Discover New Things About Beaches, Bluffs and Marine Life
This class is closed for the Spring.
WSU Jefferson County Extension offers a 6-week Beach Naturalist Course in Port Townsend each spring with field trips exploring East Jefferson County. This lively, engaging course pairs classroom lectures by regional experts with local field trips and fun. Classes are held each Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm and designed for anyone interested in shoreline and marine resources.
Participants in this course receive comprehensive, science-based training and become better stewards, citizen scientists, and educators in the local community.
Beach Naturalist Course participants must commit to volunteering 40 hours for local marine-related programs with WSU Extension, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Jefferson Marine Resources Committee, NOSC and others. Volunteer activities range from citizen science monitoring to assisting with public programs or restoring habitat.
What Will I Learn?
Coastal Geography–Hugh Shipman, coastal geomorphologist with WA Dept of Ecology and one of our top-rated instructors, is a passionate and skilled educator. After learning about bluff erosion, drift cells and beach formation, you’ll never look at a beach the same way again.
Belly Biology – Intertidal life and habitats is always a favorite topic. Jeff Adams, WA Sea Grant marine water quality specialist, talks about intertidal zones and shows students where to find beautiful giant green and plumose anemones. This year we’ll also tackle seaweed and kelp identification.
Plankton Are Amazing! – Collect plankton and then watch them zoom around under microscopes at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. It’s a window into a whole new world…
Clams, Oysters, Crabs and More – Students learn about all kinds of shellfish, from clams and oysters to crabs and geoducks. Field trips vary from year to year—we’ve toured Taylor Shellfish and Rock Point Oyster hatcheries, a geoduck farm, and learned from experts about growing and harvesting shellfish. Taste-testing is usually part of the class!
How Do We Volunteer and Where?
Beach Naturalists volunteer with many organizations in the community. We help with salmon spawning surveys (North Olympic Salmon Coalition); serve as docent volunteers at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center; organize clammer education programs like Diggin’ for Dinner (with WDFW); hobnob with tourists and friends at the annual Wooden Boat Festival; assist with Olympia oysters habitat restoration (Jefferson Marine Resources Committee) and more!
Is this the same as Beach Watchers?
Yes. In recent years we shifted to two courses per year–a marine focused course in the spring and a freshwater focused course in the fall called Watershed Stewards. We continue to serve local Jefferson County community needs, interests and partners with these courses.
VOLUNTEERS – Click here to log your volunteer hours.