Educational day takes advantage of low tide

By Zoe Deal

The beaches of Point Whitehorn will become a classroom at “What’s the Point,” a family-friendly event on Saturday, June 15, one of the lowest tides of the spring.

That day, Point Whitehorn will experience tides three feet lower than normal for just a few hours at midday. This low-intertidal world, with all its sea cucumbers, anemones, crabs and seaweeds, will give onlookers a unique chance to see sea critters who are rarely above water.

Sponsored by the Whatcom Land Trust and the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee, the explorative event includes a geology tour of the area, plant and bird walks along the upland forest trail, a seashell display on the beach and a watershed stormwater pollution model.

“It’s just a great opportunity to connect young families and children to be able to understand the connection between water and land,” said Karen Parker, outreach director at the Whatcom Land Trust. “You only get a few hours to explore it, and what you get to see are things you wouldn’t normally be able to see.”

Events begin at 9 a.m. with low tide at 10:52 a.m. Stick around until noon to hear northwest geologist Dave Tucker tell the story of the glaciers that once moved through the landscape.

Five naturalists will be available throughout the day to share the history of the diverse sea and forest life at Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve, 54 acres of trees, stones and sand that look out at the Strait of Georgia and the San Juan Islands.

Parker said children at “What’s the Point” are often very excitable, yet they remain engaged as naturalists teach them about their surroundings.

“Children are like sponges, they just love to learn. It’s really kind of nice for them to get the facts from [the naturalists],” Parker said.

The area is preserved under a longstanding conservation easement the Whatcom Land Trust has with Whatcom County Parks and Recreation. Though the land was once zoned for high industrial use, the Whatcom Land Trust was able to purchase and save this county gem.

“What’s the Point” events have been happening since 2016, according to Parker. The name is a play off its location between Cherry Point and Point Whitehorn.

For more information on the reserve or “What’s the Point” and other events, visit the Whatcom Land Trust website,

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