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.
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.
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.
Beach Watchers was launched in 1989 by WSU Island County Extension. In 2006, other counties joined the program expanding our reach all the way to the Canadian border thanks to support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other partners. Over time the programs transformed–some became independent non-profit agencies while others merged with similar organizations.
WSU Snohomish County Extension Beach Watchers however has remained true to the original model of protecting the Salish Sea through stewardship, education and citizen science research projects. Learn more of our history at our In the News web page.
Beach Watcher volunteers come from all walks of life and bring a rich cross-section of backgrounds, experience, service and talents to our projects. They together with WSU staff form a team committed to our mission of protecting the Salish Sea.
Our passion energizes us to work hard to provide relevant research to our partners and inspire people of all ages all over Snohomish County to take action. Take the first step on our Join Our Team web page.
A partnership with Beach Watchers is an opportunity to support volunteers committed to protecting the Salish Sea and its waterways. We would like to acknowledge our partners for their ongoing support.
As a partner, you received the benefit of university-caliber citizen scientists trained by experts to provide you with the research you need. In addition, partnering with us shows your support for Snohomish County’s communities and waterways. Beach Watchers inspire people to take action. Let us inspire you at Our Partners web page.