- Booths all around the esplanade with hands-on fun.
- Learn about ocean science and Puget Sound from local scientists and activists.
- Get your hands wet. Explore your world. Commit to an Ocean Action.
For 25 years, Citizens for a Healthy Bay has brought people together to achieve a clean and healthy Commencement Bay. Driven by a passion for the natural environment and our community; by a steadfast commitment to good science, strategic action and collaboration, they engage people to clean up, restore and protect Commencement Bay, its surrounding waters and natural habitat.
The Pierce Conservation District works with the community to improve water quality, promote sustainable agriculture, create thriving habitat, and build a just and healthy food system for all, through education, community engagement, and financial and technical assistance.
HANDS-ON: Make a bead bracelet about the salmon lifecycle and learn about Ocean Friendly Restaurants
For over 25 years, Zero Waste Washington has worked hard to make trash obsolete – especially plastics. Aware of the danger plastics pose to our ocean, they work to get laws passed – like plastic bag bans.
HANDS-ON: Play ring-toss with disposable and reusable water bottles!
Oikonos – University of Puget Sound
Under biologist (and keen kayaker) Peter Hodum, Oikonos does scientific research focused on the impacts of marine and freshwater plastic debris in aquatic food webs. Through outreach, Oikonos inspires people to make intentional decisions about how they use plastic.
HANDS-ON: Touching and seeing plastic found inside seabirds.
Slater Museum – University of Puget Sound
The Slater Museum is a natural history collection with over 85,000 specimens of various mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and plants – including marine mammals and seabirds. These are used both in faculty and student research and in public education and outreach – like seabird specimens used to study plastic ingestion.
HANDS-ON: Touch and see marine animal skulls and other artefacts.
Ikkatsu explores, educates and advocates for the ocean through marine plastics surveys, beach cleanups and more. Founder Ken Campbell is famous for the paddlecraft he makes out of marine trash that washes up near his Tacoma home! Come see one of them, and watch an Ikkatsu film on the Ocean Fest screen.
HANDS-ON: Explore a beach-in-a-box.
What do you throw out? Where does it go? Can it stay out of landfill? The Envirochallenger can help you answer all these questions and more with fun hands-on ways of learning about surface water, wastewater, garbage and recycling that all impact our ocean.
HANDS-ON: A salmon game showing how our actions affect these Northwest fish.
These two government agencies are sharing a booth! Find out how NOAA scientists do research to help protect, recover, restore and sustain marine ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest. Learn about how PSP brings together hundreds of partners to support a healthy Puget Sound.
HANDS-ON: Shellfish ID – can you match up the shellfish with how it looks on your plate?
At Jason Lee, students learn about ocean health to teach other kids at The Children’s Water Festival. Now they’re sharing these same lessons with us at Ocean Fest!
HANDS-ON: Look at the microplastics in our water through microscopes, sort plastic from a local beach and learn how it affects animals.
Pierce County Library is all about STEM, and aims to educate the county about environmental issues. Find accurate, reliable sources of scientific information in print and digital, and learn about the water cycle and run-off.
HANDS-ON: Play with a stream table.
The leading dive shop in Tacoma and Seattle! Learn to dive, take certifications, rent or buy equipment and get the best diving advice.
HANDS-ON: Try on a mask and snorkel or BCD. (What’s that? Come and ask!)
Pier into the Night, beach walks, a Chum Festival – Harbor Wild Watch runs over 600 educational programs a year in local schools and out on the beach to inspire stewardship of the Salish Sea.
HANDS-ON: Skull guessing game – guess the marine animal.
The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. The South Sound Chapter does water quality testing, beach cleanups, and participates in promoting campaigns relevant to our mission. We hope to inspire people to protect the places we play.
HANDS-ON: You’ll get a “Long Live…” sticker – fill in the blank with your favorite beach or ocean animal. And help make a bow decoration out of trash from the Ocean Fest beach clean-up for the Ikkatsu Project’s new kayak made of marine garbage!
We lobby Congress to put a fee on carbon emissions. Excess carbon emissions drive climate change and cause ocean acidification, warming and rising. Putting a price on carbon makes it more expensive to produce energy using fossil fuels, and makes renewable energy more competitive. We want to inspire people to take political action, join our chapter, lobby Congress, write letters to the editor and more.
HANDS-ON: Write a letter to your local congressperson.
University of Washington Tacoma – Sciences and Mathematics
UWT works with the next generation of scientists to do applied marine research. They hope to inspire people to use science to solve ocean problems like restoring native oysters and reduce the plastic entering the ocean.
HANDS-ON: Sorting beach plastic and making chocolate molds of shellfish.
Orca Awareness Month, started by long-time orca education and advocacy group Orca Network, was created to bring together researchers, advocates, and orca lovers everywhere to raise the awareness of the threats facing these magnificent animals and provide a community to celebrate orca of the Salish Sea. A large coalition of Orca Loving groups comes together to educate the public about the ongoing issues facing Orca’s and the work to be done.
HANDS-ON: Bean bag toss, stormwater poster
Our mission is to protect and preserve the waters of Puget Sound. We do beach cleanups, on-the-water patrols, Clean Water Act enforcement, water quality monitoring, outreach and education, and more! We hope to inspire people to give up plastic.
HANDS-ON: Looking at plastics through microscopes.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium practices and promotes effective conservation on behalf of the world’s wildlife. We introduce guests to the amazing animals that live in the world’s oceans through touch experiences, activities, and seeing the animals up close and personal and ask guests to join us in taking action to help protect the oceans. We want people to go straw-free to save the sea and eat sustainable seafood.
HANDS-ON: Take a selfie as a shark, sea turtle or other sea creature in our underwater photo booth, then test your skill at removing plastic from the ocean.
Ocean Link Northwest is a collaboration between the University of Washington Communication Leadership graduate program and the Nereus Program, an international, interdisciplinary marine research organization devoted to a sustainable future for the world’s oceans. Together, we are changing the way we tell stories about ocean sustainability. Ocean Link Northwest functions as a startup science communication firm, working with a variety of partner organizations to amplify their ocean sustainability efforts through storytelling, strategic communication and services. We aim to help people better understand their connection to the ocean and use storytelling to inspire others to see theirs.
HANDS-ON: Kelp tasting!
TCC offers classes in oceanography and marine biology. In these classes we teach the fundamentals of each discipline plus have a lot of activities and field trips that focus on Puget Sound. We also offer a course examining the issue of marine microplastics, and supervise student research on the prevalence of marine micoplastics in our local environment. We want to educate about the impacts of our consumer habits and urban lifestyle on our local marine environment.
HANDS-ON: Look through a microscope to see microfibers from Commencement Bay. Then use our lint roller to get some off yourself!
The Washington state DNR conducts beach clean-ups, education, regulation, enforcement, outreach, water monitoring and scientific research. They want to inspire people to enjoy public lands!
HANDS-ON: Looking at forage fish eggs through a microscope
Among other things, the TPC Health Department works to prevent water pollution from businesses, monitors water quality in lakes, streams and Puget Sound, issues advisories when water quality conditions are unsafe and encourages homeowners to use less chemicals on their yard to prevent polluted runoff.
HANDS-ON: Stamping a bookmark with ocean pictures
The Audubon Society is all about education and engaging people to become better stewards of their environment. They do this through waterfront bird walks, talks about ocean health and its effects on bird and wildlife habitats in the marine environment. They’re one of the first lines of defense in restoration, preservation and stewardship of Pierce County watersheds which feed directly to Puget Sound and the ocean.
HANDS-ON: ID marine bird specimens, look through binoculars and do a watershed runoff activity
Ocean Conservancy and its members work with the public and policy makers to affect science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. Our leadership in the world of ocean conservation is built on pillars of strong science, smart policies and engaged partners. That includes ocean advocates like you that help us push for effective ocean policies, international groups that work with us to reduce plastics in the ocean and over 600,000 volunteers who are part of the International Coastal Cleanup. Alongside marine debris we work on sustainable fisheries, ocean acidification, and much more.
HANDS-ON: Marine debris ID, plus other clean-up games