Time for 'Sharing the Coast'

For the tenth year, CoastWatch is joining forces with the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME) to sponsor the Sharing the Coast Conference, an annual cornucopia of information about coastal science, natural history, and shoreline monitoring. This year’s conference takes place March 8-10 at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (2030 S.E. Marine Science Drive) in the South Beach area of Newport.  Register here.

The conference’s special goal, where CoastWatch is concerned, is providing background for mile adopters and participants in citizen science projects.  Presentations will include information that will enrich the experiences of those monitoring CoastWatch miles, and sharpen their observations.  Lectures on marine debris, seabirds, and rocky shore ecology, to cite a few examples, will help to create context for the marine debris, beached bird, and sea star surveys.  Go here to see the complete schedule.

NAME’s educators and interpreters will benefit from many of the same presentations, and will also have a chance to attend some workshops aimed specially at their needs.

But the conference is by no means limited to CoastWatchers and Oregon Shores and NAME members.  The material presented will be of interest to anyone who loves the coast and is fascinated by its natural history.

The conference kicks off Friday evening, May 8, 7 p.m., with a “Community Talk” (a Sharing the Coast tradition) that is free and open to the public.  Veteran marine educator and ecotour leader Marty Giles will speak on, of all basic subjects, “Sand.”  She will take the audience on a virtual tour of our sandy shores, explaining where sand comes from, what it does while it is on the beach or dune, what lives within it, and where it goes. 

Saturday’s full day begins at 9 a.m. (doors open at 8:30).  Speakers include:
  • Marine ecologist (and long-time CoastWatch favorite) Cynthia Trowbridge, on “The Ecology of the Driftline,” exploring all the natural materials that wash up on shore
  • Renowned rocky shore ecologist Bruce Menge, speaking on rocky shore ecology, climate change, and the fate of sea stars
  • Environmental scientist Dorothy Horn, discussing plastics in the ocean (and especially “microplastics”) and how they affect our coast
  • Avian ecologist Jessica Porquez, on Oregon’s seabird populations and the research being conducted on them, helping to explain the beached birds we find on shore’
  • Behavioral ecologist Catherine de Rivera, on invasive species of the estuaries and how to watch for them on the outer shore
  • Jim Rice, head of the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network, on the marine mammals and sea turtles that wash up on our shores, and how to report on them
  • A panel discussion on citizen science

On Saturday evening, we’ll combine a conference after-party with a wrap-up party for the recently concluded King Tide Project.  Gather at the Rogue Brewery for food and drink, a display of photos providing a virtual tour of the Coquille River Valley during a king tide by photographer Rena Olson, and a talk on how sea level rise is affecting our coast by Meg Reed, Coastal Shores Specialist with the state’s Department of Land Conservation and Development and our colleague in organizing the King Tide Project.  And don’t forget the annual cutthroat coastal trivia contest. 

Sunday, March 10, will be given over to field trips.

Conference fees vary, depending on membership in Oregon Shores, CoastWatch, NAME, or general public, with student and other categories as well.  Click here to register online.  You can also register on the day of the conference—plenty of room for all.

For more information, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, (541) 270-0027, [email protected].