Beach program makes summer debut Saturday

South Sound Estuary group adds new park to locations

Staff writerJune 8, 2014 

Participants in the South Sound Estuary Association’s “Meet Us on the Beach” summer program can see all types of marine creatures.

STEVE BLOOM/STAFF FILE, 2012

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.

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

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