The Park and Center
Explore Seward Park's Ecosystem
The memory of Ann Lennartz lives on in
this new outdoor learning center in Seward Park.
Seward Park was created by the 2nd Continental
Glacier, a 4000 foot thick sheet of ice which carved out Lake
Washington over 13,000 years ago.
Within the bounds of Seward Park is contained
a unique western prairie community that supports the Garry
Oak, Washington’s only native oak. This member of the
white oak family is becoming increasingly rare as the result
of increased development and encroachment by large fir trees.
The forests of Seward Park are Old Growth
forests, and take at least 175 years to develop. These forests
are characterized by their large, old trees which may house
up to 100 additional plant species, large snags which serve
as veritable hotels for wildlife, and enormous fallen trees
some of which can be up to 1,000 years old and provide food
and shelter for plans and animals as they slowly decay and
Common Species of plant in the park include
trees such as the Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Sitka Spruce,
Western Red Cedar and the spectacular Big Leaf Maple whose
dinner-plate-sized leaves become a brilliant yellow in the
Fall. Other plants include various Fern species, Bracken,
Salal, Oregon Grape, Salmonberry, Trillium and Poison Oak.
More than 100 species of birds have been
recorded at the site. Our star attractions are the majestic
Bald Eagles that nest in the park. Two aeries have been reused
by our eagles every year. Birds that are commonly sighted
include Osprey, Barred Owls, Great Blue Herons, Northern Flickers,
Black-Capped Chickadees, Spotted Towhees, Downy and Pileated
Seward parks’ ecosystem also supports
a mammal population, including the elusive Mountain Beaver.
This rodent is not actually a true beaver, but its habit of
gnawing bark and chewing limbs off of trees contributed to
this misnomer. Mountain Beavers are herbivores and must consume
a full 1/3 of their body weight in water daily to offset inefficiencies
in their kidneys. Other species that frequent the park include
Coyotes, Raccoons, Squirrels, Beavers and Otters. Until the
1950’s, Black-Tailed deer used to swim from Mercer Island
to Seward Park.
To learn more about the Ecology of Seward Park, please join
us for one of our programs!
Please visit the City
of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department for more information
on Seward Park.