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Puget Sound Estuarium

Who We Are

Our goal is to increase residents and visitors of all ages, understanding and appreciation of south Puget Sound and willingness to make personal changes in behavior to protect our marine and estuary environments.   We provide numerouse learning opportunities:

– the Beach Naturalist program, offered at local beaches during summer low tides at all Thurston County public beaches - Tolmie State Park, Burfoot, Priest Point , West Bay and Fry Cove.  Schedule posted on our webpage:, click on Beach Naturalist.

- the fall/winter “Discovery” Speaker Series, offering presentations on a variety of water related topics.

- First Fridday of each month, year round, night time underwater viewing of marine life called Pier Peer at Boston Harbor Marina.

- our yearly on-the-water fundraiser “Cruising for the Sound”,

- educational booths at community events,fairs, and festivals,  presentations to local service groups and clubs and

-  South Sound Estuarium, a marine life discovery center, had aquariums, estuary/marine focused interactive interpretive exhibits, marine lab and classroom space at 309 State Ave. NE, Olympia.

Seeking volunteers in all program areas.

Benefits of becoming a SSEA volunteer:

  • 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
  • Marketable job experience for resumes
  • Valuable professional networking with partnering organizations
  • Potential trips to Seattle Aquarium & local zoos and aquariums and other training opportunities. 
  • Oh and don’t forget it’s Fun!

To volunteer contact center@sseacenter and let us know your interest. 



What We Do

South Sound Estuary Association (SSEA) was founded in 2007 as a result of community interest in creating opportunities for the public to learn about estuaries, geology, natural and cultural history, marine life, and human impact on the Puget Sound (2nd largest estuary in the U.S. by size and largest by volume).

In 2010 South Sound Estuary Association (SSEA) was granted federal 501 (c) (3) status and has been registered since 2007 as a non-profit corporation with Washington Secretary of State.  SSEA is also registered as a Washington state charity.

Mission Statement:

Establish and maintain a center that expands environmental knowledge; and fosters public awareness, enjoyment and health of south Puget Sound estuaries through classroom, field and on the water interactive educational opportunities.

Vision Statement:

An educated community that is engaged and inspired to promote the ongoing health, conservation, and restoration of south Puget Sound.

Core Values:

  • Provide high quality educational opportunities.
  • Provide an exceptional interpretive center in Olympia, WA.
  • Respect, protect and help conserve the environment.
  • Provide educational content that focuses on the challenges and successes in the restoration and protection of the South Puget Sound region.
  • Enhance access and knowledge of partnering organizations and the programs and services they provide.
  • Engage and inspire community through interactive education.
  • Facilitate opportunities for direct involvement.

Over Arching Goal:

To connect people and nature through hands-on education, stewardship and recreational opportunities.

Our Motto

Explore • Connect • Inspire