News‎ > ‎Press Releases‎ > ‎

April 12, 2018: RE Sources, Whatcom MRC to train volunteer citizen scientists in monitoring the Salish Sea

posted Sep 19, 2018, 12:34 PM by Simon Bakke   [ updated Sep 19, 2018, 12:48 PM ]
April 12, 2018

Free trainings give people from all backgrounds tools to participate in variety of beach surveys, playing an important role in protecting marine resources as government agency funding for monitoring the Salish Sea grows scarce.

BELLINGHAM, WA — A comprehensive volunteer program called North Sound Stewards, led by RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), is kicking off its second season of training participants to become citizen scientists and play an important role in understanding and protecting the Salish Sea. 

The program offers a variety of learning and monitoring opportunities, including intertidal surveys, forage fish surveys, plastics monitoring and sea star wasting syndrome surveys. 

“People across generations and experiences find it especially rewarding to get outside and quantify the plants and animals that they would see on a casual beach walk,” said Chris Brown, Whatcom MRC member and citizen scientist. “You don't have to come to a beach survey knowing a bunch about mussels, tides or data collection, but you'll leave having learned something of great value.”

The program requires 50 hours of trainings and surveys over a one-year period. Program participation can reflect individual skills, from the actual survey work to photography, data entry or event coordination. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome; children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

“The information we collect provides a baseline of data that informs policy, restoration efforts, cleanups, and more,” said Eleanor Hines, North Sound Baykeeper and Lead Scientist at RE Sources. “Citizen scientists are integral to support important work that underfunded agencies cannot do themselves.”

The program is in partnership with the Northwest Straits Initiative, the Northwest Straits Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and the Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserves Citizen Stewardship Committees. Participants can also connect with other nonprofits and government agencies to receive additional trainings and participate in green crab surveys and ocean acidification surveys, among other opportunities.

Upcoming intertidal survey trainings (participation in one of two trainings is required):
  • Whatcom County: 12:00 - 4:30 PM, Saturday, May 5th, Heron Center, Birch Bay State Park, 7290 Birch Bay Dr, Blaine.
  • Skagit County: 12:00 - 4:30 PM, Sunday, May 6th, Fidalgo Bay Resort, 4701 Fidalgo Bay Rd, Anacortes.

For more information about North Sound Stewards, visit To sign up for the program, click the “Register Today” button. Questions? Contact Eleanor Hines at or 360-733-8307 ext. 213.