Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, is leading a series of “tidepool clinics” this spring in Lincoln City.  CoastWatch is joining forces with the Lincoln City Visitor & Convention Bureau to make this learning opportunity available to the shore-visiting public.  Eleven of these clinics are being offered between April 1 and June 13.  Assisting Fawn and taking the lead with some of the events is Athena Crichton of the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC).  These events are free and open to the public.

The “clinics” will provide an enjoyable brief introduction to rocky shore ecosystems.  Each session begins with a lecture, before Custer and/or Crichton take participants on a field trip to the tidepools to identify the inhabitants, including sea stars, sea anemones, sea urchins and mussels.  The clinics last about an hour.  Questions are highly encouraged.

Each clinic takes place on the beach at the 15th St. access in Lincoln City. To get there, from Highway 101 turn west onto 15th street (at the Jasmine Thai Restaurant) and continue west towards the ocean. There is ample street parking as well as a public parking lot nearby. Parking is also available at the Sea Gull Beachfront Motel near the beach access.

“We have a very dynamic coastline,” says Fawn Custer. “As the tides rush in and out, the marine organisms that live there have to adapt to these conditions. That is why our tide pools are much more diverse than other coastal areas. They are constantly changing with every tide.”  Custer brings 25-plus years of teaching experience to the clinics.  This includes her stint as CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, 14 years as an instructor at the HMSC, and extensive experience as a K-12 teacher in Lincoln County’s schools.  Athena Crichton has spent the last 16 years teaching courses at the HMSC, and also teaches marine education at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Participants should plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early and dress in layers for Oregon Coast weather.  Rubber, gloves, a rain jacket, and sunscreen would all be advisable.  For more information on the Tide Pool Clinics, call 800-452-2151 or visit http://www.oregoncoast.org/tide-pool-clinics/.

Here are the remaining Tidepool Clinic dates and times:

Monday, May 29, 10 a.m.

Sunday, June 11, 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, June 13, 10 a.m.