September 2017
Note from the Executive Director

We hope you had a great Labor Day weekend! The Estuarium and our incredible volunteers spent the weekend interacting nearly 2,000 times with kids and adults. We educated community members and visitors about the Puget Sound Estuarium, what lives in our estuaries, and ocean acidification. We also provided fun activities and crafts, like mask masking, buttons, shark fin hats, a shark tooth dig, and face painting.

Last month, we wrapped up an amazing Meet the Beach season. A huge thank you goes out to everyone that made this possible, including Susan Shelton, our Beach Naturalists, everyone that came out to a low tide day, as well as our financial supporters! Meanwhile, our Estuarium Manager, Taisha McFall, was busy organizing shark month at the Estuarium, which you can learn more about in this issue.

The Estuarium was also featured on Thurston Community TV in Mission Nonprofit. I gave a short introduction about our facility and programs, and they came down to the Estuarium to see our estuary animals. You can see the interview by clicking HERE .

Have a great September and take advantage of this incredible weather to make your way down to our local beaches!
SSEA The Sound

The 2017 cruise, aboard My Girl , benefited from a spectacular day and presentations by guest speakers: Former Washington State Senator Karen Fraser, Wendy Gerstel, Applied Geologist, and Trevor Contreras, WA Dept. of Natural Resources Landslide Hazards Geologist. Chelsea Farms provided an oyster bar, Taylor Shellfish donated clam chowder, and The Little General created a plate of dolmathes, hummus, and vegetables. We appreciate the generosity of the presenters and the businesses that donated the good food.

We enjoyed a trip around Squaxin Island and learned about the geology of our part of Puget Sound as well as current shoreline processes and challenges. We thank the cruise attendees, presenters, and businesses that support important Puget Sound Estuarium's education programs!

A special thanks to our sponsor, Nancy LaPointe at Navigate Financial.

The Estuarium welcomes a new Lead Aquarist!

Noel joined the Estuarium recently as our Lead Aquarist and is an expert in aquaculture, husbandry, and aquarium systems. Noel has worked at WDFW on a project to assess how a dam on the Chehalis River would impact an endemic salamander population. Noel is currently employed at The Pet Works in downtown Olympia, managing the maintenance of more than 70 freshwater and saltwater tanks. He keeps the tanks clean by applying a critical understanding of the nitrogen cycle and basic water chemistry. Experienced in use of compound microscopes, Noel facilitates positive identification of various fungi, lichen, phytoplankton, zooplankton, etc. as well as a method of assessing medical diagnosis of various fish species. He enjoys educating the public about fish behaviorism, pathology, husbandry, morphology, tank systems design, aquatic horticulture, water chemistry, and especially, how it all relates to our local environment here in the Pacific Northwest.

A big welcome to Noel LeRoy, a great addition to our team!
Program Updates


WOW! August was so JAW-some! The Estuarium hosted two super excellent speakers- our own incredible beach naturalist Sandy Zeiner, and Dr. Dayv Lowry of WDFW- who generously volunteered their time to deliver fascinating presentations on Puget Sound shark species.

Were you able to visit the Estuarium during Save Our Sharks August? If not, have no fear- by popular demand, we'll be extending our shark-themed exhibits and activities through September! Drop by soon to learn more about our incredible Puget Sound sharks.

If you would like to schedule a field trip at the Estuarium, please email for more information.
Meet the Beach  

Well, the 2017 Meet the Beach season is over. Wow! That was fast. This season we:
  • Started the year with 14 new and 13 returning Beach Naturalists
  • Completed 22 Meet the Beach events with 217 volunteer shifts filled
  • Some days, we worked up to 3 events simultaneously with a total average of almost 10 volunteers per event day
  • We reached 2,823 people with an average of 128 people per event

We made a few improvements over the season. We purchased new equipment (beach buckets, tarps, binoculars, canopies, first aid kits, portable aquariums). New beach procedures were implemented, including new beach forms, updated Shellfish Recreational Harvesting Regulation document, and new base camps with preserved and live specimens. We also ramped up our social media and radio presence.

We still have more work to do to prepare for the 2018 Meet the Beach Season. We need to find and purchase new Beach Naturalists vests. In September of this year, we will create and distribute a volunteer satisfaction survey. Next January, we will begin recruiting for and designing the 2018 Meet the Beach volunteer training for Beach Naturalists.

This season, we were sad to lose one of our own Beach Naturalists, Julie Joiner. In her honor, we created the Julie Joiner Meet the Beach field trip scholarship for a class of underserved children. We are in the process of scheduling that field trip now.

During the winter, we will continue exploring and learning about Puget Sound with volunteer field trips. In September, we will be at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge for the  End of Season Picnic and Walk  and, in October, we will be at Woodard Bay for a  Naturalist Walk.

Thanks to all the Beach Naturalists, who so sweetly welcomed our new coordinator, Susan Shelton, on their team and for making the 2017 Meet the Beach season so fun!
Meet the Beach Field Trips

During the 2017 Meet the Beach season, we led 7 Meet the Beach field trips for a total of 191 kids.

In August, we led our last Meet the Beach field trip with the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Connecting People with Nature grant. For this project, we partnered with Lacey Parks and Recreation to explore the beach with nearly 150 kids from their summer lunch program; some of the children had never been to the beach or on a field trip before. Thanks to Lacey Parks and Recreation for managing the buses, permission slips, and chaperones, so we could focus on what we do best - delivering high quality education and fun for children!
Pier Peer

We had some really great events and are looking forward to September. For those of you who go to bed early, we are starting Pier Peer at 8 PM this month as the sun sets earlier. In August, we saw a really cool dendronotus nudibranch. Check out he video on Facebook at . We also saw a harbor seal chasing a crowd of squid. You never know what you're going to find!

Our September Pier Peer events include: 

Saturday, September 7th @ 8:00 PM – SOLD OUT
Tuesday, September 23rd @ 8:00 PM – Click HERE to register

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 .
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! 
  • Nancy LaPointe Navigate Financial 
  • Cynthia Worth Law Group
  • LOTT's WET Science Center - Discovery Speaker Series partner 
  • Coffee News - Outreach partner
  • Boston Harbor Marina - Pier Peer partner
  • TSS Digital Services - Providing Internet and phone services to the Estuarium
  • William Thomas, Aquariums W - Aquarium maintenance
  • Olympia Parks and Recreation - Meet the Beach
  • Thurston County Parks - Meet the Beach
  • Washington State Parks - Meet the Beach