April 2019
Photo Credit: Pacific Geoduck, Sunrise Beach, Ratha Grimes https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Note from the Executive Director

It’s officially spring! In March, we added new staff members, provided fantastic fish education, and had a rockin’ good time at our Annual Music Benefit.

It’s time to celebrate the spectacular shellfish of the Puget Sound with our next special exhibit! Come on down to the Estuarium to discover the iconic mollusks that maintain and support our unique estuaries.

Join us on April 26th - 27th for extended open hours during this year’s Spring Arts Walk! Enjoy awesome estuary inspired work by local artists and Estuarium volunteer Emily Isham, and learn how to prepare delicious manila clams in under 10 minutes!

Our Education Team members are busy as bees getting ready for upcoming spring field trips. Be sure to check out our volunteer opportunities to help educate local students about our amazing estuaries as the weather warms up.

This time of year is always exciting here at the Estuarium as we prepare for one of most popular programs, Meet the Beach! Beach Naturalist training is starting up in just a few days, but there’s still time to sign up and become an Estuarium Beach Naturalist! For registration details, click HERE .

Our next Pier Peer event is not far away! Be sure to register while there’s still space for our April 16th Pier Peer by clicking HERE .

Happy spring from the Estuarium!
New Staff, Aquarist Job Announcement, and Board Member Applications

Join us in welcoming our new Lead Interpreters to the team! We are glad to have Sarah Neitzel and Raegan Goff with us during weekly open hours to help educate and inspire Estuarium visitors. These two have an incredible wealth of knowledge and are sure to be a perfect addition to our crew.

Sarah Neitzel - Sarah’s ongoing passion for Marine Biology was sparked by the wondrous creatures she found as a child in Pacific Northwest tide pools. Just returning to Washington after completing her B.S. in Marine Biology, invertebrate zoology is her strongest area, particularly cnidarians. Sarah also worked on an American chestnut conservation project, rescued cold-stunned sea turtles, and served a camp counselor.

Raegan Goff - Raegan is currently a student at Evergreen State College where she is studying Environmental Science with a focus on Marine Science. She moved to Washington in 2008 from Arizona (no oceans). Her love of marine life came from spending time as an interpretation volunteer at the Seattle Aquarium. Helping people connect with their environment is one of her greatest joys.

Stop by the Estuarium every weekend from 11:00 - 4:00 PM to visit with these estuary loving educators!
Lead Aquarist - Do you dream of having gills? Does maintaining the perfect pH, salinity, nitrates, and phosphates excite you? Are you an expert at caring for marine animals? Our Lead Aquarist is headed abroad, and we are accepting application for this 40 hour/month position through April 26th, with a start date of May 6th. To check out the job description, click HERE .

Board Members - The Puget Sound Estuarium is seeking applicants to serve on its Board of Directors. Having marine/estuary knowledge or previous experience serving on non-profit boards is not required. Each member of the Board of Directors serves a three-year term. Responsibilities include thoughtful participation in monthly Board meetings, service, and support of the Estuarium in a variety of tasks and events.
If you are interested, please submit any questions and/or a letter of interest and resume to board@SSEAcenter.org . Applications received before April 30 will receive priority. The Board will review all nominations to ensure their eligibility and contact selected applicants for an informal interview.

Join us at the Estuarium April - May to learn about the amazing shellfish of the Puget Sound! Discover the diverse mollusks that live in our estuaries, their crucial role in keeping our waterways clean, and their integral place in the economy of the Pacific Northwest. Needless to say, our latest special exhibit is a total Shellfish Spectacular!

Once again, the Estuarium is eager to participate in Olympia’s Spring Arts Walk! Join us for extended open hours, manila clam cooking demonstrations made possible by Taylor Shellfish, and the amazing work of Emily Isham, local artist and Estuarium volunteer.

Arts Walk Extended Open Hours
  • April 26, 5:00 - 8:00 PM
  • April 27, 12:00 - 8:00 PM

Shellfish Cooking Demo
  • April 27, 5:00 - 8:00 PM
K - 12 Education

Our education team is hard at work preparing for our spring field trips! With so many field trips to on the way, we are recruiting volunteers for K-12 education in the coming weeks. Check out the awesome volunteer opportunities coming up!

K-12 Education Volunteer Opportunities

  • April 9 - 11, 9:00 AM, Inspiring Kids Preserve Field Trip, Harmony Farms
  • April 16 - 18, 10:00 - 2:00 PM, Squaxin Island 1st grade Field Trip Experience, Shelton
  • April 18, 11:00 - 12:30 PM: 6th Grade Estuarium Field Trip, Nisqually Middle School
  • April 24, 6:00 - 8:00 PM: On The Water Volunteer Training, Estuarium

Have you scheduled your end of school year field trip yet? The Puget Sound Estuarium is offering FREE 90 min K-12 beach field trips until June 15, 2019. If you are interested in our FREE beach field trip, complete the Inquiry Form, found HERE , and return to the Education Coordinator at Education@SSEAcenter.org.  
Meet the Beach

The Estuarium’s 2019 Meet the Beach program is drawing near, and we are eager to recruit new Beach Naturalists! Starting in early April, join us at the Estuarium for marine resource training, led by amazing local experts. Our free training helps beach goers in the Puget Sound identify the plants and animals in our extraordinary and unique estuaries. Get your hands dirty on the beach, turning over rocks and wading through low tide as you share your passion for the Puget Sound exploring intertidal life!

To become an Estuarium Beach Naturalist, click HERE to submit a volunteer form and background check. All aspiring Beach Naturalists must attend one general orientation in addition to three Beach Naturalist training sessions (two held at the Estuarium, and one on the beach). All training is free and requires no previous knowledge about the Puget Sound or marine biology. 
Pier Peer

Spring is coming, Boston Harbor is warming up, and Pier Peer is still going strong. Come help us find nudibranch, shrimp, crabs, fish, seals, and more! Bring a warm jacket, roll your sleeves up, and dig in with us some time.

Participants (Age 13 and older) - $10
Children (Age 12 and younger) - FREE

Upcoming Pier Peer Dates:

  • April 16, 7:30 - 9:00 PM: Click HERE to register

Register online using the links on our Facebook page or website!
Do you have a group (scouts, friends, family reunion, etc.) who you think would enjoy a fun evening discovering the underwater world of Puget Sound? Remember you can always schedule your own private Pier Peer event! Please email  PierPeer@SSEAcenter.org  for more information and to request a group inquiry form.
Volunteer Opportunities

Are you looking for ways to get involved? Here are a few coming up: 
  • Inspiring Kids Preserve Field Trip: April 9 & 11, 9:00 AM
  • Pier Peer: April 16, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
  • Squaxin Island 1st Grade Field Trip Experience: April 16 - 18, 10:00 - 2:00 PM
  • Estuarium Field Trip with Nisqually Middle School: April 18, 11:00 - 2:00 PM
  • On the Water Volunteer Training: April 24, 6:00 - 8:00 PM
  • Arts Walks Open Hours: April 26, 5:00 - 8:00 PM
  • Arts Walk Open Hours: April 27, 12:00 - 8:00 PM
  • Lacey STEM Fair, Outreach Event: May 4, 10:00 - 5:00 PM
  • Estuarium Open Hours: Every weekend at the Estuarium between 11:00 - 4:00 PM

One of the best ways to get involved is to join an Estuarium Team! We currently have four teams (Education, Events, Exhibits, and Development). To join a team, please visit www.SSEAcenter.org/volunteer/teams/ for more information, fill out a volunteer application, and email Volunteer@SSEAcenter.org . We’d love to have you join us!
Laughs from Larry, the Spiny Lumpsucker

Q: How does a shellfish get to the hospital?
A: They call a clambulance!

Shellfish are a crucial part of the the ecology, culture, and economy of the Puget Sound, with a surprising history. Non-native species of clams and oysters make up a large portion of the Puget Sound’s aquaculture. In the early 1900’s, over harvesting native shellfish and pollution led to the introduction of more resilient oyster seed from the East coast and even Japan! Efforts have been underway to bring back our native oysters and contribute to Washington's reputation of providing an amazing diversity of shellfish to consumers.

If you enjoy eating shellfish, check out SLURP on April 14, 2019. Proceeds from this fun filled event have helped the Estuarium bring you informative shellfish education and exhibits.

To submit your joke, email Center@SSEAcenter.org.
About the Puget Sound Estuarium
Explore * Connect * Inspire

The Puget Sound Estuarium was founded by the South Sound Estuary Association (SSEA) to create opportunities for the public to learn about estuaries, geology, natural and cultural history, marine life, and human impact on the Puget Sound (the biggest estuary in the United States by volume and second largest in the United States by shoreline).

Our mission is to foster learning opportunities that inspire people of all ages to connect with, protect, and enjoy the unique estuary environment of the Puget Sound. 

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and are supported by donations from caring individuals like you. Please help us continue our work by donating today. You can donate by mailing your check to: South Sound Estuary Association, PO Box 2182, Olympia, WA 98507, or visiting www.SSEAcenter.org/donate .
Our Supporters

We are grateful to have the support of our major donors, sponsors, and partners. Support these local businesses & partners. They support the Puget Sound Estuarium! 

  • Nancy LaPointe Navigate Financial 
  • Kevin Gordham
  • Cynthia Worth Law Group
  • The Pet Works - Estuarium
  • LOTT's WET Science Center - Discovery Speaker Series
  • Laura Lowe and the Mud Bay Blues Band
  • Coffee News - Connecting the Community
  • Boston Harbor Marina - Pier Peer
  • My Girl Yacht - K-12 Education
  • TSS Digital Services - Estuarium

Foundation Support:
  • Dawkins Charitable Trust
  • The Russell Family Foundation
  • WA Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • WA Recreation and Conservation Office
  • The Norcliffe Foundation
  • Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association
  • Nisqually Indian Tribe
  • The Squaxin Tribe