Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 8: Policy and Independent Projects

Enjoying the sun and spectacular view on Cape Perpetua while on the lookout for whales.
We started off the week with a beautiful hike at Cape Perpetua. Paul Englemeyer led us up to the top of Cape Perpetua and talked about Oregon’s marine reserves and conservation policies. His work involves rehabilitation of old growth forests for birds and stream restoration for salmon and other fish. We took a moment to whale watch from our high vantage point, but had no luck. However, a few sea lions were spotted playing in the water! We then walked along the Ten-Mile Creek trail, stopping from time to time to enjoy the scenery and talk about efforts to restore and protect the plants and animals in the area. We ate lunch along the creek and some students practiced their rock skipping skills while others waded into the water to cool off.
Hiking through the old growth forest at Ten-Mile Creek
Dr. Sarah Henkel and Paul Englemeyer showing us a map of northwest rivers and the health of the watersheds. Most of them (in red) have poor water quality.
Redfish Rocks, one of the first marine reserves in Oregon.
Oregon marine reserves are managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. These sites are dedicated to research and conservation, prohibiting all removal of species. The protected areas range from 3 sq km to 36.5 sq km. The first marine reserves became protected in early 2012 with the newest addition at Cape Falcon, in 2016, for a total of five along our coast. Each reserve has different attractions, from hiking trails, to sea lion caves and lighthouses. Despite their differences they all give  unique views of our beautiful coastline.

On Tuesday we went down to the docks to meet up with Laura Anderson, the owner of Local Ocean Seafoods. She took us to the docks where we talked to some fishermen about their work. They told us about the various regulations placed on the fish they were catching and showed us what types of gear they used to catch different types of fish. Afterwards we filed into Local Ocean to enjoy a delicious lunch! Once back at Hatfield we had lectures on tools used to aid fisheries management and  science policy. Thanks to the great weather we were able to sit out on the grass for a discussion on science, policy, and ethics. During the discussion we talked about ways to communicate science to the public, career ideas in the field of marine biology, and the difficulties of writing research papers.
Food is life.

Wednesday was our final day of class. We had lectures about aquaculture and wave energy in the morning and gave group presentations in the afternoon. These were different than our normal presentations because we had to pick a non-science audience (i.e. state lawmakers) and provide non-partial information about a current issue to guide their decisions. It was more challenging than we expected to provide options without “telling them what they should want to do.” Regardless, communicating science to non-scientists is important and we need to learn how to do it effectively.  We also wrote practice op-ed articles about our presentation topic. It was a long day, but none of us could believe that eight weeks have flown by and we only have two left!
Dana and Melissa presenting about plastic pollution in the ocean.
Thursday we decided on our final research project ideas and discussed them with the teachers and TA’s. They helped us hammer out kinks in our methods or steered us in the right direction if we weren’t sure what question to explore. After the meetings we started writing our proposals, which were due at 5:00 pm, leaving us only a few hours to finish! Several of us got up early to collect organisms for our projects, taking advantage of some of the lowest tides of the entire year. The tidepooling was excellent!
Science has begun!
Friday kicked off the start of our final research projects! Many groups took advantage of the low tide and were out in the field by 6:00 am conducting surveys or collecting organisms. The sunshine was worth the early start!

By: Katie, Miranda, and Melissa

1 comment:

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