March 2018
Note from the Executive Director

We sure swam through Fish February pretty fast! If you did not get a chance to come down and see our rotating exhibit, we will still have a display of Puget Sound Rockfish, Cod, Greenling, Gobies, Sharks, and Perch through the end of March. In April, we are featuring shellfish at the Estuarium and will keep you updated on the grand opening of our new Shellfish Exhibit.

Don't forget to purchase your Mud Bay Blues Band Benefit Concert   tickets now  for this Saturday, March 10th ! It is sure to be an exciting event with great music, refreshments, and dancing. All proceeds benefit the Estuarium. We are also at the end of our winter matching campaign, in which every $1 you donate at will be matched with $2 by the Dawkins Charitable Trust. If you can't make it to the concert, please considering donating before the end of winter!

We are getting several requests for information about our Meet the Beach training, which starts in April. If you are interested in becoming a Meet the Beach volunteer or Beach Naturalist, please read the article in this issue for additional information and dates/times.

This month, I am super excited to announce that we have hired incredible new staff members with a wealth of experience, including an Education Coordinator, Outreach Coordinator, and three Lead Interpreters. I have included short bios and photos below. Make sure you say "hi" next time you see them!

Finally, we still have ten spaces available for Pier Peer on March 14th at 5:30 PM and our next Discovery Speaker Series is March 15th, 7:00 PM, with speaker Wendy Steffensen. She will be presenting on "Chemicals in the Water – Findings from Lott’s Reclaimed Water Study," at Lott's WET Science Center.

Thank you very much for all your support and enjoy this edition!
Last Chance to Purchase Tickets!
Blues Band/Estuarium Benefit
March 10th, 7:00-9:30 PM

Join us on Saturday, March 10th, for an evening of classic rock and blues with Laura Lowe and the Mud Bay Blues Band. The event will be held at the Olympia Elks, 1818 4th Ave, Olympia, WA.
Family Friendly. No host bar. Refreshments, dancing, and fun!

Click here for tickets! Adults - $20. Age 17 years and under - $10. Click here  to sample sounds from the band.
Welcome New Staff Members!

We are very excited to have Elisa, Melody, Stevie, Michaela, Raven on staff!
Education Coordinator - Melody Upton
Melody Upton completed a bachelor’s degree in Biology (marine emphasis) at Western Washington University. She has been in the world of informal science education for the past four years, taking her career through multiple zoos, aquariums, and children’s museums in Washington State. Her favorite ocean animal is the shark, although, she says it changes on a day to day basis!
Outreach Coordinator - Elisa McGee

Elisa McGee is a lifelong citizen of Olympia and a class of 2017 Evergreen State College graduate. She has worked with a number of local organizations that seek to improve Olympia through community outreach and education, as well as teaming with local artists and businesses to collaborate on a number of media art projects.
Lead Interpreter - Stevie Knapp

Stevie Knapp received her bachelor's degrees in environmental studies and conservation marine sciences from the Evergreen State College. She started with the Estuarium in 2015 as a volunteer and then served as an intern for three months, learning non-profit business management. Besides working for the Estuarium, Stevie is an Education Program Coordinator with the King County Conservation District. She loves educating the community on harms of marine debris through being a 5Gyers Ambassador and working closely with zero waste Washington.
Lead Interpreter - Michaela McGibbon
Michaela McGibbon was born and raised in the Olympia area and is currently finishing up a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Saint Martin’s University. Michaela has a strong passion for conservation and education, and she has spent many years volunteering in educational and environmental facilities such as at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.
Lead Interpreter - Raven Connolly

Raven is currently completing a Bachelors of the Arts and Sciences at the Evergreen State College. She is studying questions that relate to water systems from a geological/hydrological, biological, social, political and historical perspective. Her background in biology is multidisciplinary, which include but are not limited to geology, evolutionary biology, ecology, sociology, neuroscience, history, philosophy, and visual arts.
Please join me in giving a warm welcome to all our new incredible staff members!
Program Updates


We had some fishy adventures this February at the Estuarium! Please keep your eyes out for an announcement about April at the Estuarium, during which we will be focusing on shellfish for Shellfish Week and Arts Walk.

The Estuarium provides excellent educational opp ortunities for all ages! If you would like to schedule a special visit to the Estuarium, please contact
Meet the Beach

We are very excited to announce our 2018 Meet the Beach volunteer program. Meet the Beach Beach Naturalists provide natural interpretation to the general public and to K-12 groups on low-tide days at local beaches. We explore the beach with beach-goers, helping them find and learn about marine habitats, plants and animals.

Our free Beach Naturalist training is known for its expert instruction and fascinating content. No existing knowledge or experience is required. Our primary training objective is to increase volunteers’ knowledge of estuary biology and habitats and the impacts of human interaction. During the training, we will focus on the habitats at local beaches and on marine-life anatomy, survival behaviors, feeding, predation, and life cycles.

Classroom and beach dates for the 2018 Meet the Beach volunteer training are:

  • Wednesday, April 4, 6:00 - 8:00 PM at the Estuarium (Required for new volunteers)
  • Thursday, April 12, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
  • Thursday, April 19, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
  • Saturday, April 21, 4:00 - 6:00 PM at Burfoot Beach
  • Thursday, May 3, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
  • Thursday, May 10, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
  • Saturday, May 19, 2:30 - 4:30 PM at Tolmie State Park

The Thursday evening classroom sessions will be held at:
Boston Harbor Firehouse
5046 Boston Harbor Road NE
Olympia, WA 98506

It is important for new volunteers to attend all of the training sessions. We can make special arrangements for new volunteers who are keen to volunteer, but who will miss no more than two sessions. Please let us know if you are a new volunteer and you plan to miss any of the training sessions. The Meet the Beach Orientation on April 4 is required for all new volunteers.

We ask that Meet the Beach Beach Naturalists volunteer for at least four low-tide days each season. New volunteers must submit to a background check. If you choose volunteer for the Meet the Beach program, we ask that you become or maintain your membership with the Estuarium. You can renew or establish your membership by clicking HERE .

To schedule yourself for the training sessions, you must have a Volgistics account with us. You can create a Volgistics account by completing our Volunteer Application HERE . If you already have a Volgistics account with us, you can schedule yourself for the training sessions HERE . If you have any trouble with the volunteer application or the volunteer schedule, please let us know; we are happy to help.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us. We look forward to working with you to inspire people of all ages to connect with, protect, and enjoy the unique estuary environment of Puget Sound!
Pier Peer

We have ten Pier Peer tickets available for March 14th, 5:30 - 7:00 PM, at Boston Harbor Marina. Click HERE for tickets.

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

Private Group Events – If you are interested in scheduling a private group visit, please email .
Laughs from Larry, the Spiny Lumpsucker

Q: What does a mussel do on its birthday?
A: It shellebrates!

Mussels are found in dense mats attached by fine threads to rocks, pilings, or other hard surfaces. Mussels have oblong, blue-black or brown shells. Of the two species of mussels found in Washington waters, the foolish common blue or bay mussel ( Mytilus edulis ) is the most commonly used for food. It grows to a length of about three inches and is found mainly in sheltered waters attached to gravel, boulders, floats, and piling. The California mussel grows to a considerably larger size and is found primarily on wave-washed rocks in coastal areas, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the San Juan Islands, can grow to over six inches. Mussels are detached, scrubbed clean, and then steamed or cooked like clams. - WA Department of Fish and Wildlife

Come to the Estuarium and get ready for Shellfish Month in April. Check out our mussels before our kelp crab eats them all!

To submit your joke, email
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! 

  • Laura Lowe and the Mud Bay Blues Band
  • Nancy LaPointe Navigate Financial 
  • Kevin Gordham
  • Cynthia Worth Law Group
  • The Pet Works - Estuarium
  • LOTT's WET Science Center - Discovery Speaker Series
  • 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
  • The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment
  • The Norcliffe Foundation
  • Pacific Shellfish Growers Association
  • Puget Sound Energy
  • Nisqually Indian Tribe
  • The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound
  • The Squaxin Tribe
  • US Fish and Wildlife