Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary Fall Nature Walk – 10/25/13

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Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary

We’ve been stuck home with colds this week.  We are getting better, and needed some fresh air and exercise without getting too exhausted.  I thought it was time to visit a local park again, and picked Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary in Everett.  We drive by there every week to take Annika to gymnastics, so it’s been at the top of my mind.  There is a loop trail that goes around the outside of the park, and a smaller loop inside that travels in the midst of the wetlands.  There are some interpretive signs, benches to rest on, and most importantly, a restroom.

We started off clockwise from the parking lot. The trail is gravel and boardwalk (watch your footing when it is wet) and is in great condition.  We took the trail that goes through the middle of the wetland.  Gabe really wanted to see some ducks or geese.  So we stopped at one of the places where you can get a good view of the water.

narbeck wetland, washington birds
There’s a Green Heron in there somewhere…

There was a pair of mallards, and the kids spotted a green heron.  I’ve only seen one other of these herons in my life, so this was a real treat.  We watched it sitting on a branch of a bush, as it looked around and poked at the lichens on the branches.  It would stretch out its neck occasionally, giving us a view of the stripes on its throat and breast.  After we got home, we looked it up in our field guides and found that it was a juvenile.

After the heron flew deeper into the brush, we continued on around the wetland.  We saw lots of different kinds of fungi in the woods.

washington fungi, narbeck
Shaggy Topped Mushroom
washington fungi, narbeck
Strange, thin, rubbery fungus

Gabe noticed a fascinating variety that looked like bare threads poking up out of the ground – they felt rubbery and slippery.  We learned about beavers and muskrats from the interpretive signs along the trail, and saw evidence that beavers had been at work in the past.

wetland animals, narbeck wetland
Sign of the Beaver

Annika complained that you could hear the traffic and industrial noise all the time.  We could also smell some yummy smells from the food factories nearby – coffee and soup!  I tried to help her have the perspective that we were fortunate to have wild areas in the middle of the city, and that she is lucky to know what true wilderness sounds like.  Sometimes we don’t get to have that perfect wilderness experience, but we can still enjoy some nature around us.  This is one place that we are grateful to have nearby.

narbeck wetland, autumn foliage, nature hikes for kids, everett
Subtle fall colors
washington fungi, mushrooms
More Fungi (Fly Agaric?)

 

If You Go:

Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary is located at 6921 Seaway Blvd. in Everett, right near the main Boeing operations.  The park is open from 7 am till dusk (6:15 according to the sign at the entrance today).  There are restrooms available (clean and well stocked) and porta-potties for when those are closed.  Parking is free and doesn’t require a permit.  Most of the trails are flat, and I imagine would be friendly to a jogging stroller.  The south end of the loop trail does dump you out on the sidewalk for part of the time.

narbeck wetland trail, nature walks with kids, everett trails
Part of the trail goes onto the street

But those sections are short, and there is plenty of room to wander in the main wetland areas.  It took us about an hour to walk through the wetland and around the loop.

narbeck wetland, walks for kids, nature trails everett
Looking north from the south end of the wetland

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