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Conference in Cannon Beach Brings Excitement and Intrigue to Learning About Oregon Coast

Published 02/22/2018 at 2:55 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Conference in Cannon Beach Brings Excitement and Intrigue to Learning About Oregon Coast

(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – For anyone fascinated by the Oregon coast and its natural history, this year's Sharing the Coast Conference will be the ultimate ticket on March 2 to 4, held in Cannon Beach. The three-day beach-centered extravaganza offers up a wealth of fun facts and deep insights into coastal science, as well as stewardship of the region. You'll find lectures, panel discussions and field trips, as well as the Saturday evening party – most of which take place at the Cannon Beach Community Hall (207 Spruce St.).

The Sharing the Coast Conference is now in its tenth year, a collaboration between the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, and the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME) that has grown considerably. This time around, Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) is the local partner of the festival.

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.

You can pre-register online here 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.)

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The kickoff to the conference on Friday, March 2 is a talk by Bob Bailey on “Sea Otters and Rocky Shore Habitat: Past and Future,” starting at 7 p.m. 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 events begin at 9 a.m., providing a full roster of feature talks and panel discussions on a variety of topics.

Among these are:

Debbie Duffield, professor at Portland State University, will give a talk on marine mammals and the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which looks into stranded seals, whales and other wildlife on the beaches.

Oregon Sea Grant’s chief scientist Dr. Bill Hanshumaker will provide insights into 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, talks about 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 will make a presentation 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 after party, 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 permitting). Then at 10 a.m., everyone gathers back at the community hall where a series of short presentations on citizen science will take place. Following that, it's time to head out into the great outdoors of the Oregon coast again for more field trips that look deeply into these dynamic surroundings. If weather is exceptionally stormy and uncooperative, trip leaders will speak inside instead.

Also on Sunday: attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a full-day training session for bird surveys through the COASST (Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team). Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

The Sharing the Coast Conference, which serves the entire Oregon coast region, creates a chance for those who love learning about these beaches to have fun doing so, engage in new, intriguing activities, and to socialize with those who share the same 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,; or Melissa Keyser, Oregon NAME director (and coordinator of the Haystack Rock Awareness Program), (503) 436-8060, More on Cannon Beach below:

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