The Discovery Programs offered in Edmonds are heavily utilized by our family. My kids have participated in camps for non-student days, spring break and summer, we’ve had a Ranger-Naturalist do a low tide walk for a birthday party, and the kids love to go to the Moonlight Beach Adventure. Most great beach trips include a friendly visit with a Beach Ranger, either on the beach or in the Visitor Station, and, though unrelated, an Edmonds Beach Temperature Taker Guy sighting.
In getting all the info together to share the details of the remaining Discovery Programs for summer, I came across some interesting information on the genesis of the program. According to the City of Edmonds website, “It all started with the designation of the Brackett’s Landing Shoreline Sanctuary in the early 1980s. The City of Edmonds, in partnership with a group of concerned citizens and teachers, took on the task of educating the public about this fragile intertidal resource.” Since its inception, the program has helped thousands of children and adults enjoy and appreciate the shoreline and our native plants and wildlife. Soon after, the program expanded to include forest and watershed education in Yost Park, the name was changed from the Edmonds Beach Ranger Program to Discovery Programs in order to reflect “more diverse goals.”
This summer, there were two beach clean-up events and a handful of great camps for lots of different age ranges. There is a Nature Explorers camp for children ages 6 to 8 that starts on Monday, Aug. 21, but the bad news is, it is already full. If you are interested in adding your child to the waitlist, you can call Edmonds Parks and Recreation at 425-771-0230 or visit www.RecZone.org.
The good news is, there are still great ways to enjoy Discovery Programs in Edmonds this summer. The easiest way is to visit the Olympic Beach Ranger Station, at the base of the fishing pier, on weekends between noon and 5 p.m. The station, open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, is staffed by Ranger-Naturalists and Volunteer Beach Docents and features a touch tank full of local marine life. Besides being able to see and touch animals that live just beyond the shoreline, this is also a great spot to get info on local events. For questions, the phone number for the Visitor Station is 425-775-1344.
The Ranger Station is also the meeting spot for this Sunday’s FREE Low Tide Beach Walk. You can “explore the intertidal life of the Edmonds Marine Sanctuary” during this one-hour low tide walk, from 10 to 11 a.m., with a Ranger-Naturalist. There is always an option to to do a private beach walk, which runs $70 for up to 30 participants. Last year, we did one for my son’s birthday party and it was a huge hit. At an earlier low tide this summer in Edmonds, we saw crabs, geoducks, anemones, sea stars and an octopus ,and have yet to be disappointed in a Discovery Program or low tide beach trip. For more information on Sunday’s low tide beach walk or a private beach walk, you can call 425-771-0227.
My family’s favorite summer event is the Moonlight Beach Adventure, which will be held at Marina Beach from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 26. This FREE event will feature “stories, songs, and touch tanks harboring creatures from the deep brought to shore by volunteer scuba divers from the Marker Buoy Dive Club.” These divers operate a live underwater video feed that is projected onto a “screen” on the beach. Those in attendance can talk to one of the divers while they are underwater just beyond the shoreline. It is suggested that you both dress warmly and bring a flashlight, and we agree! My kids always come back happy they’ve had on a sweatshirt or jacket and brought a flashlight. Last year, we had some leftover glow bracelets in the backpack and my husband said it was nice to hand those out the kids in our group to keep track of them once it got dark. The city website offers a YouTube video of a past Moonlight Beach Adventure for you to check out and you can always call 425-771-0227 to reach Jennifer Leach, the city’s environmental education and sustainability coordinator.
Even though it isn’t a summer event, I wanted to add some info about Puget Sound Bird Fest. This local “celebration of birds and nature” will be held Sept. 15-17 and according to the spring and summer Craze magazine, the Bird Fest is looking for help if you are interested in volunteering. Their mission is to “increase awareness of species of birds that spend all or part of their lives in the Puget Sound region, and especially the environs of Edmonds.” There are activities for all ages and events at many different locations including the Frances Anderson Center, the Edmonds Marsh, and the Willow Creek Hatchery. Again, you can contact Jennifer Leach at 425-771-0227 for more information on helping out at, or attending, Puget Sound Bird Fest.
Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two young boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ”just eat the mac n cheese” @jen_marx.