There are numerous municipal parks and wild areas scattered around the watershed, little (and large) ecosystems where nature can still be seen in something that closely resembles an undisturbed condition. This access to nature can be a difficult proposition in the more urban areas, but even here you can still find pockets of green that are available to local residents.
In Tacoma, one of these locations where you can get up close to nature is Snake Lake, home to the Nature Center, a Metro Parks facility (1919 S. Tyler St, Tacoma). There are trails that run alongside the lake and on up into the hills behind it, winding through thick foliage, alive with the sounds of birds and the sibilant breezes in the tall firs and hemlocks. Native plants and trees provide a peaceful oasis in the city as well as learning opportunities for kids and adults alike.
Nature 101 is a program offered by the Nature Canter that introduces people to their environment by teaching participants about birds, plants, insects and other Northwest natives in the environments that they call home. As part of the training, participants are also given skills that will help them share the things they learn with others, whether in a classroom, with their families or out on the trail somewhere. (This series of evening sessions is open to all individuals, 18 years or older.)
For families, the Nature Center is offering the Snake Lake Family Adventure Quest, a team event that tests knowledge, creativity and physical skills on the trails of Snake Lake. Navigational proficiency and a growing understanding of the natural world go together in this activity, along with fun for the entire family.
Nature 101 will take place on seven different evenings (almost all of them Wednesdays), beginning on September 21st and running through October 26th. Cost is $100 ($90 for members) or $20 per session. Clock hours are available. The Family Adventure Quest is scheduled for Sunday, September 25th and is open to family teams with up to four members each. Children must be accompanied by an adult and the cost is $10 per person. Registration for this event ends on September 22nd, so don’t delay. For more information on these and other Nature Center programs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 253.591.6439.