Registration for the 2024 Beach Heroes season is OPEN!
Find the sign-up links below.
Beach Heroes is a two-part program designed to introduce students to the local Puget Sound beach habitat and the organisms that live there. Both components have in-person and virtual options, with in-person strongly recommended. All portions of the program are correlated with Next Generation Science Standards. ESC prioritizes working with schools in nearby south King County districts, including Highline, Tukwila, Renton, Kent, and Auburn. We are open to working with other schools.
Designed for Grades K-3.
Season: Late March – June
Two components: Introductory Lesson & Field Lesson
- In the NGSS-correlated 1-hour Introductory Lesson, students are introduced to marine invertebrates they are likely to see on Puget Sound beaches, while learning about beach etiquette and stewardship. A skilled naturalist visits each participating school, and every class receives their own 1-hour lesson. Students have the opportunity to work on student Field Journals that they can use during the 2-hour field study and beyond. This lesson can also be taught virtually.
- The 2-hour Field Lesson is a trip to Seahurst Beach during a low tide. Naturalists guide groups in student-centered exploration of the beach habitat and interaction with intertidal organisms. Students learn about these incredible creatures, as well as about the ecological importance of the nearshore habitat and marine stewardship. This lesson can also be a virtual field trip, with naturalists live streaming from the beach and students connecting virtually.
Advanced Beach Heroes Option
Designed for 2nd and 3rd graders, this three-part version of the program offers students the opportunity to get involved in community science activities on the beach during their Field Lesson and to further develop their relationship to the beach. The goal is to provide students with different ways to connect with and learn about the beach habitat, including through collecting biological survey data and practicing field illustration (nature journaling). This option includes an additional 1-hour classroom component after the Introductory Lesson and before the Field Lesson; a naturalist returns to the school to discuss ways of learning about and connecting to the beach, and to practice field illustration and data collection with the students.
Advanced Beach Heroes is a good option if you know that many of your students have previously participated in the Beach Heroes program in younger grades. It can also work well for classes that are doing in-depth curriculum around the beach and its organisms. Please contact our Program Manager, Hanna (Hanna@EnvironmentalScienceCenter.org), if you are interested in hearing more about this opportunity!
Introductory Lessons will be conducted at each participating school. Field Lessons take place at Seahurst Beach in Burien, WA. Both components can be taught virtually as well, in extenuating circumstances; in-person programming is strongly preferred.
Beach Heroes is generously funded through local and state grants such as the Outdoor Learning Grant (an OSPI program administered by the WA Recreation and Conservation Office), King County Flood Control District’s WRIA 9 CWM program, Port of Seattle’s South King County Environmental Fund, King Conservation District, RCO’s No Child Left Inside program, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and the Snoqualmie Tribe. Thanks to these funders, we are able to offer the Beach Heroes program at no cost to students and teachers at schools where more than 45% of families qualify for free or reduced-price meals. For qualifying schools, we can offer partial reimbursement for the cost of buses. For schools where less than 45% of families qualify for free or reduced-price meals, the cost is $50 per class for the program.
ESC has two all-terrain GRIT Freedom wheelchairs that can be borrowed by participants during programs. We have one youth-sized chair and one adult chair. We have found that these wheelchairs work best for youth and adults who have some mobility (e.g. can get out of the chair for short periods, for instance if they want to get closer to an organism, or if the chair needs to be maneuvered over an obstacle) and who have at least one dedicated support person. These wheelchairs increase the accessibility of Seahurst Beach, but are not able to reach every part of the beach, and therefore don’t make the beach perfectly accessible. In the Beach Heroes registration form you can indicate whether you will need access to one or both chairs during your program. For participants using their own wheelchairs, there are parts of the park and the beach that are accessible, depending on the type of chair. For further specifics regarding our wheelchairs, please email Hanna (Hanna@EnvironmentalScienceCenter.org). If your group has other accessibility needs, there is space to describe them in the registration form.
Register for the Introductory Lesson and the Field Lesson separately, using the links above. If you have any questions or issues with the scheduling process, please contact Hanna (Hanna@EnvironmentalScienceCenter.org). We are currently prioritizing working with as many different schools a possible, which means working with just ONE grade level per school. If there is room in the schedule, we may be able to work with additional grades. We schedule by grade cohort. Please coordinate with the other teachers of your grade at your school and sign up as a group. One teacher should sign up all the classes in their grade at their school. If this does not work for your grade cohort, please contact Hanna to discuss alternatives.
There may be more dates available than currently show up on the registration calendar. Please email Hanna (Hanna@EnvironmentalScienceCenter.org) if none of the dates work for you.
To honor students’ commitment to environmental stewardship, they received an Official Beach Hero identification card (included in their student Field Journal).
Past Beach Heroes can be found here!