Becoming better stewards of the earth

Outdoor Wellness log

By Zachary Nelson
University of Washington Bothell students filled the popular Goldmyer Hot Springs in the Cascades on Jan. 27, enjoying a warm soak after a two-hour hike in the snow.

“It was a cool set up,” said Matan Arazy, who led the excursion as an outdoor wellness leader with UW Bothell Recreation & Wellness. “There were four layers of hot springs with the hottest on top and each one below getting a little colder. It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by snow and sitting in natural bathwater.”

The trip to the hot springs 25 miles east of North Bend is a favorite for Arazy, a senior in biology who works as a student assistant. The hot springs are so popular, visits are limited to 20 people a day by the owner, Northwest Wilderness Programs, a nonprofit.

“Having breathtaking experiences outside is an integral part of the college experience,” said Matt Busch, outdoor wellness program manager. “These connections we make with the wilderness make us better stewards of the earth and also take us out of our comfort zones. We are pushing students to look at the outdoors in new ways, but it’s always user-friendly and accessible to beginners.”

Various climbs, hikes and events are available through Recreation & Wellness, located in the Activities and Recreation Center.  Support from the student services and activities fee makes exploring nature affordable.

“Without UW Bothell, many of these events would be inaccessible to students because of the high cost. The subsidized price allows more students on a budget to get in on the exploration,” Arazy said.

Excursions also give students opportunities to make new friends.

“I am from eastern Washington. I didn’t know anybody when I got to UW Bothell,” said Audrey Tinnin, a pre-major. “For someone like me, who lives on campus, participating in these events is a good way to form a strong community of friends. We go on trips together almost every weekend now.”

Tinnin loved an excursion to Wobbly Ranch in Snohomish where she did yoga with goats.

“It’s a farm that raises food but also rescues goats. During the trip we not only did yoga, we also helped the couple who ran the farm by doing farm work for them,” she said. “This was a mutually beneficial excursion that everyone appreciated.”

The outings also helped Tinnin decide to major in education and to integrate her passion for the outdoors with teaching about nature and the environment.

A few winter quarter outdoor wellness trips remain — and Recreation & Wellness welcomes student ideas for future trips, Busch said.

“I want this year to be our best year yet,” he said. “If you are a student and want to do something outside, submit a suggestion and there’s a good chance, if others are interested, we can make it happen.”