Our Core Programs

Introduction to the Nisqually Estuary

In this introductory program, students learn the fundamentals about estuaries and their importance, focusing on the unique qualities of the Nisqually Estuary. We specialize in connecting students to the many values that can be associated with healthy estuarine near shore habitats in the Puget Sound.

Beach Seining Surveys:  What’s in the Water?

Students experience hands-on net seining in this program. This program allows students to participate in each step in the process, from carrying the seine net to the beach, setting the net and bringing it to shore, collecting fish and other animals from the net, and measuring and recording saline levels and water temperature. Back inside the Center, each group identifies and measures the fish, gunnels, shrimp, and other creatures, and they record their data on worksheets.

Shore Crab Surveys:  What’s Under the Rocks?

This program is particularly fun and interesting for younger students who enjoy collecting the tiny shore crabs that inhabit the mud and rocky beach. Each small group is provided with a 15” square quadrate, a trowel, and a collection cup. On the beach, students place their quadrates and remove rocks and mud in their squares to find shore crabs, which are collected and examined inside the Center.

Benthic Invertebrate Surveys:  What’s in the Mud?

In this program students learn about the variety of clams, mussels, ghost shrimp, ribbon worms, moon snails, and other invertebrates that live in the tidal zones. As with the shore crab survey, after the introductory discussion students go to the beach in groups with quadrates, trowels, and collection cups. Each group selects a different tidal zone, places a quadrate, and digs a hole in the mud, placing any animals found in the collection cup. Inside, each group identifies the bivalves and other animals and measures them, recording their data on worksheets.


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