Training: Beach Naturalists

2014 Beach Naturalist Training Begins April 19th.

The Beach Naturalists Program is hands on, working with people who come to our local beaches. Beach Naturalists have the opportunity to work with people who have come to the beach seeking a personal connection with the water. Volunteers work to create a greater understanding of  Puget Sound, the 2nd largest US estuary.  An estuary is where fresh and salt water meet. They learn about how the creatures that live there and everyday choices can have a positive impact on our water quality and the habitat of the creatures.

Beach Naturalist volunteers are asked to commit 18 training hours followed by at least 5days on the beach during the months of June, July, and August. Training begins in April 19th. For more information, please contact center(at)

2014 training fees are $15 for members and $50 for new Beach Naturalists (includes a South Sound Estuary Association t-shirt.)   Training is modified each year to offer a refresher for  those returning and the full training for new people.  The training is both classroom and on the beach sessions.  Beach Naturalists receive 18 hours of training that includes topics from seaweeds to whales to interpretative skills and working with the public.

Review of 2012 Beach Naturalist Program
In 2011 and 2012, the Beach Naturalists Program had over 3,000 contacts yearly with beach goers, committed 300 volunteer hours, identified over 50 species, and held 27 free-to-the-public days of programming.

A special thank you to all of our expert presenters that gave their time to prepare our Beach Naturalist volunteers.  They have included:

  • Jeff Adams, Marine Water Quality Specialist, Washington Sea Grant
  • Kevin Aikin, Fish and Wildlife
  • Jessica Bennet, BEACH Program Data Manager, Department of Ecology
  • Dave Behrens, Nudibranch expert
  • Kiirsten Flynn, Marine Mammals
  • Joe Hiss, Marine Biologist
  • Jennifer Hopper, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Taylor Shellfish
  • Jessie Huggins, Marine Mammal Stranding Network Coordinator, Cascadia Research Collective
  • Daniel Hull, Executive Director, Nisqually Reach Nature Center
  • David Jamison, marine biologist
  • Diana McCandles, Tide Talk
  • Vicky McCarley, 4H Program Coordinator, Washington State University Extension
  • Mary Middleton, Research Biologist, Pacific Shellfish Institute
  • Bob Vadas, Fish Habitat Biologist, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Christina Wiseman, marine biologist

If you would like to find out more information about the Beach Naturalist Program, please cont Leihla at