Join the North Sound Stewards volunteer program and connect with a group of people passionate about protecting the North Puget Sound. 

We train residents of Whatcom County to become citizen scientists and participate in beach surveys —  an important role to play in protecting our marine species and habitats. 

Volunteer groups led by marine scientists will observe sea stars, forage fish, intertidal species, and more to gather data that will help protect these species' habitats and longevity. Information collected through citizen science efforts provides a baseline of data that informs policy, restoration efforts, cleanups, and other important projects. 

Citizen scientists are integral to support important work that underfunded agencies cannot do themselves. Sign up for North Sound Stewards TODAY.

North Sound Stewards

Help contribute to the restoration of the Salish Sea by signing up for our North Sound Stewards volunteer program. Program details:
            • Must complete 50 hours of trainings and surveys throughout a one-year period. There are several surveys to choose from; details below.
            • Program participation can reflect your individual interests and skills: Photography, data entry, and event coordination are some options.
            • Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome to join.
            • Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Upcoming trainings

Our intertidal survey trainings will provide you with all the information you need to become a citizen scientist and start contributing to scientific research for the health of the Salish Sea. To participate in North Sound Stewards, you must attend one of two trainings:
            • Whatcom County: Saturday, April 29th, 12 - 4:30 PM, Heron Center, Birch Bay State Park (map)

            • Skagit County: Sunday, April 30th, 12 - 4:30 PM, Interpretive Center, Padilla Bay Reserve (map)

Where do I volunteer?

The North Sound Stewards volunteer program focuses on intertidal surveys, sea star wasting syndrome surveys, and forage fish surveys in the Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserves.

Intertidal surveys 

Participate in our intertidal survey trainings to learn how to identify and count plant and animal species in the intertidal zone, the area above water at low tide and under water at high tide. Then join our summer of intertidal surveys, where you'll measure plant and animal life and study the slope and sediment of beaches in Whatcom and Skagit counties.
Dates: 8 surveys each summer (4 at Cherry Point, 4 at Fidalgo Bay)

Sea star surveys

Join trained scientists to help identify sea star wasting syndrome, documented in a never-before-seen magnitude over the past several years along the Pacific Coast. Because the disease impacted sea stars from California to British Columbia, citizen science surveys have been instrumental in helping to collect data for scientists to analyze.

Dates: Twice yearly (summer and winter)

Forage fish surveys

Pacific herring, sand lance, surf smelt, and other forage fish are key to the health of marine food webs throughout the Salish Sea.They are fuel for endangered seabirds, salmon and orca whales. They are bait for fisheries and a tasty treat to many people. Join volunteers to survey beaches for forage fish spawning grounds and help contributed to data shared with state agencies and local governments.

Dates: Monthly

Other opportunities

Are you interested in becoming a SUPER volunteer with the North Sound Stewards program? Here are some other surveys opportunities you can get involved in:
  • Kelp: Join the Whatcom Marine Resources Committee for surveys by kayak each summer.
  • Water quality: Join the Northwest Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation for monthly surveys. 
  • Green crab: Get additional training with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and become an expert in spotting invasive green crabs. These surveys happen monthly, and occur over two days.
  • Ocean acidification: Join the Northwest Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation for quarterly surveys.
  • Bird: Join the North Cascades Audubon Society for seasonal surveys each winter.

More information 

Contact Eleanor Hines at for more information about North Sound Stewards.