Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Focus on the Tide Pool

This spring, Discovery Corps Intern Nancy decided to put all her energy into making a Tide Pool guide for the Science Interpreters at Pacific Science Center’s Puget Sound Salt Water Tide Pool. During the process, she discovered that even though Tide Pool Interpretation is some staff members’ least favorite activity, there is a solution.

Nancy's Story

While I was working on the Tide Pool Interpretation Guide at Pacific Science I noticed that many staff members have complained about interpreting at tide pool. Some people seem to have trouble talking to people older than themselves or guiding kids who just don’t want to listen. Since Operations Lead Joy DeLyria and I are doing the tide pool guide, we thought, “Why not have a focus group to discuss problems and give tips on interpreting the Tide Pool?” Thus, the Tide Pool Focus Group was born!

We had put a sign-up sheet in the break room and soon many people enrolled. Even after we took down the sign-up sheet more people wanted to join. So far we’ve had two focus groups and will have another one on Sunday, August 30. We mix the group up with both Discovery Corps and Science Interpretation staff in order to get a good assortment of problems and ideas for solutions.
Because we had to meet somewhere other than the Tide Pool, I made these little models to stand in for our Tide Pool animals. Can you recognize the Sea Urchin, Sea Anemone, Sea Cucumber, Grunt Sculpin, and Hermit Crab below?

Our first meeting was very successful but many noted that there wasn’t enough time to discuss other problems in the hour that we scheduled for them. The feedback we received from both groups is very encouraging. Perhaps we’ll be able to have other focus groups in the future on this and other science interpretation problems.

Pacific Science Center’s Discovery Corps is a youth development program for high school students 14 and older. The program teaches job and life skills while providing a unique interactive experience for our visitors. Trained individuals such as Nancy, graduate on to special projects, internships, and staff positions in different departments of Pacific Science Center. Want to learn more? Please email or call (206) 443-2884.


  1. Is that the Tide Pool Guide cover? It looks awesome! FYI, the first Discovery Corps link is broken - URL has a funky spelling.

  2. I love Grunty (Benny) as the mascot on the tide pool guide. He's just so darn adorable.

  3. Thanks Portia - URL is now fixed! (We wanted to see if anyone was paying attention -haha.)

  4. Here's a question for ya:

    Do you use the recipe on the back of the Instant Ocean bucket to make tide pool water, or do you dilute it to match the salinity of the Puget Sound?

  5. Great question, Carrie. The water of Puget Sound is less salty than the ocean because 11 freshwater rivers feed into it. Because of this, we mix our synthetic sea water to match that of the sound. And we always double check salinity before adding newly mixed water. It can be hard on the animals to encounter pockets of very different water.

  6. I sure do miss my PSC tidepool, also Esteban, Estrella, Estella, and Maizy.