Burien’s Environmental Science Center’s annual fundraiser and 20th anniversary celebration was cancelled recently due to concerns over the COVID-19 coronavirus, and they are seeking $20,000 to fill in this unexpected gap in funding.

ESC’s goal was to raise $65,000 on March 7 at their Soirée fundraiser to deliver vital outdoor educational programs to little ones, youth, and families in our community.

Instead, ESC board members and volunteers graciously hosted mini Soirées in their homes and devoted supporters raised $37,089 through a virtual Soirée that included a raffle, wine wall and paddle raise. ESC hopes more community members will join their online fundraiser that still has videos for the event and donating options, including matches, at EnvironmentalScienceCenter.org.

The Environmental Science Center is a nonprofit organization that runs on donations from community members, grants and foundations to support five administrative positions and nearly 30 seasonal staff. The Soirée brought in nearly 20% of their annual budget. They are asking for one-time donations or monthly pledges to aid in their education efforts, and thanks to a pool of generous donors, donations of $250 or $500 made through this month will be matched.

Funding will support hands-on science programs that are free or at low cost, and provide bus transportation for local programs teachers have relied on for decades, including ESC’s Salmon Heroes and Beach Heroes. ESC hosts weekly Toddler Times throughout the year, along with seasonal and international beach cleanups, beach walks, lecture series and a global bird count that are all aimed to enrich the community. They also participate in local festivals, teen leadership opportunities and are expanding their partnerships and after-school offerings.

Outdoor explorations, natural connections and environmental stewardship have increased in South King County in the past two decades through programming by ESC. The organization started in 2000 to promote environmental stewardship and academic achievement through science-based education and now serves more than 14,000 people a year.

Based out of Seahurst Park in Burien, they offer many community programs, and have recently expanded their school stewardship programs to Renton and Auburn. The Soirée was meant to be a celebration of their 20 years of intimate work within the community, as well as a call of support for the next 20 years. While people cannot come together physically, ESC hopes the community can still support environmental programs that benefit Burien and beyond.

Find out ways to help at EnvironmentalScienceCenter.org or call 206-248-4266.