Discovery Program has Successful 13th Summer
In its 13 years, Seasideís Watershed Estuary Beach Discovery Program has
become an institution. Every summer on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
visitors can approach the blue tent and touch marine animals, view
microscopic plankton, and learn more about the natural resources of this
region. Pam Bierly, the Programís Director, says, "Our job really has two
parts. One is introducing a few of our local natural attractions; the other
is connecting with visitors and sparking their memories or curiosity (which
The free program is funded by the City of Seaside and run by the Seaside
Aquarium, using aquarium staff and resources. During her 8 years as director,
Bierly has seen a lot of repeat visitors. One of the favorite comments she heard this summer was from a girl who said,
"Iíve come to the Discovery Program every summer of my life" (she was 8).
Bierly, a retired schoolteacher, and her staff work to personalize each
visitorís experience. If they donít know the answer to a question, they
will often research it and email a response to the visitor. This means that
the staff, as well as visitors, are constantly learning new things. This
summer one of the big questions was, "They? Who is the they that have
figured out that gray whales donít eat after they leave the arctic waters?
And how did they prove it?" They contacted a researcher in the field to
find the answer.
Although the weather was uncooperative this summer, more than 4,000
people from all over Oregon and Washington visited the Discovery
Program, either on the beach or at the estuary.