Photo of Bill Hanshumaker, Sea Grant chief scientist, who will speak on Saturday evening.An intriguing line-up of speakers, a host of compelling workshops, some fascinating field trips and plenty of opportunity to socialize with fellow coast-lovers await you at this year’s 8th annual Sharing the Coast Conference.

CoastWatch collaborates each year with the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME) in sponsoring this annual event, which offers a wealth of information to those monitoring the coast (CoastWatchers) and those teaching about it and interpreting it for visitors (NAME members, who may well be CoastWatchers, too).  The public is invited, too.

This year’s Sharing the Coast Conference is coming up March 4-6 at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay (1988 Newmark).  Register now, either online, or by downloading the form and mailing it in.

Keynote speaker for the Friday evening “community talk,” which is free and open to the public, is Fritz Stahr, who manages the Seaglider Fabrication Center at the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography.  He co-founded the Ocean Inquiry Project in 2000, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching marine science through on-the-water experience while conducting research in Puget Sound to the benefit of both scientific research and students.  Dr. Stahr will describe his experiences in exploring the ocean through the use of ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), and in introducing students to marine science.

Speakers on Saturday include oceanographer Bill Peterson, who will survey “The Changing State of Oregon’s Ocean,” and marine ecologist Cynthia Trowbridge, who will provide a wealth of information about “The Natural History of the Driftline.”  Workshops will cover such subjects as marine mammals, tidepool life, marine debris, “beached marine critters” (from squid to sharks to sea turtles) and sessions on teaching marine science for teachers. Field trips will be led by Dr. Trowbridge and eco-tour guide Marty Giles.

Saturday evening will feature a party, trivia contest and informal talk by Bill Hanshumaker, chief Sea Grant scientist at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, on marine habitats.

Sunday speakers include Dr. Samantha Hatfield, who is both a scientist associated with the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute and a Siletz Tribe member.  She will speak on the relationship between “traditional ecological knowledge” and climate change and other environmental issues on the coast.  Also speaking on Sunday will be Daniel Elbert of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on “Snowy Plovers and Dune Ecology.”  Sunday’s workshops deal with whale research, estuary and shoreline habitats, marine reserves and more.  Field trips will explore both outer coast and estuary.

Conference fees will be $25 for current members of either Oregon Shores or NAME, and $45 for the general public, which includes Saturday lunch and the party.  (Members whose dues are out of date will need to renew their memberships to qualify for the discount).  There is a special student rate, $20, and admission to Sunday only (lunch on your own) is $15.

For more information, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, (541) 270-0027,