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Two Oregon Coast Nature Groups Celebrate In a Big Way, Including CoastWatch

Published 07/05/2018 at 05:12 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Two Oregon Coast Nature Groups Celebrate In a Big Way, Including CoastWatch

(Oregon Coast) – Two parts of the Oregon coast will be whooping it up shortly in different areas. The group CoastWatch is celebrating a quarter century of keeping the world informed about beach changes and the organization that entertains you beneath Cannon Beach’s Haystack Rock is hosting quite the party. (Above: Gleneden Beach).

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The watch dog for the Oregon coast, CoastWatch, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this weekend. 25 years of keeping an eye on these beaches and providing shoreline science information to the average Joe will be the center of the party, taking place on July 7 at Gleneden Beach Community Hall (110 Azalea St. in Gleneden Beach).

The group is a volunteer shoreline monitoring program that is part of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition.

The event is aimed at anyone interested in a deeper look at the Oregon coast, with two talks by a celebrated ecologist of the region and a chance to go follow him on a guided walk.

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 starts his first talk at 9:45 a.m. and then again at 11 a.m. He’ll dig into the ecology of Oregon’s rocky shore in the first talk, and the second engagement spotlights the beach ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest and the creatures that live there.

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 at this heady celebration will be a “semi-potluck” indoor picnic at the community hall. Finger food and drinks will be provided by CoastWatch, but the public can brown-bag their own sandwiches or bring larger main courses, and they are encouraged to bring some kind of side dish or dessert to share (although this is not required).

There will be brief talks during lunch that outline the 25-year history of CoastWatch and some of its 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.

Currently, CoastWatch utilizes more than 1,400 Oregonians who volunteer to monitor one-mile parts of the coastline, watching for both natural changes and human impacts. The group reports even some out-of-state regular visitors are volunteers. Members of the group walk their adopted mile segments and make observations at least four times a year, submitting detailed reports on their findings.

These are posted at https://oregonshores.org/coastwatch and can be fascinating reading about the changes that sometimes occur on these sands.

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, fawn@oregonshores.org.


Later in the month, another nature group hosts a Summer Block Party near the sands of Cannon Beach on July 14. The Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) is celebrating puffins, sunshine, the ocean and much, all in the parking lot of Cannon Beach City Hall.

The Summer Block Party is Saturday, July 14 from 5 – 8 p.m. Kicking off the festivities, Jonathan White, author of “Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean,” will be speaking about his fascinating study of tides across the globe and sharing the amazing stories he gathered along the way. Other entertainment will include face painting, food, and live music. HRAP interpreters will be available to answer questions about Haystack Rock, how the sea stars are doing, and about the puffin population. It will be fun for all ages. This party is free, but donations to the program will be accepted. RSVP on Facebook.

For more information, see http://www.ci.cannon-beach.or.us/HRAP or contact Lisa Habecker, HRAP Education & Volunteer Coordinator, at 503-436-8064 or Habecker@ci.cannon-beach.or.us.

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