Who Are We?
We are volunteers dedicated to protecting the Salish Sea through education, research and stewardship.
We have been trained by state, regional, and local experts through a rigorous training program overseen by Washington State University Extension.
Beach Watchers come from all walks of life and bring a rich cross-section of backgrounds, experience, service and talents to their training from WSU.
Beach Watchers do not have to be experts or teachers, but they must be willing to attend a formal training program, want to and are able to serve in a volunteer capacity and are curious about the natural world. All Beach Watchers must submit an application and complete 80 hours of expert training from top instructors in such subjects as water quality, coastal processes, education techniques, and marine life.
In return for this unique educational opportunity, all new Beach Watchers agree to “give back” a minimum of 80 volunteer hours to scientific surveys, serving as field or classroom educators, supporting beach clean-up activities, conducting outreach at festivals, teaching about specific behaviors to clean up Puget Sound and so many other opportunities. Each person gets to craft their own volunteer experience to meet their interests and schedules. It is fun and the enthusiasm is contagious.
The 2019 Enrollment is closed for Beach Watchers. Look for 2020 training information this fall.
How We Started
WSU Island County Extension launched the Beach Watchers program began in 1989. In 2005, a grant from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and support form our partners allowed us to expand to include all counties from Snohomish, Kitsap and Jefferson Counties and north to the Canadian border. Since then, some county programs have transformed into independent non-profit organizations, merged with other groups or shifted away from the Beach Watcher model. In 2018, WSU Snohomish County Extension Beach Watchers are the only Extension sponsored group remaining, although we are certainly not alone in our efforts to serve as stewards of Puget Sound. We are based out of McCollum Park, Everett WA and work all over Snohomish County.
Become A Beach Watcher
WSU Snohomish County Extension Beach Watchers receive 80 hours of university-caliber training involving field trips and lectures from over 35 local experts on topics like salmon, water quality, ocean acidification, intertidal life history, coastal processes, native plants, youth education techniques, and so much more! Beach Watchers agree to volunteer at least 80 hours over two years. The training expands our minds and the volunteering expands our skills, our hearts and our connection to our community and the landscape.Beach Watchers work on a broad range of projects, allowing each of us to find the ones that meet our unique interests in our own communities. Projects range from doing beach interpretation of marine life at local parks during low tides to water quality sampling to organizing preschool story time at local libraries.
Learn more about how to become a Beach Watcher on Snohomish County WSU Beach Watcher Training webpage.
Become a Beach Naturalist
Each year we offer a shortened training course and volunteer opportunity for people who want to dip their toes into Puget Sound intertidal ecology. WSU Beach Naturalists receive 17 hours of training with expert presenters and field time to learn about marine life and how to share their knowledge with the public. The training prepares you to volunteer at least 14 hours (4 shifts) over the spring and summer sharing what you’ve learned with youth and beach visitors at Edmonds, Mukilteo or Stanwood.
Interested in learning more about becoming a Beach Watcher or Naturalist? Visit our volunteer training page , enrollment starts soon!
For Teachers and Educators
Learn about our Puget Sound Marine Youth Education Program (UPDATE: The 2019 season is now full. Look for 2020 info coming late fall.)
- Bring Puget Sound to your classroom – FREE Our educational presentations enhance marine education studies in your classroom. All presentations are provided at grade-appropriate level and customized to meet all student’s needs. NGSS topics include interdependent relationships in ecosystems, marine structures and functions, growth, development and reproduction of organisms, plus matter and energy in organisms and ecosystems to natural selection and adaptation, plus forces and interactions with tides.
- Bring Your Class to Puget Sound! Only $25 per class! Students rotate through learning stations at Kayak Point as WSU Beach Watchers introduce beach exploration for up to two hours. Selected dates are available in May and June based on low tide schedules. Download and submit the 2019 Beach Watcher Kayak Point Exploration Application to reserve your date today!
To learn more, visit: Puget Sound Marine Youth Education: Classroom and Field Trip Programming Descriptions PDF
Where we live
We live in beautiful Snohomish County.
The east is filled with rugged mountains that descend to lush forests and fertile farmland as you travel further west. The forest and farmland give way to rocky shorelines and muddy deltas that host many marine species. We have 2 main rivers that drain into Puget Sound; the Stillaguamish and Snohomish (which starts out as the Snoqualmie further upstream). Snohomish County has abundant wildlife, including salmon, otters, moon snails, shorebirds, marine mammals and much more.
There are over 600,000 residents in Snohomish County, many in Puget Sound communities. This presents unique challenges to the protection of our natural areas. There are many great access points to enjoy the variety of Snohomish County beaches. From the sandy or muddy shores of Port Susan to the stretches of gravelly beaches south of Everett to the marshy estuaries of the Snohomish delta, the opportunities to explore and learn are endless.
Although Beach Watchers volunteer their time at many of these beaches, there have been many efforts to enhance and restore two special places here in Snohomish County: Kayak Point County Park and Mukilteo Lighthouse Park.