We Power: 10 Seattle Summer Attractions

It takes great power to make the Seattle area as exciting as it is; power that’s fueled by people and technology. Unlike some electric utilities that are driven by investors, City Light is a publicly owned utility which answers to its customers. Together, we power some pretty amazing things and we do it carbon free.

Summer is right around the corner and you’re probably planning your time in the sun right now. Here’s a top 10 list of “we power” summer attractions to help you appreciate how we do things in Seattle.

Explore the shore with Seattle Aquarium’s Beach Naturalists

Seattle Aquarium’s beach naturalists lead explorations during low tides.


A group of crabs is called a cast, and they communicate by waving their pincers or beating their claws.

A group of local citizens who care about Puget Sound beaches are called Beach Naturalists, and they’ll communicate with you about the wonders of the Pacific Northwest’s marine life if you visit one of our specified beaches this summer.

Every year during low tides, Seattle Aquarium’s Beach Naturalists lead exploration events on regional beaches. The Naturalists teach visitors about how to enjoy beaches while preserving important ecosystems and protecting resident marine life.

The Beach Naturalist events launched May 19 at Richmond Beach, Carkeek Park, Golden Gardens Park, South Alki Beach and Lincoln Park. Events will take place throughout the summer at various locations through Aug. 2.

For a detailed schedule, visit the Beach Naturalist program’s website.

Seattle Aquarium honored for sustainable operations

The Seattle Aquarium received two awards for sustainable operations in October of 2014. The first was the 2014 “Visionary Leadership Award” presented by the Seattle 2030 District, or S2030D, a high-performance building district in downtown Seattle that aims to dramatically reduce environmental impacts of building construction and operations.

The Aquarium was honored for energy-efficient retrofits, carbon capture through tree planting and solar panels constructed on its Pier 59 facility, among the largest array on an aquarium in the country. The institution was cited by the 2030 District for embodying “the visionary leadership across disciplines necessary to meet our most challenging environmental goals and for being a champion for water quality and restoration of Puget Sound.”

In addition, the Aquarium was honored to receive a “Community Impact Award” from Seattle Business magazine. The awards honored “the region’s most influential community leaders” and celebrated 24 honorees in categories ranging from sustainability to youth development. The Aquarium received a silver award in the “Sustainability in Business Operations” category.

Sustainable business practices are an important part of delivering on our institution’s vision, notes Aquarium President & CEO Bob Davidson. “The Aquarium’s mission is Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment. And that’s not limited to our waterways. Every step we take toward sustainability—from energy sources we rely on to reducing our carbon footprint—benefits the incredible marine and terrestrial world around us.”


About the Seattle Aquarium
The Seattle Aquarium is one of Washington State’s leading environmental education and stewardship institutions, and the region’s gathering place for discussion and sharing information about marine conservation. It maintains a number of research initiatives in cooperation with federal, state, zoological and university partners. The Aquarium is located on Pier 59, at 1483 Alaskan Way.

On the web: SeattleAquarium.org
On Facebook: Facebook.com/Aquarium.Seattle
On Twitter: Twitter.com/SeattleAquarium

Inspiring Conservation of our Marine Environment

Tim Kuniholm
(206) 386-4345

Aquarium’s Beach Naturalists on hand to answer your questions!

A family explores marine life in West Seattle during a Beach Naturalist event.


Seattle residents don’t have to travel far to reach a beach. We are lucky to have access to a number of public shorelines. And with water bordering our city on two sides, one might think Seattleites are experts on marine plants and animals.

Why don’t crabs share their toys?

Because they’re shellfish!

What do you call a fish with no eyes?

A fsh!

Turns out, many of us aren’t. Fear not.The Seattle Aquarium’s Beach Naturalists will be stationed on local beaches throughout the summer during low tides beginning Tuesday, May 27. Beach Naturalists are local citizen volunteers who are passionate about the Puget Sound beaches and want to help protect them by educating visitors about the creatures who live there.

People can visit a beach during the designated times and ask the Beach Naturalists questions and learn about the environment.

Beach Naturalist training session at Lincoln Park.


“People are surprised by how many things are living on beaches,” said Janice Mathisen, Seattle Aquarium Community Outreach Coordinator. “People love to show us what they find, and it gives us the opportunity to tell them about the needs of that particular specie.”

The Beach Naturalist program began 16 years ago, and this year, more than 230 volunteers are participating. The volunteers are trained and are instructed to model proper beach etiquette.

“Some volunteers have doctorates in biology, some are veterinarians, some are marine biologists and some have no science background; they’re just really interested in our shores,” Mathisen said. “I love that. The program is accessible to whoever wants to participate.”

The Beach Naturalists will be available at Richmond Beach, Carkeerk Park, Golden Gardens, Constellation Park/South Alki, Lincoln Park, Saltwater State Park, Olympic Sculpture Park pocket beach, Seahurst Park, Des Moines Beach Park, Redondo Beach and Blake Island. For a full list of times and dates, click HERE.

“It’s kind of like the perfect formula,” Mathisen said. “Learning and a day at the beach. How could you go wrong?”


Beach Naturalists’ tips and words of wisdom: – Walk carefully! There’s life beneath your feet! Eelgrass beds are especially fragile. – Touch animals gently with one wet finger. – Observe animals where you find them rather than picking them up. – Avoid disturbing animal homes by picking them up or rolling around large rocks on the beach! – Most Seattle beaches are Marine Reserves; this means everything on the beach must stay on the beach. (except litter!)

Seattle City Light, Seattle Aquarium Celebrate Solar Project Success

City Councilmember Mike O’Brien shares his enthusiasm for renewable energy at the Community Solar celebration.

Dozens of solar electricity investors joined City Light and the Seattle Aquarium today, to celebrate the successful installation of the largest solar array at any aquarium on the West Coast as part of the utility’s Community Solar and Green Up programs.

“Investing in alternative energy is an important element of the aquarium’s vision, and fits perfectly with our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment” aquarium President and CEO Robert Davidson said. “Using clean, green energy supports healthy marine ecosystems by reducing our facility’s carbon footprint. It also supports one of the Aquarium’s key messages: that everyone can make a difference in the preservation of Puget Sound and our one world ocean.”

NW Wind & Solar of Seattle installed the $330,000 system, which covers a large portion of the south side of the Seattle Aquarium’s roof. The 247 panels for the 49.4 kilowatt system were purchased from Marysville-based Silicon Energy, promoting more green jobs in Western Washington.

Most of the panels produce electricity on behalf of 187 City Light customers who bought 1,800 units of solar power through the utility’s Community Solar program. The rest of the panels serve as a demonstration project through the utility’s voluntary Green Up renewable energy program with the electricity produced helping to power the Aquarium’s operations.

Each 24 watt unit of the solar installation cost $150.

This is Seattle City Light’s second Community Solar project. The first was installed in Beacon Hill at Jefferson Park in 2012.

“Community Solar demonstrates Seattle City Light’s commitment to meeting the energy needs of our customers in an environmentally sustainable manner and shows why we call ourselves The Nation’s Greenest Utility,” City Light Chief of Staff Sephir Hamilton said.

“This innovative project lets customers promote and benefit from solar even if they rent, have shady roofs or can’t make the big investment of installing their own solar system,” Hamilton said. “When customers invest in solar, they also think harder about reducing their own electricity use in order to make the most of their solar production credits.”

Participants receive credit on their City Light accounts for their portions of the solar panels’ output through 2020 along with all state production incentives. Together, those credits amount to $1.15 per kilowatt-hour. City Light estimates that participants will receive more than $150 worth of electricity and production incentives for each unit purchased by the end of their agreements. Details are available online.

“As soon as I found out about this program I was excited about the opportunity to participate in solar even though I live in a multi-family building,” said Gina Hicks, who purchased the maximum 125 units. “I knew how attractive it would be to renters and people who live in buildings like mine where it’s difficult to get their own solar arrays installed. I’ve been spreading the word about Community Solar ever since.”

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.