August 2018
Note from the Executive Director

July had its ups and down, but our team is in good spirits. As many of you already heard, the building adjacent to the Estuarium caught fire several weeks ago. The Estuarium experienced minor flooding and smoke damage, and much of July was dedicated to restoring air quality. We are warmed by the support our community has shown us and grateful that all of our animals are safe!

A big thank you goes out to everyone who has donated to our aquarium equipment (and smoke damage) fundraising campaign. If you haven't donated yet, please visit . We recently hired a new Lead Aquarist, Jack Seymour, who is excited to get more tanks up and running. We are almost halfway to our goal of $2,000 before the SSEA the Sound cruise on September 16th.

SSEA the Sound is back once again for another great day spent immersed in food, drink, and estuary education! This 10th year of SSEA the Sound is set to be the highlight of fall with returning guest speaker Casey Mclean of SR3  (Sealife Reponse + Rehabilitation + Research) and her engaging talk centered on marine mammal welfare in the Puget Sound, whale entanglement, and building Washington's first marine mammal rehabilitation and science center! Tickets are available for purchase now with early bird specials!

July’s Shark Month was extended into August to reschedule our anticipated shark talks. Throughout the month of August come down to the Estuarium for tons of JAWSOME shark education, activities, and specimen! Shark talks will proceed as planned with free admission to the Estuarium all day. Come see Dr. Dayv Lowry on August 11th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM and Sandy Zeiner on the 25th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM.

We are approaching our last low tide days for Meet the Beach. If you haven’t had a chance to meet with our trained Beach Naturalists on the beach yet, this weekend August 11th and 12th at Tolmie and Burfoot parks are your last chance to do so. Also, don't forget to  join us after dark this summer and purchase your Pier Peer tickets for August 11th , 21st , and September 11th to discover what lurks beneath the pier.

The Estuarium thanks you for your continued support!
SSEA the Sound

SSEA the Sound is back for it's 10th year! Join us September 16th from 1:00 - 5:00 PM for an afternoon out on the sound complete with tasty treats, great company, and priceless education!

We are proud to announce Casey Mclean of SR3 as our 2018 guest speaker. Her talk promises to have you at the edge of your seat as she delves into SR3's mission to build Washington's first marine mammal rehabilitation center, and her first hand accounts responding to vulnerable creatures, including entangled whales.

Be sure to purchase your tickets with our early bird specials and reserve your spot for another wonderful year of SSEA the Sound! Click HERE to purchase tickets!
Summer Outreach Events

Just recently, our Outreach Coordinator and a team of dedicated volunteers manned an educational STEM booth at the Thurston County Fair and connected with nearly 800 people! Harbor Days is just around the corner, and we can’t wait to connect with even more of our community members. If you’d like to sign up to volunteer for Harbor Days and other outreach events this August - October, please fill out a volunteer interest form here . Returning volunteers can sign up through Volgistics.
Welcome Jack Seymour!

Join me in welcoming our new Lead Aquarist, Jack Seymour. Jack previously worked on the tanks at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve as a Marine Program Assistant and is very familiar with WA estuary habitats and critters. He helped us during our On the Water program and has much in store for improving and expanding our displays, like a new front room tank, a jellyfish tank, and a rough-skinned newt exhibit.

Jack will also be working as a Lead Interpreter on the weekend, so be sure to stop in and say "hi!

Please support Jack and all his husbandry efforts by donating to our summer aquarium fundraising campaign at
Volunteer Opportunities

This summer is filled with volunteer opportunities. Some upcoming opportunities include:

  • Estuarium Field Trip: August 29
  • Harbor Days: September 1-2
  • International Coastal Cleanup: September 16
  • Estuarium Field Trip: September 26
  • Estuary Life and Landforms: October 1-19
  • Beach and Estuarium Field Trip: October 5
  • Bayshore FieldSTEM Field Trips: October 23-25

One of the best ways to get involved is to join an Estuarium team. We currently have three teams, and if there is interest from the public, we would like to start an Exhibits team. Our teams are:
  • Education Team - Designs curriculum modules, sets up field trips, coordinates classroom curriculum kits, and evaluates program success. The Education Team meets the fourth Thursday of every month from 6:00 - 7:00 PM at the Estuarium.

  • Events Team - Develops, plans, and hosts fun and informative Estuarium events that raise awareness of the importance and wonder of Puget Sound and that raise funds to support the Estuarium’s educational programs and services. The Events Team meets the second Wednesday of every month from 4:30 - 5:30 PM at the Estuarium. 

  • Development Team - Prepares grants, solicits individual donations, and promotes corporate sponsorships. The Development Team meets the second Thursday of every month from 6:30 - 7:30 PM at the Estuarium. 

  • Exhibits Team - Provides scientific, technical, educational, and design feedback on rotating and permanent exhibits in the Estuarium. The Exhibits Team is new and a date/time has not been chosen yet.

Program Updates


August is extended Shark Month due to the fire. The Estuarium will keep shark inspired education and activities through August, including rescheduled shark talks. You won't want to miss the JAWSOME events we have planned!

August 11, 1:00 - 2:00 PM:
Dr. Dayv Lowry
Research Scientist
Department of Fish and Wildlife

August 25, 1:00 - 2:00 PM:
Sandy Zeiner
Shellfish and Enforcement Policy Analyst
NW Indian Fisheries Commission

Admission is free on Shark Talk days!
K - 12 Education

Our Education Coordinator attended NOAA’s "Teachers on the Estuary" workshop at the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Thanks to this workshop, the education team will be able to better apply explorations of local online data, activities from NOAA’s Estuaries 101 online curriculum, and in-depth NGSS Practices of Science.

Summertime brings exceptionally great low tides! Thanks to the WA Recreation Conservation Office's "No Child Left Inside" grant, the Puget Sound Estuarium Education Team was able to offer FREE beach field trips for nearly 150 K-12 youth from various Lacey Parks and Recreation programs in July.

Are you interested in a 90-minute FREE beach field trip for your K-12 group? To schedule your FREE beach field trip please fill out a field trip request form here and return it to Scheduling is tide dependent.
Meet the Beach

It has been a hot few weekends, but Meet the Beach is going well! Our visibility on the beach has increased, thanks to beautiful new sandwich broads, made possible by our Outreach Coordinator.

We have found some cool species as well, including several new species of nudibranch, a pipe fish, many beautiful moon snails, and a beautiful little baby flounder!

There's only two Meet the Beach days left, and we are equally eager and sad to meet with new beach goers for the last weekend of the 2018 Meet the Beach season. If you have't already please be sure to meet us at your favorite local beach this weekend and explore, connect, and get inspired by all that Puget Sound has to offer!
August Meet the Beach Dates:

Saturday, August 11, 11:00 - 2:00 PM: Tolmie
Saturday, August 11, 11:00 - 2:00 PM: Burfoot
Sunday, August 12, 12:00 - 3:00 PM: Tolmie
Sunday, August 12, 12:0 - 3:00 PM Burfoot
For our full Meet the Beach schedule, please visit:
Pier Peer

Pier Peer has been just beautiful these last few months. Warm summer nights have made for easy collecting and comfortable conditions for exploring the pier. We found a particularly beautiful species of nudibranch - the Alabaster Nudibranch! We also found several enormous egg yolk jellyfish, lots of crabs, and hundreds of beautiful ctenaphora!
Don't miss your chance to discover what lurks beneath the pier while the weather is still calm!

Keep in mind that if you have a group (scouts, friends, family reunion, etc.) who you think would enjoy a fun evening discovering the underwater world of Puget Sound, you can always schedule your own private Pier Peer event!

To schedule a private Pier Peer please fill out a group inquiry form and send to

Come join us some evening to see into the sea!
Participants (Age 13 and older) – $10
Children (Age 12 and younger) – FREE
Laughs from Larry, the Spiny Lumpsucker

Q: What's a great white shark's favorite candy?
A: A JAW-breaker!

At nearly 26 ft in length and weighing up to 11,000 lbs, basking sharks are the second largest shark in the world right behind whale sharks. Despite their intimidating size and colossal gaping jaw, basking sharks are gentle giants that primarily eat plankton. This mammoth of shark is also surprisingly passive when it comes to catching food, simply coasting with its mouth wide open and filtering out tasty plankton and tiny crustaceans, while releasing remaining sea water through its gills. For this reason the basking ends up filtering about 1,500 - 2,000 cubic meters of sea water an hour!

To submit your joke, email

Photo Credit:
Basking Shark off the Atlantic Coast, Florian Graner, Green Fire Productions
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 .
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! 

  • Puget Sound Energy
  • 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:
  • The Russell Family Foundation
  • WA Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • WA Recreation and Conservation Office
  • Washington Foundation for the Environment
  • The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment
  • The Norcliffe Foundation
  • Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association
  • Puget Sound Energy
  • Nisqually Indian Tribe
  • The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound
  • The Squaxin Tribe
  • US Fish and Wildlife

Photo Credits:
  • Leopard Shark - Triakis semifasciata, Brian Gratwicke