Anyone fascinated by the natural history of Oregon’s shoreline and ocean is invited to this year’s Sharing the Coast Conference, taking place March 2-4 in Cannon Beach. The conference offers a wealth of information about coastal science and stewardship through lectures, panel discussions, and field trips. All activities aside from field trips and the Saturday evening party take place at the Cannon Beach Community Hall (207 Spruce St.).
Now in its 10th year, Sharing the Coast is a collaboration between the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, and the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME). This year, Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) is a local partner. The regional conference was originally developed to provide background information useful to CoastWatch volunteers, who monitor the shoreline, and the educators and interpreters who make up the NAME membership. However, the public is welcome, and this year’s agenda offerings will be of interest to everyone who cares about the coast and wishes to learn more about its natural history and threats to its environmental health.
Pre-register online here, http://bit.ly/2EiD2NC, or register at the door. Conference fees are $30 for members of Oregon Shore or NAME, $45 for the general public. Non-members are invited to obtain the discount by joining either Oregon Shores or NAME first, then registering. (New members are asked to contact either Fawn Custer of CoastWatch or Melissa Keyser of HRAP, contact information below, to obtain the code needed for the discount.)
The conference kicks off Friday evening, March 2, with a 7 p.m. talk by Bob Bailey on “Sea Otters and Rocky Shore Habitat: Past and Future.” Bailey, an Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition board member and former director of Oregon’s Coastal Management Program, will discuss the history of the sea otter’s extinction in Oregon, the ecological consequences of its loss, and new research into the possibility of restoring sea otters to the Oregon coast.
On Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m., the conference will feature talks and panel discussions on a wide range of topics. Among the featured speakers:
*Debbie Duffield, a biology professor at Portland State University, on marine mammals and the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network;
*Bill Hanshumaker, Oregon Sea Grant’s chief scientist, on the natural history of organisms (including sharks, squid, and sea turtles) sometimes found washed up on the shoreline;
*Julia Parrish, director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Team (COASST) and Associate Dean of the College of the Environment at the University of Washington, on the value and practice of citizen science, with a talk entitled “It’s Not Rocket Science, It’s Citizen Science!”;
Joe Liebezeit of Portland Audubon on the contributions of citizens to our knowledge of shorebirds and seabirds.
There is much more on the agenda, including panel discussions about birds and marine debris.
A Saturday afterparty, featuring an ocean and coast trivia contest, starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Public Coast Brewery (264 E. 3rd St.).
On Sunday, an early morning tidepool walk at Haystack Rock is planned (weather allowing). Conference-goers will gather back at the community hall at 10 a.m. for a series of short talks about citizen science, then head back out to the beach for field trips. If the weather is overly inclement, trip leaders will speak inside instead. Alternatively on Sunday, there will be the opportunity to participate in a full-day training session for the COASST (Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team) beached bird survey.
The Sharing the Coast Conference, which serves the entire coastal region, provides a chance to have fun learning some intriguing new things about the shoreline and socializing with others who share this fascination. For those interested in helping to monitor and protect the shoreline through CoastWatch, or teach others about the coast and ocean through NAME, it is the best possible chance to gain a range of knowledge that will facilitate this work.
For more information, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, (541) 270-0027, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Melissa Keyser, Oregon NAME director (and coordinator of the Haystack Rock Awareness Program), (503) 436-8060, email@example.com.