Fiddleheads Forest School, A Parent’s Perspective by Karah Pino

“Wanna Touch the Sap with Me?”

Posted to the UW Botanic Gardens Blog November 18th, 2013 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Wanna touch the sap with me?

Wanna touch the sap with me?

“Wanna touch the sap with me?” This is the question posed by my 3-year-old every Tuesday and Thursday morning when he gets to Fiddleheads Forest School in the Washington Park Arboretum. It is his first stop before each class and he excitedly invites me or anyone else who is around to join him. The sap he is investigating comes from an extraordinary source, just outside of Forest Grove, the preschool center. A tall ponderosa pine tree whose bark has bubbled and buckled from some kind of fungus beneath the surface creates constant streams of sap pouring down in a slow-moving waterfall from 20 feet up its trunk. The sap is moving so slowly we have found spider webs build in the crevices of the bark with a lone drip suspended in the silk.

I encourage Alvin to dust his hands in dirt before touching the sap to make it easier to remove later, but he doesn’t always remember. That’s ok with me, though, because the fragrant scent of pine sap reminds me of my own childhood in New Mexico, playing in the pine trees and junipers. It also reminds me of why I started looking for an outdoor preschool two years ago to give my son the opportunities I had to explore nature free from the ever-present boundaries and dangers of the urban environment we are surrounded by in so much of Seattle.

IMG_7995When I discovered that Fiddleheads was expanding to a full year preschool located in the middle of the Arboretum, I felt as if the universe had bent around to fulfill this dream! I knew it was perfect when I discovered that forest grove is just across from the ancient Sequoia grove I loved to visit as an undergrad at the University of Washington when I lived near the Arboretum. The colors of autumn have been incredible to view each week driving to the school and the wide variety of leaves, berries, nuts and seed pods seems unending. After drop off or before pick up, I make some time for myself to enjoy the smells, sounds, sights and sightings alongside my child, so we can share the magic of the of the forest together. (I’m sure I saw a coyote tail bouncing in the brush one day!)

Occasionally, I will hear the sounds of little voices adventuring along as I am on my own walk and feel their excitement and wonder well up inside of me. I love to watch from afar as they gather sticks to build a “fire” or leaves to pile up and roll in and I inwardly thank all the forces, voices and advocates who came together to create this fantastic program.

Although my favorite sequoia grove is protected by a fence now to protect the fragile roots, their giant trunks and strong presence are a perfect example of why the Arboretum is such a treasure for Seattlites of all ages and I hope there will be many more classes of preschoolers and homeschoolers and every other age of schoolers out in appreciation all year round in this wonderous place!

(Karah Pino, MAcOM is the delighted parent of a Fiddlehead’s Forest student, the social media coordinator for the Women of Wisdom Foundation and she manages the blog Unwind your Mind and Get Creative!

Art from the Heart: The Sacred Shadow Self moves to the Ryan James Gallery in Bellevue!

Meditation as Art Performance this Friday, July 5th 7-9pm

The Sacred Shadow Self will be displayed as part of the Play and Creativity Series by Mary Alice Long of Play=Peace at the Ryan James Gallery in Bellevue.

Sacred Shadow Self Meditation as Art performance

Sacred Shadow Self Meditation as Art performance

Closing Night The Sacred Shadow Self: This Friday 7-10PM Mind Unwind Gallery

It has been an amazing month.  Thank you so much for all your support!

You are invited to attend the closing night celebration with performances and cupcakes!

(It’s my birthday party!!)

SSS FB Cover flat copy

Mind Unwind Gallery

2206A California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 849-7222

Jan 24th Mindful Parenting: Nurturing Our Children, Growing Ourselves with Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn Town Hall Seattle

Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindful Parenting: Nurturing Our Children, Growing Ourselves

Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
January 24, 2013 7–9 p.m.
Town Hall, Seattle
Tickets: $20

Topic age range: All ages

About this lecture:
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is the world-leading scientist/researcher and meditation teacher who brought mindfulness to mainstream society. His best-selling books include Wherever You Go There You Are, Full Catastrophe Living and Everyday Blessings, co-authored with his wife, Myla.

In this rare visit to the Pacific Northwest, Myla and Jon will inspire parents, grandparents and anyone working with children to slow down and be more present with their kids. They will explore how the cultivation of mindfulness in daily life can help us to work with the challenges we may face with children at different ages, as well as enriching the joys inherent in parenting and family life.

Learn more about this Lecture


The “best” meditation is what works for you! by Karah Pino, MAcOM

The results of a research study from San Francisco State University came out in July of 2012 that asked the question: “What is the best meditation?”

Meditation practitioners around the world would say: “The meditation I do!”  and as it turns out, the research shows that it is absolutely true!

The study followed people who learned different styles of meditation and tracked the effectiveness of the meditation program.  What was shown is that those who learned a style that suited them tended to follow up with their practice better than those that didn’t particularly like the style they were taught.  But the results of the different styles were equally effective, so long as they were practiced regularly. This confirmed what I had noticed for my students over the years.  Any technique will help you deal with stress to improve your health,  smooth your relationships, and help you enjoy your life.

“A new study just published notes the importance of selecting a meditation method that is most comfortable to the new meditator, not the one that is currently the most popular. Choosing the one you are most comfortable with increases the likelihood that you will stick with it, says Adam Burke, the author of the study and a professor of health education at San Francisco State University.”Read More

Helping people find a style that works for them is the goal of the Unwind your Mind curriculum.

Unwind your Mind Meditation CD

Meditation Instruction CD

This class is designed to give an overview of the types of different techniques to people newly interested in meditation.  The four categories of meditation techniques are: Mindfulness, Visualization techniques, Sound techniques and Movement techniques.  The types of techniques introduced in the three hour class include breathing techniques, guided meditation, chanting, self observation and QiGong.

To take this class or purchase the CD, please visit:

mommy-and-alvin-sqKarah Pino, MAcOM has a master’s degree in Acupunture and Chinese medicine including meditation techniques for healing.  She is a meditation instructor at the University of Washington Experimental College and Mind Unwind Gallery.  Courses are offered regularly in Seattle, WA on on retreats offered through Mind Unwind.

Barbara Marx Hubbard and John Perkins in Seattle Sept 10 at Om Culture

The Evolutionary Vantage Point:
Awakening Our Leadership Potential and Our Collective Heart
Designing Our Future from the Inside Out

When: September 10, 2012 from 5-9 pm; doors open at 4 pm
Where: OM Culture, 2210 N. Pacific Street, Seattle, WA
Cost: $5-20 donation
Dinner: Please bring healthy food for community potluck

What Are the New Memes for a Fertile Future?
Discovering Shared Purpose and Connecting More of the Dots!

On Monday, September 10, join together with other community leaders, artists and innovators to explore the pressing questions and ideas shaping the future of our city and our world. Coming from an evolutionary perspective, we seek to discover more of our collective potential and our shared purpose as a City and Community. It’s clear to everyone that we are living in powerful times, full of uncertainty and vast potential. What is needed to help us navigate through this time? If we are in the ‘Chrysalis Stage’ of a global transformation process, what does it mean for us to fully show up?

JOINING US for the evening are two truly amazing Global Luminaries AND Wise Elders — Barbara Marx Hubbard, who Deepak Chopra calls ‘the voice for Conscious Evolution,” and John Perkins, the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and several books on shamanism (full bios below). They will provide inspiration, wisdom and essential knowledge. It is an honor to have them with us.

WE’LL EXPLORE TOGETHER, through a dynamic evening of dialogue, play, reflection and FUN the outlines of a Co-Creative Society:

• Cosmogenesis – What is the new story and metanarrative from the largest perspective possible?
• Crises – Learn how crises precede transformation and discover the social implications for co-creation and collaboration.
• Capabilities – Discover more about our New Capabilities and how we can unleash our greatest Creativity.
• Cultivate Collaboration on a regional level.
• Showcase & Map What’s Working and emerging in our community using the Wheel of Co-Creation.

“The crises of our time are evolutionary drivers that spur us to evolve beyond where we are today. Right now our whole social system is withering, leadership is faltering and failing, and problems are escalating exponentially, giving us very little time to change. At the same moment, millions of pioneering souls are seeking a higher order of life, that is, NEW STRUCTURES and not just new projects. They are searching out or they are creating new systems and innovations in health, education, environment, energy and business. In the great 13.7-billion-year tradition of nature itself, these innovations are creating the conditions for an evolutionary leap. They are creating what the complexity theorists call a ‘strange attractor’ toward a higher order culture. This attractor – which offers greater consciousness, freedom and compassion – is emerging subtly everywhere, but is not yet coordinated, connected or visible. We have not yet ‘connected the dots.'”

PLEASE SHARE THIS INVITATION with your friends, colleagues and those curious about what it will take to step into a thriving future.

Please RSVP on FaceBook, bring comfy clothes and healthy food for the potluck, and be ready to Receive, Discover, Engage and Meet other like-minded-hearted friends!

For More Info:
Please email Sheri at sheri or call 206-371-4874.

We want to thank our co-sponsors for this evening – Whidbey GeoDome Project, New Stories, and Nomad University. Also deep gratitude to Michael Suzerris with OM Culture for his always-present support to the Community!

The Park Less Traveled: 7 Seattle Parks to Discover This Summer – ParentMap

The Park Less Traveled: 7 Seattle Parks to Discover This Summer – ParentMap.

Seattle is blessed with an incredible bounty of city parks, ranging from near wilderness to little pocket parks. But even with such a fantastic selection, it’s easy to fall into a rut and go to the same old places.

Does Parental Park Malaise set in while watching your kids slide down the salmon over and over again at Carkeek Park or negotiating toddler access rights to the canoe at Green Lake?

I recently embarked on a new-park-a-day adventure with my 4-year-old daughter, which, although costly in terms of fuel, made me even happier to live in Seattle.

This summer, you too can re-energize your park mojo by trying some of Seattle’s lesser-known, wonderful parks. Here are seven favorite finds.