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WSU Beach Naturalists

Program Contact: Cheryl Lowe, Beach Naturalist/MRC Coordinator
(360) 379.5610 x 230 •

Discover the World of Beaches, Bluffs and Marine Life

March 21 – Apr 25, 2019

WSU CLASSROOM, 97 Oak Bay Road, Port Hadlock

Version 2Registration opens mid-January.

Explore East Jefferson County in this engaging course that mixes classroom lectures by regional experts with local outings and fun. Classes are on Thursdays from 9 am to 4 pm and designed for anyone interested in shoreline habitats 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 and organizations, such as WSU Extension, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee, NOSC, Northwest Watershed Institute and others. Volunteer activities range from citizen science monitoring to assisting with public programs or restoring habitat.

Sign up for a great experience!  Register is open mid-January. Cost is $150; scholarships are available.

Register on-line through Brown Paper Tickets at or download a Word document or PDF fillable form here, then email to or snail mail to Beach Naturalists, 121 Oak Bay Road, Port Hadlock, WA 98339.  For more information, contact Cheryl Lowe at

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.

Intertidal CRBelly 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…

Rock Point Oyster facilities tour

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!

SalmonSpawnNOSC_P1010375Is this the same as Beach Watchers?

Yes. We now offer two courses per year– Beach Naturalists is a marine-focused course offered through WSU Jefferson County Extension in the spring and Clallam WSU Extension offers a Stream Stewards (freshwater-focused) course in the fall.

VOLUNTEERSClick here to log your volunteer hours.

group at Snow-Salmon Cr restoration
Beach Naturalists at Snow-Salmon Creek restoration