Finding Urban Nature (FUN)  

 "I never knew that I could be good at science."         -3rd grade student

"The program is amazing. The kids love it. The methodology really enables the children who are tactile and visual learners to comprehend their sciences studies in a more CONNECTED and concert manner. It is a whole comprehensive lesson that is so well crafted. I just realize how powerful the lessons really are."                   - FUN Program Volunteer

Since 1988, Seattle Audubon's Finding Urban Nature (FUN) program has given Seattle Public School students a chance to see that nature is all around — even in their own schoolyards!

Find out how you can volunteer for FUN!

Adams Elementary students observing plants in their schoolyard habitat.  
-Photo by Susan Yates

 
The 3rd/4th grade FUN program, and the 5th grade FUN Explorers program are built around a partnership between Seattle Audubon and Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and spark an interest in science and the natural world. With hundreds of trained volunteers, in as many as 24 Seattle Public Schools,these programs reach thousands of 3rd–5th graders each year, at no cost to SPS classroom teachers.
 
 
2012-2013 Program Highlights:
  • FUN 2012-2013 pre- and post- assessment results showed, on average, a 25% increase in students' environmental science knowledge and a 6% increase in positive attitudes towards the natural world.
  • Explorers 2013 pre- and post- assessment results showed, on average, a 21% increase in students' environmental science knowledge and a 5% increase in positive attitudes towards the natural world.
  • 100% of the FUN volunteers self-reported learning something new (in the sciences or about the environment) as a result of volunteering for the FUN program.

Finding Urban Nature (FUN) — "Understanding Habitat Connections"

The FUN program introduces 3rd and 4th grade students to producers, consumers, and decomposers in the schoolyard habitat, and how each organism depends on the others to survive. Volunteer group guides take small groups of  four to six students outside to use their senses to discover nature first-hand. Four lessons in the fall and four more in the spring give students a chance to fully explore the schoolyard habitat.

A sneak-peak at a few lessons: 

  • Neighborhood Birds - With hand lenses and measuring tapes, students compare a variety of preserved bird specimens and learn about the similarities and differences between beaks, feet, sizes, colors and habitats.
  • Worm Worlds - Young naturalists predict the number, density, and maturity of earthworms living in a site on the school grounds, using sticks, string, mustard powder, and paint trays. Students analyze the results and determine why some spots are better suited for worms than others.
  • Web It - Students discuss spiderwebs and spiders, and where to find them, before searching for an active web to bait with insects or debris. Groups discuss the spider's actions in certain situations and learn why spiders don't stick to their own webs.

Fall Lessons Include: Envirolopes, Web It, Roots and Shoots, and Neighborhood Birds

Spring Lessons Include: Bird Nests, Leaf Hunt, Litter Critters, and Worm Worlds

Volunteer with FUN!  

The FUN program would not exist without the help of more than 120 volunteers each school year. Dedicated parents and community members devote just under two hours of time per week for four weeks in either the spring or fall. Volunteer Group Guides lead a group of 4-6 students through each lesson with the support of the school's Team Leader and the teachers. No previous teaching or science background is required, and volunteers often report that they have as much fun and learn just as much as the students do! Seattle Audubon provides all training, supplies, and support necessary to make you feel like a successful leader. If you are interested in learning how you can make a difference and introduce a child to nature, please email our Education Manager, or call us at 206-523-8243 ext. 19.  


FUN Explorers  —  "For Birds and Beyond" 

The FUN Explorers program builds on the foundations learned in the FUN program, helping 5th graders learn more in-depth about birds and understand the connection between birds and native plant habitats. Students learn about bird adaptations, bird identification by sight and sound, and why birds depend on native plants. As a culmination of the program, students spend a full day at a city park near their school, identifying birds, removing invasive plant species, and determining ways in which they can protect and restore native plant habitats for birds and beyond!

Want FUN at Your School?

Are you a Seattle Public School? 

The FUN program is free for Seattle Public Schools. Space is limited.

Are you a private or out of district school? The FUN program is offered to private and non-Seattle Public Schools too! The cost of the program is $450 for the year.  This includes two trainings, eight lessons, and all the materials necessary for the program.   

Donations welcome! The Elementary School programs are free of cost to Seattle Public School classrooms and rely on grants and private donations. If you would like more information about how you can support these programs, please contact our development staff at 206-523-8243 ext 14.   

 

For more information about the Elementary School Programs, volunteering, or donations, please email the Elementary School Programs Manager or call 206-523-8243 ext. 19

 

Finding Urban Nature

Finding Urban Nature (FUN) - Elementary School Programs
Finding Urban Nature (FUN) - Helping elementary school kids explore and appreciate nature on their own school grounds.

FUN Brochures
Download the PDF versions of the FUN Brochures.

FUN Photos and Comments
FUN Photos and Kids' Comments