September 2018
Note from the Executive Director

Summer is coming to a close, and as we reflect on all we've accomplished this season, our team can’t help but feel excited for what’s ahead. September 2018 will be monumental for the Estuarium, marking five years since the opening of our facility and ten years of our SSEA the Sound cruise! Join us September 9th at the Estuarium for a day filled with celebration and estuary inspired activities and education. Then meet us aboard My Girl on September 16th for a day on the beautiful Puget Sound. Click HERE for discounted tickets before September 7th.

Don't forget that we are almost at the end of our summer fundraising drive to raise money for our new Aquarist and tanks for our estuary critters. A generous donor decided to match all contributions, dollar for dollar, until September 16th, so make your donation online now or mail a check to PO BOX 2182, Olympia WA 98507.

This summer has granted us with beautiful Pier Peers, bustling outreach events, and a frenzy of Estuarium free admission days! Shark talks were definitely a blast. Thank you to Dr. Dayv Lowry and Sandy Zeiner for the amazing talks and hands on shark experience. We can’t wait for next year's Shark Month!

Once again, the Estuarium was proud to participate at Harbor Days. Here’s a big thank you to all of our outreach volunteers. We couldn't have done it without you! More outreach events are on the way, so stay tuned for volunteer opportunities in early fall. 

September Pier Peer dates have been announced. Be sure to join us after dark at Boston Harbor Marina to discover what lurks beneath the pier on September 11th and 25th .

We couldn’t be more excited to share our approaching milestones this September. Thank you for your continued support!
SSEA the Sound

SSEA the Sound is just around the corner! Our team is anxiously awaiting one of our most exciting events, and we know you are too!

Casey McLean of SR3 will be giving a highly anticipated talk on marine mammal welfare, covering everything from animal entanglement to building Washington's first marine mammal rehabilitation center! Take it from us, you won't want to miss this talk.

SSEA the Sound may be over a week away on September 16th, but early bird specials end in just one day. Be sure to grab your tickets before September 7th for reduced prices. Clicker HERE to purchase your tickets today!
International Coastal Cleanup

The 2018 International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) will take place on Saturday, September 15th. The ICC was created by the Ocean Conservancy and is now one of the world's largest annual preservation and protection events and volunteer efforts for our oceans, waves, and beaches. This year, the Estuarium is partnering with the Olympia Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation to support a local shoreline cleanup right here in downtown Olympia. This is also in partnership with many other small marine life discovery centers in Washington State.
Surfrider will organize both Surfrider and Estuarium volunteers, provide trash-pickers and buckets, and have snacks to share. Volunteers will meet at the East Bay Public Plaza at 3:00 PM for an hour or two of trash removal from the southern reaches of Budd Inlet. Please join the Estuarium and the Surfrider Foundation in the first local estuary cleanup event to be part of the International Coastal Cleanup .
Outreach Events

Throughout two days of tabling, our dedicated staff and volunteers connected with nearly 2,000 community members! We are eager to get back out for the Nisqually Watershed Festival on September 29th and OysterFest from October 6th-7th.

Volunteers are key to making our outreach events possible. With three more outreach days in 2018, we invite new and veteran volunteers to step out and connect with our community for these upcoming dates.

From our ocean acidification demonstration, to spin wheel games, arts and crafts, education, and showing specimen, there’s a perfect spot for any volunteer looking to help bring new folks to the Estuarium community.

If you are not already signed up as an Estuarium volunteer, you can find our volunteer application HERE . Returning volunteers please keep an eye out for outreach sign up spots in volgistics.

Let’s get out there and explore, connect, and inspire!
Volunteer Opportunities

Summer may be coming to an end, but mild weather means there's no shortage of outdoor volunteer opportunities. Check out some of the great volunteer opportunities on the way!

  • International Coastal Cleanup: September 16
  • Estuarium Field Trip: September 26
  • Nisqually Watershed Festival: September 29
  • Estuary Life and Landforms: October 1-19
  • Beach and Estuarium Field Trip: October 5
  • OysterFest: October 6-7
  • Bayshore FieldSTEM Field Trips: October 23-25

Program Updates


This September marks the fifth anniversary of our estuary science center! The Estuarium would like to reach out and thank those of you who have been with us from the very start, as well as the wonderful new additions we've made to our community over the years. None of this would be possible without the amazing support from our community.

Join us this upcoming Sunday the 9th during our regular open hours at the Estuarium for a day filled with celebration! We've got a jam packed day planned with estuary creature themed arts and crafts, education, tasty treats, and more!

Admissions will be free all day. Be sure to stop by and ring in the next five years to come!
K - 12 Education

The Puget Sound Estuarium team has been hard at work reaching over 200 K-12 students during our K-12 Meet the Beach program this summer. This is only possible with the great help of the WA Recreation Conservation Office's No Child Left Inside grant. 

We are still currently offering FREE beach field trips until June 15, 2019, for schools and kid groups. To schedule your FREE beach field trip please complete a field trip request form HERE and return it to Scheduling is tide dependent.

NOW accepting inquiry forms for our School Estuary Kits!
The Puget Sound Estuarium is excited to pilot twenty estuary themed kits for grades 6th - 8th starting Fall 2018. All kits include enough materials for a group of 30 students, and the content is designed for age appropriate learning. The School Estuary Kits support the following educational standards: Next Generation Science Standards, STEM Literacy, and Estuary Principles & Concepts.

  • Inquiry forms must be submitted at least three weeks prior to your desired check-out date.
  • Kits may be checked out for a period of three weeks.
  • All kits are to be checked out and returned on Wednesdays at our Puget Sound Estuarium location in downtown Olympia.
  • All kits include enough materials for a group of 30 students.
  • Please read the Terms and Conditions on the Inquiry Form for more information on our Kit Policies and Procedures.

To learn more about our various School Estuary Kits, please visit our School Estuary Kits web page.

If interested in using our School Estuary Kits, complete the Inquiry Form HERE and return to the Education Coordinator at
Meet the Beach

It may be over for the season, but did you ever wonder how many people you helped reach while on the beach? Our final stats are in…

During the 2018 Meet the Beach season, 89 volunteer openings were filled to provide 267 volunteer hours over the course of 20 events. These volunteers contacted a total of 2,426 people on the beach! Great job, Beach Naturalists!
Pier Peer

Pier Peer has been just beautiful these last few months- the warm summer nights have made for easy collecting and comfortable conditions for exploring the pier.

We found pipefish, nudibranch, jellyfish, and even
one very startled sea lion was reported! The warm sparkling glow of BIOLUMINESCENCE has been stirred up a few times…very exciting!

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 did the zoologist say when asked him why he named his newt "Tiny"?
A: "Because he's my newt!"

Reaching only 5 - 8.5 inches, rough skinned newts are cute and fearsome critters. These lovable creatures pack an unlikely punch to predators with toxic secretions through their skin called, tetrodotoxin, leaving those who eat it paralyzed or worse. Because of this adaptation, humans can experience skin irritation from rough skinned newts and can die if ingested!

However, not all are susceptible to the toxins of rough skinned newts. A few rare species, such as the common garter snake, happily prey on rough skinned newts without a scratch.

The Estuarium is gearing up for a new rough skinned newt exhibit, but we can't do it without your support. Help us bring these amazing creatures to our facility with your donation! Click HERE to donate today.

To submit your joke, email
In Memory Of

This newsletter edition is in memory of Ken Eklund, an amazing Beach Naturalist and great friend of the Estuarium. We will always remember his enormous enthusiasm for sharing information about estuary critters with kids and members of the community. He is truly missed by all of us!

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