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Park Plant Detective

Activity

Plant Identification

Explore the plants around Waterloo Greenway and try to identify them. If you’re having difficulty, use the apps iNaturalist or FlowerChecker. There are over 91,904 plants in the park! Identify at least 5 plants that are new to you. Some plants found in this area include, horseherb, inland sea oats, Turks cap, and river sedge. As you explore the park, scan the QR codes to get more information on each plant.
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Science Seed

Native plants are very important to our ecosystems because they are adapted to local environments. These adaptations help them require only the appropriate amount of water for their area’s rainfall, and they provide suitable habitats for native species like birds, insects, and more.
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earn Badges

Badges can be earned through hands-on experiences within each of the 16 branches of science, or “Science Slices.” You can earn a badge in each branch of science by doing four activities in these categories. We also encourage participants to keep a Nature Journal to record their memories, and to express themselves creatively through writing or drawing after each activity. We recommend that each child (and parent if they’d like) write or draw in a journal after each activity, with expectations of your children that match their age (the goal is self-expression, not perfection).

Explore the Waterloo Greenway

Use this map to help you guide your way through the Waterloo Greenway as you complete activities.

Map

The Ecologist School Pocket Guide: Waterloo Greenway Edition is a collaborative project between Families in Nature and Waterloo Greenway Conservancy to help our community learn more about the ecosystem and history of Waterloo Greenway, while getting outside into nature together! This booklet has 64 lessons across 16 different branches of science to help you play, learn and volunteer in the park as a family!

Each branch of science corresponds with a matching badge featured in the top right corner of every activity. Complete all 4 activities in a science slice and you are eligible to earn that badge. 

Circle of Sciences

Our hands-on activities span across 16 different branches of science! Each Science Slice is broken into 8 learning categories: S.T.E.A.M., Volunteerism, Outdoor Skills and Leadership Development. Our activities are designed to be enjoyed by all ages.

join Families in Nature

It is our vision to inspire all families to fall in love with nature and foster the next generation of conservationists. Becoming a member of Families in Nature will give your family the opportunity to have adventures in nature, experience field science, develop as youth conservation leaders, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Memberships are free for everyone.

Who are we?

Families in Nature works to create opportunities for nature connection with the purpose of sparking a deep love and desire to protect, conserve and restore the environment. Our mission is to connect children and their families to nature and to each other through time spent learning, playing, and volunteering outdoors. It is our vision to inspire ALL families to fall in love with nature and foster the next generation of conservationists.

Think you know what a park is? Think again!

Waterloo Greenway is a 1.5-mile urban ecosystem with the power to bring the entire Austin community together. Winding along Waller Creek in downtown Austin, Waterloo Greenway is on its way to becoming a wondrous public park that celebrates the spirit of our community. This extraordinary shared experience is being launched in phases, and amazing free events and programs are already taking place. So, come explore the many ways we’re working to connect all of the people in our vibrant city to nature, art, culture — and to each other.

Waterloo Greenway Conservancy creates and maintains an extraordinary urban park system and a restored Waller Creek, in partnership with the City of Austin, for the benefit of all. The Conservancy renews the natural environment, promotes play, health and wellness, economic vitality and mobility, and engages the community through outreach, education, cultural events, and the arts.

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