Conference in Newport Focuses on Citizen Science of Oregon Coast
(Newport, Oregon) - From plankton to whales, from seabirds to marine debris, this year’s Sharing the Coast Conference offers a wealth of information about Oregon coast science and natural history. The eighth annual conference, co-sponsored by CoastWatch and the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME), takes place March 13 to 5 at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. (Above: near Yachats, on the central Oregon coast).
The conference’s primary theme this year is citizen science. Lectures, workshops and field trips will introduce participants to many ways in which volunteers can assist scientists in gathering important information about coastal and ocean resources. While the conference is designed to provide information and training to CoastWatch volunteers who monitor the shoreline, as well as to those who teach about the coast and ocean (the members of NAME), everyone is welcome, and anyone who loves the shore and the sea will find much to inform and fascinate them.
Online registration has now begun: click here.
Sharing the Coast commences with a Friday evening Community Talk that is free and open to all. Marine mammalogist Sheanna Steingass will discuss efforts by scientists to learn more about our marine mammal populations, including her own research on harbor seals and coastal ecology. Her presentation takes place at 7 p.m. in the Hennings Auditorium at the HMSC.
On Saturday morning, HMSC Director Bob Cowen will kick things off with a keynote talk on “Citizen Science and the Plankton Portal.” Saturday’s other plenary session speaker will be physician and CoastWatcher Al Dohner, speaking on “The Global Problem of Marine Debris,” with a special emphasis on the health impacts of plastics in the ocean. Break-out sessions will deal with topics ranging from marine mammal and sharks to the recent Casssin’s auklet die-off and monitoring for sea star wasting syndrome. Field trips will visit tidepools, mudflats and streams.
Sunday speakers include marine mammal researcher Courtney Hann, on a citizen science project involving whales, and the Audubon Society’s Paul Engelmeyer, on seabirds and marine reserves. Break-out sessions involve “driftline ecology” (what is found on the shoreline) and a citizen science project that helps oceanographers track plankton. Field trips will focus on geology and on citizen science practice.
The conference also features a Saturday evening party (5:30 p.m. at the Rogue Brewery in South Beach) that will feature food, libations, a visual tour of our marine reserves and the undersea habitats they shelter presented by Stacy Galleher of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the annual cutthroat trivia game.
Cost of the conference is $20 (including Saturday lunch) for members of Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition (CoastWatch’s parent organization) or NAME, $40 for members of the public. Conference-goers can join either organization if not already a member and take the discount. Registration for Sunday only is $10.
For more information, go to http://oregonshores.org/coastwatch.php5, or contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, (541) 270-0027, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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