South Sound Naturalist

South Sound Naturalist  will provide interpretation at the NEW Hand’s On Children’s Museum (HOCM).  HOCM has a beautiful new Watershed Exhibit with a series of wonderful marine murals by artist Heather Taylor Zimmermann.  They are full of plant and animal illustrations in marine environments.  The watershed includes a crawl through diorama that replicates the experience of going under the surface of the sound to encounter life-size, 3-D, models of marine life. Both exhibits were designed in collaboration with our friend and local Marine Biologist David Jamison. The exhibit space features a Tide to Trees area. Volunteer South Sound Naturalists will enhance the educational opportunities of this area through the use of specially designed kits with marine objects to ignite kid’s curiosity about our unique environment and provide linkage for families to the outdoor resources of our community.  We are excited about our partnership with HOCM!

Training is scheduled regularly.  Next date TBA.   The 3 hour training will cover topics such as how to work with young children, getting the know HOCM, specific marine, estuary, watershed curriculum components, and linkage to community outdoor opportunities, such as the South Sound Estuarium, 608 Washington St. NE. Olympia.

Volunteer for times that work for you.

Training will be held quarterly.

Volunteer Job Description: South Sound Naturalist

Job Supervisor: Lynn Schneider (Coordinator- South Sound Estuary Association), and Addie Rocchio (Hands on Children’s Museum)

Responsibility Statement:

South Sound Naturalists facilitate specifically designed kits with marine objects to ignite kid’s curiosity about our unique environment and provide linkage for families to the outdoor resources of our community.

Essential Functions:1)    Interact with Museum visitors at the tide table and in the forest room.

  • Facilitate tide table and in the forest room
  • Report any unsafe exhibits and repairs needed to Supervisor
  • Share your knowledge in an educational, age appropriate manner

2)    Assist in opening, closing, and upkeep of materials within designated galleries

  • Follow all daily opening and closing procedures
  • Maintain appropriate level of cleanliness
  • Be a team player

3)    Be friendly, engaging, and fun while representing the Museum and South Sound Estuary Association in a positive and professional manner

  • Create a welcoming atmosphere for each visitor by being friendly, informed, and enthusiastic
  • Understand customer service expectations, training materials, SSEA’s mission focus, and Museum policies

4)    Facilitate visitors learning about South Sound Estuary Association

  • Inform visitors of opportunities to connect with nature outside of the museum
  • Facilitate connections to other SSEA and community partners programming


  • Complete one 3 hour training session offered quarterly for new volunteers
    • Upcoming training: Saturday, March 16 from 1:00-4:00pm
  • Attend additional training sessions for new curriculum as scheduled


  • Good communication skills
  • Patient, friendly, and flexible
  • Reliable and committed
  • Ability and desire to interact with children and adults
  • Sense of humor and a willingness to have fun
  • Interest in the natural world

Physical Working Conditions:

  • Light physical effort required for carrying and handling objects  and kits (less than 15 pounds)
  • Must have the ability to stand and/or sit for up to 3 hours

Shift Times:

  • 1st Friday night of every month, 5:00- 8:00 PM (dinner provided)
  • Saturdays: 11:00 am – 2:00pm and 2:00 – 5:00pm
  • Sundays: 2:00-5:00pm
  • Weekday shifts are available, but weekends are strongly encouraged because of large amount of Museum visitors during weekends

Want to volunteer! Questions? Call: Lynn Schneider, SSEA Board President, 360 280-4069 or email her at

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