50th Anniversary Celebration Is Today!

Neptune Beach.\Photo by Rena Olson.

While we’ve been celebrating our 50th anniversary all year, the actual anniversary date—the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition was officially founded on July 29, 1971—is now approaching fast.  Over the course of the day on Thursday, July 29, 2021, we will offer place-based and online events and lectures, honor outstanding CoastWatch volunteers, hear from founders and make announcements. Please join us as much as you can! (The afternoon and evening lectures will be recorded but the rest of the day will not.)

Another way to help us celebrate is to participate in our anniversary year auction, now live at bwc.io/OregonShores.  The auction will run all year.

We are featuring two nationally renowned speakers whose work has a special bearing on our concerns and programs: Geologist Orrin Pilkey, one of the world’s leading experts on the conservation of beaches and management of shorelines; and Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of Citizen Scientist:  Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction.

Our anniversary day begins with two guided beachwalks, south and north.  On the south coast, Fawn Custer, our citizen science trainer, will lead a tidepool-oriented walk at Sunset Bay at 10:30 a.m.  And on the north, marine ecologist Stewart Schultz, author of The Northwest Coast: A Natural History, will conduct a more sandy-shore-focused tour of Manhattan Beach at 10:30.  For details on both events, see the CoastWatch main page.

The remainder of the day’s activities take place online.  Executive Director Phillip Johnson will provide a brief history of Oregon Shores and an overview of our current issues and plans for the next 50 years. Throughout the day and during intermissions, early leaders of Oregon Shores or their descendants will share their memories in short video interviews. Also, we will check in with our live auction site and the CoastWatch Mile-by-Mile fund-raising competition.

At 4 p.m., Orrin Pilkey will speak on “The Future of Our Beaches.”  Dr. Pilkey is a professor emeritus of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke University, and founder and director emeritus of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS), currently based at Western Carolina University.  His 2009 book The Rising Sea (written with Rob Young, his successor as PSDS director) sounded the alarm about the global loss of beaches.  His most recent books are Retreat from a Rising Sea (co-authored with daughter, Linda, and son, Keith), which discusses the need to move back from the coast; and Lessons from the Sand, which offers easy experiments for kids (and adults) to do while learning about beach processes. He co-wrote this book with his son, Charles Pilkey, an artist-sculptor, who illustrated it.

After a break, we’ll resume at 6:30, with short videos and announcements.

At 7 p.m., Mary Ellen Hannibal will address “The Future Role of Citizen Science in Coastal Conservation.”  Hannibal is the author of such works on natural history and conservation as The Spine of the Continent and Evidence of Evolution.  Her latest book, Citizen Scientist, is a fascinating exploration of an often-overlooked aspect of the history of science and a deeply personal encounter with the natural world and the grave threats to our environment through the lens of citizen science.  She will discuss the essential role of popular engagement with monitoring the natural world and providing data to scientists if we are to conserve ecosystems in the face of climate change and species extinction.

These activities are free and open to everyone.  You can register for the day, and join us whenever you wish.  To register for all events, go here.