The Foss Waterway Seaport is an organization that is dedi­cated to the wellbeing of the Puget Sound by using various edu­cational activities to teach people about the Sound. This is important due to the current condition the Sound is in. In 2008 it was recorded by the Department of Ecology for the state of Washington that over four million residents live within the neighboring counties surrounding Puget Sound. It is predicted that 700,000 more will arrive within 10 years.

With this and other contributing factors from urbanization and popu­lation density, the Puget Sound has been contaminated with various harmful substances. The Department of Ecology currently estimates that Puget Sound receives millions of pounds of toxic chemicals every year from surface runoff, groundwater discharges, and municipal and waste­water outfall pipes. These contami­nants include oil and grease, PCBs, and phthalates as well as toxic heavy metals such as copper, lead, and zinc. These toxins concentrate in urban bays and enter the food chain.

Though the situation seems un­changeable, this is not a permanent problem. Pollution is an outcome of poor habit and lack of effort. If hab­its and effort are changed, the prob­lem ceases and change begins to oc­cur. There are various organizations in society that try to make a change and one such organization exists and is new to the Tacoma community, and it is in fact not that far from the Tacoma campus.

The Foss Waterway Seaport was originally named the Seaport and was established in 1996. It was seen as a museum that celebrated art and culture surrounding the Sound. However, the name was later changed to Foss Waterway Seaport after the vision for the project grew and sur­passed just a heritage museum. The “centerpiece” of its home is a cen­tury old wheat transfer factory, known as the Balfour Dock building. It’s located at 705 Dock Street and is one of two remaining warehouses that, in 1900, were built to store cargo ships of various sizes. Recent­ly the building has undergone re­modeling to better support its new function.

The Foss Waterway Seaport is a center to where the public can gain knowledge about the Sound through various opportunities. The simple method is to go to the center and browse through all the different ex­hibits showcasing the different at­tributes that make up the Sound community. There are options for both land-based education and boat-based education. With both cases it gives participants the ability to in­teract with various creatures that make up the ecosystem of the Sound and learn the history of the sound either in the classroom or on a boat.

The Foss Waterway Seaport is one of other various organizations that exist that try to educate the public about the ecosystems of various com­munities and that try to make a dif­ference in how society interacts with the environment on a daily basis. The Foss Waterway Seaport is a project that needs support from the public and is currently accepting donations and volunteers. If you are interested in a career in marine science, this organization is a great place to get started.

As fellow residents, we should do everything we can to help support them as well. We only have one earth, so it’s best that we do everything in our power to preserve it.

For more information, please visit www.fosswaterwayseaport.org

COURTESY OF WESTERN MUSEUM ASSOCIATION
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