Carkeek Park's "Nature Play" (a.k.a "Tot Treks" or "Tyke Hikes") are engaging, outdoor adventures for preschoolers ages 2 to 5.  They are a wonderful mix of creative play and environmental education that forms a respect for Nature for a lifetime.  

Carkeek's "Tot Treks" run every Thursday morning from 10:00-11:15.  They are led by trained Naturalists who capture the interests of  children and adults alike.  So far this season we've learned about animal habitats, spiders, soil and plants, fall colors, salmon and much more.  

Recent Tot Trekkers helped restore parts of Carkeek Park by planting native species such as Low Oregon Grape and Western Hemlock.

The program has drawn hundreds of preschoolers in recent years and is a source of income for Seattle Parks and Recreation.


This email came from a concerned mom regarding the proposed budget cuts to Carkeek Park's environmental education programs for preschoolers.  It was sent to the Seattle City Council and is posted here as well:

Dear Seattle City Council Members, 

I learned last week that Carkeek Park Environmental Learning Center will be closing its doors come January as a result of the Mayor's proposed budget for 2011.  I want to express my profound sadness and disappointment over this public service cut.

I am the mother of two young boys aged 3.5 and 1.5. We attend the Carkeek Park preschool program "Nature Play" weekly.  They love it!  They love the teachers, Stephanie and Brian.  They love running through the meadow.  They love hugging the trees.  They love learning about the salmon.  They love planting new Western Hemlocks in the tot garden.

How can we expect the next generation to care for the our home, planet earth, without having this kind of interaction with our outdoor world and nature?  I am of the opinion that this type of education and public service is priceless and what sets our community apart from others.  My husband is a student at UW and we don't have the money to send our little ones off to an expensive, indoor preschool.  

Personally, I think this incredible outdoor preschool experience is so much healthier for their little brains and bodies anyway.

I know I do not stand alone on this issue.  I would stand up with the other mothers that feel the same way and together we say:

 "The future of our earth is in the hands of our children!  
We need these programs and education to 
instill our youth with a respect for Mother Earth. 

Do not underestimate this simple, public service. 
Please reconsider cutting environmental education for the young!"

- Sara Egbert

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