Picture this. It’s dusk in Puget Sound. As you walk by the local dock, you see mysterious lights coming from below the surface of the water. Intrigued, you walk to the edge of the dock and join local residents as they see, touch, and learn about the very creatures that live in the waters below them. This is Harbor WildWatch’s “Pier into the Night” program. The Pier Into the Night program invites adults and kids to observe marine activity that occurs in the Puget Sound from a night-time perspective. Submersible lights and scopes are anchored off the end of the dock to illuminate underwater activity in Gig Harbor Bay. Similar to porch lights, the underwater lights attract marine species that are seldom seen during the day such as ambushing squid, bioluminescent ctenophores, and wriggling sea worms! Naturalists are on hand to identify the animals as well as provide information on their life cycles, habitat indicators and human impacts on their survival. Free and open to all ages, this program focuses on introducing visitors to, and generating excitement about, the marine creatures that inhabit Puget Sound. In 2014, we will expand this program by introducing a live video and audio feed between the SCUBA diver and the audience – the Live Dive Series. A video screen on the surface will connect to a specialized communication unit on the diver, allowing visitors to see exactly what the diver sees. Audience members will also have the opportunity to ask the diver questions directly. The Pier program began in 2009 with 2 programs and 250 visitors. In 2012, we hosted 13 programs with over 7,600 visitors. The addition of the Live Dive Series to the Pier Into the Night program will greatly enhance our environmental education efforts by attracting and engaging more visitors at our winter events. This extra-awesome experience will help further our mission of inspiring stewardship for the Puget Sound by dispelling common misconceptions about these fascinating marine creatures.
Funded by Seattle, WA (October 2013)