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Sharing the Coast Conference Digs Deep Into Oregon Beaches, Citizen Science

Published 02/18/2017 at 6:49 PM PDT - Updated 02/21/2017 at 5:00 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Sharing the Coast Conference Digs Deeper Into Oregon Beaches, Science

(Waldport, Oregon) – It's a festival of science coming up on the central Oregon coast, filled with dozens of fascinating events and activities that help you dig a little deeper into your beach experience. It's all thanks to CoastWatch, the group of volunteers who keep a close eye on Oregon's beaches.

CoastWatch will be holding its annual Sharing the Coast Conference in Waldport on March 3 – 5. The conference offers a wealth of information for the general public in the world of citizen science, and it's plenty of fun. It's also geared to CoastWatch volunteers, helping them learn more about monitoring their adopted miles.

It all kicks off Friday evening, March 3, with a free talk by marine mammalogist Leigh Torres, 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6) at the Waldport Community Center (265 Hemlock St.).

An Assistant Professor in Oregon State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, based at the Ecology of Marine Megafauna Laboratory in Newport, Dr. Torres will discuss results of the most recent research into the gray whales that frequent our shores. Her research focuses on the habitat use, distribution and behavioral patterns of “marine megafauna" species (marine mammals, seabirds, and sharks) in relation to environmental variability, prey availability and anthropogenic threats such as fisheries, vessel traffic, climate change, and habitat alterations. She will also discuss how non-scientists can help to contribute to our knowledge of marine mammals through citizen science.

This event is free, although a donation is requested.

The primary events of the conference happen Saturday, March 4, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (registration begins at 8:30). This day’s activities take place at Waldport High School (3000 S Crestline Dr.).

There will be a series of talks focused on various aspects of monitoring the shoreline and citizen science, with special slants towards CoastWatch volunteers. The conference co-sponsors, Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators, will offer other activities of a similar nature happening during that day as well.

On Saturday evening it's time to party it up, Oregon coast-style. Starting at 5:30 p.m., there will be a celebration with food, drink, company and the group's traditional Oregon coast trivia competition. On Sunday (also at Waldport High School), you will be able to attend a training for the beached bird survey or participate in other indoor workshops or field trips.

Cost is $10 for Oregon Shores members, $20 for CoastWatchers (or join Oregon Shores--$35 individual, $50 family membership—and take the discount), or $35 for other members of the public. Lunch is on your own.

More details about the schedule coming soon, but for now, mark your calendars and plan to join us. For information, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, at (541) 270-0027, fawn@oregonshores.org. Where to stay for this event - Where to eat - Map and Virtual Tour

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