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North Olympic Peninsula
Volunteer Opportunities


August 2022
Volunteer Spotlight

A big THANK YOU to volunteers (Steven, Gordon, Mark, Logan, Kurt, Ella, Nathaniel, Everest and Brenda) for helping to count and measure Olympia oysters at the Jefferson County MRC's restoration site in Discovery Bay last July. Through partnerships with the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, Puget Sound Restoration Fund, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, NW Straits Initiative and Taylor Shellfish, and help from the many community volunteers who have spread shell and surveyed the native oyster population here, what was once just a mudflat when the project began in 2014 now hosts more than 70,000 Olympia oysters!



Rockfish are bony fish in the Scorpaenid family, primarily in the genus Sebastes, meaning “magnificent.” Colorful and spiky, sometimes very large, rockfish are most intriguing for their potential longevity - the oldest known rockfish lived for two centuries Read more about rockfish and its relatives in this essay by Beach Naturalist and Stream Steward Susan McDougall.

Drawing of a canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger) by Susan McDougall
 
Share your recent volunteer experiences - If you have a photo of a recent volunteer event you participated in or a nature-inspired work of art, quote, poem, what have you to share with our North Olympic Peninsula volunteers, please send it here!
Volunteer Opportunities

Citizen Science Beached Bird Training - COASST
When: Saturday, August 13, 10AM-4PM
Location: Makah Community Hall

Join the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) and help make a difference for the environment! COASST participants collect data on beach-cast carcasses of marine birds on a monthly basis to establish the baseline pattern of bird mortality on North Pacific beaches. This is the first training session that incorporates both of COASST's programs Beached Birds and Marine Debris! Data collected helps address important marine conservation issues and protect marine resources. No previous experience necessary. More information here and RSVP by calling 206-221-6893 or emailing coasst@uw.edu.

Rain Garden Work Party - Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee
When: Wednesday, August 17, 10AM-1230PM
Location: Lincoln & Adams St (Port Townsend)

The Jefferson MRC and community volunteers have been chipping away at rain garden maintenance needs across Port Townsend. Join us in stewarding two rain gardens (at Lincoln/Adams and Garfield/Adams), by helping to remove weeds and adding mulch! Refreshments will be provided. More information and registration here.

Volunteer Opportunities Close to Home
  • 50 Ways to Love Your Ocean: As recommended by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, here are 50 ways you can support ocean and coast conservation while at home and work, on vacation, during the holidays, etc.
  • Boat Harassment Reporting: If you observe harassment or disturbance of marine mammals, please help by reporting it as soon as possible to NOAA Fisheries enforcement hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or the WDFW enforcement line at 877-933-9847 and/or report online at bewhalewise.org.
  • Climate Actions for Households & Individuals: Change is needed throughout the system and these individual actions play an essential role in the transition we need to address the climate crisis.
  • Coastal Beach Cleanups: On your next group trip to the WA coast, consider organizing a small beach cleanup through the Olympic National Park's Vacation Volunteers-In-Parks (VIPs) program.
  • CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow): Join a network of backyard weather observers in Washington State. Learn more here.
  • European Green Crab Reporting: Learn how to identify the European green crab with these great online resources from WA Sea Grant's Green Crab Team and report any suspected green crabs using WDFW's online form here.
  • iNaturalist: Share photos and observations of the biodiversity along your beach and trail walks, crowdsource species identifications, and organize BioBlitz events with the "iNaturalist" app on your smart phone or online.
  • Invasive Species Reporting: Help the WA Invasive Species Council with early detection of invasive species! Learn how to report sightings here.
  • Marine Mammal Strandings: If you happen to come across a stranded marine mammal on your next beach outing, be sure to share the shore (i.e., give wildlife ample space) and share what you see: report an injured, sick or dead marine mammal anywhere on the West Coast of the U.S. by calling the West Coast Region Stranding Line: (866) 767-6114 - OR - if you’re in East Jefferson County, contact the PT Marine Science Center directly at (360) 385-5582 x 103 and leave a detailed message. You can also email photos and information about local strandings to mmsn@ptmsc.org and leave a contact phone number so they can reach you with questions. 
  • MyCoast: Contribute photos and observations of beach changes, storm surges and king tide events (see the king tides calendar here), large marine debris, creosote, and abandoned vessels with the "MyCoast.org" app on your smart phone or online. More information can be found here.
  • OrcaSound: Listen through a library of recordings to learn about ocean sounds. With a little practice, you’ll be able to recognize many common sounds and help contribute interesting observations. Learn more here.
  • Western Red Cedar Dieback Map Project: Share your observations of healthy and unhealthy Western red cedar trees through the "Western Redcedar Dieback Map Project" group on iNaturalist to help WSU researchers understand the causes of Western red cedar dieback. Learn more about the project and how you can contribute here.
  • Whale Sightings: If you happen to see whales while on your next beach outing, report it to Orca Network at info@orcanetwork.org and cc: alisa@orcanetwork.org, or call (866) ORCANET (866-672-2638). Take photos, making sure to capture the flukes (tail) and backs and dorsal fins if present, to help make an I.D. 
  • Zero Waste 101: New to Zero Waste? Here are some great beginner blog posts to start making easy, every day low-waste lifestyle changes.
Other Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities
  • COASST: Conduct monthly surveys to build a record of the amount of beached birds and/or marine debris that wash up on local coastlines. Learn more here.
  • Crab Team: Join WA Sea Grant, the WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife, and other partners in early detection and monitoring efforts of the invasive European Green Crab. Learn more here.
If none of these opportunities appeal to you, try searching SciStarter to find the perfect fit!
 
In-Person Educational Events


Microscope Fridays - PT Marine Science Center
When: Fridays, August 5, 12, 19 & 26, 12-3PM 
Location: Flagship Landing building (1001 Water St)
Every Friday, join in the fun and explore with microscopes! Zoom in on seaweed, sand, feathers and shells, or bring something of your own (nothing wet, please).

Bird Walk - Admiralty Audubon Society
When: Saturday, August 6, 9AM-12PM
Location: Kah Tai Lagoon
Meet at the bridge. From the parking lot, walk toward the lagoon. The wooden bridge is between the little pond and the lagoon. There should be some migrating shorebirds and the young of the year songbirds and herons. Also, we should see some lonesome male Mallards in eclipse plumage. Limit 8 persons; Covid vaccinations recommended for participants. RSVP to Leader Ron Sikes, Covid vaccinated to the max. Phone 360 385-0307, email b1rdbrush@gmail.com.


Summer Puffin Cruise - PT Marine Science Center
When: Saturday, August 6, 6-9PM ($90; $70 for PTMSC members)
Location: Puget Sound Express at Point Hudson Marina

Just outside of Port Townsend is an amazing National Wildlife Refuge — Protection Island — home to breeding, nesting, and flyway populations of marine bird species at different times of the year. Nearly 70 percent of the nesting seabird population of Puget Sound and the Straits nest on the island. These Bird Migration Cruises offer a unique opportunity for an idyllic natural science adventure, enabling you to gain a better understanding of the relationships between the marine and shoreline ecosystems. More information and ticket sales here.

Forest Health Assessment - WSU Jefferson County Extension
When: Thursday, August 11, 9AM-12PM
Location: Provided Upon Registration
Join local forester Malloree Weinheimer in conducting a forest health assessment! Forests provide humans with many benefits including shelter, water, and food. Beyond basic survival, forests support human well-being in a variety of ways, including recreational opportunities such as hiking or birdwatching, offering both physical and mental health benefits. But what makes a forest "healthy"? What should a healthy forest look like? Learn about the importance of forests in today's world and what it means to maintain healthy forests. More information and registration here.

Shine Tidelands Beach Exploration - WSU Kitsap Beach Naturalist Program
When: Thursday, August 11, 930-11AM
Location: Shine Tidelands State Park
Join local naturalists out on the beach to observe the unique creatures that call the intertidal zone home. You’ll learn about invertebrates, tides, shoreline geology, birds, and how to identify these things on the beach. More information here.

Fintastic Field Day - PT Marine Science Center
When: Thursday, August 11, 630-830PM
Location: Fort Worden Parade Grounds

Calling all families to dive into the summer with an evening celebration of the Salish Sea! Join PTMSC for some ocean-themed field game fun. Get your feet wet and your energy out with activities like the Intertidal Obstacle Course, Wave in the Tidepool, and Fishery Frenzy - recommended for ages 7 and up! All children must be accompanied by an adult. Younger siblings and spectators are welcome at the nearby non-game area where coloring, nature journaling, and puzzles will be available for more low-key entertainment. For more information, contact Malaika at mrosenfeld@ptmsc.org.

Bird Walk - Admiralty Audubon Society
When: Friday, August 12, 830-1130AM
Location: Fort Worden State Park

Meet at the parking area next to the Marine Science Center pier at 8:30 AM. Expect to walk about 1 to 1.5 miles in different areas of the park during a roughly 3-hour time period. Bring binoculars, water, sturdy footwear, appropriate clothing for changeable washer and your Discover Pass for parking. Limit of 5 people. Contact leader Beverly McNeil at at Bevybirds53@gmail.com to sign up.

Neah Bay Talk and Community Hour - COASST
When: Friday, August 12, 6-8PM
Location: Makah Community Hall

The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) will be hosting an evening of presentations from Julia Parrish about seabird mortality on WA's coast and from Jon Scordino about the Makah Fisheries ("How much salmon do sea lions eat here?") with an hour of conversation over food in Neah Bay, WA. Refreshments will be provided. More information here and RSVP by calling 206-221-6893 or emailing coasst@uw.edu.

Low Tide Beach Walks - PT Marine Science Center
When: Saturday, August 13, 1030AM-2PM ($5-7; Free for PTMSC members)
Location: Kinzie Beach at Fort Worden State Park

Meet at the Museum exhibit portico entrance in Fort Worden State Park for a guided Low Tide Walk on the beach with PTMSC naturalists. Explore tide pools and learn about how marine organisms are adapted for the challenges and daily extremes of living in the intertidal zone. Wear weather-appropriate clothing and shoes with good traction for moving around on wet slippery rocks. Kinzie Beach is a 0.4 mile walk from the Museum; closer parking spots are available near the beach. Register here.

Flowers of the Dungeness Watershed Hikes - Dungeness River Nature Center 
When: Tuesday & Wednesday, August 16 & 17, 9AM-4PM ($20)
Location: Deer Park

You will learn how to identify different species, look closely into nature, and enjoy the sounds, sights, and smells of our big, beautiful backyard. Hikes will be led by wildflower expert John Bridge and are full day. Registrants will be emailed more specific information. More information and registration here.

Harbor Seals on the Beach - Friends of Fort Flagler
When: Wednesday, August 17, 10AM-12PM
Location: Fort Flagler Historical State Park

What are those spotted furry creatures that we see on our shores? Where can I see them? Why are they on the shore in the first place? What should you do if you see one? How can you help them? Join Deisy Bach with the Friends of Fort Flagler for a short walk on the beach to find and talk about our Pacific Harbor Seals. More information and registration here.

Sea Star Gazing - PT Marine Science Center
When: Thursday, August 18, 1-2PM 
Location: Fort Worden State Park Pier

Where do sea stars live? Why are they different shapes, colors and sizes? This program is free and for everyone, but recommended for children 5 and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult. More information here.

Bird Walk - Admiralty Audubon Society
When: Friday, August 19, 830-11AM
Location: Anderson Lake State Park

Expect to walk about 1.5 miles, including a little uphill, for 2 to 3 hours depending on sightings. This walk normally goes around the whole lake on Trail B. Wear clothing for changeable weather and sturdy shoes/boots. Bring binoculars, water, and snack for yourself. Meet at the very first parking area as soon as you leave the pavement off of Lake Anderson Road before the white gate. You will need a Discover Pass. Limit of 5 for each outing and you must be vaccinated. Reserve your space at Bevybirds53@gmail.com. Beverly McNeil, Audubon Trip Leader and Nature Photographer.

Elephant Seals On the Beach - Friends of Fort Flagler
When: Wednesday, August 31, 10-11AM
Location: Fort Flagler Historical State Park

We have been seeing more elephant seals in Puget Sound. What’s changing? Do we have a rookery? Where? Join Deisy Bach to learn what has changed, including when they molt and where and why they come ashore. More information and registration here.

Guided Salmon Walk - WSU Jefferson County Extension
When: Tuesday, September 13, 9AM-12PM
Location: Chimacum Creek
Salmon and freshwater ecosystems are inextricably linked by feedbacks between salmon runs, food webs, and riparian forests. Take a walk along Chimacum Creek, guided by North Olympic Salmon Coalition biologist Nate Roberts, to learn about salmon ecology and ongoing local restoration efforts. More information and registration here.

Fall 2022 Stream Stewards Training - WSU Extension
When: Tuesdays, September 20-October 18, 9AM-12PM ($25) 
Location: North Olympic Peninsula (Port Townsend/Chimacum to Dungeness River)
Registration is now open! This training includes field trips and experiences across the North Olympic Peninsula focusing on the rivers and streams that flow into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the environments that impact them. Field trips are supplemented through recommended readings and online presentations by regional experts. These presentations will be pre-recorded so they can be watched on your own schedule. Through this multi-day training, participants learn about connections between our lands and waters, and the life that depends on their health. More information and registration here.

 

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Online Educational Events

Learning Our Landscape: A Walk in the Woods -  Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Library and North Olympic History Center (NOHC)
When: Thursday, August 11, 3-430PM
Take a virtual walk in the woods this summer with ƛ̕əw'cən Mackenzie Grinnell, Traditional Foods & Culture Program Coordinator for the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe. More information and Zoom details here.

Climate Working Group - Local 20/20
When: Thursday, August 11, 3-5PM

Interested in learning what is happening locally on climate change, discussing current and potential new projects, and sharing news on climate change? This working group includes both climate mitigation (reducing greenhouse gases) and climate adaptation (preparing for climate impacts) aspects. For the online meeting information, contact cag@l2020.org.

Cocktails & Fishtales: Jellyfish - Harbor WildWatch
When: Thursday, August 11, 3-5PM

Chad Widmer has been working with jellyfish in public aquariums for nearly 20 years. His present scientific work is focused on better understanding jellyfish life cycles with an eye toward answering the question, why do we see jellyfish when we see them? Chad will talk about some jellyfish abundance patterns in Puget Sound, what contributing drivers appear to be, and what the underpinning mechanisms are. To access Facebook Live events, simply check the Harbor WildWatch Facebook page for the live feed at the scheduled time.

Preparing for Autumn in the Food Garden - UW School of Environment and Forest Sciences
When: Thursday, September 1, 630-8PM ($25)
This class will cover how to sow-and-grow fall and winter crops, ways to renew and protect your garden soil during the rainy season, troubleshoot any problem areas and decide on changes to make, easy ways to add new growing areas by sheet-mulching, plan crop rotations for next year, and much more! More information and registration here.

 
Videos, Podcasts & Reads

How Indigenous Sea Gardens Produced Massive Amounts of Food for Millenia - Hakai Magazine
By focusing on reciprocity and the common good—both for the community and the environment—sea gardening created bountiful food without putting populations at risk of collapse. Read more here about how Indigenous communities around the world avoided diminishing their productive sea gardens despite, in some cases, seeing harvests that rival modern commercial fisheries.

Sea Levels Are Rising in WA. What Will the Shorelines of the Future Be Like? 
The Washington Coastal Resilience Project — a collaboration between the state’s Department of Ecology, the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and Washington Sea Grant — has released a new report that analyzes strategies for managing shorelines as the seas rise. In Sea Level Rise and Management Options for Washington’s Shorelines, the team evaluates the trade-offs associated with four commonly used approaches to preventing damage due to coastal hazards. Read more here.

Podcast: Nature Now!
Nature Now is a radio program that presents eclectic and authentically local news, insights and observations about the natural world around us.
-- Salish Sea Wild, Part 1: This episode aired on July 6 features Bob Friel, film maker, writer, naturalist, and adventurer, explore the wild and wonderful world of the Salish Sea.
-- Dune Restoration, Part 2: This episode aired on July 13 features Dr. Fred Sharpe on the sandy shores of Fort Worden, discussing dune restoration here and in other locations on the Olympic Peninsula.
Additional Resources
 
Resources for Racial Justice, Anti-Racism, and Allyship in the Outdoors
"This doesn't go away once the topic isn't 'trending'". Conservation Northwest has compiled a list of ways for you to educate yourself and support fellow humans facing injustice and organizations working to dismantle systemic oppression and advance justice, equity, and inclusion. This includes a list of POC-led organizations in WA working for the environment and the people:
Speaker Series & Educational Video Archives
There are treasure troves of talks and videos focused on the Salish Sea bioregion - covering the natural wonders, environmental issues, and stewardship efforts, from mountain to sea - that are available for you to explore online. You are bound to find speakers and topics that pique your interest!

WSU Shore Stewards Newsletter
Shore Stewards is published 4-6 times per year, and is full of great information about marine science, and living on our Pacific Northwest shorelines.  View the latest edition on shoreline armor (Spring 2022) here.

WSU Water Currents Newsletter
Water Currents is a free online publication produced by WSU Extension’s Water Resources Team focused on projects and research on Washington's water quality. View the latest issue (July 2022) here.

The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound
Want more to read? The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound provides a wide range of articles related to Puget Sound in over 90 different categories, including algae, invertberates, stormwater, tidal energy, human quality of life and traditional ecological knowledge. This website has the most comprehensive and up-to-date information readily available. You may also enjoy the Puget Sound Fact Book.

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