Burien Washington - Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services

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Outdoor Education
Preparation for Camp Waskowitz
Despite its history of mixed uses (and abuses), Shorewood Park has been used by schoolchildren for decades as an outdoor classroom. Here they learned to identify native plants and trees, build campfires, learn camp songs, and hone their outdoor cooking skills in preparation for a week at Camp Waskowitz. The high point of these sessions was always the visit by Harry Lemon - "Mr. Conservation." Mr. Lemon, one of the Highline School District's first teachers, was an expert on conservation and ecology. (His introduction usually went: "You've all seen a fuzzy peach; well, now you've met a Harry Lemon!") Mr. Lemon helped instill the conservation ethic and a love of the outdoors in the hearts and lives of thousands of Highline District students who attended his classes and Camp Waskowitz.

Mr. Lemon was Highline School District's first naturalist in the Outdoor Education program centered around Camp Waskowitz. After retiring from teaching in 1963, he spent the next 12 years as a resident Outdoor Education staff member. He made frequent trips into the woods - Shorewood Park and other forested places he called "God's Garden" - to teach students an abiding love and reverence for all living things. Using the wooded ravines of Shorewood Park and Camp Waskowitz as a living laboratory, he taught hundreds of eager young students to immerse themselves in the wonders of the natural world. Using Shorewood Park as his classroom, Mr. Lemon taught students not only the names and uses of dozens of surrounding plants and trees, but the importance of safeguarding these precious natural resources as well.

Camp Waskowitz, a nationally acclaimed outdoor classroom in the Cascade Mountains near North Bend, was acquired by the Highline School District in 1957. More than just a camp for kids, Waskowitz offered an education in nature, outdoor survival, and conservation. Camp Director Bill Weppler said of the whole experience, which typically began for students with trial runs in Shorewood Park, that "we want children to gain a protective feeling for nature." Thousands of Shorewood students, who for 55 years began their "Outdoor Education" in Shorewood Park, would undoubtedly agree that their instructors succeeded.

Continue on to learn about the current use of Shorewood Park.

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