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8th Annual Sharing the Coast Conference – Coos Bay

Shore Aces, near Coos Bay State Parks photo

Shore Aces, near Coos Bay
State Parks photo

The 8th annual Sharing the Coast Conference is coming to Coos Bay March 4-6. The public is invited to share in the wealth of information about coastal science and natural history that the conference provides. The event takes place at Southwestern Oregon Community College (1988 Newmark).

A collaboration between the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation 
Coalition, and the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME), the conference features speakers on topics ranging from oceanography and undersea exploration to beach ecology and climate change. Workshops and field trips will introduce a wider range of subjects and skills.

Registration is open online, http://tinyurl.com/sharingthecoast2016, or by downloading the form (http://tinyurl.com/2016sharingthecoast) and mailing a check. It will also be possible to register in person at the conference.

Keynote speaker for the Friday evening (March 4) “community talk,” which is free and open to all, is Fritz Stahr, who manages the Seaglider Fabrication Center at the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography. Stahr will describe his experiences in studying the ocean through the use of ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), and in introducing students to marine science. Dr. Stahr’s talk takes place in the Hales Auditorium on the SOCC campus, beginning at 7 p.m.

Registration for the full conference begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning (March 5) at the Hales Center for the Performing Arts. Key speakers on Saturday and Sunday include:

Oceanographer Bill Peterson, who will describe the changing state of Oregon’s ocean (El Nino, the “Blob,” shifting ecosystems, ocean acidification and more);

Biologist Daniel Elbert, who will examine the ecology of beaches and dunes and discuss efforts to restore the threatened snowy plover to these habitats;

Climate scientist and Siletz Tribe member Samantha Hatfield, who will offer new perspectives on how traditional ecological knowledge can be brought to bear on climate change and the coastal environment;

Ecologist Steve Rumrill, who will explore changes taking place on our estuarine, sandy and rocky shores.

In addition to the plenary presentations, the Saturday and Sunday schedules will be packed with workshops on such topics as marine mammals, tidepool life, marine debris, “beached marine critters” (from squid to sharks to sea turtles) and sessions on teaching marine science aimed at teachers, interpreters and docents. Field trips will explore both outer shorelines and the nearby estuary.

The conference also includes a Saturday evening party, which features an informal talk by Bill Hanshumaker, chief Sea Grant scientist at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, on the role of noise in the ocean, as both a natural effect and a human impact, along with food, drink and a coastal trivia contest.

Conference fees are $25 for current members of CoastWatch, Oregon Shores and NAME, $45 for members of the general public (who are invited to join either sponsoring organization and take the discount), and $20 for students. The fee includes Saturday lunch and the Saturday evening party. Fee for Sunday only is $15 (lunch on your own).

For more information, visit the CoastWatch website, http://oregonshores.org/coastwatch.php5. A full schedule will be posted there. Or contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, (541) 270-0027, fawn@oregonshores.org.

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