Meet the Beach Training

Meet the Beach is a hands on opportunity to work with beach goers who visit our local beaches. Volunteers in this program work to create a greater understanding of the Puget Sound, a large estuary (where fresh and salt water meet). It is offered to the general public and K-12 groups at local beaches, such as Burfoot Park, Tolmie State Park, Priest Point, Frye Cove, and Woodard Bay during low tides.

Volunteers learn about the amazing diversity of creatures who live there and talk with people about how everyday choices can have a positive impact on our water quality. They answer people’s “what is that?” questions, get kids engaged looking for the creatures that live in the intertidal zone, increase awareness about what it takes to survive here and beach behavior (creatures home and leave living things at the beach, be gentle, touch with a set finger), and share ideas about what we can do to protect our waters and the creatures that depend upon its health.

About Meet the Beach and Volunteering

Meet the Beach is on of our most exciting programs! On low-tide days during the summer, our trained volunteers help the public and K-12 groups explore the beach, find estuary creatures, learn about their adaptations, and better understand the importance of estuary habitats.

We provide free training to our Meet the Beach volunteers, or Beach Naturalists. The training is known for its expert instruction and fascinating content. No existing knowledge or experience is required. Our primary training objective is to increase volunteers’ knowledge of estuary biology and habitats and the impacts of human interaction. During the training, we will focus on the habitats at local beaches and on marine-life anatomy, survival behaviors, feeding, predation, and life cycles.

The following training sessions are required for volunteers or Beach Naturalists. Classroom and beach dates for the 2020 Meet the Beach volunteer training are:

  • 4/25, 1:00 – 3:00 PM: Priest Point: POSTPONED
  • 5/9, 1:00 – 3:00 PM: Burfoot
  • 5/23, 12:00 -2:00 PM: Tolmie
  • 6/6, 12:00 – 2:00 PM: Burfoot

Beach Naturalist Training dates are subject to change due to COVID-19. New dates for postponed training sessions will be updated soon. If you are interested in becoming a Beach Naturalist, please sign up through our Volunteer Application to keep up to date on the newest Beach Naturalist training announcements.

New Volunteers

To apply to be a Beach Naturalist and schedule yourself for the training sessions, you must have a Volgistics account with us. You can create a Volgistics account by completing our Volunteer Application HERE.

It is important for new volunteers to attend all of the training sessions. We can make special arrangements for new volunteers who are keen to volunteer, but who will miss no more than two sessions. Please let us know if you are a new volunteer, and you plan to miss any of the training sessions. The Meet the Beach Orientation on April 25 is required for all new volunteers.

Returning Volunteers

If you are a returning Beach Naturalist and already have a Volgistics account with us, you can schedule yourself for the training sessions HERE. Participation in these training courses are encouraged, but not required. Signing up for specific beach days will be available soon, and we will send out a notification when that becomes available.

Looking forward…

If you have any trouble with the volunteer application or the volunteer schedule, please let us know; we are happy to help, shoot us an email

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us. We look forward to working with you to inspire people of all ages to connect with, protect, and enjoy the unique estuary environment of Puget Sound!

Benefits of becoming a trained Beach Naturalist:

  • Improved knowledge of Puget Sound intertidal flora and fauna species
  • Training provided by some of the leading experts in the field
  • Improved skills in interpretation for public audiences
  • Interactions with people appreciative of your knowledge of intertidal life
  • Marketable job experience for resumes
  • Valuable professional networking with partnering organizations
  • Oh and don’t forget it’s FUN!


Puget Sound’s Wildside is an original Harbor WildWatch publication that introduces readers to the local marine environment. This book provides an excellent introduction to local marine life and has been used frequently as a text book for high school and community college marine and environmental science courses. Click HERE to purchase Puget Sound’s Wildside.