The South Sound Estuary Association is ready to introduce beach visitors to one of the most heavily populated habitats in the world.
The association will kick off its beach naturalist programs Saturday.
“It’s amazing what you can see. It’s my understanding the intertidal zone has the most creatures that live in that habitat,” said Diana Larsen-Mills, the association’s board president.
“A lot of it is pretty little, but there’s all types of animals that live in that intertidal area. Lots of people look right over what’s there because they don’t know what they’re looking at,” she added.
Throughout the summer, trained volunteers will be stationed at Puget Sound beaches at four parks in the Olympia-Lacey area. They will talk about what creatures can be seen at each location and will answer questions.
About 4,000 people took part in the free programs last summer, Larsen-Mills said.
A number of the programs are scheduled to coincide with extremely low tides, adding to the exploration opportunities.
The association also is working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters to get children and their counterparts to the beaches. A $2,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is funding that program, Larsen-Mills said.
While the naturalist program is free, there might be an admission charge to enter the park.
Here is the schedule:
Tolmie State Park: Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; June 16, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; June 19, noon-3 p.m.; June 30, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; July 14, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; July 21, 2-5 p.m.; July 31, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Aug. 14, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Priest Point Park (Olympia City Park): June 3, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; June 17, 11:30 .m.-2:30 p.m.; July 1, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; July 15, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; July 17, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; July 29, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; and Aug. 19, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Frye Cove State Park: June 17, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; June 23, 2:30-5:30 p.m.; June 24, 3-6 p.m.; July 22, 2-5 p.m.; and Aug. 18, noon-3 p.m.
Burfoot Park: June 3, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; June 5, 1-4 p.m.; June 17, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; July 1, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; July 3, noon-3 p.m.; July 15, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; July 29, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Aug. 19, 1:30-4:30 p.m.; and Aug. 28, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
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