Waldport High School, Photo by Sara Schreiber.

Waldport High School, site of the Sharing the Coast Conference. Photo by Sara Schreiber.

For the past eight years, CoastWatch has sponsored the Sharing the Coast Conference each spring.  The event provides a wealth of background information relevant to monitoring the shoreline and participating in citizen science.  The conference is open to everyone, and covers topics of interest to anyone who loves the Oregon coast, but it is designed to be of particular benefit to CoastWatchers as they observe their adopted miles.

This year’s Sharing the Coast Conference is coming up March 3-5 in Waldport, centered on a full day of CoastWatch-centric activities on Saturday, March 4, at Waldport High School (3000 S. Crestline Dr.).  The conference kicks off with a Friday evening (March 3) keynote presentation by marine mammalogist Leigh Torres, who will discuss the latest research insights into our offshore whale population and the ways in which citizen scientists can assist in monitoring them.  Dr. Torres speaks at 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6) at the Waldport Community Center (265 Hemlock St.).

In past years we have partnered with the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME) in producing the conference.  This year NAME suffered a terrible loss with the sudden and unexpected death of Joy Tally, who played a variety of leadership roles in the organization and worked directly with us in developing the conference.  We dedicate the conference to Joy, and still consider NAME to be a co-sponsor.

Presentations on Saturday, March 4, will include discussions of the types of creatures sometimes found washed up on shore (such as sea turtles, squid and sharks); citizen science projects and how to participate in them; estuaries and how citizens can assist in their protection; tsunami debris and invasive species; and many other subjects. Doors open at 8:30 a.m., with talks getting started at 9 a.m.  On Saturday evening, we’ll celebrate with food, drink, company and, of course, our traditional coastal trivia competition.  On Sunday (March 5), you will be able to attend a training for the beached bird survey or participate in field trips to the outer shoreline and Alsea Bay (assuming the weather isn’t unusually awful).

Suggested cost is $10 for Oregon Shores members, $15 for non-member CoastWatchers, and $25 for the general public.  Snacks and drinks provided; lunch on your own.  Non-members can join Oregon Shores and take the discount.  We would also like to emphasize that we wish to make this information available to everyone who cares about the coast and wants to help monitor and protect it.  If you wish to attend but cannot afford the conference fee, please feel invited to participate and contribute whatever you can.

Online registration for the conference is now available here.

More details about the schedule will be posted 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.