May 2018
Note from the Executive Director

April came and went in the blink of an eye! Between Pier Peer, Meet the Beach, a new shellfish exhibit, and Arts Walk, it’s no wonder it went by so fast. The good news is, we have even more coming in May!

This month at the Estuarium is Marine Mammal May! And that means an entire month dedicated to the wonderful and iconic marine mammals that live here. With the help of Cascadia, Sealife Response + Rehabilitation + Research (SR3), and MaST (Highline College Marine Science and Technology Center), we are glad to bring you marine mammal centered events, education, and displays. This rotating exhibit is only a month long, so don’t miss your chance to come celebrate all there is to learn and love about marine mammals of the Pacific Northwest!

There are three more Meet the Beach training sessions left, and we’re only that much closer to Meet The Beach tow tide day. June through August join us on low tide days at your favorite local beaches to meet with Beach Naturalists and explore the inter-tidal critters that live there!

Pier Peer tickets for May 15th and May 27th are still available, and are going fast! Register soon to reserve your spot for our next Pier Peer event.

We are super excited to announce that the Washington Recreation and Conservation office has awarded the Estuarium a "No Child Left Inside" grant to support our outdoor education field trips!

Thank you for your continued support of the Estuarium. We are so excited for you to join us this Marine Mammal May!
Program Updates


It’s Marine Mammal May! And that means a whole month of marine mammal inspired events and information! Come see our month long rotating exhibit featuring the skeletons and pelts of some of our regions most iconic marine mammals.

Try your hand at putting together a Harbor Seal skeleton with our Bones in a Bucket activity made possible by the Marine Science and Technology Center (MaST).

On Saturday May 19th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM Sealife Response + Rehabilitation + Research (SR3) will be giving a free talk! Admission to the Estuarium will be free on this day for the presentation.

From otters to orcas, we’ll have it all this Marine Mammal May!

Connecting the Community

Saturday May 5th is the Lacey STEM Fair, and the Estuarium will be tabling! Come visit our booth between 10 AM - 3 PM to chat with our staff, check out our specimen jars, and learn all about our programs!

If you would like to volunteer for this tabling event please contact .
K - 12 Education

The Estuarium Education Team had the pleasure of hosting a small group of youth from Haven House during their spring break for an Estuary Life and Landforms program. We all had a great time, and the sunshine even made an appearance too!
Melody, our Education Coordinator, had the great opportunity to work alongside the Squaxin Island Tribe and used our brand new Enviroscape model for groups of first graders from Mason county. Our model focuses on wetlands and ecological restoration and the kids absolutely love it!
The Estuarium was invited to Michael T. Simmons Elementary first ever STEAM Night in Tumwater. They had a great turn out and our Education Coordinator, Melody had the chance to interact with almost 100 people and teach all about our Puget Sound environment.
Are you looking into planning a great end of the school year field trip for your students?
The Estuarium offers extensive education programing in a variety of estuary and marine topics for PreK through grade 12. For questions, further details, or to schedule a program, please contact Melody Upton at .
We are still trying to fill volunteer shifts for our On The Water (OTW) program. If you are interested in volunteering please contact Melody Upton at .
Meet the Beach

We are in the midst of intensive Meet the Beach training season, with an amazing 22 new volunteers working hard toward becoming new Beach Naturalists! After completing their training, they will be released onto the beaches of Budd Inlet, to spread their hard-won knowledge far and wide. Returning Senior Beach Naturalists are helping to train our newcomers, passing their local knowledge on to new volunteers.

With training soon coming to a close, we are excited to promote our Meet The Beach low tide days! Join us this summer from July - August to meet with are new and veteran Beach Naturalists and explore inter-tidal life at your favorite local beaches!
Pier Peer

Pier Peer continues to be a late night success, with a sold out program last week!

Volunteers were excited to announce that they found what we believe is our first siphonophore, which while small, is exciting! Crabs, shrimp, jellies and schools of maddeningly elusive fish rounded out a beautiful night.

Come join us for the following Pier Peer events!

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: Where do otters keep their money?
A: In a river bank!

With their incredible sense of smell, river otters can find concentrated fish populations upstream from miles away. Once a scent is caught, they will even track down the smell to its original source, even in urban areas, if it means a good meal.

Otters can act surprisingly human! These social creatures engage in group play, grooming their fur, and marking territory. Mother sea otters have been seen holding hands with their pups to keep them from floating away in sleep, and others even use kelp to keep anchored while they rest.

Sea otters on the Pacific Coast have been historical poached by fur traders starting in the 1700’s. Since then, the recovery of the otter population has been steady thanks to the International Fur Seal Treaty of 1911. However, Washington’s sea otter population counts in at just over 1,000 as of 2010, and is marked as an endangered species in our state. Sea otters of Washington are most vulnerable to oil spills and other human accidents.

As of 2004 the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife released their Sea Otter Recovery Plan in conjunction with the Marine Mammal Protection Act to help create sustainable sea otter communities.

Come on down to the Estuarium for Marine Mammal May!

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! 

  • Puget Sound Energy
  • 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
  • WA Recreation and Conservation Office
  • 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 :
Sea Otter. Little Tutka Bay, Alaska.