David B. Williams knows nature in Seattle. As the author of the recently published The Street-Smart Naturalist: Field Notes From Seattle (Westwinds Press, $14.95), he has hunted up the obscure and notable quirks of the natural world within our city limits. According to Williams, you don't have to hike deep into the North Cascades to find a treasure trove of local wildlife, flora, and history. The city is brimming with wild things, whether you're looking for sea anemones (Golden Gardens) or a place to expose a botanically ignorant enemy to poison oak (Seward Park). Williams also writes about nature and the environment for Smithsonian, National Parks, and Science World magazines, but he knows more than just the nuts and berries of our man-shaped urban environment.
David B. Williams' Picks
Best Place to See a Historical Botanical Blunder:
Madronas on the hills of Magnolia. (Um, they're madronas, not magnolias, Lt. Davidson.)
Best Reason to Go to Safeco Field:
Birding in the bleachers. (That's the winged variety of birds, not the Austin Powers species of "bird," baby.)
Best Place to See Fossils Downtown:
150-million-year-old ammonites at the Grand Hyatt and 330-million-year-old crinoids and bryozoans at the Rainier Club.
Best Shop for Used Bicycles:
Recycled Cycles in the University District.
Best Tide Pools:
Low tide at Golden Gardens Park.
Best Bird-Watching Spots:
For diversity of waterfowl, Discovery Park. Green Lake has good wintering waterfowl. For the most dramatic wildlife display, the dawn and dusk movement of crows to and from their roost on Foster Island.
Best Urban Hike:
Hiking with the Homewaters Project during its twice-yearly exploration of Thornton Creek (www.homewatersproject.org for schedule and details).
Best Place to Find Organic Produce:
Puget Consumers Co-op, any store (www.pugetcoop.com for area locations).
Best Place to See Urban Old-Growth Trees:
Best Place to Buy a Field Guide:
Pioneer Square's Flora and Fauna Books.
Best Place for Green-Friendly Home Products:
Environmental Home Center in SoDo.
Best Recycled Goods Store:
Boeing Surplus Store in Kent (assuming you need aircraft drill bits or 747 carpet remnants).