The Ocean Shores Interpretive Center will open seven days a week for the summer season starting April 1 at 11 am. On April 7, starting at 4:30 pm will be the dedication of the new Interpretive Trail, and small child Play & Learn Courtyard. After which, the public is invited to enter the Interpretive Center and enjoy refreshments while viewing the new exhibits on Wind, Waves & Weather and local Ocean Shores history.
The trail has been designed, and constructed by Senior High School students of North Beach, Aberdeen and Hoquiam High Schools as their senior culminating project. The students include Will Hara and Armondo Lugo of North Beach; Jordana Davis and Amanda Smith from Aberdeen and Amanda Anderson and Moriah McMichael from Hoquiam. Their Mentor for this project is Erica Baker of the Pacific Education Institute. The Interpretive Trail is a cooperative project between the Ocean Shores Interpretive Center (and the City of Ocean Shores), Pacific Educational Institute, Grays Harbor College, Grays Harbor Weed Control, NOAA (Be-Wet Grant) and Grays Harbor County. The project, designed to be ongoing, features a short walking trail through a small coastal forest with a wetland area that is protected by a boardwalk. The students have identified various trees and vegetation for the visiting public, which will have signage at a later date. It has been designed as a family and disabled person friendly walking trail.
"We are pleased to offer this addition to the educational services of the Center to our visitors and it has been a pleasure to work with Erica Baker from the Pacific Educational Institute, all of the outstanding high school students, Nancy Ness of the Grays Harbor Weed Control Board, and Lorena Marchant of the Grays Harbor College Environmental Education Program. While the trail has been a long-time dream, the Senior Culmination Project made it possible this year. Visitors will be able to enjoy the trail on a daily basis. In addition, the Center's Education Committee, consisting of Candace Grubesic, Deanna Skewis, Polly Barack, John Letos, Mary Mattern, and Linda Vail, along with new members Dianne Sekus and Carol Nagen, are already planning on incorporating it into the education program they are developing for the North Beach students." explained Neil Eldridge, center director.
"The Play & Learn Courtyard located in the lee of the building provides an area protected from offshore winds where small children can play on a bouncing turtle, play games on a safety surface, enjoy a "working" moveable sign and picnic at the handicapped accessible table. Eventually the area will contain artwork showing how the surrounding forest is a mercantile for animals to "shop" for food, protection from predators and home building supplies. Other murals are under consideration to further teach about the importance of habitat to salmon and clean water," said Gene Woodwick, exhibits curator.
The new Wind, Waves and Weather display features a weather station that displays temperature, wind direction, humidity, atmospheric pressure and precipitation that was installed with the help of Center volunteers John Letos and Jeffery Dukes. Storyboards explain many aspects of weather and how it affects the ocean at our doorstep and the land we live upon. The tides, including how to read a tide chart, are described along with ocean currents and waves, and we hope to teach both local citizens and tourists about the coastal area.
The local Ocean Shores history display has been tripled in size and displays a variety of artifacts and photographs telling the rich history of the five mile peninsula of the city. Other exhibits have been upgraded and improved. A new foyer display of local duck species donated by the Ralph Flowers family will be completed in the near future. New additions have been made to the Habitat Learning Center life-sized diorama as well.
Those who have volunteered to help build displays are: Jeffery Dukes, technology and carpentry; Diane Dukes, artist; John Letos, draftsman/engineer and carpenter; Vesta Letos, designer assistant; Sharon Caudle and Larry Woodwick, helpers.
The Ocean Shores Interpretive Center is open daily April 1 through September 30 at 1033 Catala Avenue adjacent to the Ocean Shores Marina from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The phone number is 360/289-4617 and the website is http://www.oceanshoresinterpretivecenter.com/