Oregon Coast Science Events Cover Otters, Birds, Climate, Geology, Paleobotany
(Tillamook, Oregon) – March begins with two major science lectures about the Oregon coast, including the fourth annual “Sharing the Coast Conference” and a talk in Cannon Beach on Oregon coast sea otters (photo above courtesy Nathan Sandel).
The Sharing the Coast Conference is coming up on March 3 and 4 in Tillamook, presented by CoastWatch and the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME). This year, you can learn about everything from climate change and coastal hazards to paleobotany and snowy plovers.
The event takes place at Tillamook Bay Community College (4301 Third Street in Tillamook), beginning on March 3 with registration at 9 a.m. and running through a 5:15 p.m. reception. There will also be field trips devoted to geology, birds and tidepools on Sunday, March 4.
The conference’s theme this year is climate change and its potential impacts - and how to teach about them. While the agenda is designed to inform CoastWatch volunteers, who monitor the shoreline, and teachers and interpreters who help to educate the public about the coast, the conference is open to everyone
Key speakers include Bryan Black, a professor at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Dr. Black will discuss how climate variability has affected the ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest through history. He studies dendrochronology (tree-ring analysis), and similar techniques applied to long-lived marine organisms including fish, bivalves, and corals, in order to trace changes in climate that took place long before there were instruments to record it.
Other major speakers include geologist Curt Peterson, who will discuss erosion, sand supply and the future of Oregon’s beaches in an era of climate change. Dr. Peterson will also lead a field trip on coastal geology on Sunday. Pat Corcoran of Sea Grant will speak on increasing coastal hazards and how to plan for them. Corcoran works with communities to identify hazards and begin planning for greater community resilience.
Information about the Sunday field trips - which will include bird and tidepool trips led by Nala Cardillo of the Haystack Rock Awareness Project in the Cannon Beach area - will be provided to registrants.
More information about the event is available on the Oregon Shores website, http://oregonshores.org/coastwatch.php5. To register, go to the NAME site, http://www.pacname.org/. It is also possible to register at the door on the day of the conference.
For current Oregon Shores or NAME members, the cost will be $15 to cover lunch and snacks. Those whose membership is not current will be asked to renew or join; for non-members, the charge will be $45. (541) 270-0027 or (503) 754-9303.
On March 1, the Cannon Beach Library will host “Sensational Sea Otters, Our Favorite Weasel,” a talk given by Nathan Sandel, field educator at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Part of the “World of Haystack Rock” lecture series, this talk begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 1st, 2012 at the Cannon Beach Library, 131 N. Hemlock St.
Sandel will spotlight the day to day lives of sea otters (food gathering, mating, social structure, and grooming), their biology, and historical range, from Mexico to Japan, and how and why their numbers and range have diminished. Sandel will also spend some time discussing the recovery efforts and outcomes of the sea otter, including replanting them in Oregon and Washington in the 1990’s.
Sandel has been the field educator at the Columbia River Maritime Museum since 2004 where he travels across Oregon and Washington presenting educational programs to elementary and middle School students. He attended Central Michigan University where he studied education, history, and political science. Nathan is also a volunteer with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network where he patrols the Long Beach Peninsula; removing and securing carcasses for the marine biologist and helping with the necropsies. He is also author, illustrator, and photographer of the book “Ships of the Mightily Columbia River.”
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