Marine life Beachgoers will have the chance to explore five Olympia-area beaches at low tide this summer, as the South Sound Estuary Association opens its annual beach naturalist program Saturday.
Now in its fifth year, the program attracts about 2,300 people a summer.
“The program is a hands-on opportunity for people who come to our local beaches seeking a personal connection with the water,” said Diana Larsen-Mills, acting executive director for the association.
“People who come to one of our programs learn about the amazing diversity of creatures who live there and talk with naturalist about how everyday choices can have a positive impact on our water quality,” she added.
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The programs are timed to coincide with low tides. The tides for this weekend’s programs will be among the lowest of the summer.
The program rotates among five beaches: Priest Point Park, Burfoot Park, Frye Cove Park, West Bay Park and Tolmie State Park.
New to the list of locations is West Bay Park.
“The area’s been pretty developed, so there is not a lot there,” Larsen-Mills said. “But there’s lots of people there, so we’ll talk to them about what’s there and where else they can go.
“It’s another opportunity to talk to people about what critters live in Puget Sound. It’s a good example of a placed impacted by development, and how some critters have adopted but others haven’t.”
No matter which location, the key message is protecting the Sound, Larsen-Mills said.
“We’re looking for opportunities to engage people in a dialog about this wonderful place and what we can do to protect this environment.”
While the programs are free, participants should note that a Discover Pass ($10 daily, $30 annually) is needed for parking at the state park.
To learn more about the association, go to sseacenter.org.
Meet Us at the Beach
Saturday: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., -3.7-foot tide, Priest Point Park, Tolmie State Park
Sunday: Noon-3 p.m., -3.3 feet, Burfoot Park, Tolmie State Park
June 28: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., -1.5 feet, Tolmie State Park, Frye Cove Park
June 29: Noon-3 p.m., -1.2 feet, Burfoot Park, West Bay Park
July 11: 10 a.m.-noon, -3 feet, Burfoot Park
July 12: 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., -3.5, Burfoot Park, Tolmie State Park
July 13: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., -3.4, Tolmie State Park, Frye Cove Park
July 15: 1-4 p.m., -1.9, Priest Point Park
July 26: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., -0.1, Tolmie State Park, West Bay Park
July 27: Noon-3 p.m., -0.8, Priest Point Park, Tolmie State Park
Aug. 9: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., -2.4, Burfoot Park
Aug. 10: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., -2.6, Burfoot Park, Tolmie State Park
Aug. 23: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., -0.3, Priest Point Park, Frye Cove Park
Aug. 24: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., -0.4, Tolmie State Park