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Island naturalists bring the beach to residents

While experienced naturalists will spend long hours this weekend combing Neill Point to survey its wildlife, those hoping to relax and experience wildlife up close should swing by Jensen Point on Sunday, when Island naturalists will “bring the beach to you.”

At the third annual We Bring the Beach to You event, Vashon Beach Naturalists, with help from some junior naturalists from the Homestead School, will bring colorful starfish, sticky anemones, scuttling hermit crabs and huge moon snails to a place where they can be easily observed at the park. Many sea creatures can be touched or held, and the naturalists will tell stories about the strange habits of the animals that live in Quartermaster Harbor before returning them to the water.

The event is ideal for the elderly, disabled and young children, people who can’t easily walk the shoreline in search of animals, said Rayna Holtz, one of the event organizers. Chairs will be set up right by the parking lot, she said, as will tents that will shield visitors from either sun or rain.

“We target people who aren’t very mobile,” Holtz said.

However, Holtz added, the event typically attracts people of all ages, as it’s a fun and easy way to observe beach life.

The event will be held during one of the lowest tides of the year; thus, animals usually underwater will be briefly exposed. Last year, when it was held at Lisabeula Park, visitors got a special treat when a small octopus was found and placed in a tank for viewing. The year before at Jensen Point, sea urchins, rarely spotted in Vashon’s nearshore, were found.

“You never know what you might find,” Holtz said.

We Bring the Beach to You will be held at Jensen Point from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, June 3.

 

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