Learning programs to start at science center


for funding


POULSBO — The Poulsbo Marine Science Center is still in need of financial rescue, even as the amount of kids peering into its fish tanks rises.

Poulsbo Marine Science Center (MSC) Foundation Board President Bruce Harlow said preschoolers, homeschoolers and day care children have been filling the center’s halls. He estimates within a month limited pilot learning programs will offer extended curriculum opportunities for area teachers. The full program won’t yet be available as the needed $100,000 in funding approved by the state legislature was axed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year.

“It’ll be a very modest program,” he said.

This month, a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly built floating lab will be held as well.

But currently Harlow is focused on hearing the public’s opinion on the amenity, and its possible cooperation with the port. An expanded port district could allow the Port of Poulsbo to support the center, though the MSC foundation would still run day-to-day logistics. The district expansion could also garner a new, and very needed, floating breakwater for the port. The port commissioned Harlow to conduct a survey of citizen response to the idea. Harlow likened the idea to the Port of Seattle’s relationship with the Discovery Center.

“I’ve been striving very hard for something by way of steady state support and I thought maybe it would be a win-win situation with the port,” he said. “All that is subject to the people of North Kitsap voting for it.”

City Council Member Becky Erickson, who has been involved in facilitating the possible partnership between the port and center, said gaining private support for the center has been difficult. She received one pledge from several solicitations she made.

“The economy is bad and people are tight with money right now, it’s going to be tough,” she said, adding she’s now looking for a “Plan B.”

The center needs between $250,000-300,000 to operate and incorporate a serious education program each year, Harlow said.

Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade has also been working to garner support for the center. She and others endeavoring to secure pledges from private citizens have so far earned $30,000, still a ways from the needed $100,000.

Quade said Gregiore’s funding pull was unfortunate, as it would have allowed the center to demonstrate its curriculum programs on a full-scale level. Those championing its cause will continue in their efforts, however, and are looking to the next legislative session for possible state support.

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