For CoastWatch volunteers, it is a chance to celebrate the program’s 25th anniversary. For anyone interested in shoreline science, it is an opportunity to hear two talks by a leading coastal ecologist, and then follow him on a guided beachwalk.
The event is a CoastWatch anniversary party taking place on Saturday, July 7, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Gleneden Beach Community Hall (110 Azalea St. in Gleneden Beach). CoastWatch is the volunteer shoreline monitoring program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition.
All activities are free of charge, and everyone is invited for all or any part of the day.
Featured speaker is Stewart Schultz, author of “The Northwest Coast: A Natural History” and an expert on coastal and marine ecosystems. Dr. Schultz will speak at 9:45 a.m. on the ecology of Oregon’s rocky shores, and again at 11 a.m. on the beach ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest and the creatures that inhabit them. After lunch, Schultz will guide a beachwalk that will focus on the beach and on the plants and animals that wash up in the driftline. The walk will also be accompanied by Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, herself an experienced marine educator.
Lunch will be a “semi-potluck” indoor picnic at the community hall. CoastWatch will furnish finger food and beverages. Those attending can brown-bag their own sandwiches or other main courses, but are also encouraged to bring a side dish or dessert to share (not obligatory). Brief talks during lunch will outline CoastWatch 25-year history and future plans.
After the beachwalk concludes, at about 3 p.m., the celebration will conclude with a wrap-up party, including an anniversary cake.
Stewart Schultz has wide-ranging experience in studying the Oregon coast, making him a very knowledgeable guide to the shoreline environment. An Oregonian who grew up playing on the shore near Gearhart, he went to Reed College and obtained his doctorate in botany from the University of British Columbia. He worked on the Oregon coast for the Nature Conservancy, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, gaining wide field experience, before pursuing an academic career as a professor at the University of Miami, and now the University of Zadar in Croatia. During the academic year he studies marine ecology, as well as his specialty of plant evolution and genetics, but every summer he returns to the Oregon coast to teach shoreline science.
CoastWatch at present engages more than 1,400 Oregonians (and a few regular Oregon visitors) in monitoring one-mile segments of the state’s coastline, watching for both natural changes and human impacts. CoastWatch volunteers are asked to walk their miles and make careful observations at least four times per year, once per quarter, with detailed reports to be submitted on those occasions. “Mile adopters” are encouraged to visit their miles as often as possible, to check for problems and report situations needing attention where the information will do the most good.
CoastWatch also organizes a number of special citizen science projects, including surveys for marine debris, beached birds, stranded marine mammals and sea star populations, and also promotes stewardship actions such as beach cleanups.
For information about the anniversary event or about CoastWatch, contact Fawn Custer at (241) 270-0027, firstname.lastname@example.org.